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Research

At the College of Biological Sciences we learn biology by doing biology, and our faculty are on the cutting edge of research and discovery in the field. Here you will find a collection of news, features and opportunities concerning research at CBS.

Application Open for 2020 Cohort of Grand Challenges in Biology Postdoctoral Program

The deadline to apply for the 2020 cohort is February 3!


Are you interested in collaborating on multidisciplinary research that addresses societally relevant problems? The Grand Challenges in Biology Postdoctoral Program is accepting applications for the 2020 cohort. It's a unique opportunity to take on big questions and work across disciplines to find answers.

Coping With Toxicity

Plant and Microbial Biology faculty member Jannell Bazurto studies how a bacterium utilizes methanol, despite toxic intermediates. 

Jannell Bazurto

Plants emit oxygen. But that’s not the only chemical they send into the atmosphere. As it turns out, plants release a wide range of chemical compounds that attract pollinators, deter pests and support beneficial microbes.

A Microbe-Driven Meltdown?

A new study will examine how microbial communities living in the snow and ice pack impact glacial melt.

Trinity Hamilton on Glacier at Mt. Hood
Trinity Hamilton conducting field work at Mt. Hood. Photo Credit: Jeff Havig

Creating an Unconventional Assembly Line

Researchers aims to transform simple chemical building blocks into complex chemical compounds faster.


Chemical compounds are integral in our lives. They play a starring role in everything from developing new drugs to adding flavor to a dish. Complex chemical compounds — think penicillin or olive oil — are built from elements and simple chemical building blocks. The building process is expedited by enzymes.

A Winding Road to Research

BMBB graduate student Joe Heili’s path to a Ph.D. has moved him around the University, but it hasn’t held him back from national accolades. 

Joe HeiliJoe Heili’s self-described “circuitous” Ph.D. path has moved him from CBS undergraduate to national acclaimed graduate student in a matter of years. The Ph.D.

Teaching Biology in a Classroom-less Class

Charlie Willis and Center for Online Biology Education collaborators aim to use experience in online education to push courses and web-based teaching forward.

Charlie Willis and David Kirkpatrick
Charlie Willis (left) and David Kirkpatrick (right) on the University of Minnesota campus. 

Team Shares Inclusive Science Communication Efforts

Representatives across multiple colleges recently presented at the Inclusive Science Communication Symposium in Kingston, RI. 

Can we leverage the power of Story (from The Story Collider) to impact how students view who does science? The short answer is, yes. Prof Sehoya Cotner (BTL), recently co-presented these findings with Azariah Yonas (3rd year student in College of Liberal Arts) at the national symposium.

New grant to decipher how microbes communicate

NIH grant allows Mikael Elias to continue exploring microbial languages.

Mikael Elias

A recent National Institute of Health (NIH) grant for $1.9 million over 5 years will allow Mikael Elias, assistant professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics and a member of the BioTechnology Institute, to continue exploring how bacteria communicate with each other.