The Biology Department is dedicated to giving its students research opportunities in the laboratory and in the field.

In addition to the research projects that are integral parts of many biology lab courses, students have opportunities to design semester-long independent research courses, conduct thesis projects, collaborate with faculty members on research, and participate in paid summer research internships at Davidson and elsewhere.

Undergraduate research experiences are frequently required for admission to many graduate and professional schools. Most elite graduate programs expect research experience when a student applies. Biology offers research experiences that help students become competitive graduate program candidates, and many of our recent graduates have continued their life sciences studies at top graduate programs around the country.

Independent Research

In BIO 371-373 students conduct independent research in collaboration with a faculty member.

The Biology Department thesis program is designed to promote, develop, and recognize individual excellence through a year or more of directed independent research. Contact Prof. Karen Bernd and/or review the Biology Major Handbook for more information.

Research with Professors

Biology faculty members have a wide variety of research interests, and often collaborate with students on projects, as well as co-author papers and articles with them. From 2010-13, 11 biology faculty members and 70 students published 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals.  

  • Behavioral ecology (Prof. Mark Stanback)
  • Biodiversity, conservation biology, & community ecology (Prof. Kevin Smith)
  • Developmental neurobiology (Prof. Barbara Lom)
  • Environmental cell biology (Prof. Karen Bernd)
  • Genetics of mitochondrial morphogenesis (Prof. Karen Hales)
  • Genomics & synthetic biology (Prof. Malcolm Campbell)
  • Immunology (Prof. Sophia Sarafova)
  • Insect community ecology & conservation biology (Prof. Christopher Paradise)
  • Nervous system maintenance & regeneration (Prof. Rachid El Bejjani)
  • RISE program (Prof. Mark Barsoum)
  • Viral pathogenesis (Prof. Dave Wessner)

Summer Research

There are multiple summer research opportunities for students, both through the Davidson Research Initiative as well as other research organizations.

Many students engage in summer research around the country in a wide range of areas. Recently students have participated in bench science at Caltech, field studies at Glacier National Park, and bioethics research at the National Institutes of Health, among many others. Learn more about different research opportunities.