The School of Biological Sciences is a premier center of biological education and research. Multidisciplinary research and academic opportunities exist in the areas of health-related issues such as cancer and infectious diseases, developmental biology and genetics, environmental and evolutionary studies, mechanisms of gene expression, neurodegeneration including learning and memory disorders, structural biology, stem cell therapies and science education.
With 3,425 undergraduates and 270 graduate students, biological sciences is one of the largest schools at UC Irvine. Bio Sci students comprise 12.4 percent of the campus population. The school has four departments: developmental & cell biology, ecology & evolutionary biology, molecular biology & biochemistry, and neurobiology & behavior.
The school offers bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences, biochemistry & molecular biology, biology education, developmental & cell biology, ecology & evolutionary biology, genetics, human biology, microbiology & immunology, and neurobiology, as well as master’s degrees in biotechnology, biotechnology management and biological sciences and educational media design. The school also offers doctorates in ecology & evolutionary biology, cellular molecular biosciences, mathematical, computational & systems biology, neurobiology & behavior and interdepartmental neurosciences.
Interim Dean Brandon Gaut
Brandon Gaut was named interim dean of the School of Biological Sciences effective Nov. 1, 2013, after Dean Al Bennett, Ph.D., who served as dean of the School of Biological Sciences from August 2007, retired in October 2013. Brandon Gaut joined UCI in 1998 as an assistant professor, and served as the chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from 2006 to 2012. He holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California, Riverside. Professor Gaut specializes in population genetics and evolution of plant genomes. His research highlights include seminal contributions in evolutionary methods, understanding the rates at which genes evolve, the population genetics of domestication, and the effect of epigenetics on genome evolution. His ongoing research includes investigation of the genetics of bacterial evolution in a lab environment. He is a recipient of a number of teaching awards including Professor of the Year at UCI in 2008. He has been awarded an Alfred P Sloan Young Investigator award and is currently the President-Elect of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
The school has a highly distinguished faculty, as measured by many criteria. These include high National Research Council faculty productivity rankings and on-campus, national and international awards.
Among the faculty are:
- Six fellows of the National Academy of Sciences
- Seven fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
- Two fellows of the Royal Society
- 32 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences
- Professor Francisco Ayala received the prestigious Templeton Prize in 2010
- Five faculty members and the Dean hold Endowed Chairs or Professorships
- Three faculty members are Distinguished Professors
- Four faculty members are Chancellor’s Professors or Fellows
Over the past four years, eight members of our faculty have received Distinguished Faculty Awards from the Academic Senate, including three for research, three for university service, and two for teaching.
Additionally, at the campus’ Celebration of Teaching event over the past five years, two of our faculty have won Professor of the Year awards, two have won the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching, two have received the TA Development Mentor of the Year Award, and four of our graduate students have received the Most Promising Future Faculty Member Award.
The School of Biological Sciences’ collaborates with many other units on campus to help further research in important fields.
The School of Biological Sciences’ centers include:
- Center for Environmental Biology
- Center for Hearing Research
- Center for Virus Research
- Multiple Sclerosis Research Center
Faculty members from biological sciences participate and figure importantly in campus research units, centers and institutes, including:
- Beckman Laser Institute
- Cancer Research Institute
- Center for Complex Biological Systems
- Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory
- Developmental Biology Center
- Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics
- Institute for Immunology
- Institute for Memory Impairments & Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND)
- Network for Experimental Research on Evolution
- Reeve-Irvine Research Center
- Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center
- Urban Water Research Center
On behalf of the campus, the school has taken primary responsibility for coordination and oversight of a variety of natural lands that are available for faculty and student research. These include the Natural Reserve System of the University of California, including the UCI-managed Burns Piñon Ridge Reserve and the San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh Reserve, Crystal Cove State Park and Marine Research Facility, Steele Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center in the Anza-Borrego State Park and Orange County Parks Irvine Ranch Open Space. The School of Biological Sciences also operates the UCI Greenhouse, a growth facility on the UCI campus and the UCI Arboretum and Herbarium, a botanic garden and research facility located near the San Joaquin Marsh Reserve. The school maintains our campus membership in the Organization for Tropical Studies, which permits students to participate in educational and research projects in tropical areas in Central America and South Africa.