Faculty in the School of Life Sciences conduct research in bioinformatics, biomathematics, cellular and molecular biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, integrative physiology, microbiology, and biology education and assessment.
Bioinformatics is broadly defined as the use of computers to analyze biological data. Bioinformatics research generally focuses on extracting knowledge from large datasets, such as genome sequences, profiling experiments, or population statistics. It is related to and partially overlaps with biocomputing, biostatistics, and mathematical biology.
Biology is undergoing a revolution, a revolution brought about by the increasing role of mathematics in studies of biological systems. Mathematics also will be enriched by its exposure to the intricacies and complexities of biological systems.
Cell and molecular biology is an interdisciplinary field that bridges the areas of chemistry, cell biology, genetics, and molecular biology, as it seeks to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms that underlie all of life’s processes.
Faculty in the ecology and evolutionary biology group study interactions among organisms and their environment currently, as well as changes in biological populations, species, and higher taxa through time and across space that lead to the diversity of life. At UNLV, we are especially interested in the desert environments of western North America. Arid land ecology, global climate change, plant stress physiology, systematics and biogeography are some areas in which we specialize.
Integrative physiology is a multidisciplinary science that studies all functions of a living body. Instead of looking at a single aspect of an organism, researchers investigate how components of organisms interact to allow organisms to survive and reproduce in variable environments. This research can be done at any level from individual cells to whole organisms in their natural environment.
Microbiology is the study of single-celled organisms and non-living infectious particles (e.g. viruses and prions). Despite their small size, microorganisms make up about 50 percent of the Earth’s biomass. Microbes inhabited the planet long before plants, animals, and fungi, so it is therefore not surprising that microbes carry out key roles in the biogeochemical cycles and have major impacts on human and animal health. Today, microbes are used in a wide variety of industries.