The Graduate Program in Biological Sciences at Binghamton has two tracks: Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology (BCMB) and Ecology, Evolution & Behavior (EEB). With the help of their faculty advisors, some students combine these tracks. Courses, seminars, individual and team research, and faculty-student interactions are the foundation of our program. This foundation provides breadth and depth of knowledge and skills necessary for successful careers in the life sciences.
Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology (BCMB)
The Program in Biochemical, Cell, and Molecular Biology (BCMB) offers graduate students a diverse choice of research topics from the broad topics of cell biology, molecular biology and developmental biology, to a variety of more specialized areas. These include biotechnology, comparative biochemistry and physiology of insects, cellular and endocrinological aspects of reproduction, enzymology and differentiation of mammalian cells, immunology, microbiology and biofilms, molecular evolution and ecology, neuroscience, phycology, plant molecular biology and biochemistry and cold-temperature biology. The spectrum of research activity is broad, and faculty share techniques unique to each laboratory. There are even possibilities of working on interdepartmental projects shared with faculty from departments such as psychology and chemistry. Therefore, a graduate student can work in two or three laboratories at the same time to pursue a research question.
Graduate students in biochemical, cell, and molecular biology are trained in research approaches and techniques currently employed by both research-oriented academicians and biotechnology industries. A number of research projects at the University are done on a contract basis with industries across the nation. Many Binghamton graduate students have accomplished some of their research on-site at biotechnology companies. PhD or MS students in BCMB can enter teaching-oriented or research-intensive careers upon graduation. Whichever career path is taken, fundamental training in research is essential. The research programs in the BCMB group are problem-oriented, rather than driven by a single specialized laboratory technology. Furthermore, many BCMB faculty members are active in the organismal biology graduate programs, extending the range of the problems and questions asked. These associations allow graduate students to pursue research in the context of the dynamics of organisms, populations, and ecosystems.
Ecology, Evolution & Behavior (EEB)
The Program in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (EEB) provides graduate students with a set of conceptual and methodological tools for studying a diversity of subjects, ranging from macroevolution to microevolution, from the behavior of single organisms to the dynamics of large-scale ecosystems, from proximate mechanisms to ultimate causation, and from basic scientific research to practical applications.
All students who enter the EEB program take a two-semester course sequence that covers the basic principles of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at an advanced introductory level. This experience provides a common core of knowledge, enables students to get to know each other, and to learn about the research programs of numerous faculty in addition to their own advisor. It is a strength of our program that we provide a breadth of training in addition to a research specialization. This is important because it is common for EEB scientists to change the organisms and specific subjects they study during the course of their careers, to understand the basic ecological, evolutionary, and behavioral principles that apply to all organisms and subjects.
Most students are admitted into the program because their interests provide a good fit with one or more EEB faculty. It is very much in your interest to explore the research programs of the faculty and indicate those you would like to work with in your application. Incoming students typically begin conducting research during their first year to develop their thesis research.
We encourage interdisciplinary research, which can take a number of forms: a) research that combines the interests of more than one EEB faculty, such as the emerging field of community genetics, which studies the large-scale consequences of evolution on an ecological time scale; b) EEB research that focuses on proximate mechanisms, drawing upon the expertise of the Biology Department's BCMB faculty; c) research that draws upon cross-departmental expertise through interdisciplinary programs such as the Center for Integrated Watershed Studies (CIWS).
BU has a unique cross-departmental Evolutionary Studies program, called EvoS, which extends evolutionary theory beyond the biological sciences to include all human related subjects. Graduate students in any department can participate in EvoS in a number of ways: they can take single courses, such as the introductory course on "Evolution and Human Affairs" (Biol 570); they can attend the weekly EvoS seminar series; or they can earn a graduate certificate in evolutionary studies in addition to their Masters or PhD. See the EvoS website for details.
Our EEB program maximizes the advantages of its relatively small size by provided a well-rounded graduate education, avoiding the dangers of overspecialization, and getting our students off to a fast start with their research.