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Biology

The WWU Biology Department provides an outstanding and inclusive learning environment that integrates education, scholarship, and service, actively engages students in the biological sciences, and fosters their development as lifelong learners. Our curriculum spans subdisciplines from marine ecology to developmental genetics to bioinformatics and provides abundant opportunities for interactions with educators who are national leaders in biology education at the college level.  Our curriculum is designed to help our students master fundamental biological principles in depth, learn practical lab and field skills to address a wide range of biological questions using sophisticated instrumentation, develop strong critical thinking and quantitative skills, gain confidence in communicating precisely and analytically, and engage independently and collaboratively as thoughtful and productive contributors to society.


The Arellano Lab boarding the R/V Atlantis for a research cruise along the Gulf of Mexico.

Impact

Your gift to the Biology Department this year will fund student research and travel to conferences, career networking opportunities, and most importantly, scholarships, especially for first-generation and underrepresented students.


Grad student Hannah Fisher conducting research in the Galati lab.

 

Summer Support for Cell and Molecular Biology Grad Students


As you may know, our graduate students have teaching assistantships during the year, but their summer research remains unfunded. We’ve launched a campaign to help our grad students address this summer funding gap and support their critical research. Our goal is to provide summer fellowships ($5,000/student) and research grants (up to $1,000/student) for four to five Biology graduate students whose projects are grounded in cell and molecular biology research. Gifts of every size make a difference, especially when we pool our resources! We also have a matching opportunity to make your gift go even further, thanks to the generosity of Northwest Pathology: they will match your gift 1:1 the first $5,000 in gifts! Check out our Viking Funder Page for more information and to learn more about how Western Biology students and Northwest Pathology partnered to provide COVID-19 testing for the entire nation.


Joann Otto Microscopy Fund:

Over the years, WWU has acquired a significant amount of state of the art microscopy instrumentation through grants to faculty from the National Science Foundation and through donations to the Western Foundation.  These fluorescence microscopes allow super-resolution imaging of fluorescent proteins in cells, generating 4D reconstructions of proteins in cells, and high throughput analyses of fluorescently-tagged cells. The most recent microscope uses a laser that pulses 80 million times per second to analyze macromolecular complexes in living cells!  Through course-based research experiences and faculty-led research projects, students use these microscopes to learn quantitative fluorescence microscopy and image analysis. After graduation, students leverage their microscopy skills to work in biotechnology firms, biomedical research institutes and top-notch PhD programs. The Joann Otto Microscopy Fund supports student research and helps maintain the Biology department’s suite of research grade microscopes by purchasing new filters and brighter light sources, acquiring new image analysis software, and upgrading workstations to interface with new high-speed cameras. Ultimately, these funds will allow our microscopes to remain at the cutting edge of optical light microscopy to serve the next generation of WWU students.


The Living Snow Project

The Living Snow Project is a university-run citizen science program that empowers local communities to track and sample pink snow, an iconic feature of alpine spring and summer snowpack and glaciers. Snow algae produce intense blooms turning snow and ice pink, orange, or bright red due to bright pigments assumed to provide UV or oxidative stress protection. Their bright color darkens the snow surface, reducing the reflectance of solar radiation and accelerating snowmelt. Thus, glacial melting due to climate change will likely present more favorable conditions for growth, while simultaneously also reducing habitat. There are many different species of snow algae and it is still unknown how biodiversity and biogeography affect snow and glacier melt.

What is the significance of this project?

Climate change is causing glacial loss worldwide, and snow algae blooms can further accelerate melt. Glacial melting also presents favorable conditions for algae growth, while simultaneously reducing their habitat. Volunteer observation and collections of large datasets across mountain-range scales are needed to understand how this process is changing over time. We recruit volunteers through the outdoor recreation community, which is under-engaged in conservation despite their reliance on healthy ecosystems for recreational opportunities. By empowering people of all ages to participate in science in the places they love to play, we help cultivate a deeper awareness of and appreciation for complex alpine ecosystems.

What are the goals of the project?

In 2021, we are expanding our program to integrate algae collections with bloom size and assessment of the snow habitat. Currently, volunteers can participate by collecting samples with a sample collection kit or making observations with the Living Snow Project app. The app stores GPS coordinates and notes about observations if the phone is out of service and sends coordinates once the phone reconnects. Participants who collect samples scoop pink snow into DNA preservative using a sample kit. With improvements to the App, volunteers can include measurements of pink snow patches, record snow pH and snow depth, and upload pictures. We plan a large recruitment effort in spring 2021 to capitalize on the record number of new visitors to public lands in 2020. The funding we raise through this campaign will go to support our WWU student interns and researchers who make this program possible.

2
Match
NW Laboratory Challenge for Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Students
The first $5,000 in gifts to the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program have been matched dollar for dollar by NW Laboratory in celebration of their amazing partnership with WWU students and faculty.
$925 MATCHED
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Leaderboard
Top Five Fundraisers!
The WWU Alumni Association will reward the top five areas that secure the most donors with a bonus of $1,000 each. Congratulations to our winners!
Rank Prize Area of Support Donors
1 $1,000 Men's Rowing 118
2 $1,000 Ice Hockey 116
3 $1,000 Chess Club 115
4 $1,000 Student Emergency Fund 105
5 $1,000 WWU Volleyball 103
6 Marketing Program 76
7 Accounting Department 73
8 Geology 73
9 Scholarships & Student Success Funds 71
10 Cross Country & Track and Field 70
11 WWU Racing 57
12 MSCM & Operations 55
13 Music Department 44
14 Behavioral Neuroscience 42
15 Education Abroad 42
16 Computer Science 41
17 Donate to Fairhaven Here! 40
18 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives 38
19 Chemistry Department 36
20 Sailing Team 36
21 Linguistics 30
22 Psychology 27
23 University Honors Program 27
24 Ray Wolpow Institute 25
25 MBA Program 25
26 Men's Soccer 25
27 Physics and Astronomy 23
28 History Department 22
29 Sociology 21
30 Health and Human Development 21
31 Economics 21
32 Woodring College of Education 21
33 Anthropology 20
34 Men's Basketball 19
35 Communication Sciences and Disorders 19
36 Art and Art History Department 19
37 Western Libraries 18
38 College of Business and Economics 17
39 Young Democrats of WWU 17
40 English Department 16
41 Theatre Arts 15
42 Management Information Systems 15
43 Women's Basketball 14
44 CBE Students of Color Opportunity Scholarship 14
45 Fine and Performing Arts Music Scholarships 14
46 Fairhaven College Opportunity Scholarship 14
47 Elementary Education Department 14
48 WWU Swim Team 14
49 Undocumented Student Support / The Blue Group 14
50 Women's Ultimate 14
51 International Business Program 13
52 Woodring College of Education 13
53 Finance Program 13
54 Softball 13
55 Biology 13
56 International Student Support 13
57 Modern and Classical Languages 13
58 Global Humanities and Religions 11
59 Advanced Technology Engineering Facility 11
60 Women's Soccer 11
61 Student Emergency Fund 11
62 Men's Lacrosse 11
63 Career Services Center 11
64 Opera Club 11
65 NeRDS 11
66 WWU's Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programs 10
67 Huxley BIPOC Environmental Justice Scholarship 10
68 Compass2Campus 10
69 College of Science and Engineering 9
70 Institute for Energy Studies 9
71 Political Science 9
72 LGBTQ+ Western 9
73 Graduate School 9
74 Ralph Munro Institute for Civic Education 9
75 Mathematics 9
76 Speakers in Schools - Give Day Challenge! 9
77 Trula Nicholas Memorial Scholarship 8
78 Bellingham Rotaract Club 8
79 Disability Studies Steering Committee (DSSC) 8
80 Support Black Students In STEM 8
81 Journalism 8
82 Huxley Access Scholarships 8
83 Ethnic Student Center 8
84 Millie Johnson Puzzle Hunt Fund 7
85 Stephanie Bowers Endowed Scholarship 7
86 Business and Sustainability Program 7
87 WWU Alumni Association Scholarship 7
88 Water Skiing 7
89 Science, Math and Technology Education 7
90 Engineering and Design 7
91 Nancy Bluestein-Johnson Peninsulas Scholarship 7
92 Western GAP Scholarship 7
93 Women's Rugby 7
94 Happy Club 7
95 Caregivers and Parents 7
96 WHOLE - AS Food Pantry 7
97 College of Humanities and Social Sciences 6
98 Huxley College 6
99 Huxley College Available Funds 6
100 Center for Canadian-American Studies 6
101 College of Fine and Performing Arts 6
102 Environmental Sciences Department 6
103 Marion Van Nostrand Scholarship 5
104 Salish Sea Institute 5
105 WWU SACNAS 5
106 Children's Literature Conference 5
107 Dance 5
108 Men's Ultimate Teams 4
109 Design Department 4
110 Brent Golden Memorial Scholarship 4
111 Equity & Diversity Programs 4
112 Special Education & Education Leadership 4
113 KUGS Scholarship 4
114 Native American Student Union 4
115 Child Development Center 4
116 Marine and Coastal Science 4
117 Advanced Technology Engineering Facility 3
118 Parents and Families 3
119 Shaw Gynan Memorial Scholarship 3
120 Men's Water Polo 3
121 Women's Lacrosse 3
122 Vernon Damani "Dr. J" Johnson Scholarship 3
123 Exercise Science Lab 3
124 Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Program 3
125 Equestrian Team 3
126 Women's Golf 3
127 Stephen Senge Fund for Teaching Innovation 3
128 Elliot Scott Memorial Scholarship 3
129 Hillel of WWU 3
130 Communication Studies 3
131 Womxn of Color Empowerment Scholarship Fund 3
132 Western on the Peninsulas Scholarship 3
133 Women's Volleyball Sport Club 3
134 WWU Hip Hop Dance Team 3
135 Viking Athletics 2
136 Kradjan Family Admissions Scholarship 2
137 Uche Ugwoaba Men's Soccer Scholarship 2
138 Thaddeus & Lois Price Spratlen Fund for Diversity 2
139 Western Washington University 2
140 Environmental Studies Department 2
141 Rowing 2
142 The SEA Discovery Center 2
143 Tabetha Fox Clark Scholarship 2
144 Emily Lang Memorial Scholarship Fund 2
145 Environmental Education 2
146 Judo Club 2
147 Men's Rugby 2
148 WWU Retirement Association 2
149 Men's Volleyball 2
150 Palliative Care Institute 2
151 Department of Management 2
152 KM Fund for Holocaust and Genocide Studies 2
153 Secondary Education & MIT 2
154 AMSEC - Materials Science 2
155 Fairhaven Outback Farm 2
156 Huxley Graduate Programs 2
157 Bennerstrom Prize 2
158 Figure Skating 2
159 NAMI on Campus WWU 2
160 WWU Life Drawing Club 2
161 Named Scholarships 1
162 Willis Ball Memorial Scholarship 1
163 Lillie Mae Witherspoon Minority Scholarship 1
164 Jolene Sanchez Memorial Scholarship 1
165 Uche Ugwoaba Computer Science Scholarship 1
166 WISE Scholarship 1
167 Gregory and Elizabeth Grant Scholarship Endowment 1
168 Christman Challenge 1
169 Dina Benedetti Scholarship Endowment 1
170 Matthew Gaphni Memorial Scholarship 1
171 Shannon Point Marine Center 1
172 Friends of Lakewood 1
173 Institute for Environmental Toxicology 1
174 Men's Golf 1
175 Philosophy 1
176 Huxley Annual Scholarships 1
177 The Leslie Lingley Memorial Student Fund 1
178 East Asian Studies 1
179 Endowed Professorship in Jewish History 1
180 Nursing 1
181 AS Professional Women's Association 1
182 Student Employee Recognition Program 1
183 AS Clubs 1
184 Dr. Lina Zeine Scholarship 1
185 Student Technology Center's Booster Fund 1
186 Ted Pratt Scholarship 1
187 The Planet - An Award Winning Student Publication 1
188 Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 1
189 Harry Potter Club 1
190 Adoptees Alliance 1
191 Bellingham Review 1
192 Bradley F. Smith Internship Program 1
193 Institute for Watershed Studies 1
194 MK Advantages of Learning Differently Scholarship 1
195 Office of Sustainability 1
196 Planned Parenthood Club 1
197 Wakeboard Team 1
198 WWU Club Baseball 1
199 WWU Tennis Club 1
200 Huxley College on the Peninsulas 1
201 Arts Enterprise and Cultural Innovation 1
202 Washington Campus Compact 1
203 Bellingham Order of the Saber 1
204 Geography Program 1
205 Hearing Aid Bank 1
206 Prim Scholarship for Diversity and Inclusion 1
207 Student Ambassador Scholarship 1
208 Women's Water Polo Team 1
209 WWU Queer-Con 1
210 Carl H. Simpson "Bridging" Fund 0
211 Alpha Kappa Psi Omega Beta 0
212 Brian K. and Lori L. Burton Fund for Innovation 0
213 Campus Recreation 0
214 Campus School Legacy Scholarship 0
215 CBE Investment Management and Scholarship Fund 0
216 Center for Pacific Northwest Studies 0
217 Cheerleading 0
218 Chuckanut District of WSFGC Scholarship 0
219 Climate Innovation Fund 0
220 Climbing Team 0
221 Club Wrestling 0
222 Cycling Team 0
223 Decision Sciences 0
224 Donald B. McLeod Scholarship Endowment 0
225 Dr. Elena Pereyra Peach Award Scholarship 0
226 Education and Social Justice Minor 0
227 Filipino-American Student Association 0
228 Frank Punches Memorial Endowment Fund 0
229 Freeride Ski and Snowboard Team 0
230 Fresh Water Ecology 0
231 Health and Community Studies 0
232 Ingrid Stahlbrand Kassler Memorial Scholarship 0
233 James B. and Angela Rhoads Scholarship 0
234 Jamie Foland-Tseng Memorial Scholarship 0
235 Joann Otto Microscope Endowment Fund 0
236 Jose S. Velasquez Memorial Scholarship 0
237 Khmer Student Association (KhSA 0
238 Manis Family Scholarship 0
239 Mars Lab Fund 0
240 Mary Morrison Family Music Scholarship Endowment 0
241 Morse Leadership Institute 0
242 Mountain Environments Research Institute 0
243 Music Library 0
244 Net Impact WWU 0
245 Norma Hall-Alice Stout Memorial Endowment 0
246 Occam's Razor - Student Academic Journal 0
247 Other 0
248 Outreach and Continuing Education 0
249 Patrick L. Monahan Scholarship 0
250 Pre-Dental 0
251 Psychedelic Club 0
252 Ralph Munro Institute for Civic Education 0
253 Resource Center 0
254 Rich and Stephanie Bowers Endowment 0
255 Rocky Spencer Memorial Scholarship 0
256 Ruth S. Cox Memorial Scholarship 0
257 Sandberg Scholarship 0
258 Small Business Development Center 0
259 Sociology Club 0
260 Special Collections 0
261 Studebaker Family Student Success Fund 0
262 Student Services and Programs 0
263 The Jazz Project Scholarship 0
264 The Journal of Educational Controversy 0
265 Timothy Crossan Memorial Fund 0
266 Vassdal Design Scholarship 0
267 Veteran Services 0
268 WCE Promise Scholarships for Students of Color 0
269 Western Community Outreach 0
270 Western Gallery 0
271 Western Stands for Racial Equity Fund 0
272 Women's Ice Hockey 0
273 WWU Club Golf Team 0
274 WWU Fly Fishing Club 0
275 WWU National Science Teachers Association Chapter 0
276 WWU Outdoor Center 0
277 WWU Speech and Hearing Clinic 0
278 WWU Student Chapter of NSTA 0
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