The Biological Sciences majors study life, living organisms, and vital processes. Within this broad context, students will have a more individualized learning experience in their selection of customized course tracks in areas such as cell and molecular biology, evolution and environment, physiology and neurosciences, and pre-health professional.
Programs of Study
Centers and Initiatives
Facilities and Technology
The Biological Sciences Department occupies spacious laboratory and classroom facilities in the W.B. Atkinson Science Building on the main WSSU campus, as well as in the Piedmont Triad Community Research Center, in the heart of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. The department houses major equipment and instrumentation for teaching and research in the biological sciences.
Career Planning Tools
Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) is a society for students, particularly undergraduates, dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. Since its founding in 1922, more than 200,000 persons have been accepted into lifetime membership, and more than 670 chapters have been established throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
TriBeta was founded in 1922 at Oklahoma City University--the Alpha Chapter--by Dr. Frank G. Brooks and a group of his students. The idea of an honor and professional society for biology students spread rapidly and by 1925, the society was a national organization. Biennial national conventions of student and faculty members began in that year and in 1930 the society journal, BIOS, began publication of student research, articles of interest to biologists and society news. As the society grew, it was divided into regional and district groups, each of which holds a convention annually. At the heart of every district and national meeting are student research papers presented in the style of graduate meetings. Awards are given for outstanding individual and chapter accomplishment.
The Minority Association of Pre-medical Students (MAPS) is an informative and interactive student organization for those interested in pursuing a career in medicine. Its activities are designed to stimulate interest, scholarly attainment, and investigation in the medical field. These activities include volunteer and shadowing opportunities in area hospitals, hosting admission officers from medical schools to inform our students about the requirements and application process, participation in pre-medical conferences, and visiting medical schools. We also closely collaborate with Wake Forest University Medical School and host current medical students to mentor our members. The focus of this organization is to support and promote the dissemination of medical school-related information among students in biology, chemistry, and health related fields.
Pili Society is a men’s group that focuses on college success, leadership, and professional development activities designed to enhance male student satisfaction, professionalism, retention, and graduation. The Pili Society advocates for improvements in male student decision-making in lifestyle choices impacting health.
The WSSU Undergraduate Student National Dental Association is an organization aimed to provide guidance towards undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in dentistry. Our organization provides one-on-one interactions with dental professionals who specialize in a diverse field of dentistry. Our meetings consist of activities and open discussions that relate to DAT prep, prerequisite courses for dental school, how to write personal statements, job shadowing experiences, and meetings with various dental school admission committees who inform students on the do's and don'ts for the application process. We also encourage students to participate in local volunteer events in surrounding areas.
The Biological Sciences Women in Science Program (WISP) was established to create a supportive and learning environment where women can thrive in the sciences. The broad goal of the program is achieved by enhancing the experiences of Winston-Salem State University women scientists, particularly in their first year, through a comprehensive set of proven strategies, including mentoring and role models, early hands-on research experience, access to information, building a community in the sciences, and service projects.
Faculty Research Areas
- Neuroplasticity in acquired and inherited forms of hypertension.
- Physical activity, diet, and the regulation of body composition.
- Neurobiology; neuronal control of hypertension.
- Cellular aspects in the control of breathing and cardiac activity under physiological and pathophysiological events.
- Neuronal control of cardiovascular disease.
- Pharmacogenetics, drug discovery research, and drug development. Regulation of steroid biosynthesis. Use of squalene from Botyrococcus braunii as a biodegradable lubricant.
- Pharmacology of drug addiction. Synthesis and testing of piperdyl analogs as cocaine pharmacotherapy.
LTR-retrotranpsosons. Analysis of target sites for the retrotransposon Tf1 in fission yeast. Role of retroviruses in AIDS and other human diseases.
- Regulation of gene expression in cancer cells; development of biomarkers for breast cancer diagnosis.
- Metabolism and function of vitamin D.
- Role of matrix metalloproteinase (zinc-dependent endopeptidases) in mediating vascular remodeling associated with vascular diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes.
The characterization of the biological diversity of tumors using genomics, molecular genetics, and
cell biology, in order to develop improved and more targeted therapies that are specific for various tumor subtypes.
Animal behavior; biomechanics of bat flight; computer graphic design.
- Pigmentation biology and skin wound healing in the elderly.
- Mechanisms of cold shock response in the adaptation and growth of bacteria at low temperatures. Adaptive role of a DEAD-box protein at low temperatures.
- Molecular targets for chemotherapy and vaccine development against leishmaniasis. Cloning and molecular characterization of Adaptor Protein 3 from Leishmania.
- Molecular biology of HIV infection. Targeting dendritic cells to prevent establishment of HIV reservoirs.
- Molecular genetics of breast cancer and the development of diagnostic markers for this disease in minority populations.
Molecular biology of diabetes. Effects of insulin and neurosteroids on the GABA-A receptor. Non-genomic actions of hormones in the central nervous system.
Population ecology and social behavior.
Regulation of the biosynthesis of tropane alkaloids in medicinal plants. Identification of factors that influence the level of these compounds in plant tissues