Department of Biology

Mission Statement

The role of the Department of Biology is to provide students with an understanding of the science of living systems within the context of a liberal arts education.  The primary mission of the Department – as is true of the College – is excellence in undergraduate education; to this end, we continuously enhance and revise a curriculum that emphasizes scientific knowledge, theory and process across levels of biological organization and taxonomic diversity. Our goal is to prepare our majors for careers and/or post-graduate study in biology, and non-majors with an understanding and appreciation for the field of biology, as well as its relevance and application to modern life. In addition to this commitment to excellence in undergraduate education, the Department has a strong culture of valuing research; faculty members maintain active research programs, support two College of Charleston graduate programs, apply their expertise to local, regional, and global issues, and publish in national and international journals.

In addition to teaching and College service, faculty from the Department of Biology regularly compete for grants to fund independent research that is often conducted on campus alongside their students. This hands-on science experience is invaluable to those preparing for graduate school and professional health programs.

Read about one such grant research project, the unPAK (Undergraduate Phenotyping of Arabidopsis Knockouts).This project is led by Drs. Courtney Murren, Matt Rutter and Allan Strand.

Department of Biology Overview
Diversity Statement
Grice Marine Laboratory Newsletter
SSM Faculty and Staff Newsletter
SSM Video and Features
Darwin Week

Featured stories

Dr. Anastasia Zimmerman incorporates the COVID-19 into her Spring 2020 Immunology class. View a short lecture by Dr. Zimmerman about COVID-19 and other viruses.


Senior Biology Instructor Deb Bidwell research on Biomimicry was featured in the Post and Courier. Read about how this interdisciliplinary study is taught in the classroom here.


Biology Professor Heather Spalding participated in research of coral reefs in Hawaii that were destroyed during a hurricane in 2019. See the story here.


Marine Biology Professor Jack DiTullio is featured in The Post and Courier's "Every Other Breath".  He explains how plankton produce fifty percent of the earth's oxygen. See him and read the feature here.


Russell Day, founder of the Marine Science and Nautical Training Academy (MANTA), took students on a two-week voyage around the British Virgin Islands on a 58-foot catamaran sailboat. Read more about their Caribbean coral reef ecosystem study abroad experience here.

Exploring the coral reef ecosystem

Biology Professor Phil Dustan was featured in The Post and Courier where he discusses his work with coral reefs and the realities of coral bleaching. Read the story here.  He was also featured in an award winning Netflix original documentary, "Chasing Coral".  See the trailer here

Phil Dustan takes measurements on a reef in Bali

Biology faculty Christine Byrum and Renaud Geslain, along with chemistry and biochemistry faculty Jim Deavor, were featured in the “Faculty Factoids” section of the magazine for the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Grant they received from the National Institutes of Health. To learn more about their research click on their names.   

Deborah Deas

Dr. Renaud Geslain was recently interviewed by The College Today. Read more to learn about one of our molecular biologists. 

Read more articles on faculty research.