College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Biology

Welcome to the Department of Biology

Students Hard at Work in Lab

First year students learning hands-on from our wonderful faculty

Welcome to the home page for the Biology Program at Saint Joseph’s University. Please follow the links on the left to learn more about us. The Department is located in the Science Center, in the main SJU campus, on the Philadelphia side of City Avenue.

The cornerstone of our educational philosophy is involving students in scientific research. The department has a long and productive history of student research and many students, both undergraduate and graduate, present their work at regional, national and international meetings each year. Many of our graduates enter schools of the health professions, graduate schools for M.S. or Ph.D. degrees, K-12 education, or industry jobs.


Did You Know……

  • 100% of all SJU students in the class of 2015 accepted to medical, dental, or veterinary school in 2015 were biology majors
  • Student acceptances included schools such as the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School- Rutgers, Pennsylvania College of Osteopathic Medicine, Temple Dental School, and Tufts University and the University of Pennsylvania (veterinary)
  • Almost 30% of graduating seniors conducted research with faculty members and presented their research at scientific meetings

Recent Departmental News
  • The department welcomes Dr. Jennifer Choi Tudor, Assistant Professor of Biology.  Dr. Tudor is a neuroscientist and her recent study on sleep deprivation leading to impaired protein synthesis and memory was the cover story for Science Signaling.  Her lab will focus how sleep and disease affects molecular and cellular signaling pathways critical for memory and behavior. 

  • The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a division of the National Institute of Health, has awarded a three-year, $324,000 grant to Matthew Nelson, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, to conduct research on sleep in Caenorhabditis elegans, a free-living, non-parasitic nematode. Learn more here.

  • Marisa Egan ('18) and Dr. Shantanu Bhatt recently published two journal articles on their study of Escherichia albertii a bacterium repsonsible for pervasive sickeness in many developing countries. Read about Marisa's story here.

  • Two recent publications by SJU Biology alumni, the first in Science on the emerging Zika threat and the second in Nature Comunications on the development  of a new cutting-edge microscopy techniques. 

  • Local non-profit education group highlights SJU Biology service activities. Read the article from PHENND here.
  • Biology and Physics faculty collaborate to enhance student's learning experience


  • 22 students conducted research internships in the department this past summer mentored by Biology faculty as part of the Summer Scholars Program

  • Mark Tingey, MS Candidate in Biology under the direction of Dr.Julia Lee-Soety, was awarded $1000 from the Sigma Xi Grant-in Aid of Research program.  This highly competitive award is given to approximately 15% of applicants.  The Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society honors research in science and engineering and is the oldest and largest scientific organization in the world.


Faculty and Student Research

  • Over 60 students who participated in Phage Genomics laboratory since 2009 were co-authors on a published paper on bacteriophage genomics: Pope et al., (2015) “Whole genome comparison of a large collection of mycobacteriophages reveals a continuum of phage genetic diversity” elife 4:e06416

  • Learn about the wide range of faculty research going on in the Department.

  • Recent Faculty Publications: (Faculty in bold; student co-authors bold italics)

Bhatt S, Egan M, Ramirez J, Xander C, and Upreti C. Harnessing the Power of Recombineering to Interrogate the Virulome of Escherichia albertii. Gene and Translational Bioinformatics. 2016; 2: e1294. doi: 10.14800/gtb.1294

Forster, B.M., C.M. Baker, D. El-Naccache, and C. J. Springer. 2015. Construction of Phylogenetic Trees in a Non-Majors Biology Laboratory as a Means of Teaching Biod)iversity. Article 30 in Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching, Volume 36 (K. McMahon, Editor). Proceedings of the 36th Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE). HTTP://

Havekes, R., Park, A.J., Tolentino, R.E., Bruinenberg V.M., Tudor, J.C., Lee, Y., Hansen, R.T., Guercio, L.A., Linton, E., Neves-Zaph, S.R., Baillie, G., Meerlo, P., Houslay, M.D., and Abel, T.  (2016).  Compartmentalized PDE4A5 signaling impairs hippocampal synaptic plasticity and long-term memory. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(34):8936-46. 

Southwell, M. and McRobert, S.P. (2016). Zebrafish as a model organisms to study melatonin mechanisms and treatments. Current Psychopharmacology 5: 85-95.

Way, G.P., Southwell, M. and McRobert, S.P. (2016).  Boldness, aggression, and shoaling assays for zebrafish behavioral syndromes. Journal of Visualized Experiments 114: 1-8.


Departmental Links:

Questions about the Department or our Program?

Please contact the Chair, Dr. Christina King-Smith

Phone: 610-660-1820

FAX: 610-660-1832