Biological sciences delve into the world of living organisms — from microbes, to human beings, to entire ecosystems. It is the science of life on, under and above earth.
The Department of Biological Sciences provides you with hands-on learning, moving you beyond textbooks and lectures to engaging research projects. Biology is a research-intensive science that can lead to a wide range of study areas, like environmental work, medicine, microbiology or agriculture. Exploring the nature of life leads biologists out into the world where they study how organisms interact with their environment, how they function and how they evolved over time.
U of L researchers finding better ways to monitor fish species
Studying the impacts of chemical pollutants on fish reproduction in the field is a complicated business. Because complex environmental cues, such as changes in temperature, salinity and food availability, are all linked to reproduction, scientists at the University of Lethbridge are working on developing an easier way of monitoring fish species.
Using a blood, fin or scale sample that can be taken without harming the fish, researchers can determine if a particular species of fish is highly susceptible to a chemical exposure. They then can identify a need to monitor certain fish species or pinpoint certain areas of an aquatic system to monitor.
U of L scientists find certain cannabis extracts may help prevent acute respiratory distress in COVID-19 patients
In some COVID-19 patients, the immune system goes into overdrive and starts attacking the body itself in what’s called a cytokine storm. When lung tissue is attacked, it can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and the need for a patient to be placed on a ventilator.
Drs. Olga and Igor Kovalchuk, professors in University of Lethbridge’s Department of Biological Sciences, along with researchers from Pathway RX (a research company focused on developing custom cannabis therapies), have found that certain cannabis strains show the potential to tamp down an immune system that’s gone into overdrive, thus preventing ARDS from developing. The study is currently undergoing peer review but is available as a preprint on Research Square. The study is a followup to recent research the Kovalchuks conducted that showed certain Cannabis sativa extracts may reduce COVID-19’s ability to enter human cells.
Federal government needs to do more to protect endangered plants, says U of L researcher
Canada’s plants are the middle child of species conservation in Canada, receiving far less attention than mammals and birds. Even though plants and lichens make up 37 percent of Canada’s at-risk species, the federal funding they receive is less than a third of that number.
Dr. Jenny McCune, a University of Lethbridge professor in biological sciences and Board of Governors Research Chair in Plant Conservation, and Peter Morrison, a graduate student at McGill University, examined how many plant species listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) grow on private or federal lands. Plants listed under SARA are only protected from destruction only if they grow on federal land.
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