Department of Biological Sciences


Welcome to the Department of Biological Sciences

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.

Department Highlights

Dr. Jon Doering

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.

Pathway RX team

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.

Gail Michener

VIDEO: PUBlic Professor Series | Gail Michener

Love Them, Despise Them, Study Them: Perspectives on an iconic prairie animal | recorded in front of a live audience October 29, 2020

Named in 1822 to honour arctic explorer and British Naval Officer Sir John Richardson, Richardson’s ground squirrels are expensive exotic pets for some, detested agricultural pests for others, and fascinating research subjects for a few.

Known as “gophers” in common parlance, Richardson’s ground squirrels are depicted in a variety of ways, often anthropomorphically. Gainer the Gopher is the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ partially clothed mascot, and Torrington’s Gopher Hole Museum is entirely devoted to dioramas that use stuffed “gophers” as well-dressed avatars of townsfolk. Yet, many wish to destroy Richardson’s ground squirrels, even holding competitions with prizes for those who submit the most tails.


Career Bridge | Co-operative Education & Applied Studies

Career Bridge


Put Your Knowledge to Work 

Whether you’re looking for a more in-depth learning experience by assisting with research projects on campus or by testing your knowledge in a real-life work setting, we can help! The programs available in the Career Bridge office will provide you with a solid foundation for further studies and an excellent framework for a challenging and rewarding career — whatever direction you decide to go. Explore career options, participate in research and develop skills that complement your degree.

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