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.
Study into the effects of medical cannabis cultivars on COVID-19 virus advances to clinical study stage
After receiving international attention, two University of Lethbridge studies that explored the potential for certain cannabis extracts to be used as additional therapies to combat COVID-19 have undergone peer review and have now been published in Aging, a top, open-access, bio-medical journal.
The studies by Drs. Igor and Olga Kovalchuk, both U of L biology professors, were conducted in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. They investigated the ways specific Cannabis sativa extracts could be used as adjunct treatments for COVID-19. With the need to get relevant research out as quickly as possible to help combat the pandemic, their findings were originally released as preprints. The studies, In search of preventive strategies and Fighting the storm found that certain cannabis extracts, including those high in cannabidiol (CBD), help prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering cells and help ward off cytokine storms that can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome. High-CBD cannabis extracts are not psychoactive.
Master of Science in Biological Sciences (Sustainable Agriculture)
Agriculture has become one of the most important applications of scientific knowledge. The challenge of feeding a planet while sustaining the health of the environment and agricultural workers requires expertise in biological science.
The University of Lethbridge, with financial support from the McCain Foundation, is funding research for students in a Master of Science program majoring in Biological Sciences (focusing on Sustainable Agriculture). Successful applicants will have a BSc degree, or equivalent, and meet all the admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies. All qualified applicants will be considered for one of six McCain Biology Sustainable Agriculture MSc Awards valued at $20,000/year for two years. Additional financial support may be available. Thesis research projects related to water, plants, climate change, natural products, microbiology, toxicology, and genetics are central to Sustainable Agriculture and can be supervised by professors with relevant expertise in the Department of Biological Sciences.
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.
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