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U of M Department of Biology Becomes Biological Sciences University News
For release: October 19, 2010

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

Returning University of Memphis students may have noticed a change this fall. Over the summer, the name of the Department of Biology was changed to the Department of Biological Sciences.

The primary reason for the change is the ever-broadening umbrella covered by what has traditionally been called biology, explained Dr. Randall Bayer, professor and department chair. The name change does not affect degree names or course requirements for the degrees within the department.

“The biological sciences now cover diverse areas such as biochemistry, biophysics, bioengineering, and bioinformatics,” Bayer said. “Biological research is in the midst of a revolutionary change due to the integration of powerful technologies, along with new concepts and methods derived from inclusion of physical sciences (chemistry and physics), mathematics, computational sciences, and engineering. As never before, advances in biological sciences hold tremendous promise for surmounting many of the major challenges confronting the United States and the world.”

Historically, major advances in science have provided solutions to economic and social challenges. At the same time, those challenges have inspired science to focus its attention on critical needs. Scientific efforts based on meeting societal needs have laid the foundation for countless new products, industries, even entire economic sectors that were unimagined when the work began.

“The change of our name from ‘biology’ to ‘biological sciences’ better reflects what has been referred to as the ‘new biology,’” Bayer said. “The majority of universities in the United States and Canada have abandoned the traditional biology moniker for newer names, such as ‘biological sciences’ or ‘integrative biology.’ ”

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