UG Newsletter

Undergraduate Newsletter
Department of Biology
January 2019 Issue

Welcome back and all the best for 2019!  We trust that you are recharged and ready for new endeavours.

This January issue starts off the winter term with important reminders and career-building opportunities.  There will be more in the coming months, so keep this newsletter in mind.  As always, we are here to help, so please let us know.

Don’t forget…. Jan. 18, 2019 is the last date to add a winter term course and the last date to drop courses without financial penalty, the complete list of important dates can be found at:

Are you planning to graduate spring 2019?
Please be sure to review the requirements for your degree plan/program before the last date to add a course (Jan. 18, 2019).  It is your responsibility to ensure that you are meeting the requirements.  Please log on to SOLUS to check your requirements.  If you have questions please let me know (

NSERC Summer (2019) Research Award Opportunity Internal Applications due Jan. 18, 2019.
NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRA): Canada’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) underwrites these prestigious awards to stimulate student interest in research and to help cultivate tomorrow’s scientists. USRAs involve independent research and are taken up in NSERC-funded laboratories.  The awarding of USRAs is carried out internally through Queen’s Biology.  Requirements and internal application form can be found at:

Are you going into 4th year 2019-20…wondering about BIOL 537 and BIOL 500 courses?
Please make sure you attend our 4th year information session - Feb 4th 5:30pm to 7:30pm, BIOSC 1103.

Biology Field Courses – check these out!
Each year the Department of Biology offers several field courses spanning an incredible diversity of themes including winter ecology, ecology of amphibians and reptiles, lake ecology, avian communication, environmental impacts on aquatic ecosystems, and ecotoxicology. Field courses offer small class size with opportunities to travel across the globe, from the Queen's University Biological Station, just 50km north of campus, to China, Mexico, Tanzania, and beyond. 

Field courses are numbered BIOL307/317/327 and are offered at various times of the year, primarily during the spring and summer, and also a few during the winter. These courses typically last 1-2 weeks and are led by various Queen's Biology faculty as well as our colleagues at Universities across Ontario, through the Ontario Universities Program for Field Biology (OUPFB) and other programs.  For more information and the application process please visit:

The Gray Family Student Initiatives Fund (GFSIF) was established though a gift to Queen’s University by Gordon Gray, BCom’50 in January 2004.  The GFSIF was established to "provide annual support to any Arts and Science student, or group of students, who would like to write a report, attend a conference, do non-profit work, or other initiatives in the area of preservation of wildlife species.”.  The grant guidelines stipulate that “Grants are meant to enable students to participate in non-credit opportunities that will provide them with meaningful lessons realized by working with others in helping conserve wildlife.”.    

In the upcoming fiscal year (May 2019 to April 2020) the amount available from this endowed account is $16,000 .  We invite undergraduate students to apply to the GFSIF by submitting an application (up to two pages) with the following information: i) a description of their initiative; ii) how their initiative speaks to the intent of the grant; and iii) a budget outlining the amount requested.  An awards committee, with representation from at least three departments/schools within the Faculty of Arts and Science, will rank the proposals and suggest fund allocations, which will then be forward to the Dean of Arts and Science for approval.  Once approved by the Dean, the successful applicants will be notified in early March. 

Please submit complete applications as a single PDF file to Brian Cumming, Department Head - Biology ( by Feb 15th, 2019. 

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July 2018 Newsletter
Aug 2018 Newsletter
Sept. 2018 Newsletter

Oct. 2018 Newsletter
Nov. 2018 Newsletter
Dec. 2018 Newsletter

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I've spent more time than many will believe [making microscopic observations], but I've done them with joy, and I've taken no notice those who have said why take so much trouble and what good is it?

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

It's a parts list... If I gave you the parts list for the Boeing 777 and it had 100,000 parts, I don't think you could screw it together and you certainly wouldn't understand why it flew

Eric Lander

What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant

Jacques Monod

The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism

Richard Dawkins

Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?

Erasmus Darwin

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it's impossible to determine the line of demarcation


Cells let us walk, talk, think, make love, and realize the bath water is cold

Lorraine Lee Cudmore

In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history

Charles Darwin

It is my belief that the basic knowledge that we're providing to the world will have a profound impact on the human condition and the treatments for disease and our view of our place on the biological continuum

J. Craig Venter

Imagine a house coming together spontaneously from all the information contained in the bricks: that is how animal bodies are made

Neil Shubin

A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die - which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct

Charles Darwin

The stuff of life turned out to be not a quivering, glowing, wondrous gel but a contraption of tiny jigs, springs, hinges, rods, sheets, magnets, zippers, and trapdoors, assembled by a data tape whose information is copied, downloaded and scanned

Steven Pinker

We wish to discuss a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biologic interest

Rosalind Franklin

We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget

Mary Roach

The systems approach to biology will be the dominant theme in medicine

Leroy Hood

I've always been interested in animal behavior, and I keep reading about it because it's so surprising all the time - so many things are happening around us that we neglect to look at. Part of the passion I have for biology is based on this wonderment"

Isabella Rossellini

Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality

Thomas Cech

Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

Theodosius Dobzhansky

Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century

- Freeman Dyson

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third

- Thomas Huxley