Uniquely Queen's Biology

The Department of Biology is committed to providing an environment that fosters equal rights and opportunities for all, in an environment of mutual respect and dignity.  Our mission is to produce engaged, independent, reflective, critically thinking graduates who will be inspired and able to actively contribute to the improvement of society.  One way we encourage this is by creating a true sense of community among faculty, staff and students.  We are proud of the collegial atmosphere in our Department that extends not just among the faculty, but also support staff and most importantly, the graduate and undergraduate students.  As an undergraduate, you would have many opportunities to chat, discuss, participate and work alongside with professors and the other specialist instructional staff.  We all work together to learn together.

For Further Details, please see the Aims and Mission Statement of our Biology Undergraduate program

Our program is designed to provide multiple experiential learning opportunities. For example, students can gain experience in our labs and doing field work through paid positions supported by the Queen’s Summer Work Experience Program or lab research assistantships (see Awards & Opportunities for more information).  In addition, many students take on volunteer positions in our labs for a few hours a term.  These are all great learning experiences for the students, are the basis for meaningful letters of reference for the next career steps after graduation, and contribute to Biological research. These experiences complement lecture and seminar material, and are win-win opportunities that greatly enhance student learning and competitiveness for graduate programs and employers after leaving Queen's.

In the Queen’s Biology program, you…

  • Interact closely with professors. You will be able and encouraged to regularly discuss ideas one-on-one and as groups with professors and other instructional staff.  Formal opportunities include discussions during and at the end of lectures, as well as seminars and journal clubs. Informal opportunities include hallway chats, organized social events such as the start of year barbeque/party, each semester’s ‘beer with profs’, the Biology Christmas party, and the Biology Banquet.
  • Get involved in Biology groups. There are a number of Biology groups on campus including a very active student-led Departmental Student Council, Society of Conservation Biology – Kingston chapter, and Queen's Genetically Engineered Machine Team.
  • Participate in seminars and journal clubs. Between Departmental, Molecular and Cell Biology, Ecology Evolution and Behaviour, and Limnology seminars there are many opportunities to hear about a wide spectrum of Biological research.
  • Do independent research. Students can complete a full honours thesis or shorter research project that includes substantial student-driven independent research in the lab of one of our faculty, seminar and poster presentations, a thesis defence, and may even lead to a publication in a peer-reviewed science journal (see Courses for more information).
  • Take small 4th year discussion-based seminar courses. These small-enrolment courses are focussed on cutting-edge emerging topics in Biology and are largely student-driven in terms of individual seminar choice, discussion leadership, and final conclusions (see Courses for more information).
  • Do field work at our field station (see QUBS for more information) 50 km north of Kingston that includes extensive aquatic and avian research facilities as well as student housing, new labs, and a library.
  • Do experimental research in our extensive greenhouse, growth chamber, and cell-culture facilities, and a tropical conservatory.
  • Use state-of-the-art research infrastructure including a Laser Scanning Confocal/Multiphoton Microscope, a Typhoon Phosphorimager, and an Illumina MiSeq gene sequencer.


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