Study living organisms in the laboratory, classroom and field.

As a biology major or minor, our curriculum will give you a broad background in biology while providing for specialization in your particular interest. 

You’ll also gain extensive experience in testing your own hypotheses and designing your own experiments. You will carry out scientific investigations in the lab, the field and the classroom.

Biology majors pursue graduate work in biology or the health professions, or enter careers in government, business, law, journalism, secondary school teaching, environmental consulting, conservation organizations or biotechnology.

  • In class with Professor Daniel Martinez
    In class with Professor Daniel Martinez
  • In the lab with Professor Jonathan Moore
    In the lab with Professor Jonathan Moore
  • Professor Nina Karnovsky and a student at Bernard Field Station
    Professor Nina Karnovsky and a student at Bernard Field Station
  • Seaver West, one of two facilities housing Biology
    Seaver West, one of two facilities housing Biology

What You'll Study

  • Evolution and ecology
  • Genetics, cell biology and bioinformatics
  • Animal and plant physiology, developmental biology, animal behavior and conservation biology
  • The process of biological inquiry
  • Field and laboratory research methods
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Students who conducted research in biology in summer 2015

Researching at Pomona

  • Miranda Starr '16, Gail Gallaher '17, Jeffrey Allen '17 and Leo Estrada '16
    2016 Pacific Seabird Group Annual Meeting

    Miranda Starr '16, Gail Gallaher '17, Jeffrey Allen '17 and Leo Estrada '16 presented research at this professional scientific meeting, and Gallaher won the best undergraduate poster prize.

  • Delfina Gonzáles '17
    Probing Molecular Mechanisms of C. elegans Eggshell Assembly

    Delfina Gonzáles '17 monitored fluorescently tagged molecules in real-time under the microscope to study how the C. elegans eggshell forms.

  • Niko Tutland & Jessica McKenzie
    Effects of Climate Change on Southern California Trees

    Niko Tutland ’17 and Jessica McKenzie ’19 work with Professor Frances Hanzawa by looking at the effects of climate change on the Big-Cone Douglas Fir, a tree found only in Southern California.

  • Paratarsotomus macropalpis - Photo by Prof. Samuel Rubin (Pitzer College)
    World’s Fastest Land Animal Relative to Size

    Maria Young ‘16 helped record the Californian mite Paratarsotomus macropalpis running at up to 322 body lengths per second. Cheetahs run about 16 body lengths per second.

Niko Tutland ’17

I've always wanted to go into ecological research after college, so doing a Summer Undergraduate Research Project (SURP) is not only an important step on that path, but really gives me a good idea of how I'm going to like the kind of work I am preparing myself for. So far I am definitely enjoying the work I'm doing, and can't wait to continue it after Pomona.

Faculty & Teaching

The Biology Department’s faculty members are actively engaged in research with students. The type of questions they ask are: 

Why do some organisms have a modified genetic code? Which proteins are responsible for Drosophila development? How do microbes function in inhospitable environments? What are the effects of habitat fragmentation on plant-pollinator interactions? How do plants withstand drought? How do neurons find their synaptic targets? How is climate change impacting marine food webs? How does biology influence gender identity? What genes control cnidarian development?  How are invasive species influencing local plant and insect communities? How do embryos build protective extracellular barriers? How does the immune response differ in mice that are susceptible to Mouse AIDS from those that are resistant?  How has selection influenced the physiology of organisms that have made the transition from marine to terrestrial life? 

Professor Nina Karnovsky

In biology classes, students become scientists and develop their own hypotheses and carry out studies to test those hypotheses. They learn how to tackle unsolved problems, analyze data, write scientific papers and present their results. Students gain a broad background in biology and also get to specialize in the scale of biology they are most interested in, whether it be genes or ecosystems or both.