Department of Biology & Toxicology

Contact Us

Department Chair

Dr. Paul Hyman
Associate Professor of Biology
Chair, Department of Biology and Toxicology
319, Kettering Science Center
419.207.6309
phyman@ashland.edu

Administrative Assistant

Brenda Rodeback
Administrative Assistant
221, Kettering Science Center
419.289.5261
brodebac@ashland.edu

Programs

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Banking on Biology

Interested in the connection between humans and the world around us? Consider majoring in Biology at Ashland to prepare for a career in medicine, research biology, and other emerging biology fields.

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Solving Crimes With Science

Consider adding the Forensic Biology concentration to your major at Ashland University if you’re interested in applying biological principles to law enforcement.

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Medical Laboratory Scientists are health-care professionals who collect and analyze body fluids, tissues, and other samples from patients, either in a hospital setting or a clinical laboratory. This program is a concentration within our Biology major that includes six semesters of coursework at Ashland University and a fourth year at...
Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Educating a Scientific Youth

Do you have a passion for teaching and want to introduce young minds to the wonders of science? Ashland University’s teacher-training program is highly regarded as one of the best in Ohio. When you graduate with a degree in any of our science education majors, you’ll...

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Investigating Chemicals to Reduce Harmful Effects

Have you ever wondered why prescription drugs have side effects? Or why some plants and animals are poisonous? Or how exposure to air pollutants like sulfur and nitrogen oxides might affect people’s health?

You’ll learn the answers to these questions—and prepare for an exciting...

Curriculum

Brochures & Course Rotations

Each department provides information specific to its majors and programs to help ensure you choose exactly which major is right for you. Use the supplemental material below to assist you in finding a major that most interests you.

Current Undergraduate Catalog

Department Course Rotations

Current Academic Year
2020-2021 Academic Year
Science Education
Chemistry Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Earth Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Integrated Science Education, BSEd (General Physics Option) Four-Year Guide
Integrated Science Education, BSEd (University Physics Option) Four-Year Guide
Life Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Physical Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
2019-2020 Academic Year
Science Education
Chemistry Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Earth Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Integrated Science, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Life Science Education, BSEd. Four-Year Guide
Physical Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide

Faculty

Dr. Soren Brauner, Professor
Dr. Soren Brauner
Professor of Biology
322 , Kettering Science Center
419.289.5275 / sbrauner@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Dolly Crawford
Dr. Dolly Crawford
Assistant Professor of Biology
325, Kettering Science Center
419.289.5942 / dcrawfo9@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Dr. Doug Dawson
Dr. Doug Dawson
Professor of Biology/Toxicology
318 , Kettering Science Center
419.289.5277 / ddawson2@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Susan Harrington
Dr. Susan Harrington
Assistant Professor


Department of Biology & Toxicology
Dr. Paul Hyman, Professor of Biology
Dr. Paul Hyman
Professor of Biology, Chair, Department of Biology and Toxicology
319 , Kettering Science Center
419.207.6309 / phyman@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology
Dr. Mason Posner, Professor, Chair
Dr. Mason Posner
Professor of Biology
320, Kettering Science Center
419.289.5691 / mposner@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Dr. Patricia Saunders, Associate Professor
Dr. Patricia Saunders
Associate Professor of Biology, Director of the Environmental Science Program
324 , Kettering Science Center
419.289.5252 / psaunder@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Robin Sikut, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology/Toxicology
Robin Sikut
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology/Toxicology
323, Kettering Science Center
419.207.6215 / rsikut@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology
Dr. Andrew Trimble, Associate Professor
Dr. Andrew Trimble
Associate Professor of Biology/Toxicology
326, Kettering Science Center
419.289.5267 / atrimble@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Barbara Zingale
Barbara Zingale
Professional Instructor


Department of Biology & Toxicology

Scholarships

Choose Ohio First (COF) Scholarship

Choose Ohio First

Purpose of the scholarship: Ashland University has been awarded a grant from the State of Ohio to provide Choose Ohio First (COF) Scholarships to outstanding students with interests in the natural and physical sciences. These scholarships support academically strong students who plan to pursue careers in graduate school, health related professional programs or through direct employment in STEM industries after completion of the Bachelors Degree.  The goal of this State-funded program is to encourage Ohio residents to enter STEM disciplines and join the Ohio workforce. There are currently 30 students in this program at Ashland University.

Amount of award: $3,000 per academic year for four years in addition to any other University awards.  Total award of up to $12,000.

We are currently recruiting students for our entering Fall 2018 class

Requirements of COF Scholars:

  1. Minimum requirements to receive award:
    ACT 25 or greater
    High school GPA 3.5 or greater
  2. Must maintain a major in Biochemistry, Biology (including Forensic Biology), Chemistry, Environmental Science, Forensic Chemistry, Geology, Physics or Toxicology
  3. Minimum GPA to maintain scholarship:
    3.0 by the end of the 1st year
  4. Ashland University hosts a number of STEM related guest speakers each year. COF Scholars must attend at least three of these guest lectures or events per semester.
  5. COF scholars participate in a peer-mentoring program that partners incoming students with junior and senior scholars.  This support is in addition to your regular academic advising from faculty.
  6. While independent research projects and/or professional internships are not required of COF scholars, opportunities to do these will be available and will be encouraged. Ashland University science faculty members actively involve undergraduate students in their research programs. Local research laboratories such as Charles River Laboratories and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center are active partners with our program and host COF scholars as interns..
  7. The program provides additional career training and advice.  Attendance at STEM related career fairs/social events is encouraged.

Contact the COF Program Director

Mason Posner
Chair, Department of Biology & Toxicology
mposner@ashland.edu
Building: Kettering Science Building
Room: 320
Phone: 419.289.5691

NSF S-STEM Scholarships

National Science Foundation logo

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the "Science Scholars Program” allows students pursing undergraduate degrees in a natural science discipline to receive scholarship and academic support designed to engage, retain, and graduate academically talented students.  The program provides renewable scholarships ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 annually.

Resources

We encourage you to work closely with your faculty advisor in the Department and the Professional Advisors on the 7th floor of the library when planning your academic career at Ashland University and beyond.  Below are a number of websites that we use when advising students.

Helpful Websites
Our Wiki pages contain great resources on a number of topics
RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES & INTERNSHIPS

We strongly encourage our majors too pursue research and internship opportunities to gain real-world experience in science and science-related careers. The following tips will help you to identify and successfully apply to these opportunities:

  • Talk with your biology faculty advisor early about your interest in research and internships so that they can help you. You will be assigned an advisor as soon as you get to campus your freshman year and can always request a different advisor by filling out a single form in the Office of Records and Registration.
  • Attend our regularly scheduled research talks by Ashland students and faculty to find out what kind of research opportunities there are in the department. You can also hear students give presentations on research and internships they performed at other universities, companies or at parks and zoos.
  • Set up a time to talk with a faculty member in the department about their research and ask if they are interested in working with you in their laboratory. Your faculty advisor can help you identify other faculty that may be taking on new research students.
  • Read the Ashland Science News blog to find out about summer internship and research opportunities.
  • Make an appointment to talk to someone in the Career Development Center to discuss possible internship opportunities.
CAREER INFORMATION

A primary mission of the department of biology/toxicology is to prepare you for a great diversity of careers in science, while also giving you the transferrable skills that will make you successful in any career. The following resources are available to you:

  • Advice from your faculty advisor, who you will meet during the spring semester of your freshman year.
  • Professional preparation class taught by one of our faculty members that will help you to identify potential careers and discover how to start them, whether it is admission to professional or graduate school or applications to jobs straight out of college.
  • The professional help of councilors in the University's Career Center for Life Calling.
  • Our wiki page with science job searching resources.
  • A LinkedIn networking group for Ashland University science students, alumni, faculty and friends. This group was started in June of 2010 and will provide a valuable platform for networking with graduates who have already gone on to develop careers in the sciences.
TRI-BETA BIOLOGY HONOR SOCIETY

This honor society for biology majors is a great way to connect with other students in service and social activities and to help improve the understanding of biology.

Science Day

Mohican District Science Day is the district science fair for students in grades 5-12 in schools of Ashland, Richland, Wayne, Holmes, Medina, Lorain, Huron, and Erie counties. Students who enter District Science Day must receive superior ratings at science fairs held locally at their own school, county, or school district. Projects that have followed Ohio Academy of Science (OAS) standards from students who come from schools where local science fairs are not held are also welcome providing you contact the Director for special permission. Students receiving superior ratings at the district level may then be selected to compete in the Ohio Academy of Science's State Science Fair at The Ohio State University on May 11, 2020.

Learn more about the Mohican District Science Day!

Department News

AU Alumna Joins Bone Marrow Transplant Lab

 Following her graduation last December, AU Alumna Lexi Butterbaugh Roberts (Biology, ’20) joined the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University of Michigan as a research lab technician. The focus of her lab is to better understand what causes graft versus host disease (GvHD) following a bone marrow transplant. Mice are used as a model organism to study this disease, and the laboratory director is particularly interested in the role of a novel long non-coding RNA sequence in acute GvHD. While at Ashland, Lexi was a member of the AU Honors Program as well as being a Choose Ohio First Scholar. How did your time at Ashland prepare you for the future? The research skills that I developed in my independent research as well as in my classes at AU definitely helped prepare me for the skills I need in this position. For example, my cellular biology class taught me proper aseptic techniques when working with tissue cell culture, and this is now a skill I use every day. My lab also often extracts bone marrow and harvests spleens from mice, so I was thankful that my labs at AU previously exposed me to these types of intricate tasks. In addition to these technical laboratory skills, the emphasis from AU professors to learn how to read primary research articles was especially helpful. I was so thankful that my professors at AU helped me develop the skills needed to more easily read and comprehend primary research articles because I have been able to gain so much new knowledge in my new field of research in this way. What did your research as an undergraduate at Ashland focus on? For two years of my undergraduate experience, I conducted independent research with Dr. Mason Posner. Dr. Posner’s...Read more

AU Grad Puts Medical Skills into Practice in Kenya

Dr. Meghann Fitzpatrick Burns (Biology ’17) is living her dream of working as a physician following her graduation from Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Currently fulfilling her residency as an OB/GYN in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Dr. Burns (Meg) recently had the opportunity to serve her final medical school rotation working in the maternity ward of Tenwek Hospital near Bomet, Kenya with Samaritan's Purse. About her experience in Kenya, Meg finds it difficult to summarize briefly but offered a number of reflections about her experience: “The first couple of days in the hospital consisted of basically just trying to get my bearings. Several Kenyan general interns (they spoke English extremely well) and two full time American OB/GYNs worked there. Every morning we saw up to 25-30 patients on rounds. Occasionally there would be 2-3 women to a bed in labor. When they were fully dilated, they would move to a different room on beds with plastic coverings separated only by a sheet hanging from the ceiling in between. Pain medications were not an option and as soon as they delivered, they got up, went to rinse off, and go back to the shared bed. The afternoons were typically spent either doing C-sections or other surgeries. Though I did several for practice, vaginal deliveries were typically performed by nurse midwives.” Meg adds: “Typically, I assisted in surgeries and c-sections. During my third week I was with one of the American attendings and she traded places with me at the OR table. I can only imagine how big my eyes were when they handed me the scalpel and I started my very first c-section as the primary surgeon. I did this one other time and assisted several more before leaving. In a single month I saw two cases...Read more

AU Alumna publishes her research and continues studies at Wright State University

AU forensic biology and toxicology alumna Maria Kern (’20) is the author of a recent paper on her Honors’ Thesis research, titled “Buyer beware: Inexpensive, high cadmium jewelry can pose severe health risks.” The paper was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, and reports the results of extractions that Maria performed to determine how much cadmium could be released if jewelry containing as much as 90% cadmium by weight is mouthed or swallowed. Her results show the potential for serious hazards from this jewelry. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Mallorie Boron, who had previously done work on the potential of high cadmium to release cadmium when disposed of in landfills, and Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, who supervised the work. Maria has kept busy in the past year, just graduating with a Master’s degree in Toxicology from Wright State. This program focused on Leadership in science, and she found that it greatly improved her leadership, communication, writing, and presentation skills. Maria offered some comments on her experience at Ashland.
What was the most valuable aspect of working on your research project? The two most valuable aspects of this research project were the technical skills and the confidence that I gained from completing the project. I learned so much over the course of this project about how to conduct research in the lab, develop timelines, set deadlines, record data for later use, and how to combine everything into a paper that was eventually published. I also learned many technical skills specific to laboratory methods, instrumentation, data analysis, quality control, and even cleaning that will be used throughout my entire career as a scientist. Upon completing the project, I gained much more confidence in myself and...Read more

Professor Nigel Brush Retires

Also retiring at the end of the spring semester is Dr. Nigel Brush, professor of Geology. Growing up in Coshocton County surrounded by house-sized blocks of sandstone and fields speckled with flint and arrowheads, Dr. Brush developed an early interest in geology and archaeology. After graduating from West Holmes High School, he entered the Cincinnati Bible Seminary, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in English Bible, and held student ministries in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. His interest in Christian Apologetics later resulted in the publication of two books: The Limitations of Scientific Truth (2005) and The Limitations of Theological Truth (2019). At The Ohio State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and also took master's-level classes in Anthropology, he participated in the excavation of an Early Woodland (Adena) burial mound, a Late Woodland village at the Water Plant Site, and also worked in the archaeology lab with data from the Malyan Project in Iran. As a student at the University of Southampton in England, where he received a Master of Arts in Archaeological Method and Theory, he worked on a rescue excavation at Stonehenge. Dr. Brush received his doctorate in Anthropology at UCLA and worked as a research associate in the UCLA Radiocarbon Laboratory, as an accessioner in the Haines Museum of Cultural History, and participated in a UCLA field school excavation of a rock shelter in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. After returning to Ohio to conduct his dissertation research, Dr. Brush surveyed a 200-square-mile area in Holmes and Coshocton counties and located some 300 rock shelters that had been utilized by Native Americans. He subsequently conducted excavations at 30 of these sites with the help of volunteers, teachers from local schools, and students from The Ohio State University, The...Read more

Contact Us

Contact Us

Department Chair

Dr. Paul Hyman
Associate Professor of Biology
Chair, Department of Biology and Toxicology
319, Kettering Science Center
419.207.6309
phyman@ashland.edu

Administrative Assistant

Brenda Rodeback
Administrative Assistant
221, Kettering Science Center
419.289.5261
brodebac@ashland.edu

Programs

Programs

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Banking on Biology

Interested in the connection between humans and the world around us? Consider majoring in Biology at Ashland to prepare for a career in medicine, research biology, and other emerging biology fields.

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Solving Crimes With Science

Consider adding the Forensic Biology concentration to your major at Ashland University if you’re interested in applying biological principles to law enforcement.

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Medical Laboratory Scientists are health-care professionals who collect and analyze body fluids, tissues, and other samples from patients, either in a hospital setting or a clinical laboratory. This program is a concentration within our Biology major that includes six semesters of coursework at Ashland University and a fourth year at...
Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Educating a Scientific Youth

Do you have a passion for teaching and want to introduce young minds to the wonders of science? Ashland University’s teacher-training program is highly regarded as one of the best in Ohio. When you graduate with a degree in any of our science education majors, you’ll...

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BS
Investigating Chemicals to Reduce Harmful Effects

Have you ever wondered why prescription drugs have side effects? Or why some plants and animals are poisonous? Or how exposure to air pollutants like sulfur and nitrogen oxides might affect people’s health?

You’ll learn the answers to these questions—and prepare for an exciting...

Curriculum

Curriculum

Brochures & Course Rotations

Each department provides information specific to its majors and programs to help ensure you choose exactly which major is right for you. Use the supplemental material below to assist you in finding a major that most interests you.

Current Undergraduate Catalog

Department Course Rotations

Current Academic Year
2020-2021 Academic Year
Science Education
Chemistry Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Earth Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Integrated Science Education, BSEd (General Physics Option) Four-Year Guide
Integrated Science Education, BSEd (University Physics Option) Four-Year Guide
Life Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Physical Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
2019-2020 Academic Year
Science Education
Chemistry Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Earth Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Integrated Science, BSEd Four-Year Guide
Life Science Education, BSEd. Four-Year Guide
Physical Science Education, BSEd Four-Year Guide

Faculty

Faculty

Dr. Soren Brauner, Professor
Dr. Soren Brauner
Professor of Biology
322 , Kettering Science Center
419.289.5275 / sbrauner@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Dolly Crawford
Dr. Dolly Crawford
Assistant Professor of Biology
325, Kettering Science Center
419.289.5942 / dcrawfo9@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Dr. Doug Dawson
Dr. Doug Dawson
Professor of Biology/Toxicology
318 , Kettering Science Center
419.289.5277 / ddawson2@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Susan Harrington
Dr. Susan Harrington
Assistant Professor


Department of Biology & Toxicology
Dr. Paul Hyman, Professor of Biology
Dr. Paul Hyman
Professor of Biology, Chair, Department of Biology and Toxicology
319 , Kettering Science Center
419.207.6309 / phyman@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology
Dr. Mason Posner, Professor, Chair
Dr. Mason Posner
Professor of Biology
320, Kettering Science Center
419.289.5691 / mposner@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Dr. Patricia Saunders, Associate Professor
Dr. Patricia Saunders
Associate Professor of Biology, Director of the Environmental Science Program
324 , Kettering Science Center
419.289.5252 / psaunder@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Robin Sikut, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology/Toxicology
Robin Sikut
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology/Toxicology
323, Kettering Science Center
419.207.6215 / rsikut@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology
Dr. Andrew Trimble, Associate Professor
Dr. Andrew Trimble
Associate Professor of Biology/Toxicology
326, Kettering Science Center
419.289.5267 / atrimble@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
Barbara Zingale
Barbara Zingale
Professional Instructor


Department of Biology & Toxicology

Scholarships

Scholarships

Choose Ohio First (COF) Scholarship

Choose Ohio First

Purpose of the scholarship: Ashland University has been awarded a grant from the State of Ohio to provide Choose Ohio First (COF) Scholarships to outstanding students with interests in the natural and physical sciences. These scholarships support academically strong students who plan to pursue careers in graduate school, health related professional programs or through direct employment in STEM industries after completion of the Bachelors Degree.  The goal of this State-funded program is to encourage Ohio residents to enter STEM disciplines and join the Ohio workforce. There are currently 30 students in this program at Ashland University.

Amount of award: $3,000 per academic year for four years in addition to any other University awards.  Total award of up to $12,000.

We are currently recruiting students for our entering Fall 2018 class

Requirements of COF Scholars:

  1. Minimum requirements to receive award:
    ACT 25 or greater
    High school GPA 3.5 or greater
  2. Must maintain a major in Biochemistry, Biology (including Forensic Biology), Chemistry, Environmental Science, Forensic Chemistry, Geology, Physics or Toxicology
  3. Minimum GPA to maintain scholarship:
    3.0 by the end of the 1st year
  4. Ashland University hosts a number of STEM related guest speakers each year. COF Scholars must attend at least three of these guest lectures or events per semester.
  5. COF scholars participate in a peer-mentoring program that partners incoming students with junior and senior scholars.  This support is in addition to your regular academic advising from faculty.
  6. While independent research projects and/or professional internships are not required of COF scholars, opportunities to do these will be available and will be encouraged. Ashland University science faculty members actively involve undergraduate students in their research programs. Local research laboratories such as Charles River Laboratories and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center are active partners with our program and host COF scholars as interns..
  7. The program provides additional career training and advice.  Attendance at STEM related career fairs/social events is encouraged.

Contact the COF Program Director

Mason Posner
Chair, Department of Biology & Toxicology
mposner@ashland.edu
Building: Kettering Science Building
Room: 320
Phone: 419.289.5691

NSF S-STEM Scholarships

National Science Foundation logo

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the "Science Scholars Program” allows students pursing undergraduate degrees in a natural science discipline to receive scholarship and academic support designed to engage, retain, and graduate academically talented students.  The program provides renewable scholarships ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 annually.

Resources

Resources

We encourage you to work closely with your faculty advisor in the Department and the Professional Advisors on the 7th floor of the library when planning your academic career at Ashland University and beyond.  Below are a number of websites that we use when advising students.

Helpful Websites
Our Wiki pages contain great resources on a number of topics
RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES & INTERNSHIPS

We strongly encourage our majors too pursue research and internship opportunities to gain real-world experience in science and science-related careers. The following tips will help you to identify and successfully apply to these opportunities:

  • Talk with your biology faculty advisor early about your interest in research and internships so that they can help you. You will be assigned an advisor as soon as you get to campus your freshman year and can always request a different advisor by filling out a single form in the Office of Records and Registration.
  • Attend our regularly scheduled research talks by Ashland students and faculty to find out what kind of research opportunities there are in the department. You can also hear students give presentations on research and internships they performed at other universities, companies or at parks and zoos.
  • Set up a time to talk with a faculty member in the department about their research and ask if they are interested in working with you in their laboratory. Your faculty advisor can help you identify other faculty that may be taking on new research students.
  • Read the Ashland Science News blog to find out about summer internship and research opportunities.
  • Make an appointment to talk to someone in the Career Development Center to discuss possible internship opportunities.
CAREER INFORMATION

A primary mission of the department of biology/toxicology is to prepare you for a great diversity of careers in science, while also giving you the transferrable skills that will make you successful in any career. The following resources are available to you:

  • Advice from your faculty advisor, who you will meet during the spring semester of your freshman year.
  • Professional preparation class taught by one of our faculty members that will help you to identify potential careers and discover how to start them, whether it is admission to professional or graduate school or applications to jobs straight out of college.
  • The professional help of councilors in the University's Career Center for Life Calling.
  • Our wiki page with science job searching resources.
  • A LinkedIn networking group for Ashland University science students, alumni, faculty and friends. This group was started in June of 2010 and will provide a valuable platform for networking with graduates who have already gone on to develop careers in the sciences.
TRI-BETA BIOLOGY HONOR SOCIETY

This honor society for biology majors is a great way to connect with other students in service and social activities and to help improve the understanding of biology.

Science Day

Science Day

Mohican District Science Day is the district science fair for students in grades 5-12 in schools of Ashland, Richland, Wayne, Holmes, Medina, Lorain, Huron, and Erie counties. Students who enter District Science Day must receive superior ratings at science fairs held locally at their own school, county, or school district. Projects that have followed Ohio Academy of Science (OAS) standards from students who come from schools where local science fairs are not held are also welcome providing you contact the Director for special permission. Students receiving superior ratings at the district level may then be selected to compete in the Ohio Academy of Science's State Science Fair at The Ohio State University on May 11, 2020.

Learn more about the Mohican District Science Day!

Department News

Department News

AU Alumna Joins Bone Marrow Transplant Lab

 Following her graduation last December, AU Alumna Lexi Butterbaugh Roberts (Biology, ’20) joined the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University of Michigan as a research lab technician. The focus of her lab is to better understand what causes graft versus host disease (GvHD) following a bone marrow transplant. Mice are used as a model organism to study this disease, and the laboratory director is particularly interested in the role of a novel long non-coding RNA sequence in acute GvHD. While at Ashland, Lexi was a member of the AU Honors Program as well as being a Choose Ohio First Scholar. How did your time at Ashland prepare you for the future? The research skills that I developed in my independent research as well as in my classes at AU definitely helped prepare me for the skills I need in this position. For example, my cellular biology class taught me proper aseptic techniques when working with tissue cell culture, and this is now a skill I use every day. My lab also often extracts bone marrow and harvests spleens from mice, so I was thankful that my labs at AU previously exposed me to these types of intricate tasks. In addition to these technical laboratory skills, the emphasis from AU professors to learn how to read primary research articles was especially helpful. I was so thankful that my professors at AU helped me develop the skills needed to more easily read and comprehend primary research articles because I have been able to gain so much new knowledge in my new field of research in this way. What did your research as an undergraduate at Ashland focus on? For two years of my undergraduate experience, I conducted independent research with Dr. Mason Posner. Dr. Posner’s...Read more

AU Grad Puts Medical Skills into Practice in Kenya

Dr. Meghann Fitzpatrick Burns (Biology ’17) is living her dream of working as a physician following her graduation from Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Currently fulfilling her residency as an OB/GYN in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Dr. Burns (Meg) recently had the opportunity to serve her final medical school rotation working in the maternity ward of Tenwek Hospital near Bomet, Kenya with Samaritan's Purse. About her experience in Kenya, Meg finds it difficult to summarize briefly but offered a number of reflections about her experience: “The first couple of days in the hospital consisted of basically just trying to get my bearings. Several Kenyan general interns (they spoke English extremely well) and two full time American OB/GYNs worked there. Every morning we saw up to 25-30 patients on rounds. Occasionally there would be 2-3 women to a bed in labor. When they were fully dilated, they would move to a different room on beds with plastic coverings separated only by a sheet hanging from the ceiling in between. Pain medications were not an option and as soon as they delivered, they got up, went to rinse off, and go back to the shared bed. The afternoons were typically spent either doing C-sections or other surgeries. Though I did several for practice, vaginal deliveries were typically performed by nurse midwives.” Meg adds: “Typically, I assisted in surgeries and c-sections. During my third week I was with one of the American attendings and she traded places with me at the OR table. I can only imagine how big my eyes were when they handed me the scalpel and I started my very first c-section as the primary surgeon. I did this one other time and assisted several more before leaving. In a single month I saw two cases...Read more

AU Alumna publishes her research and continues studies at Wright State University

AU forensic biology and toxicology alumna Maria Kern (’20) is the author of a recent paper on her Honors’ Thesis research, titled “Buyer beware: Inexpensive, high cadmium jewelry can pose severe health risks.” The paper was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, and reports the results of extractions that Maria performed to determine how much cadmium could be released if jewelry containing as much as 90% cadmium by weight is mouthed or swallowed. Her results show the potential for serious hazards from this jewelry. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Mallorie Boron, who had previously done work on the potential of high cadmium to release cadmium when disposed of in landfills, and Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, who supervised the work. Maria has kept busy in the past year, just graduating with a Master’s degree in Toxicology from Wright State. This program focused on Leadership in science, and she found that it greatly improved her leadership, communication, writing, and presentation skills. Maria offered some comments on her experience at Ashland.
What was the most valuable aspect of working on your research project? The two most valuable aspects of this research project were the technical skills and the confidence that I gained from completing the project. I learned so much over the course of this project about how to conduct research in the lab, develop timelines, set deadlines, record data for later use, and how to combine everything into a paper that was eventually published. I also learned many technical skills specific to laboratory methods, instrumentation, data analysis, quality control, and even cleaning that will be used throughout my entire career as a scientist. Upon completing the project, I gained much more confidence in myself and...Read more

Professor Nigel Brush Retires

Also retiring at the end of the spring semester is Dr. Nigel Brush, professor of Geology. Growing up in Coshocton County surrounded by house-sized blocks of sandstone and fields speckled with flint and arrowheads, Dr. Brush developed an early interest in geology and archaeology. After graduating from West Holmes High School, he entered the Cincinnati Bible Seminary, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in English Bible, and held student ministries in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. His interest in Christian Apologetics later resulted in the publication of two books: The Limitations of Scientific Truth (2005) and The Limitations of Theological Truth (2019). At The Ohio State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and also took master's-level classes in Anthropology, he participated in the excavation of an Early Woodland (Adena) burial mound, a Late Woodland village at the Water Plant Site, and also worked in the archaeology lab with data from the Malyan Project in Iran. As a student at the University of Southampton in England, where he received a Master of Arts in Archaeological Method and Theory, he worked on a rescue excavation at Stonehenge. Dr. Brush received his doctorate in Anthropology at UCLA and worked as a research associate in the UCLA Radiocarbon Laboratory, as an accessioner in the Haines Museum of Cultural History, and participated in a UCLA field school excavation of a rock shelter in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. After returning to Ohio to conduct his dissertation research, Dr. Brush surveyed a 200-square-mile area in Holmes and Coshocton counties and located some 300 rock shelters that had been utilized by Native Americans. He subsequently conducted excavations at 30 of these sites with the help of volunteers, teachers from local schools, and students from The Ohio State University, The...Read more

Studying the Living World

Are you interested in a groundbreaking career on the cusp of scientific exploration? Discover your opportunities in the Biology & Toxicology department at Ashland University.

What to Expect

What makes the Biology and Toxicology programs at Ashland different from other universities? Hands down, it’s the close work and research that our faculty and students perform in both classroom and research labs. Our faculty/student research projects have been supported by over $1 million in federal funding since 1997.

Department Differentiators

When you choose a Biology or Toxicology major at Ashland University, you join a program on the forefront of scientific exploration with:

  • Outstanding facilities and research equipment
  • Access to five local nature preserves
  • Strong pre-professional programs
  • Many opportunities to work with your professors on scientific research projects

Graduates of this program have a high success rate entering medical and other health professional programs and also attend prestigious graduate programs.

Explore one of our many programs to find the one best suited to your career objective.

Support the Department of Biology & Toxicology

Make a donation to this departmentBy donating any amount you're making a big difference in our department's future. To designate your gift to the Department of Biology & Toxicology , select “Other” in the "Designated Options" and type the department's name in the associated box.

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