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...

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
130, Kettering Science Center
419.207.6215 / rsikut@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology
Merrill Tawse, Professional Instructor
Merrill Tawse
Professional Instructor of Biology
323, Kettering Science Center
419.207.6310 / mtawse@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
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 Trustees Approve Reduction of Academic Programs

The Ashland University Board of Trustees recently voted to “sunset” twenty undergraduate degree programs. Sunsetting means that current and incoming students will have the opportunity to fully complete their majors, but students will no longer be accepted into these programs after the current incoming fall class. Information about this decision can be found on the AU website and Facebook page. This post is intended to provide some clarity regarding the impact on programs housed within the Kettering Science Center. The Bachelor of Science with majors in Geology, Geoscience Technology & Management, and Physics will be sunsetted, in addition to the minor in Physics. The Geology minor will continue to be offered, as will the geology and physics courses that are required by other programs. All majors within the Department of Biology/Toxicology will remain. Likewise, the Bachelor of Science with majors in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Forensic Chemistry will continue. The Environmental Science Program will also remain. The potential for a revised EVS/Geochemistry track has received support from the administration. In science education, the two BSEd majors in grades 7-12 Integrated Science and Life Science will continue, as will the science concentration for the middle grades major. The BSEd programs in Chemistry Education, Earth Science Education, and Physical Science Education will be sunsetted. The news of the discontinuation of academic programs is personally and professionally disappointing to students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Ashland University Sciences. Feel free to contact me at if you have questions. My colleagues and I are working to create the safest and best possible experience for our new and returning students this fall. We hope to see you or hear from you in the coming year. As always, thank you for the support. Dr. Rebecca CorbinChair of the Department of Chemistry/Geology/Physics...Read more

AU research sparks further investigation of a public health threat

Scrap material used for cookware in Cameroon includes old engine parts
In 2013, Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer was contacted by Perry Gottesfeld of Occupational Knowledge International with a question about the safety of cookware. Mr. Gottesfeld was working with colleagues at an NGO (see: http://www.crepdcm.com/) in Cameroon to reduce toxic exposures from lead paint, when questions were raised about the possible hazards of the aluminum cookware that most people there use. In Cameroon, and throughout the developing world, the recycling of scrap aluminum into cookware is a widespread practice. After a preliminary investigation we learned that source materials can include items such as old engine blocks, radiators, and computer parts.
Pots awaiting sale in a Cameroon marketDr. Weidenhamer and several AU students – Peter Kobunski, Alison Biro, and Meghann Fitzpatrick – along with AU colleagues Dr. Rebecca Corbin and Dr. Michael Hudson, set out to investigate the hazards of this cookware by looking at the metals that leached from the pots in dilute vinegar solutions that mimicked mildly acidic solutions that are often used for cooking. Working with Mr. Gottesfeld, and beginning with cookware from Cameroon and then ten other developing nations, they found a number of cookware items that released toxic levels of lead during simulated cooking. The worst was a pot from Viet Nam that yielded more than 1400 micrograms of lead per serving. Other metals detected in the leachates of some pots included arsenic and cadmium, and almost all of the items released levels of aluminum that exceed World Health Organization guidelines.
The studies, which have been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, have encouraged researchers in Cameroon, South Africaand other countriesto conduct follow-up studies to assess the...Read more

Five Biochemistry Alumni earn Medical Degrees

The Biochemistry major has been popular with many of our students who plan careers in medicine. In the spring of 2019, five Biochemistry alumni earned their medical degrees.
Dr. Daiva (Gerbec) Mitchell (’13) completed her MD at the University of Toledo School of Medicine (MD) in Spring 2019, and is currently a resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Daiva writes,
“Ashland University was the perfect school to prepare me for medical school and my career as a physician. With the small class sizes, I was able to get to know my professors and easily find mentors and research opportunities. Also, with Ashland's wide variety of clubs and groups, I was able to develop my professional and leadership skills while in college. Finally, with Ashland's focus on Christian values, I grew in my compassion for others which has impacted the way I care for my patients now.” 
Dr. Aaron Tipton (’13) also completed his MD at the University of Toledo School of Medicine (MD) in Spring 2019, and is a General Surgery resident at the Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Aaron writes,
“The experience at Ashland University prepared me for medical school in many ways from knowledge, critical thinking and a love for learning. Every class was taught by a professor who was passionate about the subject. They inspired me to become a lifelong learner, which is one of the most important traits of becoming a physician.”


Dr. Kayla Prokopakis (’15) completed her DO at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spring 2019, and is an Emergency Medicine resident at Mercy Health -St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital in Boardman, Ohio.Kayla writes, 
“Ashland University prepared me for medical school and my professional career in more...Read more

Toxicology student presents research on Pesticide Analysis

Cillian Donahue, a senior Toxicology and Biology major (with a concentration in Forensic Biology) from Strongsville, had the opportunity to present her research on “Using Passive Sampling as a Method for Pesticide Analysis” at the recent National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in New Orleans. Cillian has been investigating a new method using silicone tubing to absorb pesticides from sediment for her Honors Capstone project. She is supervised by Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer (Chemistry) and Dr. Andrew Trimble (Toxicology).
Cillian writes that the feedback she received will be useful for other presentations of her research in the coming year, and that she was able to see projects that that Honors Students around the country are working on. While in New Orleans, Cillian had the opportunity to check out a couple of museums related to her scientific interests – the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Death, which has memorabilia related to famous crimes among other forensic-related topics. 
The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum (photos below) was located in a pharmacy that was founded in the 1800s. The building housed old pharmaceutical equipment and various questionable medications. Tinctures ranged from mixtures of cocaine and red wine, to heroin and sodas. In addition, there was no shortage of heavy metals, including lead coated pills for the rich, and lead baby bottles to sooth young ones. Overall, Cillian found the museum was very educational and interesting, particularly for Toxicology majors. 


...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...

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
130, Kettering Science Center
419.207.6215 / rsikut@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology
Merrill Tawse, Professional Instructor
Merrill Tawse
Professional Instructor of Biology
323, Kettering Science Center
419.207.6310 / mtawse@ashland.edu
Department of Biology & Toxicology , Environmental Science Program
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 Trustees Approve Reduction of Academic Programs

The Ashland University Board of Trustees recently voted to “sunset” twenty undergraduate degree programs. Sunsetting means that current and incoming students will have the opportunity to fully complete their majors, but students will no longer be accepted into these programs after the current incoming fall class. Information about this decision can be found on the AU website and Facebook page. This post is intended to provide some clarity regarding the impact on programs housed within the Kettering Science Center. The Bachelor of Science with majors in Geology, Geoscience Technology & Management, and Physics will be sunsetted, in addition to the minor in Physics. The Geology minor will continue to be offered, as will the geology and physics courses that are required by other programs. All majors within the Department of Biology/Toxicology will remain. Likewise, the Bachelor of Science with majors in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Forensic Chemistry will continue. The Environmental Science Program will also remain. The potential for a revised EVS/Geochemistry track has received support from the administration. In science education, the two BSEd majors in grades 7-12 Integrated Science and Life Science will continue, as will the science concentration for the middle grades major. The BSEd programs in Chemistry Education, Earth Science Education, and Physical Science Education will be sunsetted. The news of the discontinuation of academic programs is personally and professionally disappointing to students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Ashland University Sciences. Feel free to contact me at if you have questions. My colleagues and I are working to create the safest and best possible experience for our new and returning students this fall. We hope to see you or hear from you in the coming year. As always, thank you for the support. Dr. Rebecca CorbinChair of the Department of Chemistry/Geology/Physics...Read more

AU research sparks further investigation of a public health threat

Scrap material used for cookware in Cameroon includes old engine parts
In 2013, Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer was contacted by Perry Gottesfeld of Occupational Knowledge International with a question about the safety of cookware. Mr. Gottesfeld was working with colleagues at an NGO (see: http://www.crepdcm.com/) in Cameroon to reduce toxic exposures from lead paint, when questions were raised about the possible hazards of the aluminum cookware that most people there use. In Cameroon, and throughout the developing world, the recycling of scrap aluminum into cookware is a widespread practice. After a preliminary investigation we learned that source materials can include items such as old engine blocks, radiators, and computer parts.
Pots awaiting sale in a Cameroon marketDr. Weidenhamer and several AU students – Peter Kobunski, Alison Biro, and Meghann Fitzpatrick – along with AU colleagues Dr. Rebecca Corbin and Dr. Michael Hudson, set out to investigate the hazards of this cookware by looking at the metals that leached from the pots in dilute vinegar solutions that mimicked mildly acidic solutions that are often used for cooking. Working with Mr. Gottesfeld, and beginning with cookware from Cameroon and then ten other developing nations, they found a number of cookware items that released toxic levels of lead during simulated cooking. The worst was a pot from Viet Nam that yielded more than 1400 micrograms of lead per serving. Other metals detected in the leachates of some pots included arsenic and cadmium, and almost all of the items released levels of aluminum that exceed World Health Organization guidelines.
The studies, which have been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, have encouraged researchers in Cameroon, South Africaand other countriesto conduct follow-up studies to assess the...Read more

Five Biochemistry Alumni earn Medical Degrees

The Biochemistry major has been popular with many of our students who plan careers in medicine. In the spring of 2019, five Biochemistry alumni earned their medical degrees.
Dr. Daiva (Gerbec) Mitchell (’13) completed her MD at the University of Toledo School of Medicine (MD) in Spring 2019, and is currently a resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Daiva writes,
“Ashland University was the perfect school to prepare me for medical school and my career as a physician. With the small class sizes, I was able to get to know my professors and easily find mentors and research opportunities. Also, with Ashland's wide variety of clubs and groups, I was able to develop my professional and leadership skills while in college. Finally, with Ashland's focus on Christian values, I grew in my compassion for others which has impacted the way I care for my patients now.” 
Dr. Aaron Tipton (’13) also completed his MD at the University of Toledo School of Medicine (MD) in Spring 2019, and is a General Surgery resident at the Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Aaron writes,
“The experience at Ashland University prepared me for medical school in many ways from knowledge, critical thinking and a love for learning. Every class was taught by a professor who was passionate about the subject. They inspired me to become a lifelong learner, which is one of the most important traits of becoming a physician.”


Dr. Kayla Prokopakis (’15) completed her DO at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spring 2019, and is an Emergency Medicine resident at Mercy Health -St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital in Boardman, Ohio.Kayla writes, 
“Ashland University prepared me for medical school and my professional career in more...Read more

Toxicology student presents research on Pesticide Analysis

Cillian Donahue, a senior Toxicology and Biology major (with a concentration in Forensic Biology) from Strongsville, had the opportunity to present her research on “Using Passive Sampling as a Method for Pesticide Analysis” at the recent National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in New Orleans. Cillian has been investigating a new method using silicone tubing to absorb pesticides from sediment for her Honors Capstone project. She is supervised by Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer (Chemistry) and Dr. Andrew Trimble (Toxicology).
Cillian writes that the feedback she received will be useful for other presentations of her research in the coming year, and that she was able to see projects that that Honors Students around the country are working on. While in New Orleans, Cillian had the opportunity to check out a couple of museums related to her scientific interests – the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Death, which has memorabilia related to famous crimes among other forensic-related topics. 
The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum (photos below) was located in a pharmacy that was founded in the 1800s. The building housed old pharmaceutical equipment and various questionable medications. Tinctures ranged from mixtures of cocaine and red wine, to heroin and sodas. In addition, there was no shortage of heavy metals, including lead coated pills for the rich, and lead baby bottles to sooth young ones. Overall, Cillian found the museum was very educational and interesting, particularly for Toxicology majors. 


...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.

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By 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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