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Biology Program Welcomes New Faculty MemberJustin McClain, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biology

Justin McClain Ph.D. has joined the Gwynedd Mercy University faculty as Assistant Professor of Biology in the Natural and Computational Sciences Division.  Dr. McClain earned his B.A. in biology from Arcadia University, and his Ph.D. in physiology from Virginia Commonwealth University.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Kentucky, where he studied alcohol-induced neural degeneration in rats.  At Gwynedd Mercy University, Dr. McClain is teaching the advanced physiology lecture courses and the molecular biology laboratory course.  His research program will investigate the effects of alcohol intoxication on microglia physiology in cell culture and he will welcome undergraduate participation in his projects.


Undergraduate Research in Biology at Gwynedd Mercy University

Participants in the 2013 Summer Research Program with Dr. Stacey Lettini (center)
The Biology program at Gwynedd Mercy University provides its students with a rigorous on-campus research experience.  Directed by Stacey Lettini, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology, the undergraduate research program is organized around a central theme - the role of parasites in aquatic ecosystems. The program combines field experiences where students collect and examine specimens from local streams with a variety of anatomical, histological, microbiological and biochemical laboratory research projects. In summer 2013, six students - seniors Colleen Dalton, Michael Lydon and Tyrone Smith, junior Michael Plageman, and sophomores Elizabeth Mannino and Sean Welch - participated in the program; Colleen, Elizabeth and Sean were funded through the SEPCHE Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) program. In 2014, the research program will be expanded with the addition of Dr. Justin McClain as a research mentor.

Internships and Careers

Students are also encouraged to find summer internships to satisfy the Biology program’s research requirement. Examples of recent internships include research in molecular biology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and at M.D. Andersen Cancer Center in Houston, research in ecological studies at the University of Notre Dame's Environmental Research Center, at the Wissahickon Water Shed and with the New Jersey New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and employment at local pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. This summer, junior Michael Czerwonka was a research associate of Kenneth Soprano Ph.D., Professor of Biology at Chestnut Hill College; Michael was funded by the SEPCHE Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) program.

Post-graduate opportunities for graduates of the Biology program are widely varied and virtually limitless.  Gwynedd Mercy University biology graduates are employed as pharmaceutical and clinical researchers, forensic analysts, environmental scientists and a wide variety of health professionals. 
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Preprofessional Education

At Gwynedd Mercy University, the School of Arts and Sciences sponsors the Preprofessional Advisory Office and the Preprofessional Evaluation Committee.  The purpose of the Preprofessional Advisory Office is to help Gwynedd Mercy University students make informed decisions about their futures as doctoral health professionals – physicians, dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, podiatrists.  The Office provides students with up-to-date information about professional school admissions requirements, testing programs, and application procedures.  The Office assists students with the application process and coordinates credentials files; it helps students formulate interim or alternative career plans. 

The purpose of the Preprofessional Evaluation Committee is to evaluate the credentials of student applicants and to compose the letter of evaluation sent to professional schools as part of the application process.  Each applicant submits to the Committee a credentials file containing transcripts, a resume, the personal statement and faculty evaluations.   The members of the Committee study the file and interview the applicant to evaluate the potential of the candidate for success in professional school and in the chosen career before formulating the evaluation. 

Gwynedd Mercy University students have an excellent record of success in application to professional school.  Gwynedd Mercy University graduates are alumni of Boston University School of Medicine, the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern School of Osteopathic Medicine, Temple University School of Dentistry, Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, Salus University College of Optometry, the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Ross University and the American University of the Caribbean.

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The Bachelor of Science in Biology requires

BIO 203/203L      General Biology I/Laboratory
BIO 204/204L      General Biology II/Laboratory
BIO 251/251L      Genetics/Laboratory
BIO 315               Ecology
BIO 402               Molecular Biology of Cell/Laboratory
BIO 415/415L      Developmental Biology/Laboratory
BIO 421               Biology Research (may be satisfied by BIO 440 - Internship)
BIO                      Biology Elective
BIO                      Biology Elective
BIO 4000             Biology Seminar I- Capstone      
BIO 4001             Biology Seminar II- Capstone     
BIO 4002             Biology Seminar III- Capstone

CHM151/151L     Principles of Chemistry I/Laboratory
CHM152/152L     Principles of Chemistry II/Laboratory
CHM203/203L     Organic Chemistry I/Laboratory
CHM204/204L     Organic Chemistry II/Laboratory
CHM301/301L     Biochemistry I/Laboratory
CHM302               Biochemistry II
MTH234               Probability and Statistics
MTH245               Calculus I
PHY245/245L       General Physics I/Laboratory
PHY246/246L       General Physics II/Laboratory

Grade Requirement

The minimum passing grade within the major is C (a grade of C- is not acceptable).

Students are required to take the Biology Field Test as a requirement for consideration for graduation.

Credit Requirement

A minimum of 125 credits is required for this degree, including 49 credits in general education and 12 credits of open electives.  Please contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@GM or call 1-800-342-5462 for specific general education course requirements.
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Student Organizations

The Student Association of Science (SAS) provides opportunities for students to further their scientific inquiries outside the classroom and to establish good fellowship among students. The membership in the organization is open to students in all programs.

Biology program students are eligible for membership in the Beta Delta Chapter of Sigma Zeta was chartered. Sigma Zeta is a nationally chartered Honor Society recognizing student achievement in Mathematics and Science, programs that are generally acknowledged to be academically rigorous. Membership in Sigma Zeta is a prestigious addition to a student/alumnus resume.
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Program Coordinator

Michelle L. Kulp McEliece, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology


Felicia Corsaro-Barbieri, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry
J. Wade Farrior, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology
Stacey Lettini, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology
Michelle L. Kulp McEliece, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology
Justin McClain, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology
Thomas P. Umile, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry

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