The Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA) is a non-profit organization intended to support UMSL biology graduate students in their endeavors in the graduate school by addressing the issues and concerns they face. We do this by obtaining money to bring in speakers and support student research and travel, representing biology graduate students on department and university committees, and strengthening communication between graduate students in different parts of the department.
The UMSL graduate school is a multidisciplinary, multicultural entity that is divided into two programs: “Cell Molecular Biology”, and “Ecology, Evolution and Systematics”. The students that comprise these programs come from diverse backgrounds and from many different countries.
Graduate students in EES conduct research on a variety of topics in ecology, population biology, behavior, evolution, systematics, and conservation. A few examples of the research that is being conducted by EES students include the evolutionary origins and timing of Neotropical plant radiations, the disease ecology of birds, lek evolution and sexual selection, the social structure and dispersal of white-lipped peccaries, the conservation of biodiversity in the greater Himalayan region, the role of the genus Piper in the tropical understory and how it is affected by tri-trophic interactions, and odor communication and social odors in carnivores. Several graduate research fellowships are available to EES students through the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center.
Research by CMB graduate students is centered on topics in biochemistry, plant biology, microbiology, biotechnology, molecular biology, and cell biology. The research projects of graduate students include the roles of phospholipases in plant physiology and metabolism, the control of RNA stability in yeast, the roles of plant hormones in root development, the regulation of nitrogen fixation and hydrogen production in filamentous cyanobacteria, examination of protein secretion in bacterial pathogens, and the creation and molecular analysis of transgenic plants with improved nutritional qualities.