Univ of Southern California
University of Southern California
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Biological Sciences

Hancock Foundation Building 107
(213) 740-2777
FAX: (213) 740-8123
Email (undergraduate programs):
Email (graduate programs):

Chair: Douglas Capone, Ph.D.


University Professor and ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging: Caleb E. Finch, Ph.D.

University Professor and USC Associates Chair in Natural Sciences: Michael S. Waterman, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor and Ester Dornsife Chair in Biological Sciences: Norman Arnheim, Ph.D.

George and Louise Kawamoto Chair in Biological Sciences: Simon Tavaré, Ph.D.

McCulloch-Crosby Chair in Marine Biology: Jed A. Fuhrman, Ph.D.

William and Julie Wrigley Chair in Environmental Studies: Douglas G. Capone, Ph.D.

Milo Don and Lucille Appleman Professor of Biological Sciences: Larry W. Swanson, Ph.D.

Paxson H. Offield Professor of Fisheries Ecology: Dennis Hedgecock, Ph.D.

Professors: Len Adelman, Ph.D. (Computer Science); Jan P. Amend, Ph.D. (Earth Sciences); Michael A. Arbib, Ph.D. (Computer Science); Norman Arnheim, Ph.D.; Robert F. Baker, Ph.D.; Gerald Bakus, Ph.D.; Michel Baudry, Ph.D.; Chris Boehm, Ph.D. (Anthropology); David Bottjer, Ph.D. (Earth Sciences); Sarah Bottjer, Ph.D.; Douglas G. Capone, Ph.D.; David Caron, Ph.D.*; Lin Chen, Ph.D.; Xiaojiang Chen, Ph.D.; Cheng-Ming Chuong, Ph.D. (Pathology); Kelvin Davies, Ph.D. (Gerontology); Casey Donovan, Ph.D. (Kinesiology); Katrina Edwards, Ph.D. (Earth Sciences); Tuck Finch (Gerontology); Henryk Flashner, Ph.D. (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering); Susan Forsburg, Ph.D.; Jed A. Fuhrman, Ph.D.*; Myron F. Goodman, Ph.D.; Dennis Hedgecock, Ph.D.; Albert A. Herrera, Ph.D.*(Vice Chair); David Hutchins, Ph.D.; Dale Kiefer, Ph.D.; Chien-Ping Ko, Ph.D.; Michael Lieber, Ph.D. (Pathology); Donal T. Manahan, Ph.D.; William O. McClure, Ph.D.*; Jill McNitt-Gray, Ph.D. (Kinesiology); Anthony F. Michaels, Ph.D.; James W. Moffett, Ph.D.; Ken Nealson, Ph.D. (Earth Sciences); Sergey Nuzhdin, Ph.D.; John A. Petruska, Ph.D.; Michael Quick, Ph.D.; Richard Roberts, Ph.D. (Chemistry); Richard Simerly, Ph.D. (Medicine); Malcolm Snead, Ph.D. (Dentistry); Craig Stanford, Ph.D. (Anthropology); Cornelius W. Sullivan, Ph.D.; Fengzhu Sun, Ph.D.; Miriam M. Susskind, Ph.D.; Larry W. Swanson, Ph.D.; John Tower, Ph.D.; Michael S. Waterman, Ph.D.; Alan Watts, Ph.D.; Sergio Sanudo‑Wilhelmy, Ph.D.

Associate Professors: Oscar M. Aparicio, Ph.D.; Donald Arnold, Ph.D.; Ting Chen, Ph.D.; Suzanne Edmands, Ph.D.; Steven Finkel, Ph.D.; Joe Hacia, Ph.D. (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); John F. Heidelberg, Ph.D.; Judith Hirsch, Ph.D.; Emily R. Liman, Ph.D.; Valter Longo, Ph.D. (Gerontology); Matthew Michael, Ph.D.; Magnus Nordborg, Ph.D.; Peter Qin, Ph.D. (Chemistry); Peter M. Shugarman, Ph.D.*; Xianghong Zhou, Ph.D.

Assistant Professors: Frank Alber, Ph.D.; Michelle N. Arbeitman, Ph.D.; Samantha Butler, Ph.D.; Tansu Celikel, Ph.D.; Liang Chen, Ph.D.; Matthew Dean, Ph.D.; Ian Ehrenreich, Ph.D.; Andrew Gracey, Ph.D.; Karla B. Heidelberg, Ph.D.; David D. McKemy, Ph.D.*; Remo Rohs, Ph.D.; Andrew Smith, Ph.D.; Eric A. Webb, Ph.D.; Xuelin Wu, Ph.D.; Wiebke Ziebis, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professors: Luis Chiappe, Ph.D.; Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.; Gordon Hendler, Ph.D.; Joel W. Martin, Ph.D.; Xiaoming Wang, Ph.D.

Adjunct Associate Professors: Rodolfo Iturriaga, Ph.D.; Daniel Lewis, Ph.D.; Lei Li, Ph.D.; Christine Thacker, Ph.D.

Adjunct Assistant Professors: Rahul Jandial, Ph.D.; Arshad Khan, Ph.D.; Judith Lemus, Ph.D.; Beth Orcutt, Ph.D.; Regina Wetzer, Ph.D.

Professors (Research): Burton H. Jones, Ph.D.; Simon Tavaré, Ph.D.

Associate Professors (Research): Mihail Bota, Ph.D.; Linda Duguay, Ph.D.

Assistant Professors (Research): Peter Calabrese, Ph.D.; Fei-Xue Fu, Ph.D.; Juliette Hart, Ph.D.; Joel Hahn, Ph.D.; Myrna Jacobson, Ph.D.; William Nelson, Ph.D.; Phuong Pham, Ph.D.; Astrid Schnetzer, Ph.D.; Rick H. Thompson, Ph.D.

University Professor Emeritus and William M. Keck Chair Emeritus in Psychology and Biological Sciences: Richard F. Thompson, Ph.D. (Psychology)

Emeriti Professors: Michael Appleman, Ph.D.; Richard Deonier, Ph.D.; Arnold S. Dunn, Ph.D.; Russel Zimmer, Ph.D.

*Recipient of university-wide or college teaching award.

Academic Program Staff

Directors of Instructional Laboratories: Celeste Chong-Cerrillo, Ph.D.; Michael Moore, Ph.D.; Angel Tabancay, Ph.D.; Gorjana Bezmalinovic, M.S.


The Department of Biological Sciences has research faculty with specialties in three disciplines: marine environmental biology, molecular and computational biology, and neurobiology. A diversity of upper division undergraduate and graduate courses permits biology majors to choose an emphasis in any of these three disciplines.

The department offers both B.A. and B.S. degrees in biological sciences and an honors program in which a student can earn either a B.A. or a B.S. degree in biological sciences with honors. The B.S. in biochemistry is offered as a joint program with the Department of Chemistry. The honors program is available to students who maintain a GPA of 3.5 in the sciences and who have completed their freshman year. The honors program includes research opportunities, seminars and thesis preparation courses. Applications for the Honors Program are available in Allan Hancock Foundation (AHF), Room 105.

Undergraduates in biological sciences have the opportunity to become involved in laboratory or field research by taking research courses for some of their elective units.

At the graduate level, the department offers challenging degree programs that lead to a Ph.D. in: biology with an option in neurobiology; integrative and evolutionary biology; marine biology and biological oceanography; molecular biology; and computational biology and bioinformatics. The department also offers an M.S. in marine and environmental biology. The department does not accept applicants for the terminal master’s programs.

Honor Society

The Department of Biological Sciences offers membership in Phi Sigma, a national honor society, to selected biology majors (Alpha Alpha Chapter at USC.) Phi Sigma is devoted to the promotion of research and academic excellence in the biological sciences. Students with a GPA above 3.0 who have interest in research and have completed core requirements for the first two years in biological sciences are eligible. Major activities range from presentation of papers by members and lectures by outside speakers to field trips, laboratory demonstrations and joint research projects. The advisor is Professor John Petruska, Ph.D., RRI 119B, (213) 740-5189.

Catalina Semester

The Biological Sciences Department in conjunction with the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies (WIES) sponsors two, semester-long programs at USC’s Phillip K. Wrigley Marine Sciences Center (WMSC) on Santa Catalina Island. Each of the semesters consists of a 16 unit program with three upper division lab courses and a special 4‑unit independent research course (BISC 490).

The spring program is focused on population biology and animal physiology, and the fall semester on microbial ecology and the interactions of microbes and the global environment. The program is open to all biology majors as well as students in other departments and other institutions with a strong biology background. Students are primarily in their junior or senior years and may participate in either or both semesters.

All the courses are taught by USC faculty and supported by USC graduate student teaching assistants. The classes are specialized to take advantage of the unique facilities and setting of Santa Catalina Island.

Students live on Catalina Island for the entire semester. Rates for room and board at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center are comparable to those on campus. The program follows the same calendar schedule as the University Park campus. For those wishing to return to the mainland on the weekend – free transportation is provided each Friday to leave and each Monday to return.

For more information, students should contact Dr. Linda Duguay, program coordinator, AHF 209F, duguay@usc.edu or catsem@‌usc.edu or Cindy Joseph, program assistant, cjoseph1107@gmail.com or (213) 740-6780 in the Wrigley Offices on the fourth floor of AHF. Additional information can also be found at wrigley.usc.edu/education/cat_semester.cfm.