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The work of the Biology and Biotechnology Department at WPI goes far beyond the theoretical. Our faculty members and students are creative problem solvers who are passionate about using biological concepts in innovative, applicable ways. Ranging from cancer biology and infectious disease research to studies of brain plasticity and pollinator decline, student-driven research at WPI is making an impact.

Our state-of-the-art research facilities, housed at the Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, support collaborations between students, faculty, and company researchers from across disciplines, enabling free exchanges of ideas that lead to important advances in healthcare, therapeutics, regenerative biology, the environment, and more.

Degrees & Certificates

Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD
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Overcoming Bacterial Defense Mechanisms

Finding vulnerabilities in pathogenic bacteria

How do pathogenic bacteria survive antibiotics and other stressors that they encounter during infection? Assistant Professor Scarlet Shell leads a team working to answer this question, with the long-term goal of identifying vulnerabilities that can be harnessed to develop better treatments. 

Studying Mental Flexibility in Bees

Studying Mental Flexibility in Bees

Assistant Professor Rob Gegear studies how bumblebees make decisions as they forage, and explores the complex interconnections between bees and flowering plants. This is no small matter, as bees are vital to agriculture and to maintaining the Earth's ecological diversity.

Scarlett Shell
Jagan Srinivasan
Melinda Belisle '08

The Life of a Scientist

Professors Scarlet Shell and Jagan Srinivasan, along with alumna Melinda Belisle '08, are among more than a dozen members of the WPI scientific community who shared what it means to be a scientist. 

Amity Manning explores the molecular mechanisms associated with cancer cells in her lab at Gateway Park

Beating Cancer at Its Own Game

Assistant professor Amity Manning is leading a three-year research projected funded by the National Institutes of Health to explore the molecular mechanisms associated with the genetic mutations and chromosome instability observed in all cancer cells.

The goal is to turn the genetic tables against cancer by learning more about the molecular basis of cancer cells' uncontrolled growth.

Meet Our Students

Image of Sara L.

Sara L.

Junior, BS in Biology/Biotechnology; Minor in Biochemistry

Sara traveled to the Albania Project Center to complete her IQP, working with three other students and local sponsor Eco-Albania to assess the economic value derived from exporting medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) to international markets. She and her teammates examined ways in which the harvesting techniques of these plants along the Vjosa River could be improved; they also considered the potential impacts of the impending dam construction and trade implications on the plants.

Melissa Mobley

Melissa M.

PhD, Biotechnology

A PhD biotech student seeks to combine her love of working with animals and human healthcare to develop pharmaceuticals.

Media Coverage

The Telegram & Gazette noted work by Reeta Rao, professor in the Department of Biology and Biotechnology, in their article. Rao is working with researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, on a one-year project to screen analogs of a plant-derived compound as a potential prophylactic or therapeutic against Candida auris (C. auris) and soil-transmitted parasites such as hookworms, whipworms, and ascarids.

The Worcester Business Journal reported on Assistant Professor of Biology and Biotechnology Amity Manning’s grant from the American Cancer Society to support research that could possibly lead to future cancer therapies.

Facts and Figures

50+

global project centers on six continents

13:1

students-to-faculty ratio