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

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.

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. 

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


WGBH’s Morning Edition” profiled bird research by Associate Teaching Professor Marja Bakerman, “Tracking Massachusetts’ Disappearing Whip-Poor-Wills”. The research project, a collaboration between WPI and Mass Wildlife, features catching and putting GPS tags on the birds to collect data on their travels,” the report stated.  

Referring to her work as “pioneering,’ Medical Academic included research by Professor Pamela Weathers, biology and biotechnology, on the Artemisia plant, in this article. Her work shows that the leaves of the plant can be made into a therapy that appears to be more effective than a drug at knocking out the malarial parasite.

Facts and Figures


global project centers on six continents


student-to-faculty ratio 


faculty that best combine research and teaching

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (2016)