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Master of Science in Biology

Master of Science in Biology

 



MS Biology

 

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BIOLOGY

 

OBJECTIVES

The College of Natural and Applied Sciences offers a Masters of Science Degree in Biology. Courses for the Master of Science Degree are taught by faculty from the College and Applied Sciences, the Marine Laboratory and the Water and Environmental Research Institute. The program is designed to serve those students who are pursuing a research-oriented career at the master’s level, those using the master’s degree as a stepping stone to a doctorate, a career in natural resource management or environmental consulting, and biology teachers who have fulfilled requirements for teacher’s certification but seek a broader knowledge of biology. 

In addition to obtaining the Master of Science in Biology, candidates have the opportunity to study in one of the most interesting regions in the Western Pacific. The Graduate Program in Biology has many facets comparable to mainland programs and provides outstanding opportunities in tropical marine science (see the section on the Marine Laboratory in this Bulletin).

 

MEMBERS
  • BIGGS, Jason, Associate Professor, Molecular Ecology
  • CAMACHO, Frank, Associate Professor, Freshwater Biology
  • DENTON, Gary, Professor, Environmental Toxicology
  • DONALDSONTerry, Associate Professor, Ichthyology
  • FIEDLER, Curtis, Assistant Professor, Biology
  • GHOSH, Subir, Associate Professor, Biology
  • HOUK, Peter, Assistant Professor, Marine Biology
  • KERRAlexander, Associate Professor, Marine Biology
  • LINDSTROM, Dan, Assistant Professor, Freshwater Biology
  • LOBBANChristopher, Professor, Biology
  • MARLERThomas, Professor, Pomology
  • MILLERRoss, Professor, Entomology
  • MOOTS, Kathleen, Associate Professor, Biology
  • RAYMUNDO, Laurie, Associate Professor, Marine Biology
  • RIGHETTI, Tim, Associate Professor, Biology
  • SCHILS, Tom, Associate Professor, Marine Biology
  • YANGJianProfessor/Extension Specialist of Food Science

 

Students accepted as pre-candidates by the University Graduate School may apply for admission to the Biology Program. This can be done concurrently when submitting the initial application. Specifically one must do the following in order to achieve candidacy:

  1. Completed all the pre-requisites for the program; (1) term (semester or quarter) of Calculus, two (2) terms of Physics or Geology, four (4) terms of Chemistry and four (4) terms of Biology, of which at least two (2) are upper division. Students may take these pre-requisites while at UOG; however courses taken to make up any deficiencies shall not be applied to the total credits required for a graduate degree.
  2. Submit three letters of reference to the Graduate Biology Program Chair from academics or professionals who are familiar with the student’s qualifications.
  3. Establish a thesis committee that is composed of a minimum of three (3) members; at least two (2) Biology Program Graduate Faculty members and one (1) outside member. The outside member is compulsory and can either be from the UOG Faculty (Graduate or otherwise), or from off-campus. If the latter, then these individuals may serve as committee members after submitting a CV documenting their qualifications for approval by the Biology Program Chair. The advisor or Committee Chair must be a listed Biology Program Graduate Faculty member.
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (general and biology) test scores must be submitted with a score greater than the 50% percentile rank for the biology test before a student may be admitted to the Program. The GRE examinations must be taken within the last five years prior to application for admission.

Applicants must then complete and submit Form A (steps on how to do this are given on the Program website) which is then signed by the Graduate Biology Program Chair and Assistant Vice President for Graduate Studies, Research and Sponsored Programs.  It is advised that Form A is submitted before completion of 12 credit hours of graduate courses so that these courses count towards graduation.

 

Students enrolled in the Graduate Biology Program are required to complete all coursework and the degree requirements within seven (7) years of admission to the Graduate School.  Students requiring leave of absence must write to the Program Chair and provide evidence (e.g. medical certificate) to support their claim. If approved, the time in absence does not count towards the 7-year rule (a definition of this rule is in the General Admission Requirements section).

 

Course Requirements

The degree program requires a total of 30 hours of graduate credit, at least 18 of which must be at the

500 or 600 level including six (6) hours of Thesis Research (BI695). A maximum of six credit hours may be accepted in related graduate-level courses. Graduate students must maintain a B average (3.0) and make no more than one grade of C (2.0) or lower to be admitted to the degree program. Once admitted, students must meet the same criteria in order to continue in the Program. A student whose cumulative grade-point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 has one semester of probation to raise the average back to at least 3.0 before being dismissed from the program. Cumulative GPA is calculated each semester by the Admissions and Records Office.

 

Required Courses: (20 credit hours) 

Course

Course Title

Credits

BI/EV507

Advanced Statistical Methods

4

BI503

Biological Literature and Scientific Writing

2

BI505

Advances in Tropical Ecology

3

BI520

Current Topics in Cellular Biology

3

BI691

Seminar (1) at least twice

2

BI695

Thesis

6

Electives: (at least 10 credit hours) 
TOTAL:  30 CREDIT HOURS

 

Thesis

The first step is the preparation and defense of a thesis proposal, which must be done within 12 months of entering the Program. The proposal consists of a written document outlining the proposed thesis work. This document is edited and approved by the student’s thesis committee and should comprise an Introduction, Methods, and Literature Cited sections. Guidelines for the thesis proposal are available on the Program website. Oral defense of the approved proposal is via a public seminar open to the University community.

The student must write and successfully defend (via an oral exam) original research in the form of a thesis approved by the thesis committee.  The thesis committee, especially the thesis committee chairperson, guides the student throughout the development of the research problem, data acquisition and analysis, and writing the thesis.

On completion of the thesis students are then required to pass the oral exam. Should the student fail this exam they can take it a second time. Two failures on this examination will result in the student being dismissed from the Program.

 

 

Program Chair

Dr. Jason Biggs

Associate Professor of Marine Biology

Marine Lab
Office Location: Marine Lab, Rm. 105
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923

Expertise

Marine Biology
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About

 

Education

BSc magna cum laude University of Guam
MSc University of Guam
PhD University of Utah 

 

Research Interests

 Estimated to comprise over 10,000 living species, the predatory prosobranch gastropods within the taxonomic superfamily Conoidea are arguably the largest single group of venomous animals presently known. What is surprising is that these slow-moving soft-bodied animals can be abundantly found on tropical coral reefs, which can be summed up by the universal motto “eat or be eaten.”

The genus Conus (suborder: Toxoglossa), commonly referred to as the cone snails, are the most famous of all venomous molluscs, as they have received a great amount of attention from pharmacologists for their ability to produce a functionally diverse group of small disulfide-rich peptides that act predominantly by wreaking havoc on the nervous systems of their prey and an even greater amount of attention from shell collectors for their incredibly ornate shells. Ecologically speaking, cone snails can be categorized into three groups, depending on their target prey: (i) the vermivorous cone snails are worm hunters that feed on polychaetes, hemichordates and echiuroid worms; (ii) the molluscivores are snail hunters that prey upon other gastropods; and (iii) the piscivorous cone snails are remarkable fish hunters who have venoms capable of rapidly paralyzing fish.

The innate beauty of this classification system is that it takes evolution into account while providing a classification system that potentially reflects upon the active components present in the venom, simply because venom components are heavily selected for by the necessity to rapidly subdue prey. What may work on snails, won’t necessarily work on fish; and examples of this can be found in the prey-specific activity associated with crude venoms isolated from Conus species with different prey.

My research interests include: (i) cataloging the feeding behavior of these incredible animals, understanding the biochemical mechanism by which the components of their venoms act; (ii) the biological diversity of neogastropod symbionts; (iii) the phylogenetic diversity that has resulted from the evolution of venom as a predatory strategy; and (iv) the application of venom components as pharmaceutical therapies to treat a variety of illnesses including cancer. These research interests are a great way to integrate both classical taxonomic and ecological approaches with modern scientific techniques (e.g., genetics, pharmacology, and marine natural products chemistry) in an effort to increase the awareness of molluscan species diversity in marine environments and their potential for enhancing the quality of life on Earth. 

Recent Publications

J. S. Biggs, M. Watkins, N. Puillandre, J.P. Ownby, E. Lopez-Vera, S. Christensen, K. J. Moreno, A. L. Navarro, P. C. Showers, and Baldomero M. Olivera. Evolution of Conus Peptide Toxins: Analysis of Conus californicus Reeve, 1844. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In press.

J. S. Biggs, M. Watkins, P. C. Showers, and B. M. Olivera. (2010) Defining a Clade by Morphological, Molecular and Toxinological Criteria: Distinctive Forms related to Conus praecellens A. Adams, 1854. Nautilus. 124(1), 1-19.

Peraud O., Biggs J.S., Hughen R.W., Light A.R., Concepcion G.P., Olivera B.M., and E.W. Schmidt (2009) Microhabitats within venomous cone snails yield diverse actinobacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 75(21), 6820–6826.

J.S. Biggs, Olivera B.M., and Y.I. Kantor (2008) Alpha-conopeptides specifically expressed in the salivary gland of Conus pulicarius. Toxicon. Jul;52(1):101-5.

J.S. Biggs, Rosenfeld, Y., Shai, Y., and B. M. Olivera. (2007) Conolysin-Mt: A Conus Peptide that Disrupts Cellular Membranes. Biochemistry, 46(44), 12586-12593.

J.S. Biggs, Jie Wan, N. Shane Cutler, Jukka Hakkola, Päivi Uusimäki, Hannu Raunio, and Garold S. Yost. (2007) Transcription Factor Binding to a Double E-Box Motif Represses CYP3A4 Expression in Human Lung Cells. Molecular Pharmacology, 72, 514-525.

Biggs, J.S. (2005) Lung-Selective Regulation of the Human CYP3A Genes. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112.

Matsumoto S.S., Biggs J.S., Copp, B.R., Holden, J.A. and L.R. Barrows . (2003) Mechanism of ascididemin-induced cytotoxicity. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 16, 113-122.

Puglisi, M.P., Paul, V.J., Biggs, J.S., and M. Slattery (2002) Co-occurrence of chemical and structural defenses in the gorgonian corals of Guam. Marine Ecology Progress Series 239:105-114.

J.S. Biggs (2000) The Role of Secondary Metabolite Complexity in the Red Alga Laurencia palisada as a Defense Against Diverse Consumers. Thesis. University of Guam Marine Laboratory. Mangilao, Guam 96923.

Harrigan, G., Luesch, H., Yoshida, W.Y., Moore, R.E., Nagle, D.G., Biggs, J.S., Park, P.U., and V.J. Paul. (1999) Tumonoic Acids, Novel Metabolites from a Cyanobacterial Assemblage of Lyngbya majuscula and Schizothrix calcicola. Journal of Natural Products. Vol. 62. Pp. 464-467.

Harrigan, G., Yoshida, W.Y., Moore, R.E., Nagle, D.G., Park, P.U., Biggs, J.S., Paul, V.J., Mooberry, S.L., Corbett, T.H., and F.A. Valeriote (1998) Isolation, Structure Determination, and Biological Activity of Dolastatin 12 and Lyngbyastatin 1 From Lyngbya majuscula/Schizothrix calcicola Cyanobacterial Assemblages. Journal of Natural Products. Vol.61. Pp. 1221-1225.

 

 

 

FACULTY

University of Guam

Division Chair of Natural Science, Associate Professor, Biology

Office Location: Science Bldg., 2nd Flr., Rm. 232
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor

WERI
Office Location: WERI Bldg., Rm. 113
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor

Marine Lab
Office Location: Marine Lab, Rm. 103
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor, Biology

Office Location: Science Bldg., 1st Flr., Rm. 118
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor, Biology

Office Location: Science Bldg., 2nd Flr., Rm. 223
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Assistant Professor

Marine Lab
Office Location: Marine Lab, Rm. 102
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor

Marine Lab
Office Location: Marine Lab, Rm. 109
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Assistant Professor, Biology

Office Location: Science Bldg., 1st. Flr., Rm. 102/ Dean Circle, House 27
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor, Biology; Editor

Office Location: Science Bldg., Rm. 109/ Dean Circle, House #28
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor, Pomology

WPTRC
Office Location: Agriculture & Life Sciences Bldg., 3rd Flr., Rm. 319
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor, Entomology

WPTRC
Office Location: Dean's Circle, House 35
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor, Biology

Office Location: Science Bldg., 2nd Flr., Rm. 231
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor

Marine Lab
Office Location: Marine Lab, Rm. 101
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor, Biology

Office Location: Science Bldg., Rm. 301
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Director/Associate Professor

Marine Lab
Office Location: Marine Lab, Rm. 108
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor, Food Science / Extension Specialist

Office Location: Agriculture & Life Sciences Bldg., Room 113B
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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