Ori Department of Biology | Emory University
Department of Biology
Biology at Emory

In 1990, the Biology Department, together with the Biochemistry, Microbiology/Immunology, and Pharmacology Departments of the School of Medicine, and the Physics Department of the College, moved into the new O. Wayne Rollins Research Building, a five-storied building with 146,000 square feet of net space. The presence under the same roof of these various departments is an unusual circumstance that greatly favors research interactions and enhances programmatic collaborations among faculty groups. (The Physics Department has since moved to the Math & Computer Science building.) A very convenient pedestrian bridge was built at the same time as the Rollins Research Center in order to facilitate contacts with the other departments of the College, including Chemistry and Math/Computer Sciences, and with two additional basic sciences departments, Anatomy/Cell Biology and Physiology, which are located in the Whitehead Biomedical Research Building.

The 1462 Clifton Road building contains all of the classrooms and teaching laboratories used by Biology. The O. Wayne Rollins Research Center is connected to the 1462 Clifton Road building, the Whitehead Biomedical Research Building, and the Grace Crum Rollins School of Public Health building by an underground hallway.

The Health Sciences Library is in a wing extending from the main building at 1462 Clifton Road. It houses the journals, books, and reference materials necessary for the research and teaching missions of the Department of Biology, the Medical School, and the School of Public Health.             

Statement supporting inclusivity in our community

The diversity of the natural world reminds us to nurture our diverse community. The Emory Biology Department values creativity, curiosity and impactful research and teaching and our community strives to be inclusive in fostering these traits. We are committed to the professional development of faculty, staff, and students including BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), LGBTQ+, women, and disabled community members among others. We believe in ongoing dialogue with community members to evaluate and revise policies, fostering an inclusive environment where everyone can reach for their own success.

Atlanta has a long, proud history of civil rights movements and has recently been an epicenter for the BLM campaign. Atlanta’s past six mayors are Black, beginning with Maynard Jackson in 1974. However, our home city is not immune to the oppression, disenfranchisement, and careless use of BIPOC citizens that plague this nation. Our city, state, and country continue to struggle with systemic racism, and the University and Department are committed to actively combatting examples in our own ranks and more widely. Emory University and the Biology Department are aligning with the long history and traditions embracing diversity and inclusion while examining our policies and practices.

Explore the links below to learn about how we support all members of our community.

Emory University is in the process of examining its policies. The college Faculty Senate has formed an anti-racism working group. In a 2020 letter to the Emory community, incoming Emory President Gregory L. Fenves wrote that the University acknowledges and apologizes for past roles in slavery, is examining honorific names on campus, is redefininig the role of the Emory Police Department, creating protected affinity group spaces, hiring a Director of Diversity and Inclusion Education and Outreach, rolling out an undergraduate general education requirement that focuses on race and ethnicity, presenting the prior demands of Black students, and examining the 2013 Respect for Open Expression Policy.

Undergraduate students:
Biology faculty lead a number of initiatives to support students beyond the classrooms, and in particular students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM. These initiatives include the vibrant Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program and the development of housing/learning communities through the Biology & Chemistry Cohort for and the Undergraduate Research and Mentorship Hall. The University is rolling out a new general education requirement on race and ethnicity for fall 2021.

To foster the scientific development of all undergraduates, Emory provides opportunities for students to conduct research through numerous programs. More than 50% of Biology majors conduct research for credit through the Biology Research for Credit program and by conducting seniors honors research. Almost 80% of majors conduct laboratory research through diverse avenues during their undergraduate careers. For example, the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program covers 10-weeks of campus boarding and stipend for both Emory and non-Emory undergraduate students. Importantly, students eligible for work-study are often paid to conduct research, facilitating the participation of students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds in scientific research. IMSD (Initiative for Maximizing Student Development) is a two-year research and academic program that provides funding for research and creates a supportive mentoring community.

Graduate students:
Our graduate programs, run through the Laney Graduate School and the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS) support the training of diverse students (*insert recent numbers or hyperlink to recent class*), with excellent financial support, including health insurance. The nature of the interdisciplinary graduate programs mean that Biology faculty participate with colleagues across the School of Medicine, Winship Cancer Center, Rollins School of Public Health to train graduate students. This highly integrated graduate program facilitates close interactions between faculty working in diverse research areas that span from basic to clinical research areas. The graduate stipend for the 2020-2021 academic year is $32,569 and students who receive individual fellowships receive a financial supplement for the length of the award. This stipend supports comfortable living in the immediate University area and facilitates the inclusion of students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Students are guaranteed financial support. Students are financially supported through GDBBS for the first 21 months, after which they are supported by a number of institutional training grants, their own fellowships, faculty grants or departmental funds.

Students gain teaching experience through the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) program, and are paid for teaching endeavors (on top of their stipend) after they have satisfied their TATTO requirement of teaching one class.

Students are formally mentored in many aspects of science, including formal coursework in scientific and grant writing, and many submit extramural funding applications. Emory is consistently among the top three institutions in total number of awarded NIH F31 pre-doctoral grants. Emory students are also successful when applying for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, receiving 8 awards and 14 honorable mentions in 2020.

Many of the individual graduate programs have formed Diversity Equity and Inclusion committees spearheaded by passionate students. IMSD (Initiative for Maximizing Student Development) is a two-year research and academic program that supports graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds and creates a supportive mentoring community.

Postdoctoral Researchers:
Emory hosts FIRST, the longest-running IRACDA postdoctoral training program, which is a partnership with Morehouse, Clark Atlanta, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College, covers trainees for 3 years through an active NIH K12 grant and provides both teaching and training opportunities. More than 90% of FIRST alumni—nearly half of whom are Black and three-quarters of whom are women—find subsequent positions aligned with their career goals. The Biology department helps to prepare all postdoctoral researchers who are interested in academic careers by inviting them to participate in our departmental seminar series and faculty hiring process. Our faculty search committee considers input from students and postdocs when extending offers.

Tenure-Track Faculty:
In addition to a competitive start-up package, moving expenses, and access to unparalleled administrative and facilities staff, our untenured junior faculty are supported through: 1) a formal mentoring committee that includes two research mentors and one teaching mentor; 2) one year of teaching relief when entering, as well as a fourth-year sabbatical from teaching; 3) tenure extensions for qualifying experiences (Appointment and Promotion). Non-tenured faculty were automatically granted an extra pre-tenure year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Emory University is committed to excellence in both research and teaching (Emory College of Arts and Sciences Mission Statement) and faculty at Emory are urged to collaborate with those at other nearby institutions, including Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College and Morehouse College. The University also routinely offers internal grant opportunities designed to foster collaboration within the university and to support the generation of preliminary data to make for stronger extramural grant proposals. Emory College of Arts and Science is committed to a diverse faculty and recently completed a successful cluster hire, recruiting natural and social sciences faculty with a track record of mentoring a diverse student body. The Emory Biology Department is supported by indispensable, diverse staff who are respected as colleagues.

Lecture-Track Faculty:
Our Lecture Track Faculty are supported through: 1) a formal mentoring committee that includes one Tenure-Track Faculty (TTF) and one Lecture Track Faculty; 2) equal standing with Tenure-Track Faculty within the Department and College for all voting, committees, and positions with the exception of votes on tenure and promotion of Tenure-Track Faculty; 3) internal funding opportunities for classroom initiatives, professional development, and research; 4) job security with 3, 5, or 7 year contracts; 5) clearly defined promotion criteria from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer to Professor of Pedagogy; 6) opportunities to apply for sabbatical leave; 7) opportunities to join support groups at Emory such as the Women in Science at Emory group. The Emory Biology Department is supported by indispensable, diverse staff who are respected as colleagues.

Members of the department are active members of the community. We run teacher workshops, participate in the annual month-long ATL Science Festival, Emory GIVE, Science for Georgia and Science-Art-Wonder. Biology faculty host high school students interested in STEM fields in their research laboratories. Many of us participate in outreach programs to teach classes at K-12 schools, and visit festivals to teach the general public about biological science.

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