Biology Department


Biology — the science of life — is dynamic and diverse. Each living thing is an amazingly complex system. From our bodies to the viruses that infect us, from vast oceans to minute bacteria, each interacts with other living things in complex ways. 

Biology majors at Seattle Pacific University graduate with a broad understanding of living organisms. Through immersion in scientific inquiry and problem solving, you’ll develop fundamental skills and knowledge for entering a wide range of careers, including those in medicine, environmental science, research, and teaching.

We offer six undergraduate Biology majors. Whichever one you choose, you’ll benefit from a robust program emphasizing hands-on research.

We offer a Biology minor, which gives you a scientific frame of reference to complement just about any major the University offers.

Our urban location near Seattle’s biotechnology hub offers you opportunities for mentors and internships. You can also perform research through our Summer Research Program and present your research findings at local conferences.

Biology News

Research by Jacob Krodel included in new book

Research by Jacob Krodel (BA Biology '17) will be part of a forthcoming book, Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Invertebrates (Oxford University Press, 2018). Jacob spent the summer of 2015 in Dr. Shawn Arellano's lab at Shannon Point Marine Center (part of Western Washington University), as part of a National Science Foundation-funded research internship. Jacob's research focused on characterizing feeding, swimming and growth patterns of Shinkailepas n. sp., a marine gastropod found near hydrothermal vents. His image of a Shinkailepas larva will be included in Chapter 16, "Ecology and evolution of larval dispersal in the deep sea". Congratulations, Jacob!

Student-athletes earn All-Academic honors

Four student-athletes in the Biology department earned All-Academic honors for their achievements during fall sports. Amanda Ganete (BS Applied Human Biology) was one of eight Women's Volleyball players named to the GNAC All-Academic Conference Team. Jess Cayetano (BS Physiology) and Ryan Higgins (BS Physiology) were two of three Men's Soccer players named to the All-Academic District (West Region) team, while Simone Herzberg (BS Physiology) was named to the All-Academic District team from the Women's Soccer team. Congratulations to all of our student-athletes for their outstanding achievements in the classroom and on the field!

Cara Wall-Scheffler interviewed in "The Atlantic" article

Dr. Cara Wall-Scheffler, Professor of Biology, was interviewed in a recent article in The Atlantic. The article, "Why Is Giving Birth So Hard", reports on research that provides new insight into the challenges associated with childbirth. Dr. Wall-Scheffler is an evolutionary anthropologist who studies human locomotion, including the structure and function of the pelvis.

Biology Department welcomes new cohort of BioCORE Scholars

On Thursday, November 30, the Biology Department welcomed the 2018 cohort of BioCORE Scholars.  The BioCORE Scholars program is a leadership initiative that supports first generation students and those traditionally underrepresented in biological and biomedical sciences by building community, promoting academic success, and creating mentoring networks. These Scholars are the third cohort of students to participate in the program. At the reception, Scholars were addressed briefly by Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences - Sciences Division, Dr. Bruce Congdon, by Dr. Sandy Mayo (Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), and by Biology Department chair, Dr. Derek Wood. Scholars then met with their Peer Mentors and Learning Assistant, including current BioCORE Scholars, Cienn Joyeux (Peer Mentor), Hayley Cheyney Kane (Peer Mentor), Simone Neal (Peer Mentor), and Leslie Rodriguez-Salas (LA). Also returning as Peer Mentors are Jess Cayetano and Christina Childs. The Biology Department is excited to work with this new group of Scholars!

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Global Health

Global Health Is Our Health

When a confirmed infectious disease pandemic breaks out, Seattle Pacific’s emergency team swings into action, even if the outbreak is 7,000 miles away in Hong Kong.

Med School Acceptance Rates

Over the last five years, SPU premed students have achieved an average acceptance rate into medical school of 90 percent — far exceeding the 50 percent national average.

Video callout


Faith, science, and mentorship came together for SPU biochemistry student Dylan Marashi and Dr. Max Hunter. 

 View the video