Evolutionary change in store for the biology department

Jan. 1 will close the general search period for a new evolutionary biologist at Southern Oregon University, a space left in the department staff after Karen Stone, an associate professor of biology, transferred from chair of the biology department to associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

It has been 10 years since a new biology professor has been hired, and the potential in new areas of expertise is exciting for the department as whole.

“A new person brings potential energy,” said SOU Professor of Biology Christine Oswald, saying that research projects and opportunities in plant physiology, evolutionary biology, and genetics will receive fresh energy from the new hire.

With the upcoming renovation of the Biotechnology Research Center, the timing is perfect. After receiving a National Science Foundation grant through the Academic Research Infrastructure: Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009, a new DNA extraction room, vacuum lines, and HEPA filters will be installed, adding to department resources. This is the primary reason why SOU chemistry and biology students are accepted to top-notch professional programs.

The staff in the department will have input in helping find a professor that will fit with the current staff and students. The process of selecting a new professor requires time, but final word should be out in the late spring or early summer, giving the new hire a chance to settle in and prepare for the coming school year.

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