Cell Biology & Pre-medicine

To find your role in the continually evolving and diversifying disciplines of biology, you'll need a strong foundation in fundamental, scientific concepts. At Western, we provide a learning environment that helps you master even the most difficult scientific concepts.

Through our teaching-focused faculty, small class sizes and hands-on learning opportunities, you’ll delve deeply into your program as well as the supporting sciences of physics, chemistry and mathematics. You’ll know your professors as they enrich your understanding of the current social, political and economic milieu. You’ll gain experiences to enhance your future career or graduate school opportunities.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

You’ll graduate from Western as a classically trained biologist with a comprehensive education in cellular and molecular biology. Your education will include an introduction to all the fundamental concepts that underlie our modern understanding of biology.

You will also develop a deep understanding of and specific knowledge in biology at smaller scales. You will survey the many techniques used in laboratories to study cellular and molecular biology, including Western blotting, microscopy, gene cloning, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), genetic engineering of microorganisms, classical genetic manipulation techniques, dissection, and the culturing, testing and analysis of microorganisms.

Beyond the Classroom

Students in Western’s Cellular and Molecular Biology program have unique opportunities to gain experience in scientific investigation through active participation with faculty in laboratory research.

Through funding from Thornton research grants, students can further hone the ancillary skills required to carry out research, by writing funding proposals, giving on-campus presentations of their work and drafting final research reports.

Some students present their results at national meetings of scientific societies and publish their findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Some also attend summer research programs, providing them with a more intensive research experience.

After Graduation

Cellular and molecular biology graduates may find roles in the biotechnology industry, in hospitals, in higher education, and in other related industries, where their training in rigorous analysis and critical thinking are valued and desired.

Graduates may continue their studies in professional and graduate schools, studying cellular biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, neurobiology, immunology, genetics, molecular genetics and related fields.

This emphasis within the biology major is also one of the best options to prepare students for entry into medical, dental, physician’s assistant, veterinary and pharmacy school.

Next Steps


If you're interested in Western's Cell Biology & Pre-medicine Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family.

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FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a list of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the current university catalog at http://www.western.edu/catalog. To determined the courses required for your major, check the "Majors and Minors" tab for your area of study.


An introduction to experimentation and Laboratory techniques used in cell biology, physiology, and genetics, including experimental design, data analysis, and presentation of research results. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 312.


An introduction to microbial morphology, identification, physiology, genetics, and microbiology Laboratory techniques. A brief consideration is given to fungi. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus


This course provides a comprehensive overview of evolutionary processes and mechanisms within an applied framework. Evolutionary perspectives in human health and medicine, environmental and conservation biology, agriculture and natural resource management, and biotechnology are covered. Topics include organismic adaptation to changing environments and long-term responses to environmental perturbation, and insights into many issues of growing social importance such as climate change, land use change, and emerging diseases. Prerequisites: BIOL 312; or ENVS 350, ENVS 370, ENVS 390, and either BIOL 151 or both BIOL 130 and BIOL 135; or instructor permission.


An introduction to regulatory mechanisms which maintain normal body function. Specific topics include cytology, histology, integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, and nervous system. The course is designed for allied health and exercise and sport science students. Prerequisites: BIOL 150; CHEM 105 or CHEM 111.


A continuation of BIOL 372 Human Anatomy and Physiology I. Specific topics include immunology, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, excretory system, reproductive system, and endocrine system. Prerequisite: BIOL 372.


A study of the molecular mechanisms by which cellular processes are controlled in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Topics include the biochemistry of macromolecular processes, the structure of genes and chromosomes, the genetic and molecular techniques used to study gene expression, and the transcriptional and translational control of gene expression. The Laboratory includes recombinant DNA techniques to manipulate the genome of a model organism. Prerequisites: BIOL 312 and CHEM 471.


An examination of the embryology of vertebrates, stressing mammalian embryonic development and comparisons with amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Prerequisites: Biology 312.


An analysis of function in invertebrates and vertebrates, utilizing an environmental approach and emphasizing evolutionary trends in physiological systems. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus and PHYS 140.

 BIOL 495 - SENIOR SEMINAR (1 credits)

An examination of biological sub disciplines through an investigation of the primary literature. The professional practices, procedures, and standards of the sub discipline are discussed. This course may be repeated for credit and must be taken twice to fulfill the Capstone Course requirement. Graded Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus and MATH 213.

 BIOL 496 - SENIOR THESIS ( 2-4 credits)

An application of the research-based practices for instruction in math. Focus is placed on the foundations for assessing and teaching math by addressing basic skills, critical thinking skills, conceptual understanding, real life applications, and diverse learner needs. Students implement and review specific assessment practices, teaching structures, intervention strategies, and technology applications within a standards- based framework of instruction. Prerequisite: admission to the Education Department.

Faculty & Staff


Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., University of North Texas
Phone: (970) 943-3405
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143C
Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Vermont; M.A., Ph.D., University of Colorado.
Phone: (970) 943-3355
Office Location: Hurst Hall 222
Assistant Professor in Biology and Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Biology, University of California–Santa Cruz, 1995, Ph.D., Botany, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2005
Phone: (970) 943-2565
Office Location: Kelly Hall 105
Professor of Biology
B.S., St. Joseph’s University; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University.
Phone: (970) 943-2094
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238B
Assistant Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Colorado; B.A., University of Colorado; Ph.D., University of Oregon
Phone: (970) 943-2552
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238C
Biology Laboratory Coordinator
B.A., Western State Colorado Universtiy; M.S., San Francisco State University.
Phone: (970) 943-2437
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143B
Thornton Chair in Biology
B.S, Colorado State University. M.S., University of Missouri; Ph.D., University of Missouri.
Phone: (970) 943-7121
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143A
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., Allegheny College; Ph.D., Dartmouth College.
Phone: (970) 943-3181
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238A
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability, and Biology
B.S., Winona State University, M.S., University of Minnesota Duluth, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Phone: 970.943.2024
Office Location: Kelly Hall 114
Lecturer in Biology
B.A., University of Boulder , M.A., University of Denver and Health Sciences, Ph.D., University of Denver and Health Sciences
Phone: (970) 943-2145
Office Location: Hurst Hall 218
Emeritus Professor of Biology
B.S., University of California-Davis; Ph.D., University of Idaho.
Phone: 970.943.2063
Office Location: