About Us

Among Tier I Research Universities, Duke University hosts one of the few broad "Biology Departments" in the country, providing students, faculty, and staff with the opportunity to learn and perform research in a highly integrative and interactive setting. Our department hosts over 55 active faculty, each with their own research laboratory, studying areas spanning developmental biology, cell biology, molecular biology, ecology, evolution, organismal biology, and genomics. 

Our undergraduates benefit from having these world experts present the topics of their research in the classroom, exposing them to both the fundamental principles and the latest results or controversies. Our Ph.D. students join research teams either through our own extremely flexible graduate program in Biology or through a diverse array of interdisciplinary programs, such as those spanning the Nicholas School of Earth and Ocean Sciences or the Medical School. The department interacts heavily among the diverse disciplines represented within it, with other Duke University departments, and with programs at the many other nearby universities. 

By the Numbers

  • 58 Regular Rank Faculty
  • 18 Secondary Faculty
  • $65M in external research funding
  • 120 Graduate students
  • 175 Undergraduate majors graduated per year
  • 75% of undergraduates conduct independent research

About the logo

This logo (found at the bottom of the page) is the result of a collaboration between Charles Zartman, a former Botany graduate student, and Beth Archie, a former Zoology graduate student coinciding with the merger of the two departments into the Department of Biology. It depicts a plethodontid (lungless) salamander intertwined with a plant, Asarum lewisii Fernald (Hexastylis lewisii (Fernald) Blomquist and Oosting.) The design clearly indicates the study of biology to both biologists and the general public. These organisms were chosen because they locate Duke Biology in North Carolina; the Blue Ridge is renowned for plethodontid diversity, and A. lewisii (first described by Professor Fernald of Harvard and subsequently by Professor Hugo Blomquist of Duke) is native to the greater Durham area. The vines evoke the form of a double helix to represent the importance of molecular biology along with organismal and ecological research.