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Biology

Make it full of possibility. 

Biology is a field as diverse as it is practical.

Students in the biology department find that they are empowered to pursue a wide variety of aspirations and career paths, ones that they develop and curate throughout their studies at Lake Forest College. Our approach to the study of life combines rigorous lab experience with access to cutting-edge technology that ensures students are prepared for the world beyond the College—all with the benefits of a liberal arts curriculum.  

Biology majors don’t just learn facts about living things, they learn how to be scientists. This means they can often be found in the lab, actively engaged in research with faculty.

The Liberal Arts Advantage 

The liberal arts provide a path of study that nourishes students as a whole human, not just a career path. A focus on scientific inquiry with the encouragement to consider and apply other disciplines to their studies ensures that students are empathetic, globally minded, and multi-faceted in their interests. A liberal arts degree ultimately sets graduates apart in applicant pools for jobs, medical school, or other avenues of pursuit.  

student working in lab at field museum

Preparation for Your Path

Students have exciting opportunities for internships and research at world-class Chicago institutions like the Field Museum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Shedd Aquarium, and Rosalind Franklin University of Medical Sciences. Biology students are well-trained by hypothesis-driven coursework. While a major or minor in biology is great preparation for postgraduate training in academic research or the health professions, our students also become competitive graduates and professionals in industry and fields like environmental policy, education and museum administration.

students in biology lab

Laboratory Skills and Access to Cutting-Edge Equipment

Our approach to learning means giving students hands-on access to professional lab instruments early in their studies. Our trust in and respect for our students  means they regularly work with high-level scientific instruments early in their careers, providing a foundation of skills that will help them land successful placements after graduation. The cutting-edge instrumentation and techniques we familiarize our students with are not often available to undergraduates. These include techniques such as: PCR (polymerase chain reaction), western blot, molecular imaging, electrophysiology, field data collection, experimental design and data analysis, cell culture, DNA sequence analysis, and fluorescence microscopy. 

Opportunities for Published Work

Students working in research labs have published their research in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Each year, students also publish their work in Lake Forest’s life sciences journal, Eukaryon. The student editorial board for Eukaryon is a great way to become involved in journal publishing by conducting peer reviews, editing submissions, and designing the layout for this award-winning student research journal.

Lake Forest College gave me a breadth of critical thinking skills that taught me the basic laboratory techniques I was able to apply to a job at University of Chicago where I got to know a little bit more of the molecular biology side of the lab.
Brian Kinsman ’09

Biology at Lake Forest College

Sophistication of research is at the core of our approach to teaching students in the field of biology. In the Department of Biology at Lake Forest College, we prioritize student learning in hands-on environments and provide access to scientific instruments early in the undergraduate career to set our students apart with experiential knowledge and proven skills 

Lake Forest College’s partnerships with Rosalind Franklin University and funding from institutions such as the National Science Foundation, Sherman Fairchild Foundation, and more give students access to ample opportunities that help shape and guide their career paths

Plus, thanks to our small class sizes, students forge close mentorship bonds with their professors. 

Careers

Our graduates have gone on to pursue a variety of careers in biology. 

  • Physician scientist in child neurology
  • Soil conservationist
  • Public health worker in cancer research
  • Toxicologist for Environmental Protection Agency
  • Nurse practitioner in women’s health
  • Forensic entomologist
  • Physical therapist in sports medicine
  • Ethnobotanist
  • Veterinarian
  • Biotechnologist at a pharmaceutical company
Internships

Experiential learning is a core fundamental at Lake Foest College. Students in the Department of Biology have had the opportunity to intern with organizations across the Chicago area. 

  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital
  • Illinois Bone & Joint Institute
  • Horsefeathers Therapeutic Riding
  • Lake Forest Acute Care
  • Horizon Pharma
  • The Field Museum
  • Shedd Aquarium
Research

Our biology students complete high-level research at the undergraduate level. This research is supported by our outstanding faculty, access to cutting-edge technology, and the students' own interests and curiosity.  

  • Molecular genetics of telomere mutants in Aspergillus
  • Evolution and development of body and organ size in Drosophila
  • Biogeography and niche determinants in ant communities
  • Cell volume regulation in red blood cells
  • Misfolding of alpha-synuclein protein in yeasts and implications for Parkinson’s disease
  • Sexual selection and acoustic communication in insects

Meet Our Students and Alumni

Dr. Michael Zorniak ’07

Dr. Michael Zorniak ’07

Dr. Zorniak is currently Associate Director, Medical Science Liaison, Novartis Oncology

Brian Kinsman ’09

Brian Kinsman ’09

MD/PhD
Penn State College of Medicine

All of the departments at Lake Forest College offer so much help, from building resumes to letters of recommendation.

Related Programs

Contact us

Karen Kirk
Professor of Biology
Chair of Biology
Lillard Science Center 277a
847-735-6044
kirk@chenhuitours.com

Beth Herbert
Lab Supervisor
Lillard Science Center 260
847-735-6045
herbert@chenhuitours.com

Connie Hollingsworth
Department Assistant
Lillard Science Center 101
847-735-5090

chollingsworth@chenhuitours.com