Middle East Technical University, Department of Biological Sciences
As known as the science of the 21st century, the science of biology entails the understanding of life at the hierarchical levels of molecule, cell, organism, population, and community. The Biological Sciences Department at METU, incorporating the Department of Biology and the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, has the mission to provide comprehensive knowledge in this science to our students. The Department continually strives to improve the quality of education through innovative teaching methods and attracting outstanding faculty and instructors in this rapidly blooming field.
The Biology Program offers courses on fundamental subjects such as molecular and cellular biology, genetics, physiology, microbiology, immunology, biochemistry, plant biology, evolutionary biology and ecology along with a wide variety of elective courses based on the expertise of the faculty.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Program
The Molecular Biology and Genetics Program offers courses governing the fundamental aspects of the structure and functions of organisms at the molecular and cellular level. Along with the fundamental subjects covered by the Biology Program, i.e. an understanding of human, animal, plant and microbial biology from every possible viewpoint, special emphasis is laid on a strong foundation in the concepts of molecular and cellular biology and genetics.
The curricula for both the programs include formal lectures, laboratory and seminar courses. Students are expected to learn scientific problem-solving methods and the essential skills of reading and evaluating original research literature.
The Biological Sciences Department also actively encourages and provides numerous opportunities for undergraduates to actively participate in faculty-mentored research projects through internships and summer practices. This allows them to take their learning beyond the classrooms and gain an understanding of ongoing cutting-edge research in molecular biology and genetics, biophysics, microbiology, biomaterials, ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation biology either within the Department or at participating Universities within Turkey and abroad.
This curriculum, coupled with undergraduate research opportunities, provides students the requisite knowledge and skills to pursue careers in basic and applied research, education and for various positions in food and drug industry, agriculture, forestry, and public health.
A brief history
The Biology Graduate Program was established in the late 1960s in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as a branch of the Chemistry Department. In 1975, this Program was converted into the Department of Life Sciences offering B.Sc as well as M.Sc and Ph.D. degrees, with the establishment of research laboratories and teaching laboratories. The name of the Department was changed to Biological Sciences in the late 1970s. Subsequently, two programs, Biology, and Molecular Biology and Genetics were established in 1996 in the Department.
Today, there are 16 professors, 4 associate professors, 4 assistant professors, and over 25 teaching and research assistants in the Department. Special emphasis is given to interdisciplinary research, with the students having the opportunity to also carry out research in biochemistry, biomaterials, molecular microbiology, molecular and cellular biophysics, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, polymer science and technology, cancer biology and computational biology. The graduates have excellent employment opportunities in the research centers, industry and also at the universities here in Turkey and abroad.
The Department of Biological Sciences offers MSc by research and Ph.D. degrees in Biology and Molecular Biology and Genetics. The students may also receive their degrees from the interdisciplinary programs of METU Graduate School of Natural and Applied Science, namely Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, Micro and Nanotechnology, Earth System Science and Polymer Science and Technology, in which our faculty members hold positions. Our Department also supports and collaborates with METU Graduate School of Informatics, Medical Informatics Department as well as Applied Mathematics Institute.
Graduate students are offered excellent graduate courses where assessing the current literature is highly emphasized. Students are expected to rotate in various labs and then choose a lab that meets their choice and the faculty members' requirements.