May 30, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog


Mark Ungerer, Director
Michael Veeman, Director of graduate studies

116 Ackert Hall
Fax: 785-532-6653

For more detailed information on faculty research interests, see


Biology and Microbiology are broad and innovative disciplines, and our graduate program reflects both of these characteristics. Our faculty members are research scientists with a breadth and depth of research expertise, and they apply that expertise in their roles as graduate mentors.  The graduate faculty members of the Division of Biology strongly believe that independent research is the preeminent feature of our graduate programs. Research expertise represented within the Division of Biology ranges from studies of cell development and cell signaling to the influence of grazers and fire with plant and animal communities on the tallgrass prairie. Graduate opportunities are available in all areas of biology, including molecular, cellular and developmental biology; community, ecosystem and landscape ecology; wildlife biology; cancer biology; microbiology; virology; immunology; parasitology; and genetics.

In partnership with a major professor and a supervisory committee, each graduate student develops an individualized program of study, consisting of course work and laboratory or field research. Each program of study is tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual student. Unlike more formal curricula with rigid requirements, our flexible approach allows students to pursue their professional goals more efficiently and more effectively. All beginning graduate students are required to take BIOL 863 (Professional Skills in Biology), where they learn about grant-writing, presentation skills, research ethics, effective instructional techniques, and other skills that will be useful to them throughout their careers as professional scientists. This course is the only required course; all other courses are chosen in consultation with the advisory committee. A minimum of 30 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree is required to earn a master of science degree; a minimum of 90 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree is required to earn a doctoral degree. In addition, we require that each student write a thesis or dissertation based on their original research; this work should be of sufficient quality and importance to merit publication in a refereed journal. For additional details regarding responsibilities and expectations for our graduate students, see


Graduate research and education takes place primarily in four on-campus sites–Ackert Hall, Bushnell Hall, Chalmers Hall, and Leasure Hall–as well as at the off-campus site of the Konza Prairie Biological Station.

Ackert Hall

Ackert Hall is the main biology facility, containing 130,000 square feet of research and instructional space. Ackert Hall provides modern, well-equipped laboratories for teaching and research, and, contains the Division offices, a rooftop greenhouse, an electronics shop, a research supply storeroom, and animal care facilities. Equipment available for research includes ultracentrifuges, growth chambers, a research microscope facility (with confocal and transmission electron microscope plus image processing capabilities), mass spectroscopy facilities, and many other research and support equipment items that are required for a modern biology research program. Research labs overseen by faculty members in all three of our sections (see above) can be found in Ackert Hall.

Bushnell Hall

Graduate faculty members with an interest in ecological studies have offices and laboratory space in Bushnell Hall. Included in this building are the herbarium, environmental chambers, dark rooms, analytical laboratories, and tanks for fish culture ranging from 100- to 2,000-liter capacity. Extensive computing and imaging facilities support the climatologic and remote sensing activities.

Chalmers Hall

Chalmers Hall was completed in November 2002 and is adjacent to Ackert Hall. This modern facility houses ten Division of Biology faculty and research programs in 12,300 square feet on the second floor of the building. Faculty members with laboratories in Chalmers Hall have research interests in developmental biology, immunology, virology, bioinformatics, ecological genomics, and vector biology.

Leasure Hall

Leasure Hall houses the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. This unit is a partnership of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Kansas State University, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and the Wildlife Management Institute. Two U.S. Department of the Interior employees, with appointments as Division of Biology adjunct graduate faculty members, oversee fisheries and wildlife research programs as part of their duties in the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Konza Prairie Biological Station

The Konza Prairie Biological Station is located only a few miles south of the main KSU campus, allowing for ease of access for faculty members and graduate students working there. This station contains approximately 8,616 acres of native tall grass prairie, and has been set aside by the Nature Conservancy as a unique outdoor laboratory for long-term research. This land was purchased with funds provided by Katharine Ordway, and leased to the Division of Biology by the Nature Conservancy. Experimental manipulations of the landscape, involving grazing and/or burning, allow researchers to focus on patterns and processes which might be important in maintenance of the tall grass prairie ecosystem.

Research strengths

The graduate faculty members of the Division of Biology have a proven track record in scientific achievement, and they continue to excel in competition for extramural research funding. Our research programs are funded by the state of Kansas, via support from the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station and Kansas Wildlife and Parks, and by direct grants to our faculty members from a diverse group of agencies and foundations, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, the Department of Energy, DOD, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, as well as others. Areas of particular research strength, which provide collaborative research opportunities for our graduate students, include:

Long-Term Ecological Research

The National Science Foundation has supported Division of Biology research activities on the Konza Prairie continuously since 1980. This long-term approach is designed to investigate gradual and subtle changes in microbe, plant and animal diversity and numbers on the tall grass prairie, the impact of human activities on ecosystem productivity, and changes in ecological processes caused by burning and/or grazing.

Kansas Lipidomics Research Center

The Kansas Lipidomics Research Center is a collaborative venture of scientists in the Division of Biology, in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, and at the University of Kansas. The Center performs comprehensive, quantitative profiling of lipid molecular species with high sample throughput, using mass spectrometry and other innovative technologies. Diversity and concentrations of lipid metabolites in genomically altered and physiologically manipulated organisms are investigated in order to identify the functions of genes that encode proteins involved in lipid metabolism. The Center is also dedicated to improving lipid analytical technologies, to promoting collaborative research among lipid scientists, and to providing training opportunities for post doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students. More information is available at

Ecological Genomics

The Ecological Genomics initiative is an interdisciplinary research enterprise, aimed at exploring the genetic bases for organismal responses to the environment. Students involved in the program engage in a truly multidisciplinary program, working with faculty members in ecology and molecular biology/genetics. These research efforts employ functional genomic techniques to probe the interface between ecology and genetics. More information about the Kansas Ecological Genomics collaborative research groups can be found at

Other multi-investigator research initiatives

Information about many other exciting collaborative research efforts can be found at

Admission and financial support

For detailed information on admission and financial support, see



Doctor of Philosophy

Master of Science