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Biology


‘Get out and look at the leaves’: Holy Cross Provides Unique Fall Foliage Experience

Holy Cross botanist explains why leaves change certain colors, when the peak will reach Worcester and how a dry summer could affect the timing.

10/03/22 by

As the new academic year begins to establish a rhythm, shorts are soon replaced with sweatpants, the sun sets on The Hill earlier and earlier, and the ivy covering brick buildings trades its pop of green for shades of orange …

Why Do Mutant Genes in Glial Cells Increase Risk of Febrile Seizures?

Sarah Iannone ’25 spent her summer researching two genes in glia and how they affect neuronal excitability in fruit flies.

08/24/22 by

For animals to respond properly to environmental changes, such as temperature fluctuations, their nervous systems must be regulating correctly. It’s a biological function that is vital to survival. The question of why some cannot continue managing these necessary bodily functions, …

New Genes Make a Big Impact on Fruit Fly Fertility

Brenna McCormick '24 spent her summer in the lab researching newly evolved genes in Drosophila.

08/19/22 by

As a student participating in the College’s Charles S. Weiss Summer Research Program, Brenna McCormick ‘24 spent eight weeks this summer working with Associate Professor of Biology Geoff Findlay to examine how a novel gene found in only a handful …

Holy Cross First-Year Research Program Helps Inspire Students in STEM Fields

FRAP offers first-year students and senior mentors from historically excluded communities paid research opportunities.

08/09/22 by

From an early age, a small fire burned within Edith Mensah Otabil ’19: a desire to pursue a career in medicine. Growing up in Ghana, she witnessed countless disparities in health care.

Anthony Fauci, M.D., ’62 advises Holy Cross Students: Expect the Unexpected

Namesake of the Anthony S. Fauci Integrated Science Complex tells students in Q&A prior to the building dedication to follow your passion, trust your instincts and keep an open mind.

06/16/22 by

Before the dedication ceremony of the Anthony S. Fauci Integrated Science Complex on June 11, the class of 1962 alumnus met with College of the Holy Cross students for a private conversation, answering a series of their questions, covering topics …

Holy Cross Names Science Complex for Anthony Fauci ’62, Hon. ’87

National health leader and infectious diseases physician honored for lifetime of public service.

06/11/22 by

Hundreds of members of the College of the Holy Cross community stood shoulder-to-shoulder packing the Smith Hall atrium, as well as the hallways of the floors above, as its Integrated Science Complex was named the Anthony S. Fauci Integrated Science …

Class of 2022 Student Spotlight: Isabelle Uong

A biology major, Isabelle will work as an ophthalmic technician in preparation of continuing her education in optometry school

05/26/22 by

Name: Isabelle Uong Hometown: Rockland, Mass. Major: Biology and Health Professions Advising Campus Activities: McAlister Research Lab; Advocating Student Interest in Asia

Class of 2022 Student Spotlight: Kerry Bresnahan

A biology major and environmental studies minor, Kerry will pursue a master’s degree in marine science after commencement

05/25/22 by

Name: Kerry Bresnahan Hometown: Osterville, Mass. Major: Biology major, environmental studies minor Campus Activities: Spring Break Immersion Program, Ultimate Frisbee, Students for Urban Development, Society of Saints Peter and Paul, BioBuddies Peer Tutoring

Holy Cross Fenwick Scholar Finds Unique Opportunities to Go Beyond Science in HIV Research

“It’s not just about the science. It’s about how we can help other people with the science,” says Charles Millard ’22.

05/23/22 by

Throughout his senior year, Charles Millard ’22 said he had ample opportunities to fail, test his perseverance and improve his approach to scientific discovery, moments he might not have experienced had he not been selected as the College of the Holy …

WATCH: Holy Cross Faculty Discuss the Living Legacy of Global Health Champion Paul Farmer

Ten years ago, global health champion Dr. Paul Farmer was an honorary degree recipient and commencement speaker at Holy Cross, telling graduates, “…the miracle of human solidarity… when linked to both meaningful action and compassion, is something all of us, …

Holy Cross Again a Top Producer of Fulbright Scholars

The 2022 rankings by the Chronicle of Higher Education continue the College’s long history as a leading producer of student scholars

03/21/22 by

The College of the Holy Cross, once again, ranks as one of the premier institutions in the country when it comes to producing Fulbright students. 

30 Holy Cross Students Inducted Into Jesuit Honor Society

Alpha Sigma Nu acceptance is granted to less than four percent of the class

Thirty Holy Cross students were inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society founded in 1915, at a ceremony held on Sunday, Oct. 24th in the Rehm Library. The new inductees exemplify the society’s values of excellence in scholarship, …

Student-Generated Urban Studies Minor Debuts at Holy Cross

Maggie Hartnett '23 & faculty advisors team up to create new Urban Studies minor, which will explore themes around how we build our cities, what we do in them and how they shape us

Maggie Hartnett ’23 knew she enjoyed the architecture classes she took during her first year at Holy Cross, but wasn’t quite sure she wanted to be an architect. Then, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she took note of the changes …

Holy Cross Students, Alumnus Receive Distinguished Scholarships

The prestigious Fulbright and Knight-Hennessy scholarships showcase the talent of Holy Cross students

Once again this year, College of the Holy Cross students—and an alumnus—have earned coveted scholarships from prestigious organizations, including the Knight-Hennessy Scholar Program and the Fulbright Program. These honors speak to the boundless curiosity of Holy Cross students, the impact …

Why Do Tiny Animals Like Spiders and Ticks Have Such a Powerful Bite? A Holy Cross Biology Professor Explains

National Geographic

Why do tiny animals like spiders and ticks have such a powerful bite? Turns out it’s heavy metals! According to a recent study, elements such as zinc and copper mix with natural proteins to make durable stingers, claws and jaws …

Holy Cross Names Charles Millard ’22 as the 2021-22 Fenwick Scholar

The rising senior plans to spend the year pursuing research that could unlock novel treatments for HIV-positive patients

As a student biologist, it could be easy to get lost in lab work and computer modeling, but this year’s Fenwick Scholar, Charles Millard ’22, is focused on the big picture — he knows that science is only part of …

Lab Partners Research Canine Stem Cells—Holy Cross Student Summer Series

Nakesha Agyapong ’22 and Ethan Trim ’22 have teamed up with Professor Julia Paxson to research canine aging through the Weiss Summer Research Program

08/12/21 by

Senior biology majors Nakesha Agyapong ’22 and Ethan Trim ’22 have been lab partners since meeting through the First-Year Advancement Program (FRAP). For the last three years, they have worked together in the lab of Associate Professor of Biology Julia …

Marine Biology Research in Maine – Holy Cross Student Summer Series

An experiential learning opportunity in Maine inspires three Holy Cross students

Holy Cross students Allison McGrath ’22, Isabelle Uong ’22 and Kerry Bresnahan ’22 are participating in research this summer with Marine Biology Professor Justin McAlister, who received a grant from the NSF to study seastar larvae and other marine organisms …

Madeline Vargas Appointed Dean of the Faculty

The professor of biology brings a wealth of experience to her new role

Madeline Vargas, professor in the Department of Biology, has been appointed dean of the faculty effective June 1, 2021.

Holy Cross Says Farewell to Six Retiring Professors

The cohort leaves a long legacy, teaching on Mount St. James for a combined 203 years

At the finish of the 2020-2021 academic year, Holy Cross saw six professors conclude their careers on Mount St. James, after decades of educating generations of Crusaders.