Study life’s diversity in biology, agriculture


    The College of Biology and Agriculture is a college concerned with life. Its teachers, researchers and programs on the cutting edge of progress in a variety of fascinating and diversified aspects of science. Some examples:

    Mickel R. Stevens, assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, along with graduate and undergraduate students has been using recombinant DNA techniques to develop new tomato varieties, which are immune to fungal and viral diseases of tomatoes.

    Robert L. Park, professor in the Department of AnimalScience, is the director of the Center of Excellence for Applied Molecular Genetics. The center focuses on identifying superior livestock traits of economic importance, using DNA techniques. The research has the potential to improve the biological efficiency of swine, dairy cattle and other species.

    Merrill J. Christensen, associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, conducts NIH?2Dfunded research aimed at identifying genes whose expression is altered by nutrients and other components of foods. Christensen has shown that sodium reduces the expression of a regulator of a cancer-causing gene in human colon cancer cells.

    Kim L. O’Neill, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, has pioneered, researched and developed a sensitive and accurate test for cancer. From a small sample of blood, he can diagnose and monitor patients’ progress during cancer therapy. He has also developed research to identify potential carcinogenic agents. This research has brought international recognition to the university.

    Keith A. Crandall, assistant professor in the Department of Zoology, has recently received a grant from the National Institute of Health for $1.5 million to study the variations of a gene that are important in the progression of AIDS.

    The real excitement is that these are but a few samples of the comprehensive work going on in the six academic departments in the college. It is a college that is becoming increasingly known for its contribution to world progress; its enrollment of students has nearly doubled in the last 10 years; acceptance rate to health-related professional schools has consistently been above the national average, and new majors and emphases are constantly emerging, drawing top students from around the world. An example of this is the newly formed multi-departmental molecular biology program, which encompasses all departments in the college.

    This progress and success has not come by chance. To enhance excellent teaching and research, special facilities are provided within the college.

    Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, dedicated to biological natural history, is used for educational and research purposes. Its exhibits include representative habitats of local as well as exotic plant and animal species and a large and valuable collection of trophies from North America, Africa and Asia.

    Teaching and research in basic and applied agriculture are accomplished at BYU Agriculture Station facilities. These include animal science, agronomy, and horticulture areas in Provo including the Ellsworth Meat and Livestock Center. Additionally, the 793-acre BYU Laboratory Farm near Spanish Fork and the 9,300-acre BYU Skaggs Research Ranch, with its 1,100 head of cattle near Malta, Idaho, are important facilities for training students.

    The Ezra Taft Benson Agricultural and Food Institute works to improve the quality of life in developing countries. Research programs have been conducted throughout the world dealing with agriculture, food science, nutrition, sanitation and health.

    The Microscopy Laboratory features transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy with energy?2Ddispersive X?2Dray microanalysis and cryo?2Delectron microscopy. Light microscopy includes laser scanning, florescence, and standard light microscopy; and technical assistance is available for users. Lab courses are offered at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

    The Lytle Preserve is in the southwest corner of Utah, where the Great Basin ecosystem overlaps that of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Plateau. This remarkable facility exists so that the beauty and biological diversity of one of the West’s most delicate and unusual ecosystems may be preserved for students and scientists to study.

    Ecological study areas have been established along the Provo River, in the foothills by the BYU Agriculture Station near Spanish Fork, and at other locations in the mountains and deserts in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and other government agencies. A high-altitude site in the Uintah Mountains is also available for ecological research

    Faculty members in the College of Biology and Agriculture are affiliated with the Cancer Research Center. Research expertise in medicinal chemistry, environmental chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, and virology provide the potential for significant contributions in cancer research. The center’s intensive programs provide many research opportunities for students and faculty members to work together in a multi-disciplinary endeavor.

    The College is led by Clayton H. Huber, dean; Richard W. Heninger, associate dean; William L. Park, associate dean; and Steven L. Taylor, assistant dean.

    For further information on college majors and programs, contact the College Advisement Center, 380 WIDB, BYU, Provo, UT 84602, (801) 378?2D3042.

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