History of Biological Science at Missouri S&T

There was a curriculum in biology at S&T (then MSM) in the period prior to World War II. There was a Department of Biology in 1926, and students could major in biology. In 1939, a Department of History, Psychology and Biology was formed. During a period of severe academic retrenchment in the 1940’s, the biology curriculum was abandoned, along with several other programs in the liberal arts.

Biology was reintroduced to the UMR curriculum in 1968 when two classes were offered as part of the Civil Engineering curriculum. Dr. Nord Gale joined the faculty in the fall of 1968, followed by the addition of Dr. James Hufham in 1969, and a core curriculum in biology was introduced. By 1970, a preference program in Life Sciences was offered as an option for the B.S. Degree in Chemistry. In 1978 authorization was sought and granted from the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education to offer a separate B.S. Degree in Life Sciences at UMR. Dr. Roger Brown joined the faculty in the fall of 1978, and the Department of Life Sciences was created within the College of Arts and Sciences in the fall of 1983 with three full-time faculty members and one half-time laboratory instructor. In 1987, a fourth full-time faculty member, Dr. Paula Lutz, joined the department.


Expansion and strengthening of the department continued:

Dr. Ron Frank joined the faculty ranks in the fall of 1988.
Dr. Hufham retired from his full-time faculty service in May 1996. and was replaced by Dr. David Westenberg in 1997
Dr. Tonye Numbere joined the department in as a non-regular faculty member in 1998.
Drs. Melanie Mormile and D. Marshall Porterfield were recruited as assistant professors in the fall of 1999, followed by Dr. Yue-wern Huang in the fall of 2000.
Dr. Nord Gale retired after the 1999/2000 academic year and was replaced as chair by Dr. Paula Lutz.
The name of the department was changed to Biological Sciences in July 1998.
The department began offering a B.A. degree and B.A. with pre-med emphasis starting fall of 2000
The Masters Program in Applied and Environmental Biology enrolled its first graduate students fall of 2002.
Dr. Lutz was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2002, Dr. Frank served as interim chair for 2 years.
Two assistant professors, Dr. Anne Maglia and Dr. Dev Niyogi, were hired in 2002.
Dr. Robert Aronstam was recruited as chair in 2004.
Dr. Porterfield resigned in the fall of 2004, but the department continued to expand with the addition of two faculty members at the assistant professor level in 2005, Drs. Katie Shannon and Nathan Chen
Dr. Lutz left for Montana State University in 2007 when the College of Arts and Science was dissolved.


Presently, the Biological Sciences Department is home to ten full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty (including the chair), two lecturers, and three administrative staff persons.  We offer four undergraduate degrees or options and one graduate degree at the master’s level.

Biological Sciences has been one of the fastest growing departments at MS&T over the past decade: Since 2000,


•  The number of undergraduate majors has increased from 68 to

•  Student credit hours taught has doubled

•  Faculty publications have more than doubled

•  The faculty has grown from 6 to 10 people

•  A fully–subscribed graduate program was

•  3 research and scholarship funds were established

•  The amount of extramural funding has tripled


BioSci Milestones, 2000 –

2001    Graduate program approved

2002    Drs. Maglia and Niyogi join faculty

            First graduate students enrolled

2004    Dr. Aronstam named chair

            Establishment of MS&T cDNA Resource Center         

            First MS Degrees awarded

2005    Drs. Chen and Shannon join faculty

            Gale-Hufham scholarship fund established