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The Department of Biology at Stern College for Women offers a broad liberal arts education, providing students with an understanding of the biotic world, from molecules and cells through organisms and ecosystems. A wide range of courses cover the fundamentals of modern biology, as well as cutting-edge areas of molecular biology and biomedical research.

Faculty have on-campus research laboratories and involve the undergraduates in their projects. Faculty members publish their research in scientific peer-reviewed journals, frequently listing their undergraduate research interns as co-authors. The quality of science training at Stern College for Women has made our students highly competitive for external summer undergraduate research internships in industry, universities and medical institutions.

Course work and research opportunities develop students' analytical and experimental skills, enabling them to continue their study of science at advanced levels of graduate and professional education. Students majoring in biology pursue careers in medicine, dentistry and optometry, as well as in a spectrum of other health-related professions, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, physician assistant, nutrition and genetic counseling.

Other students continue their graduate education in public health, biotechnology and basic and applied biomedical research.

For an overview of recent student accomplishments in STEM, click here (PDF).

For an annual publication detailing our student and departmental accomplishments in STEM, please view our journal, Women in Science.

For further information, please contact Dr. Harvey Babich, babich@yu.edu.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Biology is for undergraduates majoring in biology to be prepared and to be qualified to pursue advanced studies in the biomedical sciences as related to human health care and/or to pursue employment in various biology-related fields. These milestones will be achieved by providing courses covering a spectrum of sub-disciplines with biology, so as to provide majors in biology with a comprehensive background in the principles of modern biology, with hands-on skills in the usage of laboratory instrumentation, with an understanding of scientific literature and of research methodologies, and with proficiencies in written and oral communication.

Program Student Learning Goals

  1. Biology majors will be able to understand the main principles of modern biology, with an emphasis on the biomedical sciences.
  2. Biology majors will be able to apply skills in modern laboratory techniques and knowledge of the scientific method to analyze scientific problems and to create their own scientific investigations.
  3. Biology majors will be able to critically evaluate scientific literature according to established scientific criteria.
  4. Biology majors will be able to express scientific ideas, both in written and oral communication.

Derech Hateva

Derech HaTeva, a Journal of Torah and Science is a publication of the undergraduate students of Stern College for Women that synthesizes Torah and scientific knowledge and thus represents the unique intellectual strengths and talents of our students. This journal is cataloged in the National Library of Congress. Derech HaTeva is distributed nationally and internationally and has received much praise. You can download a copy at the Yeshiva Academic Institutional Repository

Program Information

Please see the Schedule of Classes for the current semester’s offerings. 

Biology (BIOL)

  • 1006 Human Genetics 3 credits
    An introduction to human genetics. Topics include inheritance patterns of single gene and multi gene traits, the genetic basis of disease and behavior, the development of DNA technology and its application to law and medicine. This course is for non-science majors and does not count toward the Biology major.
  • 1011C, 1012C Principles of Biology 4 credits
  • For majors. Introductory analysis of the various biological concepts at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels. First semester: biochemistry of molecules, enzyme kinetics, cellular anatomy and physiology, cellular energetics and metabolism, cellular signaling; second semester: cellular reproduction, genetics, molecular biology, population biology, evolution, and comparative human physiology. Laboratory work, including dissections, complements the lectures. (lecture: 3 hours; lab: 3 hours)
  • 1376R Biochemistry - Lecture 3 credits
    Structure and function of biomolecules; kinetics and mechanism of enzymes; bioenergetics and metabolism; membrane structure and dynamics; signal transduction. Prerequisite: CHEM 1213C or permission of the instructor.
  • 2601 Human Development 2 credits
  • Focus on normal human embryonic and fetal development, as well as on congenital anomalies and birth defects. Fetal physiology and maternal-fetal interactions are presented, as well as other related topics, such as assisted reproductive technology. Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C
  • 2730C Human Anatomy 4 credits
    A regional approach to the study of the human body, with special focus on human locomotory anatomy. Laboratory emphasizes mammalian (cat) dissection.  (lecture: 3 hours; lab: 4 hours). Laboratory fee. Prerequisite or co-requisite: BIOL 1012C or 1012Y.
  • 3207C Cell Biology 4 credits
  • Basic architecture of cellular organelles and components; dynamics of growth, nutrition, cell cycle, metabolism, and metabolic regulation; specialized cell functions. Laboratory accompanies lectures.  (lecture: 3 hours; lab: 3 hours) Laboratory fee. Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C. Prerequisite or co-requisite: CHEM 1046C.
  • 3221 Nutrition 3 credits
    Clinical nutrition, directed to common medical disorders, relevant physiology, nutrition¬al implications, and therapy. Nutrition in gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, cancer, and AIDS are discussed.  This course does not count toward the Biology major. 
  • 3230C Immunology 4 credits  
    “Basic principles, theories, and current problems in immunology.  Emphasis on the development, functions and interplay of the various immune cells in health and disease, with particular attention to transplantation, vaccination, allergy, and autoimmunity.” (lecture: 3 hours; lab: 3 hours) Laboratory fee. Prerequisites: BIOL 1012C.
  • 3230R Immunology—Lecture 3 credits
    The lecture portion alone of the above course.
  • 3241 Pharmacology 2 credits
    Major aspects of pharmacology: pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, mechanisms of action, physiologic effects, as well as adverse effects of drugs. Course is organ¬ized by drug class according to either organ system or therapeutic category.  Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C. 
  • 3513C Genetics 4 credits
    Course spans Mendelian genetics, chromosomal morphology, cell divisions, linkage, gene mapping, DNA replication, chromosome morphology,  gene mutation, chromosomal aberrations,  gene regulation, extranuclear genetics, behavioral genetics, epigenetics, and basic principles of biotechnology. Laboratory exercises complement lectures. (lecture: 3 hours; lab: 3 hours) Laboratory fee. Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C.
  • 3521C Molecular Biology 4 credits
    A comprehensive study of the gene in prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. Analysis of the molecular structure of DNA and the chromosome, RNA structure and transcription, RNA processing, translation into proteins, structure and organization of the genes and their regulatory regions, protein-DNA interactions, gene expression mechanisms.  Includes a weekly one-hour problem solving recitation.) Prerequisite: BIOL 3207C or BIOL 3513C or CHEM 1376.
  • 3728C Human Physiology 4 credits
    Physicochemical principles involved in life processes. Lectures and laboratory illustrate these principles in the physiological systems of humans. (lecture: 3 hours; lab: 3 hours) Laboratory fee. Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C.
  • 3730 Reproductive Biology 2 credits
    The course focuses on different aspects of human reproduction and reproductive health. Topics include spermatogenesis, oogenesis, menstrual cycle, fertile window and fertilization, breastfeeding, breast and ovarian disorders, infertility, assisted reproductive techniques (e. g. in vitro fertilization).   Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C.
  • 3735 Biology of Women’s Health 2 credits
    Biology of conditions affecting women’s health. Topics covered include reproduc¬tion, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Articles from medical journals and clinical trial data are discussed. Prerequisite: 1005C or 1012C.
  • 3750 Medical Biochemistry 3 credits
    Reviews major human metabolic pathways with focus on biochemical alterations that accompany a wide range of human diseases and conditions. Emphasis on advanced methods of molecular medicine for diagnosis and treatment of genetic and metabolic disorders.  Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C; Pre- or co-requisite: CHEM 1213C.
  • 3780 Biology of Cancer 3 credits
    Understand the history of cancer research and the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the development and the progression of cancer as well as the ways in which we use these mechanisms to treat cancer. Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C or 1012H; Pre or Co-requisite: BIOL 3207C"
  • 3830C Neurobiology 4 credits
    Nerve cells and their organization into complex nervous systems; major concepts in neurobiology, including impulse conduction, synaptic transmission, sensory processing, motor function, and memory.
    Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C
  • 4023C Microbiology 4 credits
    Topics include prokaryotic cell structure and function, microbial nutrition, growth and control, microbial metabolism, bacteriophages, and microbial genetics. Laboratory exercises complement lectures. (lecture: 3 hours; lab: 3 hours) Laboratory fee. Prerequisite: BIOL 1012C.Pre- or  co-requisite: CHEM 1010C or 1045C.
  • 4901, 4902, 4903, 4904 Independent Study
    See Academic Information and Policies section. Laboratory fee on an individual basis.
  • 4930- 4936 Current Topics in Biology 1-3 credits
    Selected subjects from current developments in a variety of biological disciplines, such as kinesiology, public health, immunology and disease, medical genetics, environmental issues. 1-credit Journal Clubs are graded on a P/F basis.
    Prerequisites: BIOL 1012C and permission of the instructor.
  • 4947, 4948 Research Internship - Credits depend on number of hours devoted
    Research project at an approved laboratory in New York under the joint guidance of the head of the laboratory and a faculty member at Stern College for Women. Prerequisites: BIOL 1012C and permission of the instructor.

Biology Major

The Biology major offers three tracks: the General track; the Molecular and Cellular track; and the Neuroscience track. All three tracks require BIOL 1011C, 1012C (lecture and laboratory); CHEM 1045C, 1046C (lecture and laboratory); two courses chosen from MATH 1410 or 1412, MATH 1413, STAT 1021, and COMP 1001C or 1300C.

Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry/Medical Biochemistry, and Physics are strongly recommended.

The additional specific requirements for each track follow:

  1. General Track: 20-22 BIOL credits: 3207C, 3513C plus two additional 4-credit lecture/laboratory courses and either an additional 4­-credit lecture/lab­oratory course, or two lecture-only courses.  Biochemistry may count toward the required biology credits.
  2. Molecular and Cellular Track: 24 BIOL credits including four 4-credit lecture/lab courses with the following distribution: 3207C, 3513C, 3521C. The remaining 12 credits may be selected from: 2601, 3230C, 3230R, 3241, 3730, 3750, 3780, 4023C and CHEM 1376R-L.
  3. Neuroscience Track: 15-16 BIOL credits and 19 PSYC credits: BIOL 3830R, plus 12-13 BIOL credits chosen from 3207C, 3241, 3513C, 3728C, and either 3750 or 1376R. PSYC 1010, 2100C, 2150, 3804, 3810, and 3815. Some of the Psychology courses may also apply toward the General Education Requirements. See the Departmental Fact Sheet for details.

Biology Minor

BIOL 1011C, 1012C and 10-11 additional BIOL credits, at least 8 of which must be in advanced lecture/laboratory courses. Biochemistry may count toward the biology minor.

View major/minor fact sheets at the Academic Advisement Center webpage.

  • Anya Alayev
    Clinical Assistant Professor of Biology 
  • Harvey Babich
    Professor of Biology 
  • Karen Bacon
    Professor of Biology 
    The Mordecai  D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Bill Bassman
    Adjunct Instructor in Biology
  • John Golin
    Adjunct Professor of Biology
  • Amanda Katz
    Clinical Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Brenda Loewy
    Clinical Associate Professor of Biology 
    Director, Pre-health advisement
  • Jeffrey Mollin
    Senior Laboratory Instructional Specialist in Biology 
    Director, Pre-nursing, Pre-OT, Pre-PT, and Pre-PA
  • Jennifer Odien
    Adjunct Instructor of Biology
  • Tatyana Kievsky 
    Laboratory Instructional Specialist in Biology
  • Alyssa Schuck
    Clinical Associate Professor of Biology 
  • Margarita Vigodner
    Professor of Biology
  • Doris and Ira Kukin Chair in Biology
  • Raizy Weinreb
    Adjunct Instructor in Biology 
  • Richard Weiss
    Adjunct Instructor in Biology  

Faculty Grants (only, current grants are listed) 

Dr. Margarita Vigodner 
R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award  2019-2022
Cell-type specific inactivation of sumoylation during mouse spermatogenesis National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 1 R15 HD096759-01A1. Role: PI Direct cost $300,000 | Indirect cost $150,000 
Appelbaum grant for lab equipment 2019:  $25,000  
Involves many undergraduate research interns   

Dr. Anya Alayev
Ongoing research support: NIH Grant Number 1 R15 CA220021-01 
Research area: Targeting Estrogen Related Receptor alpha in triple negative breast cancer 
Involves many undergraduate research interns   

Faculty Publications (2012-2021, only) 

Vigodner, M., Lucas, B., Kemeny, S., Schwartz, T., and Levy, R. 2020, Identification of  sumoylated targets in proliferating mouse spermatogonia and human testicular seminomas. Asian J. Urol., Mar 27.[Epub ahead of print].    

Cuesta, R., Berman, A.Y., Alayev, A., and Holz MK., 2019, Estrogen receptor α promotes protein synthesis by fine-tuning the expression of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 subunit f (eIF3f). J Biol Chem. 294::2267-2278.  

Schafler. E.D., Thomas, P.A., Ha, S., Wang, Y., Bermudez-Hernandez, K., Tang, Z., Fenyö. D.,   Vigodner, M., and Logan, S.K., 2018, UXT is required for spermatogenesis in mice. PLoS  One. 13::e0195747.

Bostner, J., Alayev, A., Berman, A.Y., Fornander, T., Nordenskjöld, B., Holz, M.K. and  Stål, O. 2018, Raptor localization and estrogen-dependent breast cancer growth. Breast  Cancer Res. Treat. 168:17-27. 

Alayev, A., Salamon, R.S., Schwartz, N.S., Berman, A.Y., Wiener, S.L., Holz, and  M.K., 2017, Combination of rapamycin and resveratrol for treatment of bladder cancer.    J. Cell Physiol. 232:436-446.  

Xiao, Y., Lucas, B., Molcho, E., and Vigodner, M., 2017, Cross-talk between  sumolyation and phosphorylation in mouse spermatocytes, Biochem. Biophys. Res.  Comm. 487:640-645. 

Alayev, A., Salamon, R.S., Schwartz, N.S, Berman, A.Y., Wiener, S.L., and Holz, M.K., 2017, Combination of rapamycin and resveratrol for treatment of bladder cancer.  J. Cell Physiol., 232:436-446. 

Xiao, Y., Pollack, D., Andrusier, M., Levy, A., Callaway, M., Nieves, E., and Vigodner M., 2016, Identification of cell specific targets of sumoylation during mouse spermatogenesis, Reproduction, 151:149-166. 

Alayev, A., Salamon, R.S., Berger, S.M., Schwartz, N.S., Cuesta, R., Snyder, R.B., Holz, M.K., 2016,  mTORC1 directly phosphorylates and activates ERRα upon estrogen stimulation, Oncogene 35:3535-3543.  

Alayev, A., Salamon, R.S., Manna, S., Schwartz, N.S., Berman, A.Y., and Holz, M.K., 2016, Estrogen induces RAD51C expression and localization to sites of DNA damage. Cell Cycle 15:3230-3239.  

Alayev, A., Salamon, R.S., Sun, Y., Schwartz, N.S, Yu, J.J, and Holz, M.K., 2015, The combination of rapamycin and resveratrol causes apoptosis and reduces .growth of   TSC2-deficient xenograft tumors, Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol., Apr 6 {Epub ahead of print].     

Alayev, A., Doubleday, P.F., Berger, S.M., Ballif, B.A., and Holz, M.K., 2014, Phosphoproteomics reveals resveratrol-dependent inhibition of Akt/mTORC1/S6K1 signaling, J. Proteome  Res. 13:5734-5742. 

Xiao, Y., Pollack, D., Nieves, E., Winchell, A., Callaway, M., and Vigodner, M., 2015,  Can your protein be sumoylated? A quick summary and important tips to study SUMO- modified proteins. Anal. Biochem., 77:95-97.

Alayev, A., Sun, Y., Snyder, R.B., Berger, S.M., Yu, L.J., and Holz, M.K., 2014, Resveratrol prevents rapamycin-induced upregulation of autophagy and selectively induces apoptosis in TSC-2 deficient cells, Cell Cycle, 13: 371-382.

Shrivastava, V., Marmor, H., Chernyak, S., Goldstein, M., Feliciano, M., and Vigodner,M., 2014, Cigarette smoke affects posttranslational modifications and inhibits capacitation-induced changes in human sperm proteins, Reprod. Toxicol. 43:125-129.  

Vigodner, M., Shrivastava, V., Gutstein, L.E., Schneider, J., Nieves, E., Goldstein, M., Feliciano, M., and Callaway, M., 2013, Localization and identification of sumoylated proteins in human sperm; excessive sumoylation as a marker of defective spermatozoa, Human Reprod. 28: 210-223. 

Schuck, A.G., Weisburg, J.H., Greenbaum, R.E., Golfeiz, M.D., Segal, J.R., Weiss, R.A., Liebman, E.C.,  Zuckerbraun, H.L., Babich, H., 2013, Selective cytotoxicity of a grape seed proanthocyanidin extract to human oral carcinoma HSC-2 cells, Cell Develop. Biol. 2:121-128. 

Schuck, A.G., Weisburg, J.H., Esan, H., Robin, E.F., Bersson, A.R., Weitschner, J.R., Lahasky, T., Zuckerbraun, H.L., and Babich, H., 2013, Cytotoxic and proapoptotic activities of gallic acid, an inducer of oxidative stress, to human oral cancer HSC-2  cells, Oxid. Antioxid. Med. Sci. 2:225-229. 

Weisburg, J.H., Schuck, A.G., Reiss, S.E., Wolf, B.J., Fertel, S.R., Zuckerbraun, H.L. and Babich., H., 2013, Ellagic acid: A dietary polyphenol, selectively cytotoxic to HSC-2 oral carcinoma cells, Anticancer Res. 33:1829-1836.

Babich, H., Ickow, I.M., Weisburg, J.H., Zuckerbraun, H.L., and Schuck, A.G., 2012, Cranberry juice extract, a mild prooxidant with cytotoxic properties independent of reactive oxygen species, Phytother. Res. 26:1358-1365. 

Torah U’Mada Presentations (2020, only)

Rabbi Dr. Richard Weiss 

Misconceptions and Reality: What Future Physicians Need To Know About Beginning of Life Care; Second Annual Interfaith Panel; NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, January 29, 2020.  

Change of Care from Curative to Palliative and Comfort Care; 2nd Annual Dr. Leonard Schwartzbaum Geriatric Symposium, Chabad of Sarasota, Florida; February 16, 2020.  

Patient Autonomy vs. Physician Autonomy in Assisted Reproductive Technology;13th Annual YU Student Medical Ethics Society Conference; Panel Presentation; Yeshiva University; February 23, 2020.  

Fertility and Contraception in Halacha; Problems in Jewish Law and Medicine; Lander College for Men; March 4, 2020.  

  1. On-campus research opportunities in the laboratories of Dr. Vigodner, Dr. Alayev and Dr. Schuck
  2. Bar Ilan University-YU Summer Undergradaute Research Internship
  3. Stern-Einstein Research Connection (SERC)
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