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Welcome to the Department of Biological Sciences

A major part of the launch of the College of Sciences on July 1, 2013, was the birth of NC State’s new Department of Biological Sciences. The new department was formed by many of the people and programs from the university’s existing departments of Biology, Microbiology, Genetics, and Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.

Check out the new department’s Website at

Why one Department of Biological Sciences?

After an intensive analysis of some of the top universities in the country – as well as discussions with national science thought leaders in government and industry – NC State and its consulting partner, the Art & Science Group, determined that it would be best to blend traditional departments and interdisciplinary units. Hence, there is one Department of Biological Sciences comprised of active and evolving “interdisciplinary units” that will take the form of graduate programs and research clusters. This structure allows the department to organize initially for maximum flexibility and to commit to continuous evaluation.

Who will lead the department?

After many discussions with both internal and external stakeholders of our biological sciences programs, it has become very clear that we should conduct a national search for our first permanent head of the Department of Biological Sciences. This search will begin immediately and will be chaired by Dr. Trudy F. Mackay, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished University Professor of Genetics and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Trudy brings a keen intellect and strong communication skills to this search, and her standing in the national and international science communities will elevate its visibility.

Dr. Christopher R. Gould has agreed to serve as interim department head. Chris was a longtime and effective head in the Department of Physics with its large teaching and research programs. Since 2005 Chris has served admirably as PAMS associate dean for administration. He has extensive knowledge of the financial, space, personnel and other issues related to the creation of the new college and will provide the department with a talented and well-informed champion until a permanent leader is identified.

Joining Dr. Gould on the department’s interim leadership team will be Dr. James W. Brown. Jim, who currently serves as associate professor and director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Microbiology, will serve as interim associate department head.

What’s next?

An early task will be to identify faculty leadership for the campus-wide interdisciplinary structures for research and graduate education in the areas that emerge in the strategic positioning of the college. These decisions have been guided by the recommendations of our partners at the Art & Science Group.

We hope to report additional information soon. For more information in the meantime, please visit the department’s new Website at or email

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