Department of Biological Sciences


Welcome to the Department of Biological Sciences

Biological sciences delve into the world of living organisms — from microbes, to human beings, to entire ecosystems. It is the science of life on, under and above earth.


The Department of Biological Sciences provides you with hands-on learning, moving you beyond textbooks and lectures to engaging research projects. Biology is a research-intensive science that can lead to a wide range of study areas, like environmental work, medicine, microbiology or agriculture. Exploring the nature of life leads biologists out into the world where they study how organisms interact with their environment, how they function and how they evolved over time.

Department Highlights

Study into the effects of medical cannabis cultivars on COVID-19 virus advances to clinical study stage

After receiving international attention, two University of Lethbridge studies that explored the potential for certain cannabis extracts to be used as additional therapies to combat COVID-19 have undergone peer review and have now been published in Aging, a top, open-access, bio-medical journal.

The studies by Drs. Igor and Olga Kovalchuk, both U of L biology professors, were conducted in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. They investigated the ways specific Cannabis sativa extracts could be used as adjunct treatments for COVID-19. With the need to get relevant research out as quickly as possible to help combat the pandemic, their findings were originally released as preprints. The studies, In search of preventive strategies and Fighting the storm  found that certain cannabis extracts, including those high in cannabidiol (CBD), help prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering cells and help ward off cytokine storms that can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome. High-CBD cannabis extracts are not psychoactive.

Master of Science in Biological Sciences (Sustainable Agriculture)

Agriculture has become one of the most important applications of scientific knowledge. The challenge of feeding a planet while sustaining the health of the environment and agricultural workers requires expertise in biological science.

The University of Lethbridge, with financial support from the McCain Foundation, is funding research for students in a Master of Science program majoring in Biological Sciences (focusing on Sustainable Agriculture). Successful applicants will have a BSc degree, or equivalent, and meet all the admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies. All qualified applicants will be considered for one of six McCain Biology Sustainable Agriculture MSc Awards valued at $20,000/year for two years.  Additional financial support may be available. Thesis research projects related to water, plants, climate change, natural products, microbiology, toxicology, and genetics are central to Sustainable Agriculture and can be supervised by professors with relevant expertise in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Melissa Telfer

Melissa Telfer Discovers a Passion for Plants Thanks to Co-op

"The fact that I was able to participate in and contribute to applied research that has implications for public health, food security and agricultural sustainability resulting in three authorships and a fourth in peer review is amazing. I didn't think that was where I would end up when I started my university journey over five years ago."

Mature students must strike a delicate balance between university life and family obligations. Fifth-year biological sciences student and avid researcher Melissa Telfer dared to walk this path. During her co-op work terms, she participated in and contributed to applied research.

Allison Farfus (BSc '17) is a Rural Resident Doctor with a Passion for Patients’ Stories

Dr. Allison Farfus (BSc '17) completed her U of L biological sciences degree in 2017 as the Faculty of Arts and Science Gold Medal Recipient. Now, as a resident doctor in rural family medicine through …

Read more

With Empathy, Diligence & Drive, Three Alumni Follow their Passion to Medical School

Leah Brummelhuis (BSc '17), Darren Van Essen (BSc '20) and Chad Beck (BSc '20) are three alumni with an inspiring story. While these medical students are very different, they share a sense of …

Read more

Research Internship Concentration - Darren Van Essen (BSc '20)

"I'm currently in med school at the University of Calgary. The RIC definitely contributed to my application to med school by fostering strong independent learning skills and founding a definite interest in research …

Read more

Career Bridge: Centre for Work-Integrated Learning and Career Development

Career Bridge


Put Your Knowledge to Work 

Whether you’re looking for a more in-depth learning experience by assisting with research projects on campus or by testing your knowledge in a real-life work setting, we can help! The University of Lethbridge is proud to offer you an exceptional opportunity to explore professional development through academic programs and services designed to give you a competitive edge in a fast-changing world.

You have a bright future — experience it via Career Bridge at uLethbridge!

Learn More

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest news, notices and events!

Instagram Facebook  Twitter