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Department of Biological and Environmental Science :: Welcome

Welcome to the Department of Biological and Environmental Science

The Department of Biological and Environmental Science offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduate programs encompass biological sciences, environmental sciences, wildlife conservation science and teacher certification. Our graduate studies include Master of Science degree in biology, certificates in environmental science and a fully online Master of Science degree in biological sciences. If you’re intrigued by the inner workings of the world around you, take a deeper look into our programs.

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Environmental science studens working in field

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences :: Welcome from the Department Head

Man taking sample from dish.

Welcome from the Department Head

Welcome to the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The department offers a dynamic learning environment, exciting cutting-edge research opportunities and strong mentorship by world-class scientists. Our undergraduate and graduate programs in cell and molecular biology, conservation biology, ecology, environmental science and biology education are all designed to train and educate students to meet the challenges of modern sciences. We invite you to explore our exceptional education and research opportunities.

Signature of Dong W. Choi
Dr. DongWon Choi
Department Head and Associate Professor
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Department of Biological and Environmental Science :: Explore Our Programs

Explore Our Programs

DNA structure

Biological Sciences (BA/BS)

The BA or BS degree provides a comprehensive overview of biological sciences, working from the molecular level up through ecosystems. The programs are suited for you if you are interested in the biological sciences, a career in biological research or applying for candidacy in medicine, dentistry, physical therapy or other allied health sciences fields.

Where It Is Offered Commerce
Duration

4 years

Foreign Language

Required for BA, not BS

Delivery Face-To-Face
Total Credit Hours

120 hours

Thesis Requirements

No thesis required

COSE-BS-Biological_Science_TeachingEmphasis

Biological Sciences (BS) Teaching Emphasis

There is a growing need for science teachers in high school. A degree in biology along with a teacher certification will allow you to combine your interest and passion for biology with influencing and shaping the lives of the next generation.

Where It Is Offered Commerce
Duration

4 years

Foreign Language

No foreign language credits required

Delivery Face-To-Face
Total Credit Hours

120 hours

Thesis Requirements

No thesis required

DNA Structure

Biological Sciences (MS)

If you are interested in furthering your studies in biological sciences, this program will enable you to work closely with faculty members with similar research interests. Faculty research interests within the department include behavioral ecology, environmental science, microbiology, neuroscience, molecular, cellular and developmental biology, as well as wildlife ecology and conservation.

Where It Is Offered Commerce, Online
Duration

2-3 years

Foreign Language

No foreign language credits required

Delivery Face-To-Face, Online
Total Credit Hours

Non-thesis 36, Thesis 30

Thesis Requirements

Thesis and non-thesis options available

COSE-BS-Environmental_Science_1

Environmental Science (BS)

If you are interested in the growing field of environmental science, this degree is for you. As a graduate you will be able to work for private environmental companies, corporations or federal, state, county or civic governments in positions that will impact air quality, water quality, hazard mitigation and other environmental challenges. Career fields include, but are not limited to, pollution remediation, environmental impact assessment, regulation enforcement and research.

Where It Is Offered Commerce, Corsicana (Navarro College), Online
Duration

4 years

Foreign Language

No foreign language credits required

Delivery Combination, Face-To-Face, Online
Total Credit Hours

120 hours

Thesis Requirements

No thesis required

COSE-BS-Environmental_Science_1

Environmental Sciences Graduate Certificate

Our fully online, thirteen hour program prepares you for careers in conservation and sustainability. You will be able to work for private environmental companies, corporations or federal, state, county or civic governments in positions that will impact air quality, water quality, hazard mitigation and other environmental challenges. Career fields include, but are not limited to, pollution remediation, environmental impact assessment, regulation enforcement and research.

Where It Is Offered Commerce, Online
Duration

1-2 years

Foreign Language

No foreign language credits required

Delivery 100% Online
Total Credit Hours

13 hours

Thesis Requirements

No thesis required

CASNR-COSE-BS-Wildlife_and_Conservation_Science

Wildlife & Conservation Science (BS)

This program is designed for students interested in wildlife management, ecology or the preservation of biodiversity. Through hands-on research at our university wetland, practical exercises, field trips, internships and personal instruction in the classroom, you will gain marketable expertise in soils, ecology, botany and zoology. Upon completion of this program you can pursue careers as wildlife ecologists, game managers, state and federal wildlife biologists, state and federal park rangers, nature preserve and interpretive specialists, and zoo-keepers.

Where It Is Offered Commerce
Duration

4 years

Foreign Language

No foreign language credits required

Delivery Face-To-Face
Total Credit Hours

120-123 hours

Thesis Requirements

No thesis required

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Department of Biological and Environmental Science :: Our Facilities

Our Facilities

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Department of Biological and Environmental Science :: Featured News

News Spotlights

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Department of Biological and Environmental Science :: Student Organizations and Involvement Copy

Student Organizations

Beta Beta Beta

Our Delta Gamma chapter participates in a variety of social functions and charity work pertaining to biological and health sciences. This organization is for students who major in biological sciences, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and have completed a minimum of three courses in biology (associate members are those who have not taken three biology courses but fulfill the other two membership requirements).

Beta Beta Beta Logo
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Department of Biological and Environmental Science :: Student Support

STUDENT SUPPORT

BioPride

BioPride is a one-week program that introduces biology coursework to freshman students before the first week of classes. This program helps you transition from the high school classroom to the university setting. You’ll gain insight into the discipline by attending lectures and learning laboratory techniques.

JAMP

Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP) is a special program created by the Texas Legislature to support and encourage highly qualified, economically disadvantaged Texas resident students pursuing a medical education. It is funded through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

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Department of Biological and Environmental Science :: Scholarships

SCHOLARSHIPS

As a biological and environmental studies student, you have access to a wide range of scholarships specific to your degree.

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Biological and Environmental Science :: RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS AND GRANTS

Our Research

Our biological and environmental science faculty are excited to develop your knowledge and skills through research. Opportunities are available for both undergraduate and graduate students. We encourage you to discuss any research interests with your professors.

Regulation of Microbial Nucleic Acid Metabolism

The basic area of my research program has focused on examining the regulation of nucleic acid metabolism from an evolutionary perspective. My laboratory has been investigating the control of pyrimidine biosynthesis in pseudomonads relative to their evolving taxonomy. Pyrimidine biosynthesis is essential to prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells as it provides the substrates (UTP, CTP, dCTP and dTTP) necessary for the synthesis of RNA and DNA. There are six de novo pyrimidine biosynthetic enzymes in this pathway as can be seen below. The enzyme aspartate transcarbamoylase is the first one solely unique to this biosynthetic pathway. It has undergone much scrutiny at the level of enzyme activity since it is regulated by feedback inhibition by pyrimidine nucleotides in numerous species. My laboratory has shown that the regulation of this enzyme does differ according to the DNA homology group to which the species has been assigned. Moreover, my laboratory has demonstrated that regulation of pyrimidine biosynthetic enzyme synthesis in species of Pseudomonas is regulated by pyrimidines which changed the view that pyrimidine biosynthesis was not regulated in pseudomonads. My laboratory has also investigated the regulation of the enzyme aspartate transcarbamoylase in pseudomonads. The regulation of aspartate transcarbamoylase in pseudomonads is different than what has been observed for the Escherichia coli enzyme. It is the goal of this REU project to allow a student to learn how to process cells, prepare cells for assaying and assay the de novo pyrimidine biosynthetic enzymes. This will allow a student to understand the basic principles of biochemistry as it relates to enzymes.

Carbamoyl phosphate + L-Aspartate

pyrB

Carbamoyl aspartate

pyrC

Dihydroorotic acid

pyrD

Orotic acid + PRPP

pyrE

OMP

pyrF

UMP

Abstract Analysis and Applications

Research is focused in three major areas of abstract analysis and applications: geometric analysis, complex analysis and qualitative analysis of differential equations. In addition to seeking applications in biology, finance and economics, this research deepens the understanding of mathematics, enriches the curricula of undergraduate and graduate programs, and provides research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

Simulation-Based Optimization with Artificial Intelligence

Simulation-based operations management deals with real-world issues involving complex socio-cyber-physical systems through representing real human behaviors, especially reasoning and decision-making processes, via artificial intelligence (AI) and agent-based modeling and simulation (ABMS). Various studies have been conducted with ABMS involving data-driven dynamic decision modeling, including traffic control for a large-scale transportation network, real-time manufacturing scheduling for energy cost reduction and simulation-based bio-fuel supply chain management.

Biochemical Metabolism

Our biochemical research examines how pyrimidine metabolism is regulated. Researchers at A&M-Commerce look closer at metal ions and their role in binding peptides that could cause human metabolic disorders. Grants from the National Science Foundation Research in Undergraduate Institutions allow for this research to happen.

Catalysis

Catalysis research improves the efficiency of industrial chemical and biochemical processes by reducing industrial production costs and introducing green chemistry approaches. Researchers at A&M-Commerce study different aspects of catalysis including: surface chemistry, the role of metal ions in binding peptides, ionic liquids and transition metals as catalysts, porphyrins with recognition properties, and bio-based catalysis.

Freshwater Turtles’ Spatial Use of Managed and Unmanaged Wetlands in Northeast Texas

Freshwater ecosystems have been altered significantly through dams, excavated channels, filled wetlands and levees. The freshwater turtle species found in these altered environments are being studied to determine the type of habitats they are selecting based upon water flow, aquatic vegetation and physical structure. This work will provide insights into microhabitat selected by different species of turtles, including if there is a difference in the habitat selected by age, gender and seasonal movements.

Herpetological Communities within Constructed Wetland Complexes: Does Size Matter?

Wetlands are critical habitats for a wide variety of endogenous animals. In Texas, approximately 52% of the precolonial wetlands have been destroyed. In response, conservation agencies have made efforts to construct wetlands. However, due to the fact that over 95% of Texas is privately owned, large parcels of land with the potential to be reconstructed into wetlands are rare. Smaller plots of land may be more available to reconstruct into wetlands, but little is known about the communities they can support in comparison to larger artificial wetlands. The herpetofauna community at large and small artificial wetlands in terms of abundance, diversity, and equitability are being studied.

Using Plants to Remove Heavy Metal Contamination

Soil, water, and air, which are basic elements of the environment, are being contaminated by many pollutants. The use of selected plants to remove pollutants, phytoremediation technology, is being investigated. One example is using a common reed, Phragmites Australis, to remove heavy metals Barium and Strontium from hydraulic fracking flow backwater.

Smoking, Abnormal Fetal Development, and Treatments

Use of addictive substances such as cigarette smoking remains a persistent health problem in the United States and abroad. Approximately 11% of pregnant women reported smoking during pregnancy, which can lead to developmental issues in children. The adverse effects of cigarette smoke exposure in offspring is being studied by analyzing behavioral changes caused by cellular and physiological alterations in the brain. These studies are expected to provide unconventional and more effective treatment options for behavioral problems and learning disabilities in children.

Heart/Cardiovascular Regeneration

Biomedical regenerative research to establish heart muscle regeneration involving the use of a recently-discovered ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecule, which has the ability to convert pluripotent stem cells into definitive cardiac muscle in tissue culture. The long-term goal is to develop the ability to rescue and repair damaged heart muscle.

Control of Fear via Kisspeptin

Research focused on the role of kisspeptin, a newly discovered brain hormone/neurotransmitter, in the control of fear responses in zebrafish is likely to provide new information relevant to the mechanisms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a highly debilitating psychiatric disorder for which no experimental model is currently available.

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Arming Immune System to Fight Breast Cancer

The North East Texas region, including Hunt County, is a hot spot for breast cancer incidence, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among American women. The introduction of antiestrogen and anti-HER2 therapies has improved the clinical outcomes of breast cancer patients. However, in over half of these patients, cancer will recur and metastasize. A novel strategy is being pursued to restore the ability of the immune system to detect and eliminate cancer cells. Four critical genes have been identified that help cancer cells evade the immune system. Inhibition of these immune evading genes is expected to be more efficient in eliminating cancer cells than therapies currently available.

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Department of Biological and Environmental Science :: Meet our Faculty and Staff

Meet our Department

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Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences :: We are Here to Help!

We are here to help!

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Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences :: Contact

Contact Us

  • Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences
  • 903.886.5378
  • P.O. Box 3011
  • Commerce, TX 75429-3011
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START YOUR JOURNEY!

START YOUR JOURNEY!

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