Welcome to Department of Biology

The Biology Department at High Point University emphasizes one-on-one interactions between students and faculty, and helping students gain a strong foundation in basic biology. With a strong foundation students will have the training necessary to pursue if they so desire a wide range of options after graduation including graduate, medical, or veterinarian school, and the private or public sector in a biology related profession. Our program and our approach to working with students helps them gain the knowledge and first hand experience necessary to set and fulfill their long-term goals. The Department has six faculty members each with a strong and active interest in biology and a strong interest in science education at the undergraduate level. The vast majority of courses offered by the Department include a laboratory component which is taught by the same instructor that teaches the lecture. Lecture class size for the major ranges from 6 to 54 and our laboratory sections typically range from 6 to 18. Engagement in original research is a hallmark of a high quality undergraduate education in biology and we strongly encourage students to pursue independent research under our guidance or by participation in a summer research internship which we actively assist students in obtaining.

We currently have approximately 190 majors and we offer both a B.S. and a B.A. in Biology. Our expectations for our majors are high. They need to realize Biology is a rigorous major that requires not only knowledge of biology but a strong foundation in chemistry, mathematics, and writing. If they are willing to listen to our advice and put in the time and hard work, they will succeed.

Some high points of the Biology Program at HPU:

  • A motivated and engaged biology faculty
  • Lecture and laboratory taught by the same instructor
  • Declaration of major during the freshman year enables students and their advisor to assess strengths and weaknesses in terms of course schedules, course selection and career objectives
  • A four semester core curriculum that provides students with a solid foundation in all areas of basic biology and allows them to make informed decisions with regard to areas of more specialized study.
  • Opportunity to pursue independent original research
Mission Statement:
Within the framework of the liberal arts environment of High Point University, the biology department seeks to involve students in the laboratory experience and encourage students to explore the natural world. The biology department works with the students so that they attain literacy in the vocabulary of science and gain familiarity with the concepts that define our perceptions of the natural world. The biology department will guide students in the use of the scientific method as a means of problem solving, thereby encouraging critical thinking and scholarship as an enhancement to the wonder of nature. The biology department provides a program of study and experience for the interested student that will train them in the skills, concepts and content of the biological sciences. For the biology major, it is expected that in-depth laboratory experience and original research with faculty or participation in a summer research internship should facilitate the growth of students into mature individuals capable of entering and succeeding in graduate school, professional school, or careers in science. The biology department seeks to interact with the greater community by exploring scientific questions in original research and by sharing the results of faculty and student research with the community of scientists and with others in the general community.
For Biology Majors, the Department attempts:
  1. to provide courses that will introduce students to the logic and knowledge base of biological sciences so that they will have a foundation that will allow them to continue to learn and understand the impact of science on their individual and corporate lives in today's world
  2. to provide the necessary prerequisite courses in biology so that students can study some aspects of biology in greater depth by selecting, with the help of an advisor, a group of courses which are of interest to the student and will help meet his/her pre-professional curriculum or occupational goals
  3. to provide opportunities to participate in research (laboratory, field, or library) under the mentorship of a biology faculty
  4. to provide a sequence of courses that will prepare students to teach biology in middle and secondary schools
  5. to provide advising for students to majoring in biology
  • Dr. Dinene Crater -
    PhD Biology, Wake Forest University, BS Biology, Wingate University
    Department Chair, Associate Professor of Biology

    Research Interests: DNA/protein interactions that regulate transcriptional activation during sporulation in Bacillus subtilis, Biotechnology
  • Dr. Joshua Campbell -
    PhD Entomology, University of Georgia, MS Geology, University of Nebraska, BS Zoology and Geology, Auburn University
    Associate Professor of Biology

    Research Interests: Insect Pollination, Cave Invertebrates, Anthropogenic Effects on Ecosystems
  • Dr. Vernon Coffield -
    PhD Genetics and Molecular Biology, UNC Chapel Hill, BS Biology, UNC CHapel Hill
    Associate Professor of Biology

    Research Interests: Hematopoietic stem cell biology and immune system development, Virus and host cell interactions
  • Dr. Sandra Cooke -
    PhD Earth and Environmental Science, Lehigh University, BS Zoology and Environmental Studies, Ohio Wesleyan University
    Associate Professor of Biology

    Research Interests: Zooplankton ecology, Effects of UV radiation and other stressors on aquatic organisms and food webs, Ecological effects of aquatic invasive species
  • Dr. Nicole Hughes -
    PhD Biology, Wake Forest University, MS Biology, Appalachian State University, BS Biology and Education, Stetson University
    Associate Professor of Biology

    Research Interests: Biochemical and physiological adaptations of plants to stressful environments, Anthocyanins, Climate change
  • Dr. Kelli Sapp -
    PhD Biology, University of New Mexico, MS Biology, Wake Forest University, BS Biology, Methodist College
    Associate Professor of Biology

    Research Interests: Ecological and immunological factors that dictate host-parasite interactions, specifically molluscan hosts and their digenetic trematodes
  • Dr. Charles Smith -
    PhD Biology, UNC Chapel Hill, MS Biology, University of Kentucky, BS Zoology, University of Kentucky
    Associate Professor of Biology

    Research Interests: Vertebrate ecology and conservation biology, Population dynamics of pond-breeding amphibians
  • Dr. Gerald Smith -
    PhD Biology, University of Georgia, MS Biology, Wake Forest University, BS Biology, Wake Forest University
    Professor of Biology

    Research Interests: Plant systematics emphasizing genetic and evolutionary relationships among selected plant taxa; floristics