Royt Named Biology Chair

Posted: May 8, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Lynn Burke

Associate professor Paulette Royt becomes chair of the Biology Department after serving as its interim chair. The Biology Department, with 15 tenure-line faculty, 4 restricted faculty, and many part-time instructors and graduate students who also teach, provides courses to about 800 undergraduate majors and about 30 master’s degree students. And as if that were not enough, some recent changes in the department will have Royt focusing on other challenges.

“Now that the Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy has broken off from the Biology Department, the department has the challenge of building its graduate programs in other areas,” says Royt. “Within our M.S. in Biology, we will begin concentrations in microbiology, molecular biology, and systematics and evolutionary biology. Also, the department has just approved an accelerated five-year B.S./M.S. program in microbiology and molecular biology.”

Royt says the department also looks forward to contributing to the proposed Ph.D. in Bioscience, a program that will be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, concentrations in functional genomics, and systematics and evolutionary biology will be housed in the department, as will a major part of the concentration in astrobiology. To make all of this work, Royt plans to strengthen outside affiliations with such institutions as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Type Culture Collection, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Institute for Genomic Research. At the undergraduate level, the department will strengthen its laboratory offerings to students by setting up a fully equipped, dedicated molecular biology teaching laboratory.

Royt, who has been at George Mason for 24 years, earned her B.S. and M.S. from American University and her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Maryland. Before coming to George Mason, she had a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health for two years, working in the Laboratory of Biochemistry of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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