College of Arts & Sciences
- Science Division
- Kirkbride Hall, Room 321
- tel: 610-499-4002
Dr. Itzick Vatnick
- Chair of Biology Department
- Kirkbride Hall, Room 404
- tel: 610-499-4245
Specialized teaching laboratories for several specific biological disciplines allow students to experience how professionals work in the field. Widener allows students to use this state-of-the-art equipment to enhance their educational experience and prepare them for careers after college. The biology department also works in a number of global field sites in Costa Rica, Honduras, and Peru.
On-Campus Facilities and Local Field Sites
Fluorescence Microscopy Suite
Upper-level courses as well as research students use our fluorescence microscopy suite for a variety of projects, such as following neurons in development. The microscope is used for cutting-edge research in biomedical engineering, biology, and medical and pharmaceutical sciences. Its fluorescent imaging component makes our microscope ideal for studying the interaction of fluorescence protein molecules in living cells and tissues and other live cell imaging experiments.
Urban, Suburban and Rural Field Sites
Because of Widener’s unique position relative to Philadelphia and its suburbs, our students do not need to travel far to conduct novel field research. For example Taylor Arboretum, Houston Park, and Ridley State Park are located within a few miles from campus and are commonly used for fieldwork in our introductory courses. View the Taylor Arboretum Flickr gallery.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory
The GIS lab allows students to chart and analyze large amounts of data within a single database according to a specific location. Students can build maps, create scenarios, and visualize ideas with powerful solutions.
The Metabolic Physiology Laboratory helps students explore puzzling environmental and biological questions by examining energy usage in animals. For instance, do fish benefit energetically by swimming in schools?
Global Field Sites
The biology department offers courses that take place in Costa Rica where students and faculty travel to Las Lajas, a shade-grown coffee plantation located in the Central Valley close to Volcano Poás. Coffee grown there is purchased and roasted and made into a special brew for Widener called WUBrew.
Biology students can also travel to Honduras to learn alongside their peers at a local university called Escuela Agrícola Panamericana El Zamorano. During this trip, biology majors can meet students from all over Latin America and engage in a variety of ecological and cultural immersion activities. Students also conduct research at the Uyuca Biosphere Reserve, Zamorano’s unique cloud forest.
The laboratory for the biology department’s Tropical Ecology course is held at the ACTS Field Station in Iquitos, Peru. This station is located on a tributary of the Amazon River in a remote reserve of primary rainforest that has one of the world’s longest canopies.