The Biological Sciences at UC San Diego - Where Discovery Comes to Life

Our Mission

Our mission is to advance knowledge of basic biological sciences and apply our research discoveries in ways that improve human health, protect our environment and enrich our economy. We strive to fulfill our mission every day by:

  • educating and preparing a diverse population of students into the scientists, physicians, medical researchers and educators of the future,
  • making a concerted effort to help our undergraduate students graduate in four years or less, and by
  • increasing public understanding of biology and encouraging scientific discovery among K-12 teachers and schoolchildren.

Welcome to the web site of the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences. In fewer than 5 decades, the Division of Biological Sciences and UC San Diego have both achieved a well deserved reputation for academic and scientific excellence, innovation, and achievement which rivals that of older, more established institutions of higher learning.

Today, the division is a vibrant center of scientific discovery and an agent of change. A key to our success has been our ability to recruit dynamic, award-winning faculty at both the senior and junior levels, thus ensuring that our nationally ranked research and educational programs will continue to grow in excellence with an infusion of new ideas and new energy.

The division's teams of researchers are making breakthroughs that hold promise for solving some of the most perplexing and urgent issues of our time, from curing cancer and diabetes to removing toxic waste from the environment, from protecting the world's food supply to exploring the diseases of aging and the brain, from creating sustainable biofuels to maintaining the planet's biodiversity. The division is poised to play an even greater role in defining global research initiatives in the areas of health, the economy, and the environment through large-scale interdisciplinary collaborations with our colleagues in other schools and divisions at UCSD as well as the many research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa, including the Salk Institute of Biological Studies, with which we have a joint graduate program, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, and The Scripps Research Institute, to name only a few.

The division's stellar faculty and research programs attract the best and brightest students, who want to learn from researchers working at the cutting edge of their respective fields. In addition, every day nearly 29,000 people are at work in the biosciences on the Mesa, and UC San Diego is at the heart of it all. This concentration of many of the best scientific minds in the world creates truly invaluable learning opportunities for our students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, providing a scientific breadth and diversity that is tremendously beneficial to their education.

Our educational mission, however, extends to developing the complete person, not just the young scientist. We provide opportunities for our students to learn skills outside of the classroom and laboratory that will prepare them to succeed no matter what career path they choose to follow, skills in team leadership, team building, and communication. During their time with us, we also encourage our students to take advantage of the many opportunities provided by the division, the university, and other organizations on and off campus for them to obtain a well balanced educational experience.

Biology is the study of all living things. Understanding biology helps us to understand how we can be healthier, how we can be better stewards of our environment, and how we can apply biology to increasing our economic stability and security. It is our responsibility to communicate this vision to the public so that the people whose lives will be affected by our discoveries will understand and support our research and educational missions. They need to believe that they too have a stake in the role the biological sciences will increasing play in transforming our lives and our environment, and in fact "saving our world". The future for biology is a bright one, full of great promise for making a significant difference in the quality of life on a global scale.

Bill McGinnis