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Biological Sciences

Welcome to the Department of Biological Sciences at ETSU!  We currently have 18 full-time faculty and two lecturers offering courses that help prepare our graduates for careers in the health sciences, natural resource conservation, industry, and academia. Our graduate program is very active and includes a Master of Science research degree and a Ph.D. program in Biomedical Sciences. One of the strengths of our department is the involvement of undergraduate students in research, with faculty members enthusiastically accepting undergraduates as contributing members of their research teams. We firmly believe that the best way to learn biology is to do it! - Joe Bidwell, Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences

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Featured Faculty


Dr. Istvan (Steve) Karsai

Modeling complex biological systems. Self-organization and emergent properties of bio-logical systems. Biostatictics and statistical models.

Ph.D.,   Kossuth Lajos University (Hungary), 1997  



My main research is concerned with several levels of organization, from individuals of colonies to populations of colonies. Insect societies offer examples of biological systems in which the component parts (individuals) seem to be fairly simple, and there isn't any hierarchical control among the individuals. The whole colony performs complex, integrated behavior via self-organization processes. I would like to understand how colony organization emerges from simple behavioral rules and how colonies adjust effort to solve colony level tasks. These processes of task allocation require individual insects to make individual decisions based only on local information. The emergence of complex patterns from the interactions of the agents is an exciting and "hot" field in current science, and this interests me far beyond the scope of the problems related to insect societies. More research interest are here:    faculty.etsu.edu/karsai/publications.html