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Ever had an interest sea life, oceans, or ecosystems? We have the minor for you! The College of Biological Sciences has recently created a minor for Marine Biology. This new Marine Biology minor highlights the concepts of oceanography, sustainable use, and marine ecology using an intercollegiate curriculum.

What is unique about this minor is that the coursework is not restricted to the classroom or laboratory, but greatly emphasizes field trips, study abroad experiences, and internship opportunities in order to foster learning. Upon completion of this minor, students will have acquired the skills and knowledge "that will enrich their lives and provide a base for subsequent study in marine sciences."

A minor is a great way to enrich your education and learn more about a subject you are interested in. Minors can also help expand your knowledge on a specific area that also supplements your major. The University of Minnesota has over 110 minors that cover a large variety of subject areas.

For more information on the new Marine Biology minor, please visit http://www.cbs.umn.edu/students/cbs-minors/marine-biology. For information on our other minors, please visit http://www.catalogs.umn.edu/ug/. As always, visiting our campus and meeting with one of our admissions counselors is one of the best ways to get first-hand information about the U of M. To schedule a campus visit, please go to http://z.umn.edu/campusvisit.


New College of Biological Sciences (CBS) faculty member G.W. Gant Luxton is currently making headway in the fight against dystonia, a common movement disorder. But his research holds a special place in his heart beyond simple scientific interest.

Luxton's Uncle Vince and his uncle's mother Gerry both suffered from Parkinson's Disease, a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking and difficulty with movement.

When Luxton was 24, Gerry passed away due to this condition. Coincidentally this was the time when he needed to select a focus area for his research. He chose dystonia, a similar neurological movement order. This area of study would allow him to explore his interest in cell polarity and the cytoskeleton. Currently scientists have identified mutated genes related to different forms of dystonia, but have still not concluded why these mutations result in the disease. Luxton is working to find that out, focusing on the most common and severe form of dystonia, "early onset torsion dystonia," which begins in children when they are just 11-12 years old.

Recently, Luxton was nominated for the Mallinckrodt Foundation award, which provides start-up funding to one junior faculty member in the U.S. every year.

"Grant's nomination reflects the great science he did as a graduate student and a postdoc, and his potential for uncovering a new disease mechanism that will hopefully lead to a treatment for this disease," says Michael O'Connor, head of the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development (where Luxton is a new assistant professor)

"What I really like about working on dystonia is that it allows me to do practical, applied cell biology," Luxton says. "In trying to determine how mutations in dystonia-associated genes disrupt the molecular machinery that controls cell polarity...we hope to better our understanding of this fascinating aspect of basic cell biology."

After graduating from Grinnell and Northwestern he completed postdoctoral research at Columbia, then came to the University of Minnesota in 2011 for one reason. "The department was the biggest draw," he says. "I've got really great colleagues. I feel very supported and I'm really happy to be here."

Source credit: "Moving Ahead," www.cbs.umn.edu

Summer is an exciting time of year at the University of Minnesota! Warm and sunny days have arrived, students have finished their final exams, and our recent graduates have moved on to pursue new opportunities in their careers.

During the upcoming summer months, the University of Minnesota will begin to welcome incoming freshmen onto campus for Freshmen Orientation, and incoming College of Biological Sciences students will attend Nature of Life, a unique first year program designed especially for CBS students.

We are so proud of the students who will be joining the College of Biological Sciences this upcoming fall semester. In fact, the local NBC-affiliate KARE 11 recently highlighted an incoming CBS freshman in their recurring "Academic All-Stars" segment. This clip showcases just one of the many wonderful students who will be joining our Class of 2015 next year.

If you're interested in learning more about the College of Biological Sciences, you may want to consider visiting campus this summer, or attending our Summer Sneak Preview on June 24! 

Hi eveyone! Meet Linell Grzesik, a current student in the College of Biological Sciences. Linell is senior studying biology.



 Photo of Linell working in her research lab


Hometown: Rhinelander, WI
Major: Biology
Year in School: Senior
What other colleges and universities did you consider attending? Primarily the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Why did you choose the U of M? I thought the campus was very pretty and I could really see myself living here. I also really liked my admissions counselor (Leah Brus, former CBS admissions counselor) because she contacted me a lot, answered all of my questions, really seemed to care, and didn't make me feel like number. Another big reason I chose the U of M is the amazing College of Biological Sciences that allowed me to be part of a smaller college in a larger University that specifically adhered to my interests. If I went to school elsewhere, I think I would have missed out on this friendly, supportive and interactive environment that I have experience in CBS at the U of M.

What has been the biggest surprise about attending college at the U of M? Two things come to mind: 1. I can't walk across campus and NOT run into someone I know enough to say hello. 2. There are so many things to do here!!! Campus events, exploring Uptown and Downtown, Lake Calhoun, volunteering, etc.

What student groups, clubs, or organizations are you currently involved in?
I am the president of Minnesota Medical Leaders and a member of the CBS Dean's Scholar's Program (I mentor students). I also work in a biochemistry lab, participate in directed research in a physiology and integrative biology lab, and am a the student group relations chair on the CBS Student Board. Finally, I volunteer at Common Bond Communities as an adult tutor.

Every year, the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) Student Board hosts a week of events dedicated to bringing the CBS students, faculty and staff together for fun activities and events. BioDays started this week with the 5k Run for Multiple Sclerosis Research on Sunday, April 17th. This 5k run is mapped out throughout the East Bank of the Minneapolis Campus and is a annual event hosted by the CBS Student Board to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. 

In addition to the 5k Run for MS Research, the CBS Student Board has arranged great social events for CBS community throughout the week, including discounted games and bowling at Goldy's Gameroom in Coffman Memorial Union. Every year, Biodays week concludes with the annual College of Biological Sciences Picnic where CBS students, staff and faculty come together for some BBQ under the warm spring sun.

CBS Picnic 08 005.jpg

CBS Picnic on St. Paul Campus

BioDays is just one example of how the College of Biological Sciences community comes together throughout the year!

Did you know that the University of Minnesota has a YouTube channel? In particular, I recommend checking out the "This Week @Minnesota" videos. They'll help you can stay up-to-date with what is happening at the U of M. Check out this week's video on spring fashions!

Also on the University of Minnesota YouTube page there are channels for the Academic Health Center, Goldy Gopher, and even the College of Biological Sciences! These channels highlight some of the many great opportunities and academics our students experience. For instance, the most recent video on the College of Biological Sciences channel highlights a scientist in the Panama studying tropical forest ecology.

One channel that I particularly enjoy viewing is for Radio K, the University of Minnesota's the award-winning, student-run radio station. The station plays an eclectic variety of independent music both old and new. On this channel, you can see in-studio performances by artists from our local area or traveling through the Twin Cities while on tour. Also, make sure to take a look at the Radio K homepage for information about artists, concerts and events going on around campus.

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56.1WashAveBridge.jpgI love history and trivia. For my most recent post, I thought it would be fun to highlight some fun facts and trivia about Minnesota.

  • On September 2, 1952, the world's first successful open-heart surgery was performed at the University of Minnesota.
  • Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.
  • Minnesota has more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other state in the country.
  • Minnesota was the "Flour-milling capital of the world" from the 1880's through the 1930's.
  • Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
  • The Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota in the largest Federal forest in the lower 48 states.
  • Minnesota has one recreational boat per every six people, more than any other state.

I hope you all enjoyed some fun facts about Minnesota. Interested in visiting? Schedule your U of M campus visit today, and while you are here, explore the Twin Cities! Check out our Twin Cities Guide for Campus Visitors.

*All facts provided by minnesotafunfacts.com


One factor that greatly impacted my decision to study at the University of Minnesota was its convenient location in the heart of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Situated on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis, students at U of M are only minutes away from the great opportunities and entertainment that our vibrant metropolis has to offer.


Minneapolis skyline from the University's East Bank

In June 2010, Forbes Magazine has ranked Minneapolis as one of the Best Cities for Young Professionals. In article, Forbes highlights that Minneapolis is a very affordable city to live with good job prospects and larger-than-average incomes. "Minneapolis is a place where college grads can get a strong start on high-powered careers," said the article.

And just this month, Forbes Magazine ranked Minneapolis the Best City for Finding Employment. The article emphasizes that Minneapolis has a low unemployment rate with a diversity of job opportunities. In addition, Minneapolis offers a "high quality of life with a relatively low cost of living while being one of the major metropolitan centers of the Midwest."

There are many factors to consider during the college search process. When I was making my decision, the great location of the University of Minnesota was a deciding factor. Check out some of my other post on why the Twin Cities are such a place to live, study, and play!

- Twin Cities public transportation voted among best in US 

- Sing, Dance, and Live the Twin Cites Music Scene 

- Biking on campus and around the Twin Cities


Thank you to all of you that have been following my blog throughout this year! Every week, I have tried to post intersting events, activities, and information about the College of Biological Sciences and the University of Minnesota.

If you enjoy my blog, be sure to check out BioBlog as well. BioBlog is a blog that concentrates on posting current news, information and event specifically in the College of Biological Sciences. Some recent posts include student job postings, faculty discussions, research symposiums.

One of the most recent posts on BioBlog is advertising an open discussion with Dr. Mark Borello, a professor in the College of Biological Sciences. This week, Dr. Borello will be talking about altruistic behavior and biological clues to human morality at Bryant Lake Bowl. Meet Dr. Borello yourself at Bryant Lake Bowl in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis to join his discussion on "unselfish genes." Or check out my previous post on Dr. Borello's new book on the history of the evolutionary debate.

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is a truly fascinating place. As a student, I was amazed with how many new and exciting things I could discover day after day on campus. I think that one of the most fascinating places on campus is the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, housed on the University's St. Paul campus.

Since 1974, the University of Minnesota Raptor Center has educated and trained students, researchers, and professionals from around the world about raptor medicine and conservation. Partnering with the University of Minnesota's Department of Veterinary Medicine, the Raptor provides a hub for educational programs and events for the University of Minnesota and surrounding community.

When you're on campus, I encourage you to check the Raptor Center. If you live in the metro area and are interested in sharing your time and talents, The Raptor Center has volunteer opportunities. In addition, the center offers training programs like Basic Raptor Rehabilitation and Avian Orthopedic Workshop. 

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