Investigative Biology

The Investigative Biology Requirement

All students in the Biology major must complete the Investigative Biology requirement, which is an upper-level research experience involving a specific subdiscipline of biology. To ensure you will complete this requirement, be sure to plan for your research early – at least two quarters in advance.

There are three ways to complete this requirement. See below for these options, and keep the following in mind:

  • You are allowed to take any combination of these options. Additional research credit can be applied towards the Biology Elective requirement of your degree.
  • B BIO 495 (Investigative Biology) can act as a good introduction before pursuing additional research with B BIO 499.
  • A maximum of 10 research credits can be applied to Biology degree requirements. Research beyond 10 credits counts towards the 180-credit minimum to earn a degree, but fulfills no other requirements.

Option 1 – B BIO 495 (Investigative Biology)

This 5-credit course is the default option and automatically fulfills the Investigative Biology requirement.

The class size is small, at 12 students, and you will be working together in a group on a project related to the research area of the instructor. See the B BIO 495 Instructors & Course Descriptions section below for more information.

There are at least two B BIO 495 courses (sometimes three) offered every autumn, winter, and spring quarter. There is also usually one section offered in summer quarter as well.

If you are planning to take this class in a given quarter, please view the time schedule as soon as it is available. You must contact the instructor to ask for permission to join the class, and space is limited.

Graduating seniors are given priority consideration for registration, followed by seniors, juniors, and sophomores. The earlier you contact the instructor, the better your chance of joining the class!

Option 2 – B BIO 499 (Undergraduate Research) or Other Research for Credit

You may complete 5 credits of B BIO 499 research to fulfill the requirement. Other kinds of research, such as B CHEM 499, may also be used as long as the research is biology-related. These credits may be taken all within a single quarter, but most opportunities will spread these credits out over two or more quarters.

There are four steps to having your research count for the Investigative Biology requirement:

  1. Find a research opportunity.
  2. Register for the credit.
  3. Petition to have the credit count for the requirement. 
  4. Present your research at a UW Bothell Symposium.

Finding and registering for research at UW Bothell

To explore possible research opportunities on the UW Bothell campus, please visit the following pages:

Once you have met with an instructor and formed an agreement to conduct research together, you can fill out a course registration request to sign up for the credit.

Finding and registering for research at other UW campuses

To explore possible research opportunities at other campuses, please visit the UW Seattle Undergraduate Research page. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the database link. Each program is different, so ask the program offering the research opportunity for information on how to sign up for credit.

Investigative Biology Petition

You must petition to have your Undergraduate Research count for the Investigative Biology requirement. Please complete an Investigative Biology petition to submit your research for consideration.

Presenting your research

You must present your research at UW Bothell to have it count for the Investigative Biology requirement. The School of STEM Research Symposium is held every quarter on Friday of finals week. If you plan to present at this event, please fill out a registration form for the event.

Option 3 – Non-Credit Internship, Volunteer, or Professional Research Experience

You may use 150 hours or more of a non-credit research experience to fulfill the requirement. If you find an opportunity, please contact us at to check if it will count for the requirement.

You must petition and present your research to have it count for the Investigative Biology requirement. Please see "Option 2", above for more information.

B BIO 495 Instructors & Course Descriptions

You must have instructor permission to join a B BIO 495 (Investigative Biology) course. Please contact the instructor via their email address (below) to ask for more information about the course and for permission to join. They will inform your advisor to register you for the class once permission is granted.

Cynthia Chang

Quarter usually offered: Autumn

Email Address:

Research completed in this course addresses fundamental questions in plant ecology and evolution, and generally entails doing a large-scale greenhouse experiment understanding the impacts of simulated global climate change on plant communities.

Doug Wacker

Quarter usually offered: Autumn

Email Address:

Research involves the study of how free-living vertebrates, typically birds, interact with each other and their environments. The specific topics covered vary from year to year, but I anticipate that future projects will extend my work to better understand 1) the contextual and behavioral relevance of crow vocal communication and/or 2) the effects of circulating androgens and stress steroids on social behavior in song sparrows.

Thelma Madzima

Quarter usually offered: Autumn

Email Address:

Research aims to understand the mechanisms of epigenetic regulation associated with plant responses to abiotic stress (drought, cold, salt stress). Projects involve analysis of gene expression and DNA methylation of stress responsive genes in Zea mays.

Jeff Jensen

Quarter usually offered: Winter

Email Address:

Population genetics and conservation of Lake Washington basin kokanee salmon. Class projects will assess genetic and morphological variation of kokanee salmon in the Sammamish river and Lake Washington, conduct field surveys, and sample and analyze environmental DNA.

Kristina Hillesland

Quarter usually offered: Winter

Email Address:

Students will investigate the process and outcomes of coevolution using microorganisms that must propagate without the presence of oxygen. Projects involve maintaining and organizing sterile cultures of microorganisms, using anaerobic techniques, analyzing large datasets, and may include gas chromatography, genome sequence analysis, and PCR.

David Stokes

Quarter usually offered: Winter

Email Address:

Field research in conservation biology. Students conduct hypothesis-driven field research aimed at increasing understanding of biodiversity and how to conserve it in our local urbanizing environment. Topic areas may include: wildlife habitat use and value, landscape connectivity and species movement, impacts of urbanization on native species and habitat quality, and invasive species spread dynamics and impacts.

Marc Servertnick

Quarter usually offered: Spring

Email Address:

Research concerns embryonic development and regeneration in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. Projects involve characterizing patterns of gene expression in developing embryos, analyzing genes expressed during regeneration, and other questions around embryonic development.

Jesse Zaneveld

Quarter usually offered: Spring

Email Address:

Research investigates the fascinating symbiotic relationships between animals and microbes. Most projects so far have used the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis as a model organism for studying symbiosis between reef-building corals and microbes. I also welcome bioinformatic project proposals involving bacterial evolution and ecology.