Dr. Mark Silby

Associate Professor of Biology

Department Profile, Pubmed


PhD, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2002

Research Interests

  • Microbial Communities
  • Bacterial Interactions
  • Cocoa fermentation
  • Bacterial Genomes


Fall semester:

BIO 321 – General Microbiology lecture and laboratory

Catalog description: The nature and diversity of microorganisms. Special emphasis is placed on bacterial cytology, nutrition, physiology, and growth. Topics on the significance of microorganisms in the environment and the evolutionary relationships of microorganisms are included.

CAS 101 – Introduction to the College of Arts and Sciences (occasional)

Catalog description: Introduction to study in the disciplines of the College of Arts and Sciences. This course is designed to increase student success at college. The overall goal of the course is to facilitate a smooth transition to college life by engaging students in a structured curriculum of academic and life skills enhancement while, at the same time, encouraging the development of enduring relationships between students, faculty and advisors, and classmates. To accomplish this goal, the content of the class includes: locating and utilizing campus resources, the importance of co-curricular activity on campus, goal setting and time management skills, writing skills, test preparation and taking skills, critical and creative thinking skills, and career and major/minor exploration.


Spring semester:

BIO 408/508 – Microbial Genetics

Catalog description: Molecular genetics of bacteria and their viruses. From lecture and literature review, students learn about molecular techniques and how these are used to address fundamental questions about the lives of bacteria. Literature will cover topics including biotechnology, infectious disease, and evolution. The literature topics will underscore major conceptual emphases on the regulation of bacterial gene expression, and horizontal gene transfer.

BIO 333 – General Genetics lab

BIO 499 – Biology Capstone (occasional)

Catalog description: In-depth study of a specific area in biology, leading to independent research addressing a biological question. Research results will be presented in a professional-style poster at a research symposium. Attendance at biology department seminars is also required.