The Life Sciences endeavour to unravel the mysteries of living things across all scales from the mechanics of protein ‘machines’, to the development of organisms from a single cell, to the splendour and complexity of entire ecosystems. The questions in the life sciences are as varied and intriguing as life itself. How does a single cell “know” how to develop into a complex organism? How is genetic information interpreted? Can we predict the effects of gene mutations on the properties of an organism? Or the effect of climate change on ecosystems? How do organisms protect themselves from viruses, and how do viruses circumvent those protections, continuing on and on in an evolutionary arms race? How might life have arisen on Earth? What drives the formation and stability of ecological communities? What can human genetic variation tell us about the history of human evolution and migration?
Part of the appeal of biology is that the methodologies and technologies we use are as varied as the questions themselves. The methods draw on chemistry, physics and computational sciences, as well as some that are uniquely biological, such as genetics.
The Life Sciences major is ideal for the student with a fascination for where we come from, why we are the way we are, and how life works — as well as those motivated by the relevance of biology to issues of human health, the environment and sustainability. The major provides excellent preparation for careers in biological research, biotechnology, law, conservation, public policy, and science writing, as well as the health professions, including medicine, veterinary medicine and public health.