The Biology Department

Headshot of Lisa Whitenack

Associate Professor of Biology Lisa Whitenack has contributed to two chapters in the third edition of Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives. She is the lead author of the book’s first chapter, which is about shark paleobiology, with co-authors from Yale University and the University of California Merced. She also co-authored the third chapter about shark biomechanics, with co-authors from Arizona State University, Florida Atlantic University, and California State University Fullerton.

Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives was released in June 2022 by Routledge Press and is an award-winning and groundbreaking exploration of the fundamental elements of the taxonomy, systematics, physiology, and ecology of sharks, skates, rays, and chimera. This edition presents current research and traditional models, to provide future researchers with solid historical foundations in shark research and present current trends from which to develop new frontiers in their own work.” More information about the book can be found here.

At the 40th Anniversary Celebration, French Creek Valley Conservancy posthumously awarded the Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award to Scott Wissinger. It was planned to present the award to Scott at the Annual Dinner in the spring of 2020, but Scott passed away unexpectedly in October 2019. The Bailey award, named for FCVC founders John and Betty Bailey, is given to someone who has exhibited commitment, passion and dedication to the protection of the French Creek watershed, and Scott exemplified this.

A professor of both Biology and Environmental Science at Allegheny College for more than 30 years, Scott not only conducted important research in the French Creek watershed but also inspired countless students to pursue careers in conservation and other environmental fields. Fervent about his work, he was a caring mentor with infectious curiosity. The award was accepted on Scott’s behalf by Dr. Mark Kirk, a student and long-time friend of Scott’s.

Allegheny College Biology Professor Elected 2021 Honorary Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Allegheny’s biology students learn by doing. With the guidance and support of the faculty, they apply scientific methods and theories learned in the classroom to their own research in the lab or in the field, discovering first-hand how scientists think and what they do.

Major & Minor Programs


  • Nine biology courses, including a Junior Seminar, Senior Project, and three electives.
  • Double and student-designed majors can be arranged. Recent double majors include: biology and art, biology and environmental science, biology and English, and biology and economics; recent student-designed majors: forensics, bioethics, biophysics.
  • Cooperative programs in allied health fields, nursing, and marine biology.
  • Independent study and research projects are encouraged.


  • Coherent set of five biology courses including two biology electives.