Program in Biology faculty and leadership aim to help students deepen their understanding of biology at the environmental, organismal, cellular, and molecular levels.

  • Jack A. Elias, MD

    Jack A. Elias, MD, MACP

    Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences, Frank L. Day Professor of Biology

    Jack A. Elias, MD, is Brown University's seventh dean of medicine and biological sciences and its first senior vice president for health affairs. In a professional career spanning more than 30 years, Dr. Elias has cared for patients with a wide variety of lung ailments including those in intensive care and patients with pulmonary, immune, and allergic disorders. He has also conducted research on a number of conditions including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis, the effects of smoking and lung cancer. His NIH-funded laboratory focuses on the cell and molecular biology of lung injury and repair. 

    An immunobiologist, Dr. Elias has trained scores of young researchers, published more than 260 original peer-reviewed research papers and holds several patents with more pending. Dr. Elias is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and served as president of the Association of American Physicians. At Brown, Dr. Elias is leading an ambitious $300 million effort to increase translational research, create new opportunities for students at all levels of training, and to train the next generation of physician-scientists.

    As senior vice president for health affairs, Dr. Elias oversees Brown University's relationships with its affiliated hospital partners and the Council on Health Affairs.

  • Edward Hawrot, PhD

    Edward Hawrot, PhD

    Senior Associate Dean for the Program in Biology, Alva O. Way Professor of Medical Science

    Dean Hawrot is the administrative and academic leader of Brown's Program in Biology. He maintains a research program focusing on the molecular and structural basis for the specificity of drug-receptor interactions, especially in the brain. In particular, his lab is trying to understand the functional significance of the various related subtypes of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor found in neurons. The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor is better known for its mediation of synaptic transmission at the junction between motor nerves and skeletal muscle, but related variants in the brain are likely involved in nicotine addiction and in the cognitive-enhancing effects of nicotine.

    Dean Hawrot is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the Society for Neuroscience, the American Biophysical Society, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

    Dean Hawrot lectures in Biotechnology in Medicine (BI017) and in the medical school pharmacology course.

  • Katherine Smith, PhD

    Katherine Smith, PhD

    Associate Dean of Biology Undergraduate Education, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

    A member of the Brown faculty since July 2008, Dean Smith received a BS in Biology from The University of New Mexico and a PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology from The University of California Santa Barbara. Before arriving at Brown, she was a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow with the EcoHealth Alliance and University of Georgia.

    Dean Smith teaches and pursues research in the field of Conservation Medicine.  She leads the new course Living Biology at Brown & Beyond as part of the Biology Program's Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. Dean Smith is a first generation student who is an active member of Brown's College Curriculum Council and Global Health Initiative. She is a faculty member in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

    Dean Smith is the recipient of the 2014-15 Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Advising and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences.