Department of Biology

The Department of Biology offers the Career of Bachelor in Sciences – mention biology, which corresponds to a basic unit of academic-administrative management within the FACEN.

Objectives

– Its main objective is the scientific training of professionals in the different fields of biological sciences.

– Develop scientific research in a daily and continuous way   as a tool for the generation of biological knowledge.

– Support the ability to observe, describe, analyze, and explain the biological phenomena.

– Design, conduct, coordinate and participate in research projects.

– Identify and contribute to solutions of problems in the professional field, using the most current knowledge.

– Transmit knowledge and scientific experiences on subjects of the academic area.

– Reproduce, evaluate, modify and design techniques and methods available to optimize laboratory processes.

– Participate in the development of research programs in the specialized area.

– Participate in educational activities of diffusion and publication of subjects related to biology.

Functions

– Submit for consideration of the Faculty Council, through the deanery, the annual planning of teaching, research and extension activities.

– Organize, program, execute and evaluate the teaching affecting the area of Biological Sciences for each academic year, in accordance with the curricula.

– Organize and develop specialization, updating and post-graduate courses in the area of Biology.

– Organize and develop research and extension activities in the area of Biology.

– Propose to the dean the assignment of teachers for each subject of the department.

– Attend meetings convened by the dean.

– Plan and organize travels and field trips of teachers according to schedule of activities.

– Encourage the relations with other departments of related areas of the UNA or national and international research centers related to the UNA.

– Supervise the normal development of the academic and administrative activities of the Department of Biology.

– Promote the career of Biology trough lectures or other means.

– Supervise the work of laboratory employees.

– Continuously advise students for academic advancement.

– Make the schedules of partial and final exams in coordination with the Academic Direction.

– Ask companies and institutions to open up for students to do internships.

Dependencies

The direction of the Department of Biology counts on three coordinations: postgraduate and research, university extension and academic, in addition with the support of two assistant secretaries.

Academically, the department is organized in different laboratories, such as: microscopy  experimental biology, genetics, microbiology, botany and zoology. These laboratories work in the morning and afternoon shifts, except for experimental biology and microbiology; microscopy has even night shift for an integral accompaniment in practical classes of undergraduate, postgraduate and interinstitutional collaboration with other academic units.
It should be noted that for this laboratory, in 2012 and 2013, 28 new microscopes, 4 magnifiers and a Fluorescence microscope have been acquired and incorporated. For the Laboratory of Genetics, the new equipment that has been incorporated was an Autoclave, 3 Digital Precision Balances and an Electrophoresis Equipment (without source). For the laboratory of Microbiology, an incubator and a centrifuge have been acquired and incorporated and for the laboratory of Zoology have been incorporated 2 magnifying glasses and pH meter instruments.

– Answer request of the citizens, of public and private institutions, faculties or schools, previous authorization of the dean.

Director Prof. MSc. Andrea Weiler de Albertini andreaweiler1@hotmail.com
Coordinator of career Prof. Lic. Gloria Delmas de Rojas coordbiologia@facen.una.py
University Extension Coordinator  Prof. Lic. Rubén Ignacio Ávila riavilat@hotmail.com
Coordination of postgraduate and research MSc. Karina Beatriz Núñez Goralewski ranitapy@gmail.com

Activities

– Since 2008, two Master’s programs in the area of ​​Biodiversity Conservation, “Master’s Degree in Conservation Biology” and “Master’s Degree in Biodiversity and Systematics” have been implemented in the Postgraduate and Research Coordination. The first master developed was Biology of Conservation (promotion 2008-2010) which had 9 students enrolled and 6 graduates. The second master’s degree was the Master in Biodiversity and Systematics (promotion 2011-2013) with 14 students enrolled and 7 graduates. At the beginning of 2015 began the second promotion of the Master’s Degree in Conservation Biology, which has 23 incoming students. These master’s courses have a teaching staff composed of leading researchers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the United States and Spain. For the development of these courses and student theses, the Coordination has managed international cooperation projects with the University of Salamanca and Spain funded by the AECID. In addition to the master’s degree courses, the department annually organizes refresher courses for postgraduate students and professionals.

– As for the coordination of University Extension, the corresponding actions have been implemented. Activities have been developed through projects in different modalities, such as educational talks of interest, field trips, support to reinforcement classes, participation in career promotion events and social activities such as assistance and collection of clothes and food for vulnerable groups. The participation of the students in projects with non-governmental organizations of aid to the citizenship stands out.

– The Department of Biology has research laboratories, including the Plant Resources Analysis Laboratory, which began in 2005 as a laboratory for the collection of native plants and research work in the area of ​​economic botany. In March 2011 it was officially created by Resolution No. 94-2011 of the FACEN’s Directing Council and currently has several established areas in which make the research on economic botany, morphoanatomy, organic chemistry of natural products, floristic diversity, ecology and Phytosociology Among the outstanding achievements of the laboratory is the FACEN Herbarium, which in 2009 was registered in the Secretaría del Ambiente (SEAM) with 3500 incorporated specimens. It currently has about 4500 specimens and a large amount in process of incorporation. Another important achievement is the Steviana Magazine, which since 2009 has been published as an annual publication of works in the area of ​​botany. Thanks to the exchange of the magazine with national and international institutions the laboratory is forming its specialized library and currently has about 200 volumes of books and magazines. Finally, in the last years important equipment was acquired for this laboratory, among which we mention: an optical microscope with a photographic camera, a stereoscopic magnifying glass, a microtome for the herbarium area, a Kjeldahl equipment, tablet dissolutor, and a Vortex tube agitator for the area of ​​Organic Chemistry of Natural Products

The other laboratory of importance in research within the Department of Biology, where services are also developed, is “Mutagenesis, Teratogenesis and Environmental Carcinogenesis”, which has originated to carry out projects on Toxicology, Genotoxicity and Ecotoxicology of surface waters, groundwater, industrial effluents, medicinal plants, drugs, agrochemicals or any water soluble substance and on various biosensing organisms. Another of the main objectives of the laboratory is the training of Human Resources for toxicological, mutagenic and teratogenic environmental studies and also has important participation in the support through tutorials of the research work carried out by the students of Biology, for the grade work. The main lines of research carried out in the laboratory are: Ecotoxicology, Environmental Mutagenesis, Medicinal Plants of Paraguay and Biological Dosimetry. The equipment that has been acquired for this laboratory has been 2 Optical Microscopes and a Laminar Flow Cabinet.

Finally, the last research laboratory that the Department has, is the Zoology laboratory, where work and projects are carried out as part of the “Line of research: Taxonomy of fish, amphibians and reptiles of Paraguay”. There is also a Scientific Collection called “Zoological Collection of FACEN” (CZCEN), registered in the Secretaría del Ambiente (SEAM) in 2007. The zoological collection is a site of shelter of material to witness the Research Projects carried out and has mainly fish, amphibian and small mammal specimens. In this laboratory, the “Volunteer Program of the Zoology Laboratory” is also carried out. Its main objectives are the training of Biology students in the management of scientific and research collections.

– In 2010, at the request of the Dean of the FACEN, the current Director of the Department of Biology, Professor Elodia Torres de Alvarenga, presented the project for the creation of a Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology, which has been evaluated and modified  in order to achieve its operation within the Department of Biology, starting in the first period of 2011. This career was created by its many applications, such as designing biotechnological processes inherent to the application in laboratories, products generated by genetic manipulation, to control the quality of inputs and products in biotechnology industries, to carry out general operations and instrumental techniques of laboratories, to apply processes that involve the improvement of organisms used in the field of livestock, agriculture, health and industry; and to design, direct and execute methodologies for the bioremediation of contaminated environments, among others. Starting in 2014, the career is organized in an independent department.