Biology is one of the oldest disciplines at PKU, which originated from the Imperial University of Peking (founded in 1898), the first national comprehensive university in China.
The Department of Biology at PKU was established in 1925 with Botany and Zoology as majors. After merging with two other leading Biology departments in 1952, the Department of Biology of Yenching University (established in 1923) and the Department of Biology of Tsinghua University (established in 1927), a wide spectrum of subjects was gradually added to the initial majors, including Plant Physiology, Animal Physiology and Animal Genetics in the early 1950s, Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1956, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Environmental Biology and Ecology in 1980s, and Biotechnology in 1993. The Department of Biology was reorganized as the School of Life Sciences (SLS) in 1993 to meet the needs of rapid development, expansion, and interdisciplinary collaborations in life sciences.
Currently, the school has two national laboratories, one key laboratory supported by the Ministry of Education, five research centers and two research institutes. Among 165 staff members, there are 115 academic faculty members working in both teaching and research, including 5 academicians, 6 members of the"The Recruitment Program of Global Experts", 12 members of"The Recruitment Program of Global Youth Experts", 10"Cheung Kong Scholars", 10 chief scientists of Major National Scientific Research Plan and"973"Project, 1 National Teaching Master, 1 National Model Teacher and 16 NSFC Distinguished Young Scholars.
Nearly seventy research groups in the school carry out research in the forefront of life sciences: cell biology, biochemistry, structural biology, plant developmental and molecular biology, genetics, developmental biology, bioinformatics, physiology, neurobiology, ecology, conservation biology. The school has approximately 230 research projects with an annual research budget of more than 100 million (RMB) from external funding resources.
The school has active cooperation and exchange programs with international institutions. The school also collaborates with some global corporations such as Bayer HealthCare Company Ltd. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016, Peking University ranks 48thin the biological sciences.