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Biology Research

Current Department Faculty Research

Dr. Court Campany

Dr. Campany is a plant physiological ecologist and with broad interests in the interactions between physiology, environment and plant growth. Dr. Campany has 3 research themes available for students to explore:

  1. Investigating the functional traits that allow early lineage plants (ferns and lycophytes) to co-exist and thrive in an angiosperm world
  2. To explore the adaptive physiological capacity of native tree seedlings to current and future global change factors.
  3. Unpacking the functional traits and understanding the physiological behavior of both planted and wild plants in the new urban ecosystem.

Dr. Ruth Conley

Dr. Conley’s research focuses on the brain and behavior, with an emphasis on sensory systems.

Dr. Sher Hendrickson

Dr. Hendrickson is a molecular biologist with a strong interest in adaptive selection. She has explored a number of different fields including genomics, population genetics, taxonomy, conservation biology in mammalian and avian species (Andean condors, feral Andean horses, felids), and statistics and genetic epidemiology in human AIDS cohorts while at the National Institutes of Health [2003-2012].  Dr. Hendrickson’s current work involves the genomics of high altitude selection in the Andes.  Additionally  she is collaborating with several groups on genetic associations to disease in non-human models.

Dr. Laura Robertson

Dr. Robertson is a molecular biologist and geneticist who has done extensive research in fungi, fish, amphibians, and other aquatic organisms.  Dr. Robertson has developed molecular techniques to investigate the effects of contaminants on the immune systems and reproduction of aquatic organisms.  Her current projects include investigation of human impacts on soil microbial communities and molecular and microscopic characterization of fungi.

Dr. Conor Sipe

Dr. Sipe is a cellular and developmental biologist with experience working in both vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms.  He currently uses the fruit fly, Drosophila, to study the regulation of cell proliferation in two populations of neural stem cells that give rise to the adult brain.  His current projects seek to elucidate how cell-intrinsic genetic mechanisms couple stem cell proliferation with dietary nutrient availability.

Dr. John Steffen

Dr. Steffen is a herpetologist and integrative biologist with interests in ecology, animal behavior and physiology. With the help of undergraduate students, he uses field and lab techniques to answer questions about how and why carotenoids are used to color patches in reptiles. His current research examines the physiology and function of carotenoid-based color stripes in Testudinid turtles.

Dr. David Wing

A number of genetic and molecular biology projects are being done in Dr. Wing’s laboratory.  Students are characterizing a mutant fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) that has long narrow misshapen wings.  By crossing the mutant to normal flies and vestigial wing flies, students found the mutant allele to be recessive to the wild-type allele, but dominant over the vestigial wing allele.  Other students now seek to discover how the mutant allele influences wing formation and possibly fly behavior.  Still others are working to isolate the allele and sequence it.

Current Department Emeritus Faculty Research

Dr. John Landolt

Dr. Landolt is interested in the biology of slime molds, most particularly cellular slime molds or dictyostelids. He has a continuing project to discover the variety, the distribution and occurrence of cellular slime molds world-wide. To this end, he has made collections of dictyostelids from many parts of the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico as well as Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Guinea and Ecuador in the new world and from the Russian Far East, Thailand, Guam, Tahiti, New Zealand and Macquarie Island in Asia and the Pacific. He endeavors to understand more about the natural history and ecology of slime molds. An excellent guide to the dictyostelid slime molds of the Eastern U.S. can be found at: