Biology and Biochemistry majors collaborate with faculty in research projects to generate new understanding of a biological question. Current research in the Biology department is summarized below. Or, see the Biology Department page for more information about the program.

Stephen Johnston

Yeast Molecular Biology

Dr. Johnston conducts research using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to answer fundamental questions about how cells work. His recent work involves control of cell growth, protein interactions and connections to cancer and Down syndrome.

Chandreyee Mitra

Behavioral Ecology of Insects

Using tools from animal behavior, physiology and anatomy, and evolutionary biology, Dr. Mitra explores the environmentally mediated life-history trade-off between flight and reproduction in field crickets and the costs and benefits of male nuptial gift giving in swallowtail butterflies.

Greg Ruthig

Amphibian Epidemiology

Dr. Ruthig seeks to understand the ecological interactions between pathogenic microbes and their amphibian hosts, focusing on water molds that infect amphibian eggs and a fungal pathogen of amphibian skin that has been implicated in worldwide amphibian extinctions. His research projects range from field surveys to laboratory experiments and molecular genetics.

Joanna Weremijewicz

Plant Ecology

Dr. Weremijewicz is investigating how interconnecting networks of mycorrhizal fungi affect ecological interactions among plants.

Jennifer Sallee

Drosophila Development

Dr. Sallee is interested in how cells change their shape during development. She explores this question in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies), using genetic and molecular techniques to examine the role of the myosin VII protein in denticle development.

Jonathan Visick

Bacterial Molecular Genetics

Proteins can become damaged over time, and nearly all organisms have an enzyme, PCM, that recognizes and repairs isoaspartate, one common form of protein damage. This enzyme is involved in longevity and protection from degenerative disease; Dr. Visick studies its roles in the bacterium Escherichia coli.

John Zenchak

Animal Physiology and Science Education

Dr. Zenchak is developing an animal model for the study of β-hydroxybutyrate as a treatment of childhood epilepsy. He is also involved in research to improve the scientific literacy of elementary and middle school teachers so that they can make science more accessible and understandable.