Faculty and Staff

Our faculty are committed to excellence in teaching, research and service.  The interests of our faculty range across a broad horizon of basic and applied areas.  To find out more about each member of the department, please select a section below.

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Faculty, Lecturers, Adjuncts and Post-Doctoral Researchers


ArkovArkov, Alexey, Professor. BS, MS, Moscow State University (Russia); PhD, University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center. We are interested in understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms of germline and stem cell development. In addition, we aim at the identification of novel molecular factors which promote longevity of living organisms. email Dr. Arkov | Arkov Lab.

  BeckersBeckers, Oliver M., Assistant Professor. MS, Friedrich-Alexander University (Germany); PhD, University of Missouri Columbia. I am fascinated by the evolution of animal behavior. More specifically, I study how the environment (i.e., phenotypic plasticity), female choice (i.e., sexual selection), and parasitoids (i.e., natural selection) affect the evolution of reproductive communication in insects. My lab is currently working on two of the only three described Orthopteran species that exhibit phenotypic plasticity in their mating calls.  email Dr. Oliver Beckers | youtube | Beckers lab.

 Jason BriedBried, Jason, Lecturer.  BS, Paul Smith's College (New York); MS, Mississippi State University; PhD, Oklahoma State University. I'm a community ecologist, wetland ecologist, and odonatologist. I study spatial community patterns and drivers, wetland classification and bioassessment, and am interested in anything related to aquatic insects (especially dragonflies and damselflies).  email Dr. Bried | Bried Lab.

  CanningCanning, David R., Associate Professor and Houston Endowed Chair of Pre-Medicine. BSc [hons], Manchester University; DPhil, University of Oxford. Research Interests: We study the epigenetic factors affecting the differentiation of neural stem cells in the stem cell niche. We also take examine theoretical aspects of gene expression profiles in morphogenetic fields. email Dr. Canning.

 Caudell photoCaudell, Joe N., Adjunct Professor. BS, University of Georgia, MS, Utah State University, PhD, Utah State University (wildlife biology) (2001). Indiana Department of Natural Resources, State Deer Research Biologist. email Dr. Caudell.


 Cooper PhotoCooper, Michael R., Lecturer. BS, MS Murray State University; PhD University of Louisville. My background is in microbiology. I have studied nitrogen fixation in an Agrobacterium species isolated from the Ledbetter Embayment. This was followed by the discovery of an atmospheric nitrogen acquisition process in the corn smut-causing fungus, Ustilago maydis. Using stable isotope ratio analysis I demonstrated that corn smut is able to uptake and metabolize dinitrogen tracer subsequently utilized by the cells as incorporated biomolecules. email Dr. Cooper.

 Darracq pictureDarracq, Andrea, Assistant Professor.  BS, University of Maine; MS, University of Arkansas-Monticello; PhD, University of Florida. I am interested in how wildlife respond to management and anthropogenic stressors, including urbanization, agriculture, and invasive species. I address these impacts on individuals (e.g. predation risk and stress) and populations. I aim to understand the broader implications of individual and population level impacts on ecosystem health and for my research to help inform the management and conservation of wildlife. email Dr. Darracq | Darracq lab

 Dr. Terry DertingDerting, Terry L., Professor. BA, Mount Holyoke College; MS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; PhD, Indiana University. My research interests are twofold.  As a mammalogist, I study impacts of anthropogenic stressors, such as habitat fragmentation, on the health of small mammals.  As an educator, my research focuses on effective approaches to faculty professional development and improved student learning in higher education. email Dr. Derting | Derting lab.

 Kelley FritzFritz, Kelley, Post Doctoral Researcher. BS, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown; MS, Clarion University of Pennsylvania; PhD, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  I am an aquatic ecologist broadly interested in food webs and spatial subsidies, in particular resource subsidies between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and how these fluxes affect communities in recipient systems. My current research focuses on impacts of disturbance and restoration on stream and riparian ecosystems in Colorado.   email Dr. Fritz | Fritz lab

FlinnFlinn, Michael, Interim Chair and Associate Professor. BA, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota; MS, Kansas State University; PhD. Southern Illinois University - Carbondale. I am an aquatic community ecologist with a wide range of interests which have recently included the use of aquatic macroinvertebrates for bioassessment in stream restoration and Arctic scaling studies, the role of invasive Asian carp on reservoir biology, and the reintroduction of native fish species. email Dr. Flinn, Graduate Coordinator | Flinn lab.

 FullerFuller, Claire A., Interim Dean and Professor. BA, University of California, San Diego; MS, PhD, Oregon State University. I study how environmental factors affect the host-parasite ecology of terrestrial insects. I am especially interested in how climate change affects Caribbean termites and how agricultural chemicals affect dragonflies. email Dr. Fuller | Fuller lab.

 Dr. Kate HeHe, Kate S., Professor. BS, MS, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin, China; PhD, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. I am interested in large-scale species distribution modelling using information derived from remote sensing and biophysical traits of plant species. I also study the characteristics of invasive plants and their impacts on native ecosystems. email Dr. He | He lab

 Dr. Susan HendricksHendricks, Susan P., Senior Research Scientist. BS, University of Michigan, MA, Western Michigan University, PhD, University of Michigan. I study subsurface hydrology, biogeochemical transformations of nutrients (carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen), and microbial ecology of hyporheic/hypolentic zones of stream and lake ecosystems. email Dr. Hendricks | Hendricks lab

 Suneeti JogJog, Suneeti, Assistant Professor.  BSc, MSc University of Mumbai (India), PhD Cleveland State University.   My research interests primarily focus on floristics, plant community characterization, and vegetation approaches to wetland condition assessment. I am broadly interested in vegetation-based tools to assess natural areas and understand plant diversity (taxonomic and phylogenetic) changes in response to environmental and anthropogenic factors.  email Dr. Jog.

 nakamuraNakamura, Suguru, Associate Professor. MD, Jiangxi Medical University; PhD, Tokyo Medical and Dental University. My research laboratory is focused on determining the physiological and pathological role of H+ secretion pumps of H+-ATPase (potassium-independent) and H+-K+-ATPase (potassium-dependent) in normal tissue homeostasis and disease processes.  email Dr. Nakamura | Nakamura lab.

 sarrSaar, Dayle E., Associate Professor Emeritus. BS, Benedictine University, Illinois; MBA, North Texas State University, Denton, TX; MS, PhD, Northern Illinois University. I study molecular plant systematics and population genetics, biogeography, conservation of rare and endangered species as well as the biology of invasive plant species. email Dr. Saar.


 spierSpier, Timothy W., Associate Professor. BS, Truman State University; MS, Morehead State University; PhD, University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale. I am a fish ecologist interested in fish, watersheds, and all things involved with aquatic ecology. I study both game and non-game native fishes.  email Dr. Spier | Spier lab.


 Dr. Laura BeckersSullivan Beckers, Laura, Assistant Professor. BA, University of Tulsa; BS Northeastern State University; PhD University of Missouri-Columbia. I am an evolutionary biologist interested in understanding the ecological conditions that influence the evolution of reproductive traits. I am particularly interested in exploring the role of the social environment in shaping selective environments. My current research program uses wolf spiders to examine the evolution of cognitive traits involved in the mating displays and decisions of these spiders.  email Dr. Sullivan Beckers | Sullivan Beckers Lab

 TrzpecazTrzepacz, Chris, Assistant Professor. BS, University of Massachusetts Amherst; PhD. University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Ohio. My research group explores the conserved pathways and mechanisms that regulate fertility in multicellular organisms, primarily through the cellular, molecular, and genetic dissection of the amazing model nematode Caenorhabditis elegansemail Dr. Trzepacz.

 WeinbergerWeinberger, Dena R., Assistant Professor. BA, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota; PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I study nervous system development and function using the zebrafish as a model. I am investigating two related projects: 1. Is there neurotransmitter-receptor plasticity in the zebrafish neuromuscular junction? and 2. What is the role of Cabin1, a calcium-dependent repressor protein, in the development and function of the cerebellum, the site of motor learning and coordination.  email Dr. Weinberger.

 whitemanWhiteman, Howard H., Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of Watershed Studies Institute. BS, Allegheny College; PhD, Purdue University. My interests span evolutionary ecology and conservation biology, particularly in aquatic systems.  My research focuses on the evolution of alternative strategies, ecological consequences of predator-prey interactions, and understanding the distribution and restoration of biodiversity.  email Dr. Whiteman | Whiteman lab.

 WrightWright, Sterling N., Associate Professor. BS, Texas Tech University; MS, Texas Tech University; PhD, University of Texas at Austin. The research in our laboratory examines the pharmacology and biophysics of voltage-dependent sodium channels.  We investigate the influence of local anesthetic agents and naturally occurring neurotoxins on the gating kinetics of the channels. email Dr. Wright | Wright lab.

zeruthZeRuth, Gary T., Assistant Professor. BS, PhD, University of South Florida. My lab’s research is primarily focused on understanding how transcription factors mediate development, function, and disease.  The principal focus is on the transcription factor, Glis3 and its role in the development and maintenance of the endocrine pancreas and the pathogenesis of diabetes.  email Dr. ZeRuth | Zeruth Lab.

Graduate Students

 Feden Photo

Melody Feden. (Advisor: Dr. Howard Whiteman) My field site is in western Colorado where I am looking at the influence of beaver activity on a degraded stream in a desert ecosystem. Specifically, how beavers effect stream temperature, macroinvertebrate communities, and decomposition.  email Melody Feden.


Hewlett photoJohn Hewlett.  (Advisor: Dr. Andrea Darracq) My research is at the interface of endocrinology, wildlife disease epidemiology, and ecology. Specifically I study how stress physiology affects disease susceptibility and behavioral ecology with methods ranging from radio-telemetry to molecular techniques.  email John Hewlett.

Lydeard PictureAndrew Lydeard (Advisor: Dr. Tim Spier)  I am an ecologist studying ecology and population structure of fish found in Land Between the Lakes Recreational Area and the surrounding agricultural watersheds.  email Andrew Lydeard.

 Milam photoRussell Milam.  (Advisor: Dr. Terry Derting)  I'm conducting a genetic analysis study for the diets of endangered Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) maternity colonies in Kentucky. The results from my research will offer the first species-specific diet information of these bats and provide a more in-depth understanding of premium foraging habitats. This information can be used to more effectively manage a critically endangered species.  email Russell Milam.

Pease photoJacob Pease.  (Advisor: Dr. Howard Whiteman)  My research pertains to the multidisciplinary reintroduction of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) in some of Kentucky’s public lands. This project focuses on combining principles of GIS, conservation, forestry, remote sensing, and forest ecology to streamline the reintroduction process for native tree species that face extirpation or extinction by anthropogenic factors.  email Jacob Pease.

Schoenberg PictureDan Schoenberg. (Advisor: Dr. Laura Sullivan Beckers) The focus of my research is on the development and use of biochemicals in communication and aggression in the context of courtship/copulation of spiders.  email Dan Schoenberg.


Soldo PictureChristy Soldo. (Advisor: Dr. Michael Flinn) My research focuses on the responses of macroinvertebrate communities following wetland restoration.  email Christy Soldo.

Youngquist PictureKiersten Youngquist. (Advisor: Dr. Andrea Darracq) My research takes a look at interactions between native and invasive species and how they play a role in the physiological stress response of the native species. Specifically, I hope to take a deeper dive into understanding the relationship between native freshwater mussel species and the invasive Asian clam using bivalve filtration rates and an understanding of the stress response of the mussels.   email Kiersten Youngquist.

Recent Emeritus Faculty

Dr. Duobinis GrayDuobinis-Gray, Leon F., Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences (parasite populations, dynamics of freshwater vertebrates and invertebrates, histology, pathology). BS, MS, East Tennessee State University; PhD, Louisiana State University.  email Dr. Duobinis-Gray.


 JohnstonJohnston, Timothy C., Professor. BA, Harding College; MS, Murray State University; PhD, Southern Illinois University.   email Dr. Johnston



 martinMartin, Robert A., Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences (mammal evolution, paleoecology) (1993). BA, Hofstra University; MS, Tulane University; PhD, University of Florida. email Dr. Martin.


 timmonsTimmons, Tom J., Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences (fisheries biology) (1982). BS, Iowa State University; MS, Tennessee Technological University; PhD, Auburn University. email Dr. Timmons.


whiteWhite, David S., Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences.  AB, MA, DePauw University; PhD, University of Louisville.  email Dr. White.



 Steve White PictureWhite, Stephen B., Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences (ornithology, wildlife biology and management, animal damage control) (1981). BS, West Virginia University; MS, Colorado State University; PhD, Ohio State University.


zimmererZimmerer, Edmund J., Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Emeritus (behavioral genetics, molecular genetics, herpetology) (1989). BS, Moravian College; MS, PhD, Rutgers University. email Dr. Zimmerer.



plummerPlummer, Debbie. Administrative Assistant





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