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Faculty Research

Due to its nature and to its mission to undergraduate education, the Department of Biology has faculty whose research interests span a wide spectrum in biology. In recent years, the department's research has become more focused and competitive for external funding, and particularly within the fields of biomedical, environmental-ecological, genetics and molecular evolution and biosensor research. Our research projects have become quite competitive regionally and nationally, as evidenced by the success rate of our faculty members in securing external funding for their research from agencies such as NIH, NSF and others.

Biomedical Research Faculty

Dr. Jayne Robinson and Dr. Yvonne Sun represent our Microbiology group. Dr. Madhuri Kango-Singh, Dr. Carissa Krane, Dr. Amit Singh and Dr. Shirley Wright represent our Developmental, Cellular and Molecular Biology group. Dr. Pothitos Pitychoutis studies Neuroscience.

  • Dr. Madhuri Kango-Singh's research focuses on the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying tumor progression and metastasis. She uses the sophisticated genetics available in Drosophila to identify genes and genetic pathways that when defective contribute to the growth and spread of cancer cells. Given the conservation of genetic and cell biological pathways, the information generated from Drosophila is expected to inform knowledge about the underpinnings of human cancer.
  • Dr. CarissanKrane, a physiologist, studies lung physiology and the role of aquaporins in normal and diseased lung tissue, with an emphasis on asthma etiology.
  • Dr. Pothitos Pitychoutis a neuroscientist, studies the behavioral, neurochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders and their treatment. A major research line of his lab concerns the sex-dependent neurobiological adaptations that underlie the actions of antidepressant drugs and stress at the preclinical level with the ultimate goal to identify novel targets for individualized and sex-oriented psychopharmacotherapies.
  • Dr. Jayne Robinson studies how bacterial behavior is influenced by environmental signals and conditions. This research can shed light on how bacteria can colonize animal hosts and has applications in infections.
  • Dr. Amit Singh uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to research the molecular, genetic, and environmental basis of normal eye development, and to elucidate the genes and molecules that when altered result in the genesis of birth defects in the eye.
  • Dr. Yvonne Sun's laboratory focuses on understanding how the foodborne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, responds to the chemical environment of the intestines. Specifically, her research addresses the molecular and metabolic mechanisms of how Listeria regulates virulence by oxygen and short chain fatty acids.
  • Dr. Shirley Wright's research is related to the cytoskeletal aspects of cell motility and fertilization.

Biosensor Faculty

Our biosensor faculty include Dr. Karolyn Hansen and Dr. Jayne Robinson.

  • Dr. Karolyn Hansen's research focuses on the integration of biomolecular recognition with sensor devices, specifically sensor surface functionalization with molecular recognition elements for detection of biological and chemical analytes in aqueous solutions and gas phase. This research has application in national defense, medical diagnostics, environmental assessment, safety and security, and forensics.

Genetics/Evolution Faculty

Our Molecular Genetics and Evolution group includes Dr. Mark Nielsen and Dr. Thomas Williams.

  • Dr. Mark Nielsen studies evolution at the molecular level using as a model proteins that have not evolved in millions of years. He asks fundamentally important questions such as why some functional genes continuously change and others do not.
  • Dr. Thomas William's lab studies the genetic and molecular mechanisms controlling animal form and it's evolution.

Environmental/Ecology Research Faculty

Studies on ecosystems, water conservation and interactions between individuals and populations are the themes of several of our faculty members. Our key research faculty in these areas include Dr. Albert Burky, Dr. Chelse Prather, Dr. Carl Friese, Dr. Ryan McEwan and Dr. Kelly Williams.

  • Dr. Albert Burky's laboratory has focused on the physiological adaptations of natural populations of invertebrates and fish and the anthropogenic perturbations of fresh water ecosystems in several countries of the Americas.
  • Dr. Carl Friese's interests cover many aspects of ecosystem and microbial ecology with an emphasis on how fungi affect plant establishment and growth, and on the potential consequences of the interactions between different organisms.
  • Dr. Ryan McEwan's lab focuses on plants, plant communities, and ecosystems – how they change through time, what causes those changes, and particularly, how human manipulation of ecosystems creates feedback. Research topics include invasive species and prescribed fire.
  • Dr. Chelse Prather studies the relative importance of factors that structure invertebrate communities and how the diversity of invertebrate communities affect how an ecosystem functions. Her research has been conducted in a variety of ecosystems from rainforests in Puerto Rico to rare grasslands in Texas.
  • Dr. Kelly Williams' interests focus on population ecology.

Department of Biology

Science Center
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2320