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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, Dr. Yvonne Sun, Dr. Mrigendra Rajput and Dr. Loan Bui represent our Microbiology group. Dr. Madhuri Kango-Singh, Dr. Karissa Krane, Dr. Amit Singh and Dr. Shirley Wright represent our Developmental, Cellular and Molecular Biology group. Dr. Pothitos Pitychoutis studies Neuroscience.

  • Dr. Loan Bui’s lab research focuses on developing cell-based models to understand the science of different detrimental diseases such as cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and investigating novel therapeutic options to treat patients suffering these health issues. The research is highly interdisciplinary and at the interface of cell biology, biomaterials, nano/micro-technology, and medicine. The research work covers a wide range of scientific and engineering areas, including micro-manufacturing, microfluidics, nanomaterials, cell/tissue engineering and drug delivery. Learn more
  • 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. Learn more
  • Dr. Karissa Krane, 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. Mrigendra Rajput’s lab is focusing on host-RNA virus interactions. During infection, viruses modulate the host responses and at the same time host defense mechanisms influence the virus. Understanding the host-pathogen interaction provides critical information regarding RNA virus replication, disease pathophysiology and helps us in developing new targeted therapeutic interventions for viral infection.
  • 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. Learn more
  • 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 includes 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. Learn more

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. Jennifer Hellmann, Dr. Chelse Prather and Dr. Ryan MMcEwan.

  • 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. Jennifer Hellmann’s research focuses on the ways in which environmental variation can induce changes in behavior, physiology, and morphology (phenotypic plasticity). In particular, she uses fish as a model system to understand how transgenerational plasticity — when parental environments alter the phenotype of future generations — can program offspring for the environment they are likely to experience (with a particular interest on how parental predation risk prepares offspring for living in high predation environments). Learn more
  • 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. Learn more
  • 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. Learn more

Department of Biology

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Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2320