Our faculty in the Biology Department pursue excellence in scholarship—guiding, mentoring and challenging their students to, likewise, explore the questions that intrigue them. Here you can read about the wide range of biology faculty research interests; you can also access some recent publications to get a better understanding of the type of research our faculty are doing.
Dr. Brett Berke, PhD
University of Iowa
Research in our lab uses the genetic tool kit of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to identify molecular mechanisms of synapse formation, animal behavior, and neurodegeneration. We study how mutations alter development of the larval neuromuscular junction and how they affect distinct aspects of larval crawling behavior. We also use mutations to address how neurons die in fly models of neurological illness.
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Berke lab:
A. Galbraith, S. Leone, K. Stuart, J. Emery, M. K. Renkemeyer, N. Pritchett, L. Galbraith, H. Stuckmeyer, and B. Berke. 2021. Reducing the expression of the Numb adaptor protein in neurons increases the searching behavior of Drosophila larvae. microPublication Biology.
M. Thies and B. Berke. 2020. A role for the Fem-1 gene of Drosophila melanogaster in adult courtship. bioRxiv.
E. M. McNeill, C. Thompson, B. Berke, V. T. Chou, J. Rusch, A. Duckworth, J. DeProto, A. Taylor, J. Gates, F. Gertler, H. Keshishian, and D. Van Vactor. 2020. Drosophila enabled promotes synapse morphogenesis and regulates active zone form and function. Neural Development 15: 1-13.
B. Berke, L. Le, and H. Keshishian. 2019. Target-Dependent Retrograde Signaling Mediates Synaptic Plasticity at the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction. Developmental Neurobiology 79: 895-912.
B. Berke, J. Wittnam, and H. Keshishian. 2013. Retrograde BMP Sign.aling at the Synapse: A Permissive Signal for Synapse Maturation and Activity-Dependent Plasticity. Journal of Neuroscience 33: 17937-17950.
University of Iowa
My research interests include the scholarship of teaching and learning, science education, and teacher professional development strategies. I also study science anxiety, motivation and attitude.
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Berke lab:
Udo M.K., G.P. Ramsey, J.V. Mallow. 2004. Science Anxiety and Gender in Students Taking General Education Science Courses. Journal of Science Education and Technology 13: 435-446.
Mallow, J.V. 2006. Science anxiety: research and action. Handbook of college science teaching, pp.3-14.
University of Natal, Pietermaritzberg, South Africa
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Fielden lab:
Khokhlova I.S., L.J. Fielden, A. Degen, and B.R. Krasnov. 2012. Ectoparasite fitness in auxiliary hosts: Phylogenetic distance from a principle host matters. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25: 2005-2013.
Khokhlova I.S., L.J. Fielden, J.B. Williams, A. Degen, and B.R. Krasnov. 2013. Energy expenditure for egg production in arthropod ectoparasites: The effect of host species. Parasitology 140: 1070-1077.
Khokhlova I.S., S. Pilosof, L.J. Fielden, A. Degen, and B.R. Krasnov. 2014. A trade-off between quantity and quality of offspring in haematophagous ectoparasites: the effect of level of specialization. Journal of Animal Ecology 83: 397-405.
University of Miami
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Foré lab:
Kaizer A.M., S.A. Foré , H.-J. Kim, and E.C. York. 2015. Modeling the biotic and abiotic factors that describe the number of active off-host Amblyomma americanum larvae. Journal of Vector Ecology 40: 1-10.
Bouzek, D.C., S.A. Foré, J.G. Bevell, and H.-J. Kim. 2013. A conceptual model of the Amblyomma americanum life cycle in northeast Missouri. Journal of Vector Ecology 38: 74-81.
Dallas, T.A., S.A. Foré, and H.-J. Kim. 2012. Modeling the influence of Peromyscus leucopus body mass, sex and habitat on immature Dermacentor variabilis burden. Journal of Vector Ecology 37: 338-341.
University of Kansas
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Hooper lab:
Haufler, C.H., E.A. Hooper, J.P. Therrien. 2000. Modes and mechanisms of speciation in pteridophytes: implications of contrasting tempos in temperate and tropical habitats. Journal of Plant Research 15: 223-236.
Hooper, E.A. and C.H. Haufler. 1997. Genetic diversity and breeding system in a group of neotropical, epiphytic ferns (Pleopeltis; Polypodiaceae). American Journal of Botany 84: 1664-1574.
University of Colorado Boulder
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Hubbard lab:
Safran, R.J., Y. Vortman, B.R. Jenkins, J.K. Hubbard, M.R. Wilkins, R.J. Bradley, A. Lotem. 2016. The maintenance of phenotypic divergence through sexual selection: An experimental study in barn swallows Hirundo rustica. Evolution 70: 2074-2084.
Hubbard, J.K., J.A.C. Uy, M.E. Hauber, H.E. Hoekstra, R.J. Safran. 2012 Vertebrate pigmentation from underlying genes to adaptive function. Trends in Genetics 26: 231-239.
Hubbard J.K. B.R. Jenkins, R.J. Safran. 2015. Quantitative genetics of plumage color: Lifetime effects of early nest environment on a colorful sexual signal. Ecology and Evolution 5: 3436-3449.
University of Vermont
Students working in my lab use PCR-based data collection techniques and modern statistical methods to address questions about natural populations. Examples include describing contemporary genetics structure in natural populations using DNA fingerprints and presence/absence of disease-causing fungi in local populations.
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Hudman lab:
Pasachnik, S.A. and S.P. Hudman. 2016. Conservation genetics of Roatán spiny-tailed iguanas, Ctenosaura oedirhina. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 11: 187-196.
Lennon C., S.P. Hudman, C.E. Montgomery. 2014. Assessment of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection level in amphibians of Wakonda State Park, Missouri, USA. Herpetological Review, 45: 40.
Hudman S.P. and K.B. Gido. 2013. Multi-scale effects of impoundments on genetic structure of creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) in the Kansas River basin. Freshwater Biology 58: 441-453.
Penn State University
Check out this paper to learn more about research in the Ma lab:
Zhong, M.A., J. Flynn, G. Libra, Z. Shi. 2018. Elevated CO2 accelerates depletion of phosphorus by common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) in association with altered leaf biochemical properties. Pedosphere 28: 422-429.
University of Wisconsin Madison
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Maiden lab:
Maiden, S.L., N. Harrison, J. Keegan, B. Cain, A.M. Lynch, J. Pettitt, and J. Hardin. 2013. Specific conserved C-terminal amino acids of Caenorhabditis elegans HMP-1/α-catenin modulate F-actin binding independently of vinculin. Journal of Biological Chemistry 288: 5694-5706.
Maiden, S.L., Y.I. Petrova, and B.M. Gumbiner. 2016. Microtubules inhibit E-cadherin adhesive activity by maintaining phosphorylated p120-catenin in a colon carcinoma cell model. PloS one 11: e0148574.
University of Arkansas-Fayetteville
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Montgomery lab:
Muelleman, P.J., O. DaCunha, and C.E. Montgomery. 2018. Crotalus horridus (Timber Rattlesnake) maternal scent trailing by neonates. Northeastern Naturalist 25: 50-55.
Taylor, H.L., A.J. Wilmes, C.E. Montgomery, L.J. Livo, and J.M. Walker. 2017. Recent northward range expansion of parthenogenetic Aspidoscelis tesselata in Colorado, a latitudinal baseline for the species, and a new hypothesis for the allopatry of pattern classes C and D at the northern periphery of the range. Southwestern Naturalist 62: 179-186.
Montgomery, C.E. 2017. Dwarfism in the Cayos Cochinos Boa Constrictor, Boa imperator. Serpens, 5: 4-5.
Indiana University Bloomington
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Patrick lab:
Patrick, J.E. and D.B. Kearns. 2012. Swarming motility and the control of master regulators of flagellar biosynthesis. Molecular Microbiology. 83: 14-23.
Newton, R., Amstutz, J. and Patrick, J.E. 2020. Biofilm formation by Bacillus subtilis is altered in the presence of pesticides. Access Microbiology.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Sieg lab:
Poulson K.L.*, R.D. Sieg*, E.K. Prince, J. Kubanek. 2010. Allelopathic compounds of a red tide dinoflagellate have species-specific and context-dependent impacts on phytoplankton. Marine Ecology Progress Series 416: 69-78. (* denotes joint first authorship).
Sieg R.D., D. Willey, K. Wolfe, J. Kubanek. 2013. Multiple chemical defenses produced by Spartina alterniflora deter farming snails and their fungal crop. Marine Ecology Progress Series 488: 35-49.
Washington University in St. Louis
Check out these papers to learn more about research in the Weisstein lab:
Weisstein, A.E., E. Gracheva, Z. Goodwin, Z. Qi, W. Leung, C.D. Shaffer, and S.C.R. Elgin. 2016. A hands-on introduction to hidden Markov models. CourseSource 3.
Weisstein, A.E. 2011. Building mathematical models and biological insight in an introductory biology course. Mathematica Models of Natural Phenomenon 6: 198-214.
Weisstein, A.E. 2010. The case of the protective protein: Using a population genetics simulation in an undergraduate lab course to test hypotheses for the evolution of an HIV resistance allele. Biology International 47: 109-116.