Recent News in Biology

alex keene

Dr. Alex Keene Named Head of Texas A&M Biology

Dr. Alex C. Keene, a leading neuroscientist, geneticist and evolutionary biologist and professor of biological sciences at Florida Atlantic University, has been appointed as head of the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Keene’s research at the intersection of evolution and neuroscience focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms and evolutionary underpinnings of sleep, memory formation and other behavioral functions in fly and fish models. Please take a moment to read more about Dr. Keene and the Department of Biology in the TAMU Science Article!

Ben Neuman

Texas A&M Today: Dr. Ben Neuman Discusses What You Should Know About The Delta Variant
Dr. Ben Neuman, Texas A&M Virologist in TAMU Biology, discusses how the United Kingdom’s experience with the Delta Variant of the coronavirus is like the “canary in our mine” for how it will make its way to the United States. Check our Dr. Neuman’s discussion of the Delta Variant and its spread in the Texas A&M Today Article.

Ryan Rahman

Ryan Rahman Named 2021 Astronaut Scholar

Congratulations to Ryan Rahman ‘22, a Biology major from Lubbock, TX, who has been awarded a 2021 Astronaut Foundation Scholarship! Astronaut Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate initiative, creativity, and excellence in undergraduate research and academics in their fields, as well as their potential to become leaders in their scientific and professional pursuits. Ryan is one of two TAMU students selected for the scholarship, both students are in Texas A&M College of Science. Please take a moment to congratulate Ryan and read the TAMU Science Article about the newest Astronaut Scholars from TAMU!

jennifer bradford

Jennifer Bradford wins 2021 Excellence in Graduate Advising Award

Congratulations to Texas A&M Biology’s Program Coordinator for Graduate Advising, Jennifer Bradford, winner of the 2021 Excellence in Graduate Advising Award from the Office for Student Success! The purpose of the Excellence in Graduate Advising Award is to recognize academic advisors who help to create and nurture an environment in which highly qualified, diverse graduate and professional students can thrive. Please take a moment to read more about Jennifer and her well-deserved award!

May 2021 Virtual Recognition Ceremony

Biology Spring 2021 Virtual Recognition Ceremony

The Biology Spring 2021 Virtual Recognition Ceremony will go live on YouTube at 3pm CST on Friday, May 14th. Please join us as we recognize and celebrate our outstanding graduating students from this last school year!

Lt col Patrick Kennedy

Former Student Lt Col Patrick Kennedy Earns Hero of Military Medicine Award

Lt. Col. Patrick Kennedy graduated with a M.S. in Microbiology from the TAMU Biology program in 2005 while working in the Wayne Versaw Lab. Now in 2021, Lt. Col. Kennedy has earned a Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF) 2021 Hero of Military Medicine Award for his work in confronting the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic early on and making significant contributions in the fight against COVID-19. Please read more about Lt. Col. Kennedy and his award, and also check out HJF’s article about the work of the 2021 Heroes of Military of Medicine Awardees.

Ben Neuman

Dr. Ben Neuman Discusses COVID-19 strains discovered in the Brazos Valley

TAMU Biology Professor Dr. Ben Neuman is a Chief Virologist at the Texas A&M Global Heath Research Complex (GHRC). This week, Dr. Neuman’s lab spoke of their discovery of 3 strains identified for the first time in the Brazos Valley. The variants were given the names BV-1, BV-2, and BV-3, with “BV” standing for Brazos Valley. Check out the KBTX article about these discoveries and Dr. Neuman’s discussion of the strains!

Ryan Rahman

Ryan Rahman Named 2021 Goldwater Scholar

Congratulations to Ryan Rahman ‘22, a Biology major from Lubbock, TX, who has been awarded a 2021 Goldwater Foundation Scholarship in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and research potential! Goldwater Scholarships are awarded to exceptional sophomore or junior undergraduates who pursue research careers in mathematics, natural sciences, or engineering. Ryan’s undergraduate research in the Gomer Laboratory is currently being written up in two manuscripts for publication, with one featuring him as first author. Read more about Ryan and the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Award in the TAMU Undergraduate Article!

maureen hayden holding goggles

TAMU Biology’s Maureen Hayden Sets Sights on Helping Planet and People Through Science

Maureen Hayden is a doctoral Marine Biology student in the Dr. Mary Wicksten lab, and her work involves plastic pollution and tiny crustaceans on the Texas coast. As if those were not challenging enough on their own, Maureen is also legally blind. Be sure to check out the TAMU Science article about Maureen’s passion for both science and leading by example for anyone who’s hesitant to pursue career interests because of a disability. In her own words, “You don’t know how far you can go until you try”.

Dr. Andy tag

Dr. Andy Tag Earns 2021 Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching

TAMU Biology’s Dr. Andy Tag is a 2021 Recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching from the Association of Former Students. Dr. Tag and two other colleagues in the College of Science at TAMU are being recognized for exhibiting the highest standards of excellence at Texas A&M in Teaching. Please take a moment to congratulate Dr. Tag and check out the TAMU Science Article about the award and its recipients!

Ben Neuman

Dr. Ben Neuman talks Vaccine Distribution & Herd Immunity in Brazos County

Dr. Ben Neuman talks with KBTX News about how discrepancies in the vaccine distribution for Brazos County must be solved in order to reach herd immunity and defeat the virus. Be sure to check out the full story!

profile of dylan mccreedy

Texas A&M Biologist Dylan McCreedy Named Scialog® Fellow

Texas A&M University biologist Dylan McCreedy has been named a Fellow for a new initiative, Scialog: Advancing Bioimaging, in which early-career scientists will take on the challenges involved in enhancing high-resolution imaging of tissues to support basic science and disease treatment. McCreedy is one of 55 Scialog Fellows with wide-ranging expertise who will collaborate across institutional and disciplinary lines to develop the next generation of imaging technologies capable of enhancing our ability to study tissues at cellular or sub-cellular resolution and map biological processes within and throughout organisms. Please take a moment to congratulate Dr. McCreedy and read more about the Fellowship in the TAMU Science Article!

TAMU Biology Graduate Student Seminar Series

BioGSA has resumed the Graduate Student Seminar series, hosted every other Friday for graduate students to present their material for their peers.

kristen free photo

TAMU Biology Grad Kristen Free Named to 12 Under 12 Young Alumni Spotlight Cohort

TAMU Biology graduate Kristen K. Free ’11 of Austin has been named to the 2021 cohort of the Texas A&M University 12 Under 12 Young Alumni Spotlight. Free, who earned her B.S. in Biology in 2010, is among this year’s 12 recipients selected by The Association of Former Students to receive the honor recognizing former students who have graduated within the past 12 years for demonstrating excellence in business and service while representing Texas A&M’s core values. Be sure to check out the TAMU Science Article about Kristen’s accomplishments!

Ben Neuman

Dr. Ben Neuman talks COVID-19 Variants and Vaccines

Dr. Benjamin Neuman has joined the Texas A&M faculty as a Professor of biology and Global Health Research Complex Chief Virologist. As one of the world’s top experts on coronaviruses, Dr. Neuman was featured on a Houston Chronicle Q&A covering all things COVID-19 vaccines, be sure to check out the full story.

Dr. Paul Hardin recognized as 2020 AAAS Fellow

Dr. Paul Hardin has been recognized as a 2020 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), honored by his peers with the prestigious distinction this year for distinguished contributions to the field of biological rhythms, particularly for discovering molecular feedback loops that govern circadian timekeeping in all eukaryotes. Please take a moment to congratulate Dr. Hardin and read about the fellowship in the TAMU Science Article!

Mary Catherine C Clark

Mary-Catherine C. Clark 2020 Recipient of Gates-Muller Award

Mary-Catherine C. Clark, who graduated with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from TAMU Biology in May of 2020, has been announced as the recipient of the 2020 Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award. The Muller-Gates Award was established in 2007 through a gift from the Muller family to provide public recognition to an outstanding senior graduating from Texas A&M who has demonstrated qualities of leadership, patriotism, courage and service to country, school and nation. Congratulations to Mary-Catherine Clark!

Merlin

Dr. Christine Merlin Named 2020 Presidential Impact Fellow

Dr. Christine Merlin, an Associate Professor in Department of Biology, has been honored among the 2020 Presidential Impact Fellows. The award was initiated by President Michael K. Young to recognize rising stars in their respective fields, and who embody the university’s commitment to advancing knowledge through transformational learning, discovery, innovation and impact for Texas and the world.  Please take a moment to read the TAMU Science Article, and be sure to congratulate Dr. Merlin!

College of Science Honors 2020 Award Winners

Faculty, staff and students within the TAMU College of Science were recognized for recent outstanding accomplishments by Dean Valen E. Johnson at the college’s annual Faculty & Staff Meeting and Awards Presentation on Oct. 27. From TAMU Biology, Dr. Asha Rao was honored with one of the college’s Leadership in Equity and Diversity (LEAD) Awards and Lieu Jean was presented with a 2020 Outstanding Staff Achievement Award. Please take a moment to congratulate the winners and read about the awards in the TAMU Science Article!

Dr Joseph Sorg

Dr. Joseph Sorg Honored as 2020 Chancellor Enhancing Development and Generating Excellence in Scholarship (EDGES) Fellow

Launched in 2019, EDGES Fellowships were developed to honor, incentivize and boost mid-career faculty at the associate or early full professor rank who are making significant marks in their discipline. Please take a moment to Congratulate Dr. Sorg and read about the EDGES Fellowship in the TAMU Today Article.

The mystery of the missing portrait of Robert Hooke, 17th-century scientist extraordinaire

It’s incredibly strange that there is no contemporary portrait of renowned scientist Robert Hooke, who discovered the cell. A little detective work points to Isaac Newton as likely involved in the disappearance of a portrait honoring Hooke. After all, the two did have a quarrelsome history… Be sure to checkout the latest from Dr. Larry Griffing in the article by The Conversation!

Dr. Asha Rao

Dr. Asha Rao Earns Presidential Professor Award

Dr. Asha Rao, an instructional assistant professor of biology, has been recognized with the 2020 Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award, the most prestigious faculty honor bestowed by Texas A&M University in recognition of classroom performance. Please take a moment to read the TAMU Science Article, and be sure to congratulate Dr. Rao!

2020 Dept. Awards

2020 Biology Department Recognition and Awards Ceremony

Texas A&M Biology hosted a virtual Awards Ceremony and State of the Department on June 22nd, highlighting the resiliency and commitment of the department and its members. Please take a moment to read and congratulate this year’s award winners.

Congratulations Message

Congratulations to our Biology Undergraduate Award Winners!

Congratulations to all of our amazing undergraduates for their academic excellence and amazing research! Please take a moment to read about these amazing scholars and their achievements in the TAMU Science Articles.

Wesley Thompson, in remembrance

Tribute to Dr. Wesley J. Thompson (1947–2019)

Wesley Jay (Wes) Thompson, known for his seminal contributions to the studies of neuromuscular synapses and glial cells, passed away on March 26, 2019, at the age of 71.  Please take a moment with us to remember Dr. Thompson a year after his passing by reading his tribute article in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience.

Hudson at baseball game

Graduate Student Spotlight: Ashley Hudson

This month’s Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Ashley Hudson! A student in the Lockless Lab, Ashley studies E. coli membrane potential modulations. Learn more about Ashley and her graduate experience in this month’s Spotlight!

Profile Photo of Clint CramptonTexas A&M Biology mourns the loss of longtime advisor Clint Crampton

Clinton C. “Clint” Crampton ’99, a 2000 graduate of Texas A&M University and longtime academic advisor in the Texas A&M Department of Biology, passed away Saturday, May 23, at home in Brenham with his parents by his side as a result of complications from a long struggle with cancer at the age of 43. Clint was an advisor in the Biology Department for 16 years, where he helped countless undergraduates through their degrees. Please take a moment to read the TAMU Science article remembering Clint, who will be deeply missed.

swordtailsBiologists Gain Genetic Insight Into Cancer by Identifying Genes That Cause Melanoma in Swordtail Fish Hybrids

New research by a multi-institution team featuring several Texas A&M University biologists including members past and present of the Dr. Gil Rosenthal Laboratory has identified the genetic cause of the skin cancer melanoma in the hybrid offspring of two species of swordtail fish, leading to possible new therapies for treating cancer in humans! Learn more about their findings in the TAMU Science Article.

versaw award

Texas A&M Biologist Wayne Versaw Earns Open Education Champion Award

Texas A&M University biologist Dr. Wayne K. Versaw has been selected by the Student Government Association to receive the 2020 SGA Open Education Champion Award for his efforts to implement open source textbooks for freshman biology courses. This award recognizes Texas A&M faculty members who promote or contribute to a culture of using open access materials with the broader goal of lessening the financial burden on students and mitigating the overall cost of receiving an education. Congratulations to Dr. Versaw, read more about his work and the award in the TAMU Science Article!

Texas A&M Biologists Identify Mechanism Behind Clock Control of Protein Production

Scientists have known for some time that the biological clock controls many functions related to human health. But can these clock-regulated processes and the resulting feedback that affects their timing share a common trigger? Texas A&M University biologists have determined the answer is yes, thanks to a fundamental and conserved mechanism that contributes to how the circadian clock regulates rhythms in protein production. Read more about the newest PNAS paper out from the Bell-Pedersen Lab in the TAMU Science Article.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Zhaolan Ding

This month’s Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Zhaolan Ding. A student in the Bell-Pedersen Lab, Zhaolan works on circadian clocks in Neurospora crassa. Learn more about Zhaolan and her graduate experience in this month’s Spotlight.

TAMU Biology Logo

Biology Faculty Make Amazingly Rapid and Successful Transition to Online-Instruction

With approximately 10 days’ notice, the Department of Biology’s faculty, graduate teaching assistants and instructional staff were able to transition all of our courses to an on-line format so the 5,700 students enrolled in our courses can finish the semester and remain on track for timely graduation. Moving the laboratory sections on-line was a particular challenge, but even the largest laboratory courses, introductory biology, microbiology, and the human anatomy & physiology courses, managed to pull off this truly amazing switch.

Profile photo of gil rosenthal

Dr. Gil Rosenthal Named Texas A&M Science Associate Dean for International Programs

Dr. Gil Rosenthal, Professor of biology at Texas A&M University, has been named Associate Dean for International Programs in the Texas A&M College of Science, as announced Dean Dr. Valen E. Johnson. As Associate Dean for international programs, Rosenthal will work to strengthen and expand the international experiences of undergraduate students and faculty members throughout the college, coordinating as appropriate across the university and affiliated units. Read more about Dr. Rosenthal in the TAMU Science Article!

Profile photo of Jonathan Lo

Jonathan Lo Awarded Barry M. Goldwater Scholar

Congratulations to Jonathan Lo ‘21, a dual degree Cell & Molecular Biology & Statistics major from East Brunswick, NJ, who has been awarded a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholarship! Goldwater Scholarships are awarded to exceptional sophomore or junior undergraduates who pursue research careers in mathematics, natural sciences, or engineering. Jonathan’s undergraduate research in the Blackmon Lab has led to several publications, with more on the way. Read more about Jonathan and the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Award.

Zoran Women's Progress Award

Dr. Mark Zoran 2020 Recipient of Women’s Progress Administrator Award

Congratulations to to Dr. Mark Zoran for receiving the Women’s Progress Administrator Award from the Accountability, Climate, and Equity (ACE) Awards for 2020! This award is given to those who encourage and direct attention to an improved environment for women through policy formation, goal-setting, programs, staff selection, and who positively promote women’s issues in the workplace. Read more about the ACE Awards and the 2020 Recipients!

liver fluke

Collaborative Texas A&M Study Ties Kin Selection to Host-Manipulating Behavior in Parasites

New research by Texas A&M University biologist Dr. Charles Criscione and collaborators in Canada shows that family ties and traits such as manipulation, sacrifice and selflessness are just as key to survival in parasitic organisms as they are in cognitive species like humans. In essence, when it comes to successful transmission, some parasites get by with a little help from their kin. Learn more about these fascinating parasites and Dr. Criscione’s research!

Texas A&M Biologist Jennifer Dulin Finds Niche in Aggieland, Spinal Cord Injury Research

Don’t miss this TAMU Science article about Dr. Jen Dulin, who has returned to Aggieland years after earning her undergraduate degree here, now as a part of the Faculty in TAMU Biology! Dr. Dulin is using her knowledge of cellular and molecular biology to perfect experimental approaches to repairing and rebuilding the injured spinal cord in her research laboratory. Read more about Dr. Dulin’s research and her life in Aggieland!

Distinguished Professor Medal

Dr. Richard Gomer Appointed as University Distinguished Professor

Congratulations to Dr. Gomer, who is among the seven Texas A&M University faculty appointed to the rank of University Distinguished Professor! Dr. Gomer is globally renowned as a prolific researcher and pioneering inventor with a strong track record of translating his research findings into societal benefit, learn more about Dr. Gomer and his achievements in the TAMU Science Article.

Jibran at a lakeside

Graduate Student Spotlight: Jibran Khan

This month’s Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Jibran Khan. A student in the Lockless and Kao Labs, Jibran works on developing strategies which can help transcribe a heterologous DNA cluster by overcoming intrinsic terminators in E. coli. Learn more about Jibran and his graduate experience in this month’s Spotlight.

Biosphere Newsletter Spring 2020

Catch up with the Department of Biology’s latest and greatest with our Newsletter Biosphere, highlighting the amazing people and research happening right here in TAMU Biology!

Graduate Student Spotlight: Adam Foxfire

This month’s Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Adam Foxfire. A student in the Smith Lab, Adam works on the discovery, purification, and characterization of novel antibiotics from natural sources. Learn more about Adam and his graduate experience in this month’s Spotlight.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Abira Sahu

This month’s Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Abira Sahu. A student in the Versaw Lab, Abira works on spatial distribution of inorganic phosphate in Arabidopsis roots. Learn more about Abira and her graduate experience in this month’s Spotlight.

group picture of vets who code

Vets Who Code

Dr. Heath Blackmon of Texas A&M Biology has created a program designed to give veterans the chance to learn valuable coding skills needed in modern day STEM fields, called “Vets Who Code”. The two day program provides in-person training and certification in coding and data analysis, learn more about this year’s program and its impacts in the TAMU Biology Article.

gomer and pilling working

Texas A&M Biologists Celebrate Biotech Start-Up’s $1.4 Billion Sale 

Congratulations to Dr. Richard Gomer and Dr. Darrell Pilling on the sale of their Biotech company Promedior Inc., which is focused on research into fighting fibrotic diseases! Learn more about their work and the sale in the TAMU Science Article.

First-Gen Spotlight: Thao-Nguyen Pham

With the lessons she learned as a first-generation college student, Thao-Nguyen Pham ’20 is mentoring other first-generation freshmen while working toward her degree in Zoology. Read more about her story in the article by the Office of Student Success.

Biosphere Newsletter Fall 2019

Catch up with the Department of Biology’s latest and greatest with our Newsletter Biosphere, highlighting the amazing people and research happening right here in TAMU Biology!

Dr. Christine Merlin Lab Finds Genetic Evidence for Clock Control and Vitamin A Regulation of Seasonal Responses in Monarchs 

Biologists at Texas A&M University are making strides in understanding biological clock function in several model organisms and translating these studies into broader implications for human health, learn more about the Merlin Lab and their findings in the article by TAMU Science.

Checkout the Graduate Student Spotlight: Yu Tang

A student in the Gomer Lab, Yu works on the mechanism of extracellular polyphosphate induced proliferation inhibition in Dictyostelium discoideum. Learn more about Yu and his graduate experience in this month’s Spotlight here.

Dr. Asha Rao wins 2019 AFS Distinguished Achievement College-Level Awards in Teaching 

Dr. Asha Rao is one of this year’s recipients of  The Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement College-Level Awards in Teaching for 2019 for her commitment to Biology Education. Learn more about Dr. Rao and the other award recipients here.

Checkout the Graduate Student Spotlight: Kyoungsun Rha

Kyoungsun is a student Garcia Lab, and works on identifying the mechanism of how cells regulate their metabolisms to maintain their functionality

Read more about Kyoungsun and her graduate student experience here.

Lawrence Griffing

SPRC 2019

Checkout photos from the Department of Biology’s Student & Postdoc Research Conference held on OCtober 5th, 2019.

Photos of the participants can be found here.

Lawrence Griffing

Dr. Lawrence Griffing: The Lost Portrait of Robert Hooke?

“Robert Hooke was very, very busy in his day and one of the first practical scientists. One of the Holy Grails of science history is to find the portrait of him. I’ve been looking, and I think I might’ve found it.” -Dr. Lawrence Griffing, Texas A&M biologist

Read the full TAMU Science article here.

Yufeng Wan

Checkout the Graduate Student Spotlight: YuFeng Wan

Yufeng is a student in the Garcia lab, and he studies neurobiology and mating behaviors of males in C. elegans

Read more about Yufeng and his graduate student experience here.

Checkout the Graduate Student Spotlight: Katrina Hofstetter

Katrina is a student in the Lockless lab, and she studies how bacterial ion channels affect cell physiology.

Read more about Katrina and her graduate student experience here.

Checkout the Graduate Student Spotlight: Jimmy Goncalves

Jimmy is a student in the Garcia lab, and  studies how metabolism affects neurology and behavior in C. elegans.

Read more about Jimmy and his graduate student experience here.

Dr. Deb Bell-Pedersen Named to Inaugural Class of 2019 University Professorships

Dr. Deborah Bell-Pedersen, professor of biology and associate head of operations in the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University, has been named as one of five inaugural holders of a University Professorship, a new faculty honor announced Wednesday (May 1) by Texas A&M Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Carol A. Fierke.

Read the full TAMU Science article here.

Checkout the Graduate Student Spotlight: Andrew Anderson

Drew is a graduate student in the Adam Jones lab, studying sexual selection and evolution of traits using fishes like pipefish.

Read more about Drew and his graduate student experience here.

Dr. Duncan MacKenzie awarded 2019 AFS Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Award 

In May of 2019, Dr. Duncan MacKenzie was awarded a Distinguished Achievement Award for his excellence in Teaching.

Read more about Dr. MacKenzie and his distinguished service here.

Checkout the Graduate Student Spotlight: Joshua Beytebiere

Joshua is a graduate student in the Jerome Menet lab, studying rhythmic gene expression in the circadian clock.

Read more about Joshua and his graduate student experience here.

Texas A&M Biologists Find Feeding Time Influences Liver’s Biological Clock in Mice

The timing of food intake is a major factor driving the rhythmic expression of most genes in the mouse liver, Texas A&M University researchers report Tuesday (April 16) in the journal Cell Reports.

Read the full TAMU Science article here.

Texas A&M Biologist Richard Gomer Elected Senior Member of National Academy of Inventors

Texas A&M University biologist Dr. Richard H. Gomer has been named to the inaugural class of National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Senior Members in recognition of the achievement and contributions of academic inventors worldwide.

Read the full TAMU Science article here.