Research in the Department of Biology spans the entire breadth of biology: from ecology and evolution to molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Our research is supported by a wide array of funding sources, including NIH, NSF and the Welch Foundation.

Many departmental faculty members actively participate in campus-wide interdepartmental graduate and research programs, including Genetics, Neuroscience, Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences, and the newly formed faculty of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology.

Cell, Molecular, & Developmental Biology

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Rodolfo Aramayo


Meiotic silencing in Neurospora crassa

Karl Aufderheide


Cell and developmental biology; developmental genetics; development and differentiation in unicellular organisms; intracellular pattern formation

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Lisa Campbell


Phytoplankton ecology; phytoplankton community structure, population dynamics, and diversity

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Charles Criscione

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Ecology, evolution, and genetics of parasites

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James Erickson


Sex determination in Drosophila; temporal and transcriptional controls in development; RNA silencing mechanisms

L. Rene Garcia

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Genetics of behavior and development in C. elegans


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Richard Gomer

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Tissue size regulation, wound healing, and fibrosing diseases


Lawrence Griffing


Structure and biochemical organization of cells; membrane trafficking


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Paul Hardin

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Molecular biology of biological clocks in Drosophila; behavioral neurogenetics; transcriptional regulation.

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Thomas McKnight


Molecular analysis of protein secretion in plants; plant genome organization and evolution


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Jerome Menet

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Molecular mechanism of the circadian clock in mice

Christine Merlin

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Molecular genetics and genomics of monarch butterfly circadian clocks and long-distance migration

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Beiyan Nan

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Bacterial physiology, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy

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Alan Pepper


Environmental regulation of development in Arabidopsis thaliana

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Hongmin Qin

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Quantitative Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology

Bruce Riley

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Genetic regulation of zebra fish development

Kathryn Ryan


Nuclear pore complex assembly and nuclear envelope dynamics using yeast as a model system

Matt Sachs


Regulation of eukaryotic gene expression focused primarily on post-transcriptional control; functional analyses of fungi at the genome level

James Leif Smith

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Structural and functional characterization of natural products from microorganisms

Joseph Sorg

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Mechanisms of Clostridium difficilespore germination and bile acid resistance

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Wayne Versaw


Plant and fungal molecular biology; phosphate transport and metabolism

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Ry Young

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Molecular genetics; bacteriophage lysis mechanisms; bacterial toxins


Aref Zarin

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Developmental and experimental neuroscience; Formation and maintenance of sensory-motor circuits in Drosophila; Behavioral neurogenetics, neural circuitry underlying locomotor behaviors and action selection;  Transcriptional regulation of neuronal properties

Mark Zoran


Developmental neurobiology; molecular determinants of synapse formation; neural regeneration; biological clock control of neural signaling