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.

Genetics & Genomics

Rodolfo Aramayo


Meiotic silencing in Neurospora crassa

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Deb Bell-Pedersen

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Molecular genetics and genomics of circadian clocks and signaling pathways in fungi

Michael Benedik


Microbial genetics, protein translocation, and microbial biotechnology


Joseph Bernardo


Cryptic speciation; evolution of reproductive isolation; body size evolution; species packing and community assembly; range determinants; comparative physiological ecology; integrative evolutionary ecology


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Heath Blackmon

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Evolutionary genetics and genomics using both theoretical and empirical approaches.  Empirical methods used include bioinformatics, phylogenetics, quantitative genetics.


Charles Criscione

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Ecology, evolution, and genetics of parasites

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Kira Delmore

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Seasonal migration, Behavioural Genomics

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

Paul Hardin

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

Steve Lockless

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Electrical and motile properties of microorganisms; Information content in genomes


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Thomas McKnight


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


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

Angela Mitchell

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Mechanisms of interaction between stress and antibiotic resistance in gram-negative bacteria

Alan Pepper


Environmental regulation of development in Arabidopsis thaliana

Hongmin Qin

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Quantitative Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology

Bruce Riley

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Genetic regulation of zebra fish development

Gil Rosenthal


Evolution and ecology of animal communication; mate choice and evolutionary genetics in Mexican freshwater fishes; visual ecology and evolution of neotropical reef fishes

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

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Wayne Versaw


Plant and fungal molecular biology; phosphate transport and metabolism


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