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David J. Hicks, Ph.D.
Department Chair

Cornell University, 1982. Primary teaching areas are non-majors biology courses, ecology, botany (ethnobotany, plant taxonomy and plant physiology) and genetics. Current research interests: structure and function of temperate forest plant communities.


Jerry Sweeten, Ph.D.

Purdue University, 1996. Graduate research area: Stream ecology and the effect of suspended stream sediment on the growth and survival of sight-feeding warmwater fishes. Courses taught: Principles of Biology, Limnology, Invertebrate Zoology, Environmental Science (Introductory and Advanced), Marine Biology, Ornithology, and a travel course to Andros Island, Bahamas. Current research interests: Effects of nonpoint source pollution on stream fishes, long-term biological monitoring of coral reef fish, population trends and dynamics of black-capped and carolina chickadees, nesting habitat and population dynamics of eastern towhees.

Rachel Polando

Rachel Polando, Ph.D.

University of Notre Dame, 2009. Graduate research area: The role of pattern recognition receptors in host cell signaling and phagosome maturation during infection with Leishmania. Courses taught: Human Biology, General Biology, and Introduction to Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Parasitology, and Medical Microbiology. Current research interests include: cell signaling during phagocytosis and phagosome maturation, effects of serum components on cell signaling and phagocytosis, cytokine effects and regulation during phagocytosis, and host-parasite interactions.

Aron K. Costello-Harris, Ph.D.

Miami University, 2010. Graduate research area: Female characteristics that influence male mate preference in house mice (Mus musculus). Courses taught: Principles of Biology II, Fundamentals of Human Physiology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy , and Vertebrate Physiology. Current research interests include: influence of physical quality on mate choice by males and females, altruism and kin selection theory, dominance rank/social status, predator detection and avoidance, maternal behavior, and behavioral trade-offs.

Kristen H. Short, Ph.D.

University of Cincinnati, 2010. Graduate research area: Population genetics of invasive geckos (Hemidactylus mabouia) during range expansion in Florida. Courses taught: Introduction to Molecular Biology, General Biology. Current research interests include: landscape genetics, nonequilibrium genetic patterns, molecular ecology, dynamics of range expansion, urban ecology, invasive species behavior.


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