Biology2

Faculty Research Interests

Kemuel Badger  Department Chair

General: 

  • Plant ecology and conservation biology

Specific: 

  • applications of GIS technology to conservation biology
  • examination of factors controlling the distribution of rare and endangered plant species
  • reproductive biology of rare plants
  • assessment of the roles of competition, environmental stress, disturbance, and seed banks in determining the species composition and abundance in plant communities

Melody Bernot 

General:

  • Biogeochemistry
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Ecosystem Ecology

Specific:

  • nutrient cycling in streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs
  • climate change and greenhouse gas emissions
  • factors controlling rates of microbial activity, especially nitrification and denitrification
  • land-use influence on water quality
  • interactions between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
  • influence of organisms on nutrient cycling

Randy Bernot 
General:

  • Community ecology
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Disease ecology

Specific:

  • parasite impacts on ecosystems
  • ecotoxicology of man-made chemicals on aquatic organisms, communities, and ecosystems
  • chemical cue effects on animals
  • invertebrate diversity

Ann Blakey 
General:

  • Plant genetics
  • Genome analysis

Specific:

  • elucidation of the genetics, evolution, reproduction, and patterns and mechanisms of development of Tripsacum, a distant relative of Zea mays ssp. mays (modern maize), utilizing maize as a model system
  • utilization of Tripsacum as a genetic resource for maize disease resistance genes and an alternative food source
  • current techniques used include those of molecular biology/genetics (RFLP, RAPD/PCR, DAMD/PCR) and classical genetics, and comparative genome analyses

Heather Bruns 
General:

  • T and B lymphocyte contribution to allergic disease

 Specific:

  • examine alterations in cellular functions and gene expression in lymphocytes using lymphocyte cell lines expressing mutant proteins known to contribute to allergic disease. Alterations in cellular function will be assessed by examining cell survival cytokine secretion, and rates of cellular proliferation. 

Timothy Carter 
General:

  • Mammalogy
  • Wildlife ecology and management

Specific:

  • conservation of rare and endangered species
  • wildlife responses to forest management practices
  • ecology of bats in managed forest landscapes
  • Indiana bat conservation

Clare Chatot  Pre-health Professions Adviser
2003 Outstanding Faculty Service Award

General:

  • Developmental biology and teratology

Specific:

  • development of preimplantation mouse embryos. Analysis of their energy substrate requirements both in vivo and in vitro and analysis of the enzymes utilized in these metabolic pathways at both the biochemical and molecular levels.
  • effects of anticonvulsant drugs on early mouse embryo development both in vivo and in vitro.
  • regulation of the cell cycle in preimplantation mouse embryos.

J. M. Shireen Desouza 
General:

  • Science education

Specific:

  • equity issues in science teaching
  • reflective practice
  • conceptual change
  • science teachers' beliefs and attitudes
  • preschool students' learning behaviors (qualitative research)
  • science teachers' science teaching efficacy beliefs

Gary Dodson 
General:

  • Animal behavior
  • Ecology

Specific:

  • behavioral ecology of insects, spiders, and other animals; especially mating system theory, animal contest resolution, and the effects of sexual selection 
  • conservation biology and the use of invertebrates in environmental monitoring
  • evolutionary ecology of insect-induced plant galls

Robert Hammersmith 
General:

  • Genetics
  • Cellular development

Specific:

  • mechanisms of surface patterning in ciliated protozoa (Oxtricha fallax) and the role of preformed structure in non-nuclear inheritance
  • genetics of protozoa

Kamal Islam 
General:

  • Ornithology
  • Wildlife biology and management
  • Taxonomy

Specific:

  • conservation of rare and endangered species
  • comparative field-based studies that investigate the evolution of mating systems, particularly sexually-selected traits such as courtship displays and vocalizations
  • gamebird biology and management
  • demographic studies
  • landscape ecology (habitat fragmentation)
  • habitat selection
  • effects of cowbird parasitism on neotropical migrant songbirds

Susan Johnson  Associate Dean, College of Science and Humanities

General:

  • Science education
  • Biology education

Specific:

  • development and implementation of in-service models for enhancing the teaching of science in grades K-12, with special interest in elementary grades and systemic reform
  • the development of PDS (Professional Development School) sites for simultaneous renewal of public schools and university teacher education programs
  • performance assessment of science knowledge and skills

Thomas Lauer 
2003 Outstanding Junior Faculty Award

General:

  • Aquatic ecology
  • Limnology
  • Fisheries
  • Exotic species
  • The Great Lakes

Specific:

  • yellow perch management
  • competitive interaction among sessile invertebrates with emphasis on the zebra mussel
  • sponges and bryozoans
  • community fisheries of the Wabash River
  • warm-water pond and lake management

David LeBlanc 
General:

  • The relationships between natural and man-made environmental stresses and tree growth, mortality, and forest structure and composition

Specific:

  • evaluating the impacts of air pollution, climate stresses, global warming, competition, and soil fertility on tree growth and mortality
  • primary research techniques involve analysis of tree-rings and long-term monitoring of tree and forest conditions

Tom McConnell
General:

  • Science Education

Specific:

  • professional development for in-service science teachers
  • qualitative research methods for analyzing videotaped data
  • inquiry science curriculum development
  • problem-based learning
  • reflective practice and action research
  • technology integration in the science classroom

Susan McDowell 
Director of Biotechnology Certificate Program
General:

  • Molecular toxicology

Specific:

  • the role of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) isoforms in human cardio-pulmonary health and disease progression
  • using site-directed mutagenesis to create dominant-negative PI3K mutant isoforms and adenoviral expression
  • the functions of specific isoforms in coronary artery endothelial cells and cardiac myocytes

John L. McKillip 
General:

  • Molecular food safety

Specific:

  • development of DNA- and RNA-based methods for pathogen detection in foods
  • conventional, multiplex, and real-time PCR approaches to detect Bacillus spp. in dairy products and other foods
  • DNA fingerprinting (rep-PCR), SYBR Green-based melt curve analyses, fluorescent molecular beacons, and real-time RNA amplification (NASBA - nucleic acid sequence-based amplification) to monitor enterotoxin gene expression in Bacillus cereus in contaminated foods

James Olesen 
General:

  • Molecular and cell biology

Specific:

  • the effects of ectopic expression of genes on cell populations
  • retroviral gene transfer
  • mechanisms of cell cycle progression
  • mechanisms of apoptosis
  • mechanisms of cancer progression
  • chromosome/chromatin structure
  • electron microscopy

Mark Pyron 
General:

  • Aquatic biology

Specific:

  • ecology of aquatic communities
  • population ecology of aquatic species
  • behavioral ecology (sexual selection)
  • conservation of aquatic resources

Allison Rober
General:

  • algal ecology
  • aquatic ecology
  • wetland ecosystem ecology

Specific

  • Environmental controls on benthic algal community structure
  • The role of algae in biogeochemical cycling and foodweb dynamics
  • Consequences of climate change on wetland ecosystem function
  • Consumer driven nutrient recycling

William D. Rogers 
General:

  • Biology education

Specific:

  • effective strategies for teaching nonmajors in biology
  • the role of natural science courses in general education programs
  • factors that affect student attitude toward science
  • the biological connection to teaching and learning
  • curriculum development

EM Rubenstein
General:

  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Protein quality control 

Specific:

  • protein degradation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation (ERAD) of translocon-associated proteins
  • novel roles for the ubiquitin ligases of the endoplasmic reiculum membrane

Donald Ruch 
General:

  • Cytological and molecular taxonomy of the fungal family Pilobolaceae (Zygomycota)

Specific:

  • comparative ultrastructural and cytochemical analysis of spores and sporangia
  • population and phylogentic investigation of the Pilobolaceae using AFLP
  • rDNA sequencing to elucidate taxonomy within the Pilobolaceae with the intent of   assisting the production of a monograph for the family

Kevin Wyatt 
General:

  • algal ecology
  • microbial ecology
  • carbon cycling
  • aquatic ecology
  • ecosystem ecology

Specific

  • effects of natural and human factors on algal community structure and function in aquatic ecosystems
  • how bacteria and algae interact to affect biogeochemical processes in aquatic ecosystems
  • mechanisms controlling the release of dissolved organic matter from algae and aquatic plants
  • using algae as indicators of ecosystem health
  • effects of climate change on foodweb structure in wetlands

 


Department of Biology
Ball State University
Cooper Life Science Building, CL 121
Muncie, IN 47306

Phone: 765-285-8820
Fax: 765-285-8804