Graduate Students

The Department of Biological Sciences offers graduate training leading to the MS in Biological Sciences or the PhD in Integrative Biology. Students work closely with the research faculty to select appropriate courses and conduct independent research. Many projects are funded through state and federal grants and contracts. Student research frequently involves collaboration with other scientists from other institutions or field work in diverse settings.

 
Graduate Student Advisor and Interests
babin 
Courtney Babin
M.S. Program
Advisor: Howard

Research: My research involves the energy allocated in reproduction of Triadica sebifera, commonly known as the Chinese tallow tree. My other interests include invasive species, wetlands ecology, molecular phylogenetics, and conservation biology.
Email:
Manika Bhondeley
Ph.D. Program
Advisor:
Liu

Research: I am using the budding yeast as a model organism to study the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis. My project focuses on the regulation of Hap4, a master regulator of expression of genes encoding mitochondrial proteins. Hap4 is subject to both transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulations. I hope to gain insights into how mitochondrial biogenesis adapts to changes in the external and internal cellular environments.
Email:
 
carrigeeLinsay Carrigee
Ph.D. Program
Advisor:
Schluchter

Research: My research involves the characterization of proteins involved in type IV chromatic acclimation in marine species of cyanobacteria (Synechococcus spp). This acclimation process involves regulation of enzymes which vary chromophore attachment to light harvesting proteins in order to optimize them for photosynthesis in either blue or green light. I am exploring the role of several putative enzymes in this process using heterologous expression systems in E. coli.
Email:
 
Anne Cespedes
Anne Cespedes
Ph.D. Program
Advisor:
Lailvaux

Research: 
Email:anniecespedes@gmail.com
 
collinsMorgan Collins
M.S. Program
Advisor:
Liu

Research: I am working on the regulation of Haa1-mediated organic acid stress response pathway in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Haa1 is a transcriptional activator homologous to the copper-activated transcription factor Ace1. Currently, we are looking at how Haa1 is regulated by upstream regulators in response to acetic acid treatment.
Email:
 
Jessica Edwards
Jessica Edwards
Ph.D. Program
Advisor:
Lailvaux

Research: Ecology and Interactions of invasive and native anole species.
Email:
Kristina Farragut
M.S. Program
Advisor:
Rees

Research:
Email: 
Alex Figueroa
Alex Figueroa 
Ph.D. Program
Advisor:
Lailvaux

Research: I am researching the evolution and behavioral ecology of arboreal snakes. I am specifically interested in quantifying the number of times arboreality has evolved in snakes and measuring the level of morphological convergence in distantly related species.
Email:
hegedusMiles Hegedus
M.S. Program
Advisor:
Penz and DeVries

Research: My research interests focus on the evolution of wing shape in various tropical butterflies. Butterflies are good focal species because they sometimes land directly on my head.
Email:
Christina Kronfel
Christina Kronfel  
PhD. Program
Advisor:
Schluchter

Research: My graduate research project includes characterizing the biosynthetic pathway of a red fluorescent protein from the light-harvesting complex in the cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon. Specifically, we are attempting to identify the enzymes responsible for attaching the chromophores to the fluorescent protein phycoerythrin. These light harvesting proteins have very unique spectral properties making them ideal candidates for biotechnology as fluorescent tags which span a wide range of the visible light spectrum.
Email: cmkronfe@uno.edu
Miller Courtney Miller 
Ph.D. Program
Advisor:
Anthony

Research: My research focuses on threats to amphibians and potential conservation schemes to mitigate these threats. The majority of my work involves predicting the potential of a widespread species of forest frog in Central Africa, Phrynobatrachus auritus, to respond to climate change by analyzing its genetic and morphological variation. I am also working on modeling the distribution of the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which causes an infectious disease resulting in worldwide population declines, under current and future climate projections.
Email: 
prestonDevin Preston
Ph.D. Program
Advisor:
Johnson

Research: I am interested what drives, maintains, and limits the evolution of phenotypic plasticity in natural populations. I am using populations of the eastern lubber grasshopper, Romalea guttata (microptera) to investigate temporal and spatial environmental heterogeneity as potential drivers of phenotypic plasticity.
Email:
 
Linda Salande
M.S. Program
Advisor:
Howard

Research:
Email:
Trent Santonastaso
Trent
Santonastaso
Ph.D. Program
Advisor:
Anthony

Research: We are characterizing immunogenes in the reptile genome. Along with these genes under selective pressure we will use microsatellite multiplexes to determine how parasites influence host genetic structure both spatially and temporally.
Email: tsantona@my.uno.edu
sukhdeoChristie Sukhdeo Ph.D. Program
Advisor:
Anthony and T. Keith Philips (WKU)

Research: I am interested in using molecular tools and morphological characters to characterize the dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) fauna of Cameroon, Africa in terms of their species richness and phylogenetic diversity (i.e. distinct evolutionary histories). I aim to test the hypothesis that montane lineages of dung beetles are younger than the adjacent lowland lineages. Support for this hypothesis would provide evidence that montane areas play important roles in driving lineage diversification. I am also interested in examining the impacts of bush-meat hunting on co-dependent invertebrate communities.
Email: 
William Weber
M.S. Program
Advisor:
Anthony and Lailvaux

Research:
Email:
Sadari Williams
M.S. Program
Advisor:
Clancy

Research:
Email: