Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
M.A., Michigan State University
Ph.D., Michigan State University
My primary teaching and research interests incorporate two specializations within biology: animal physiology, in particular the functions of and interactions between the nervous and endocrine systems, and animal behavior. I teach courses in Systemic Physiology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Endocrinology, and Neuroscience, in addition to introductory and General Education Program courses in biology. In each of these courses my goal is to interest and engage students in biological study, the scientific process, and the comprehension and effective production of scientific writing.
In the lab, students and I investigate the cellular and systemic mechanisms important to neuronal change, and how these underlie (or are affected by) behavioral processes like learning, memory, and stress. Specifically, we use a songbird, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), as a model organism to study the brain’s multiple memory systems, like those involving the hippocampus, a structure important for the consolidation of episodic-like or “spatial” memory (such as the ability of a bird to remember the location of a food source), or those integral to procedural memory (like that involved in the production of song learned, in most songbirds, during a restricted period in development).
Current experiments in the lab examine the connectivity of and neurotrophic input to hippocampal neurons and, in collaboration with colleagues at Lehigh and Northern Michigan universities, the structural and functional consequences of endocrine manipulation of cells in the hippocampus as well as the neurochemistry of the region.
BIOL 100 Human Biology
BIOL 115 Principles of Biology
BIOL 120 General Biology I
BIOL 215 Human Anatomy and Physiology
BIOL 372 Systemic Physiology
BIOL 385 Endocrinology
BIOL 489 Special Topics: Neuroscience
BIOL 489 Special Topics: Animal Behavior