Biology and Biochemistry Research Area

Dr. Todd Rimkus studies invasive turtle species and their effects on the growth rates of other naturally existing species. Additionally, satellite tagging of Hawksbill Sea turtles is an ongoing endeavor for a decade and now we are in the process of mapping natural areas where the turtles congregate. Currently, our efforts are focused on science and the community; including how to involve them in data collection? or how does culture affect community research? and how our research has positive impacts on the communities we engage with?

Dr. Amanda Wright’s lab explores drug-resistant bacteria and the diminishing supply of antibiotics. The WHO anticipates 300 million deaths worldwide by the year 2050 as a result of drug-resistant bacterial infections. Undergraduate students investigate the diversity of soil for the presence of antimicrobial agents. This is highly relevant since most of our current antibiotic supplies originated from soil bacteria. Through this research, students can explore unique bacterial isolates from discovery to dissemination.

Dr. Susan Agolini has three main areas of active research with the primary goal of engaging and retaining more first-generation students, and students typically underrepresented in STEM, so that they persist and graduate with a 4-year Biology degree. Her research focuses on three main areas: (1) Investigation of novel bacteriophages for use as anti-microbials. (2) A better understanding of pedagogical approaches to engage more students in the STEM classroom. (3) Use of the campus garden to engage students in the scientific process.

Dr. Karen Lant studies the longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging can easily be measured in C. elegans worms, a powerful laboratory model for eukaryotic biology. Current work is focused on investigating compounds that either extend or reduce C. elegans lifespan. Her research also investigates Malaria parasite diversity. There are over 500 malaria-like parasites that infect birds, reptiles, & mammals. These blood parasites are usually transmitted by infected mosquitoes and current work aims to study the parasite diversity found in local mosquito populations.