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Graduate Faculty Research Interests

Feel free to contact any of the faculty listed below to inquire about space in their labs. To see which of the faculty below are actively recruiting students, please visit this page. See also this list of faculty in different broad research areas.

Peter H. Adler, Professor in Plant and Environmental Sciences, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1983. Behavior, ecology, cytogenetics, and systematics of medically important arthropods; structure, function, and evolution of insect mouthparts. (Email:

J. Antonio Baeza, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., University of Louisiana, LA, 2006. Behavioral Ecology, Molecular Phylogenetics, Fisheries Biology. (Email:

Lisa J. Bain, Professor, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 1997. Mechanisms of adaptation to toxicants; active transporters involved in drug and toxicant elimination; adaptation via cellular, biochemical, and molecular changes in fish exposed to environmental toxicants (Email:

William S. Baldwin, Professor, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 1995. Toxicology, Mechanistic Toxicology, Molecular Physiology. Adverse effects of toxicants on the liver, and the mechanisms (gene regulation, CYP metabolism) that different individuals employ to detoxify them. Using basic in vitro screening methods to determine the best models for studying toxicant-mediated disease. Investigation of toxic mechanisms in model systems.(Email:

Kyle Barrett, Assistant Professor in Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Ph.D., Auburn University, 2009. Conservation and ecology of vertebrates in wetland and stream ecosystems; influence of climate change and land use change on organisms. (Email:

Douglas G. Bielenberg, Associate Professor, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2000. Physiological and molecular mechanisms of plant-environment interactions. Current emphasis on the molecular and genetic regulation of seasonal dormancy in woody perennials using high-throughput sequencing and novel germplasm. (Email:

Richard W. Blob, Professor; Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1998. Biomechanics and the evolution of animal function; animal locomotion; comparative vertebrate anatomy, physiology, and functional morphology; herpetology; vertebrate paleontology. (Email:

Barbara Campbell, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Cornell University, 1993. Activity, function and interactions of microbes in their natural environment; comparisons and controls on microbial activity and function; linking modern, high throughput molecular methods and analysis of microbes with environmental parameters. (Email:

Min Cao, Associate Professor, Ph.D. Cornell University, 2002. Microbial Genetics, Microbial Pathogenesis and Genomics; using the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes as a model to study bacterial stress response (especially oxidative and nitrosative stress), identify novel virulence factors, and develop new genetic tools (e.g. mariner-based transposon system). (Email:

Susan C. Chapman, Associate Professor, Ph.D., King's College London, 2002. Developmental biology, embryology and genetics of congenital birth defects; vertebrate development of hearing apparatus and identification of inductive tissue and molecular interactions in caudal spine patterning. (Email:

Chin-Fu Chen, Assistant Research Professor at the Greenwood Genetics Center, Ph.D., SUNY at Stony Brook.  Bioinformatic, statistical, and computational analyses on the gene expression, protein-protein interaction network, DNA methylation, single nucleotide polymorphism data that are generated via the high throughput technologies such as microarrays and next generation sequencing. Functional (experimental) analyses of important cellular pathways such as tryptophan metabolism, circadian rhythm, and vitamin D that might be causing the pathogenesis of autism and intellectual disability. (Email:

Wen Chen, Professor; Ph.D., Ohio University, 1991. Prolactin receptor antagonists for anti-human breast cancer therapy.Development of protein based therapeutics. Molecular cloning of novel genes related to breast cancer formation. (Email:

Michael J. Childress, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Florida State University, 1995. Behavioral ecology, marine ecology, comparative sociobiology, invertebrate zoology, animal behavior, communication, evolutionary biology. (Email:

Saara J. DeWalt, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 2003. Population ecology and genetics of native and non-native plants; community ecology of plants with emphasis on lianas (woody vines); secondary succession; tropical forest ecology. (Email:

Dylan Dittrich-Reed, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., University of Tennessee - Knoxville, 2013. How student-led research in teaching laboratories affects student attitudes toward and retention in the biological sciences and whether there is a student learning trade-off between gains in analytical thinking skills and factual knowledge when students are taught using inquiry-based pedagogical methods. How genetic exchange affects the processes of adaptation to and speciation in novel environments, using Tribolium castaneum as a model system.  (Email:

Yuqing Dong, Assistant Professor, part-time, Ph.D., Peking University (China), 1999. Molecular mechanism of life span regulation in C. elegans (

Zhicheng Dou, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. The University of Southern Mississippi, 2009. Nutrient acquisition and utilization by a protozoan pathogen, Toxoplasma gondii. My laboratory will use a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry and cell biological approaches to study the mechanistic underpinnings of acquisition and utilization of host macromolecules by Toxoplasma through its endocytic pathway. (Email:

David M. Feliciano, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. University at Buffalo, 2008.  Identification of molecular and genetic mechanisms which govern neural stem cell function during embryonic development.  Generation and characterization of novel transgenic mammalian models which recapitulate the etiology and pathology of neurodevelopmental disorders. (Email:

Kevin Finneran, Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Ph.D. University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2001. Biodegradation and bioremediation of organic and inorganic contaminants, characterization of combined microbial and chemical reactions for remediation applications, altering microbial physiology via extracellular electron transfer for production of biofuels, and microbial ecology. (email:

John J. Hains, Associate Professor, part-time; Ph.D., Clemson University, 1987. Limnology, aquatic biology and ecology, river, lake and reservoir ecosystems, watershed processes. (Email:

J. Michael Henson, Research Associate Professor, Ph.D., University of Florida, 1983. Anaerobic microbial ecology of various environments including the salt marsh, intestinal tract of herbivores, and plant ecosystems. Investigations include utilizing the interactions between bacteria and fungi to convert plant biomass, such as switchgrass and sorghum, to soluble carbohydrates, the anaerobic microbial conversion of these carbohydrates to butanol or bioproducts, the use of bioelectrosynthesis to use current to produce biofuels from carbon dioxide using a microbial community as the catalyst, and the assessment of the microbiome of the manatee intestinal tract. Molecular techniques such as PCR, q-PCR, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, Sanger sequencing, and pyrosequencing are used in these laboratory investigations. (Email:

Thomas A. Hughes, Professor, Ph.D. North Carolina State University, 1981. Cloning, sequencing, identification, and ultimately the regulation of an enhancer of the bacteriocin, lactacin B. Gene organization and biochemical pathway of Sphingomonas paucimobilis for polyaromatic hydrocarbon degradation. (Email:

Xiuping Jiang, Professor in Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences, Ph.D. University of Maryland, 1996. To develop novel methods for rapid detection or inactivation of foodborne pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter jejuni, and Helicobacter pylori in food and farm environment. To investigate the microbiological safety of fresh produce production using compost as soil amendment and organic fertilizer. To determine the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens and commensal bacteria in food production system. (Email:

Patrick G. Jodice, Leader of the South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Associate Professor, Ph.D. Oregon State University, 1999. Research interests in the fields of wildlife ecology, conservation biology, physiological ecology, and ornithology. Current research focuses on ecological energetics, foraging ecology, diet and nutrition, and avian diving behavior. (Email:

Harry D. Kurtz, Associate Professor, Ph.D. University of Idaho, 1989. My research examines microbial ecosystems living in the deserts of southeastern Utah. Stated goals of the project are to develop management tools for use by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service for the maintenance and care of parks and monuments in the area. I plan to use what is learned in these desert ecosystems to develop methods to aid efforts to stabilize coastal dunes in South Carolina. (Email:

Andrew S. Mount, Research Associate Professor, Ph.D. Clemson University, 1999. Cellular and molecular biology of biomineralization in Eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica: understanding how the organism nucleates calcium carbonate crystals, the mantle as a shell forming organ, the role of collagen and the investigation of the role of the immune system in shell formation. Developing novel functional genomic approaches that will enable transcripsome analysis of specific cell types related to the secretion of organic matrix proteins. (Email:

Kara E. Powder, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis, 2011. Genomic basis of craniofacial diversity; evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo); population genomics, quantitative trait loci mapping, and bioinformatics; utilizing natural variation in cichlid fishes to understand human disease. (Email:

Margaret B. Ptacek, Professor, Ph.D. University of Missouri-Columbia, 1991. Speciation; animal behavior and mating systems; population divergence in fishes; conservation genetics. (Email:

Charles D. Rice, Professor, Ph.D. College of William and Mary, 1989. Comparative marine immunobiology, with a special interest in the immunobiology of fishes. Veterinary immunology. Molecular and cellular aspects of neuroendocrine-immune interactions. The ontogeny and phylogeny of tumor immunology. Immunotoxicology. (Email:

Vincent P. Richards, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. Nova Southeastern University, 2010. Comparative genomics, transcriptomics, population genomics, and phylogenomics of human and animal bacterial pathogens; focusing on their evolution, adaptation, and response to different environments and hosts. The study of human and animal microbiomes. (Email:

Thomas R. Scott, Professor in Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Ph.D. University of Georgia, 1983. Immunology with a concentration on cellular immunity and cancer immunology; identification of cell surface markers on immunologically important cells and isolation of important cytokines regulating cell growth and differentiation. (Email:

Michael W. Sears, Associate Professor, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 2001. Physiological and behavioral ecology with an emphasis on thermoregulation and energetics; responses of organisms to climate change; computational modeling; evolutionary ecology; landscape ecology. (Email:

Salvatore A. Sparace, Professor, Ph.D., University of Wyoming, 1980.  Biochemistry and physiology of higher plant plastids, especially the metabolic interactions in the functions of plastids in fatty acid biosynthesis, nitrogen and sulfur assimilation, and starch synthesis and degradation.  Model plastid systems include developing soybean somatic embryo plastids, germinating pea root leucoplasts and spinach leaf chloroplasts. (Email:

Lesly A. Temesvari, Professor, Ph.D., University of Windsor (Canada), 1987. Molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern the biogenesis and function of endosomes and lysosomes; cellular and molecular biological approaches used to investigate the role of several small molecular weight Rab GTPases in endosomal and lysosomal membrane and protein trafficking and in pathogenicity of the protozoan parasite, Entamoeba histolytica. (Email:

David W. Tonkyn, Professor, Ph.D., Princeton University, 1985. Population and community ecology and conservation biology. (Email:

Matthew W. Turnbull, Associate Professor, Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 2001. Insect gap junctions; insect immunity and development; insect virology; studies of insects and symbiotic organisms including pathogens. (Email:

T-R. Jeremy Tzeng, Associate Professor, Ph.D. Clemson University, 1998. Evaluation of nanoparticle compositions for their ability to neutralize microbial pathogens. Evaluation of phytochemical compounds for antimicrobial and anti-tumor activities. (Email:

Peter van den Hurk, Associate Professor, Ph.D. College of William and Mary, 1998. Toxicology of environmental pollutants in aquatic ecosystems; effects of mixtures of contaminants on enzyme systems responsible for the detoxification of pollutants; fish species as relevant models and effect indicators for contaminated field situations; metabolism of toxicants in liver cells and intestinal subcellular fractions; cytochromes P-450, sulfotransferase, UDP-glucuronosyltransferase and glutathione-S-transferase. (Email:

Yanzhang (Charlie) Wei, Professor, Ph.D. Ohio University, 1996. Cancer immunotherapy: Dendritic cell mediated cancer immunotherapy. Cancer gene therapy. Novel approaches for targeted cancer therapy. (Email:

Christina E. Wells, Associate Professor; Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University, 1999. Tree physiology and genomics; computational biology and bioinformatics; plant stress physiology; belowground image analysis and fine root demography. (Email:

Xianzhong (George) Yu, Associate Professor, Ph.D. Ohio University, 1998. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of tumor angiogenesis. Gene therapy targeting on tumor angiogenesis. Establishing tumor models through transgenic technique. Tumor therapeutic agents screening. (Email: