Andrew S. Mount

Associate Professor & Lecturer

Contact Information

316 Jordan Hall
Phone: 864 656-3597
FAX: 864 656-0435

Dr. Andrew S. Mount, PhD, b. 4 November 1957  (age 56)  is a Research Associate Professor  at Clemson University with joint appointments in the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences and in the School of Materials Science & Engineering, College of Engineering and Sciences. He founded and directs the Okeanos Research Laboratory.

Dr. Mount’s pioneering research program ( is dedicated to understanding the molecular and cellular biology of marine invertebrate organisms. His current research interests include the application of modern marine genomics and bioinformatics to develop a bias free understanding of molluscan immunity and cellular biomineralization systems, both of which appear to be tightly coupled to the organism’s ability to compensate to external stressors, such as ocean acidification.  Ocean acidification is a process in which atmospheric carbon dioxide of anthropogenic origin has dissolved into seawater making it acidic and corrosive.

Since 2005, Dr. Mount has received extramural funding from two Department of Defense sources, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Coatings and Biofouling program and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) interfacial coatings program.  ONR sponsorship of research on the signal transduction mechanisms of biofouling marine larval invertebrates lead to the innovation of a novel antifouling coating strategy, termed fouling deterrence (patent pending), in which the organism’s own endocrine molecules when covalently bound into a polymeric coating, are found to deter settlement, in an environmental benign manner leading to a highly effective non-metallic and non-toxic alternative to the current generation of copper based marine antifouling paints.  

In 2004, Dr. Mount published in Science his discovery of a new kind of cell, which nucleates calcium carbonate crystals within a specialized intracellular compartment. In oysters, these highly refractive cells (termed REF cells)  produce the calcium carbonate crystals that form animal’s shell. Subsequent AFOSR sponsorship resulted in a deeper understanding of the cellular biology of underlying shell formation and the innovation of  a new nanotechnology that produces very strong and resilient ceramic materials by REF cells. This novel technological process, in which cells builds the toughest ceramic known was granted  a United States Patent (US 8,541,031)  on September 24, 2013.

In 2012, the discovery of a unique cellular means to make sea shells was confirmed by the publication in Nature of the Oyster Genome. Beyond the prospect of self-repairing aerospace materials and novel discrete electrical energy systems, the  cellular basis of marine biomineralization is of great importance to furthering a better understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification. A deeper mechanistic understanding  will enable a sound  predictive basis to assess the threat of OA on all marine calcifying species in every ocean. Currently no such predictor exists. This will enable policy makers to make informed decisions on all commercially important species, including  oysters.  Such information will help ease worldwide food security concerns.  Okeano’s future research efforts are dedicated to helping  global fisheries and aquaculture industries worldwide.

The Okeanos Research Laboratory is also a leading innovator at Clemson University for the adoption of advanced optical and electron microscopy instrumentation and techniques.  Quantitative imaging is the lab’s core research technology.  In partnership with Nikon Instruments, Okeanos received in 2008 over $800,000 to develop the first Trinity system for single photon confocal microscopy. This system included the first macroscopic confocal microscope, which Nikon later incorporated into its product line.  The Nikon Trinity system is now the backbone for the Clemson University Optical Imaging Core Facility.  Through ONR sponsorship the Okeanos lab received $310,000 in 2011 to build a two-photon microscope system, which was completed  in June, 2012.  

Dr. Mount trains doctoral level students and post doctoral scholars.  He teaches graduate students and faculty by offering several specialized courses of instruction on optical and electron microscopy.  He also teaches a capstone course for undergraduate seniors which focuses on ocean-based environmental problems. 

Since 1985, Andrew has been married to Theresa (Joyce) Burgess. The couple have five children, six grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.  The family resides in beautiful Mountain, Rest, South Carolina.  Contact office phone 864-656-3597.  Updated: 12 December 2013.

Please consult Google Scholar profile for Andrew S. Mount for a cited publication listing.

  Photo credit: Peter Kent 
  Taken at: Sixty Bass Oyster Reef
  North inlet, South Carolina


My Google Scholar Profile

Okeanos Research Laboratory


  • Postdoctoral fellow, Clemson University, NSF EPSCOR, 2000 – 2002
  • Ph.D. Zoology, Clemson University, 1999
  • M.S. Marine Biology, College of Charleston, 1991
  • B.S. Biology (Minor in Chemistry) University of Tampa, 1980

Research Interests

  • Cellular biomineralization in mollusks
  • Biofouling of marine invertebrates
  • Invertebrate Immunology
  • Cell biology of nanomaterials
  • Biology of Climate change

Graduate Students

  • Elizabeth Falwell, Ph.D. candidate 2008-present

Professional Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • National Shellfisheries Association (NSA)