FSU offers undergraduate, graduate, advanced graduate, and professional programs of study; conducts extensive research; and provides service to the public in accord with its statewide mission. The University serves as a center for advanced graduate and professional studies while emphasizing research and providing excellence in undergraduate programs. In accordance with this mission, faculty members have been selected for their commitment to excellence in teaching, their ability in research and creative activity, and their interest in public service. Faculty in the Department of Biological Science seek to provide students excellent scholarship and training in the diverse field of biological sciences, while continuing to build and expand an already strong, and internationally recognized, program of research. Faculty in this department are recognized nationally as well as at FSU for their commitment to teaching, research, and service.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1992 and did postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley. His research involves the use of 3-D fluorescence and cytogenetic methods to examine the structure and function of meiotic chromosomes, telomere dynamics, and nuclear organization in higher plants.
Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies [Developing Scholar Award]. Received his B.S. in biology from Washington University in 1972 and his Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of Washington in 1977. He began his career at Florida State in 1982 after doing postdoctoral work at Stanford University and Yale University. Research in Dr. Bates' laboratory centers on plant biotechnology, genetic transformation, and the developmental control of plant gene expression.
Assistant Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University of Queensland in 2011. His research combines ecological and evolutionary principles to study the population biology of coastal marine invertebrates. He studies the processes that determine how marine organisms adapt to environments that vary in space and time and why their population size and structure varies in space and time. Topics studied include larval dispersal, population connectivity, spatial population dynamics, life history evolution, adaptive phenotypic plasticity, maternal effects, and local adaptation.
Associate Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University College London in 1997. His current research focuses on a large variable-number tandem repeat or macrosatellite (DXZ4) that adopts an unusual chromatin organization on the X chromosome. He is exploring how the packaging of DXZ4 influences the organization and maintenance of flanking chromatin on both the active X and Xi.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 1984. His research and professional interests involve the biomechanics of cardiac and skeletal muscle. General research areas include the biophysics of muscle tissue, molecular motor proteins, and calcium regulation of contraction; cellular molecular biomechanics of cardiac and skeletal muscle. He is currently working on the functional consequences of mutations in troponin I that cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; molecular and cellular biochemical/biomechanical model of striated muscle-a component of NASA/NSBRI's "digital human."
Associate Professor. Received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 2003. His current research focuses on cell fate specification and reprogramming in plants; evolutionary and developmental biology; plant-environment interaction; genomics and epigenomics; proteomics; molecular genetics.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. in Developmental Biology in 1997 from the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. His research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms of cell polarization and cell differentiation, using a combination of genetic, molecular, and cell biological methods in Drosophila melanogaster to study the mechanisms by which cell polarity is established and maintained.
Associate Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University College London in 2001. His current research focuses on applying and developing state-of-the-art techniques to large-scale detailed analysis of chromatin structure, thereby revealing the relationship between the regulation of chromatin architecture and cellular processes and clarifying the role of chromatin structure in the origin and mechanisms of disease.
Teaching Faculty. Received his M.S. in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma in 1987 and his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Chicago in 1993. After a year as a lecturer at the University of Chicago and DePaul University he took a position as adjunct Assistant Professor/Assistant Research Scientist at Arizona State University West in 1994 where he remained until 2000. In 2001 he took a position as an academic professional coordinating courses and labs in the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois. In 2008 he began his current position as Assistant in Biology at Florida State. His professional focus is on teaching undergraduate biology with special interests in teaching field biology and incorporating socially relevant material into biology education.
Associate Professor. Received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2005. Her current research focuses on exploring the evolution of social behavior in animals, particularly birds, with an emphasis on cooperation, sexual selection, and reproductive strategies. She combines field studies of behavior, demography, and morphology with genetic analyses of the relationships between individuals to test hypotheses about the forces that create and maintain social complexity.
Professor, Michael J. Greenberg Professor of Biological Science, and Associate Vice President for Research. Received his Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island in 1976 and did postdoctoral research in biochemistry at Pomona College. Dr. Ellington serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Physiology, Journal of Comparative Physiology, and Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. He has served on eight grant advisory panels for the National Science Foundation. He is also Chair of FSU's Council on Research and Creativity. His research efforts focus on the structure, function, and evolution of enzymes. Current studies center on a family of enzymes known as phosphagen (guanidino) kinases that play a central role in energy transactions in muscle cells, neurons, transport epithelia, photoreceptors, and spermatozoa.
Professor of Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleobiology. Received his Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1997. Dr. Erickson was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral scholar hosted by both Stanford and Brown Universities. He joined the Biological Science faculty of FSU during the spring of 2000. He is a comparative evolutionary morphologist with research focusing on the form, function, development, and evolution of the vertebrate skeleton. Both extant and fossil taxa are studied in integrative research that bridges multiple disciplines including paleontology, biomechanical engineering, and comparative developmental and evolutionary biology. Current projects focus on the evolution of vertebrate dwarfism and giantism, the biomechanical changes that have facilitated transitions to land by fish and tetrapods, growth rates in dinosaurs, and the role mechanical material properties have played in vertebrate diversification.
Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies. Received her M.S. in zoology and chemistry from the University of Rhode Island in 1989, and her Ph.D. in zoology from Whitney Laboratory of the University of Florida in 1993 and did postdoctoral work in biochemistry at Brandeis University. Dr. Fadool served for three years on the faculty of Auburn University before coming to Florida State in 1999. Her research is focused on chemical senses. She uses electrophysiology combined with molecular techniques to study the structure and function of ion channels, modulation of ion-channel activity by phosphorylation, and signal transduction cascades involved in encoding general and specialized (pheromone) odorants. This research contributes to the understanding of electrical signaling in the brain and nervous system.
Associate Professor. Received his Ph.D. in Zoology from Michigan State University in 1992. He did postdoctoral research at the Whitney Marine Laboratory of the University of Florida and later was a NIH postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Fadool was appointed to the faculty at FSU in 1999. His research interests are in cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the development and degenerative diseases of the visual system and in the development of novel transgenic technologies for identification of transcriptionally active regions of the genome using the zebrafish as a model organism.
Professor [University Teaching Award and Developing Scholar Award]. Received his Ph.D. in biophysics from the Leeds University (England) in 1983. He did postdoctoral research at the University of Minnesota, where he joined the faculty as a Research Professor in 1987. Dr. Fajer was appointed to the Florida State faculty in 1990. His research interest is in muscle biology and biochemistry, what makes muscle contract, and how muscle knows when to contract.
Assistant Professor. Received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 2007 and did postdoctoral work at UCLA and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Epigenetic regulation of neuropsychiatric disorders. Brain function requires accurate control of gene transcription in response to environmental stimuli. Epigenetics plays a core role during this process by modulating gene expression without changing underlying DNA sequences. It has therefore been implicated in various neuropsychiatric disorders. With help of modern genomic tools and novel epigenetic concepts largely developed in proliferating cultured cells, I aim to decipher out the epigenetic underpinnings of neuropsychiatric diseases in vivo by using rodent models.
Professor, J. Herbert Taylor Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology. Received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1989. His current research focuses on understanding how mammalian chromosomes are organized within the nucleus to carry out their various functions. DNA replication provides an excellent forum with which to study chromosome structure and function. Structural and functional units of chromosomes replicate coordinately, often through the synchronous firing of clusters of replication origins that encompass domains of approximately 1Mb. Each of these replication domains is programmed to replicate at a specific time during S-phase. In general, transcriptionally active (euchromatin) domains replicate early in S-phase and transcriptionally silent (heterochromatin) domains replicate late. Programmed changes in replication timing accompany key stages of metazoan development and are often coupled to changes in gene expression. These findings suggest that structural, functional, and replication domains share topographical boundaries and represent basic units of chromosome organization.
Teaching Faculty, Director, Office of Science Teaching Activities, and Co-Director, FSU-Teach. Received her Ph.D. from FSU in 1987 (Program in Neuroscience). Her professional interests include academic programs in science, at both the undergraduate and K-12 levels, and contemporary issues in the education of scientists and science teachers. She is director of the Secondary Science and/or Mathematics Teaching program in the College of Arts & Sciences. This program offers a baccalaureate degree and can be a primary or secondary major for students interested in a science-teaching career.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. in 1988 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His primary area of research is the mutation-selection balance hypothesis for the maintenance of genetic variation. His other projects are studies of the constraints on life-history evolution, the genetic basis of marker-associated heterosis, and the maintenance of sexual reproduction in a varying environment.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1991. His work involves the use of conditioned taste aversion to explore the molecular, neurological, and behavioral aspects of learning and memory.
Professor. Received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1993. Her current research focuses on (1) variation in courtship behavior in both insects and fish; (2) variation in life history traits including fecundity, lifespan and rates of aging, (3) ecological genetics of color pattern variation, mate choice, and survival in guppies, and (4) the neural genomic basis of courtship variation within and among live-bearing fishes. We use many different experimental techniques including field experiments, population and quantitative genetics, molecular kinship analysis, and genomic analysis of gene expression.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1998. The major goals of his research are to elucidate the roles of spatial and temporal variation in population and community ecology and to link theoretical and empirical approaches. Making connections between theory and data requires a mathematical background, knowledge of experimental design and statistical analysis, and an understanding of natural history. His current projects include studies of (1) the effects of spatial variation in host-parasitoid interactions, using models and field-work with an agricultural pest (Lygus hesperus) and its specialist egg-parasitoid (Anaphes iole); (2) the community ecology of cynipid gall-wasps on oak trees and their parasitoids; and (3) the role of edaphic spatial variation in patterns of plant and insect biodiversity at four nested spatial scales, from 1 m up to several kilometers, in the central coast range of California.
Associate Professor. Received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2001. Her current research focuses on several fundamental questions about rhizobial/plant symbiotic interactions: How do plants respond to rhizobial determinants to facilitate invasion by the rhizobium? Which of these rhizobial determinants (besides the well-characterized Nod factor) are important for invasion and how do they function? What plant factors/pathways are required for rhizobial invasion? And, at a later stage in symbiotic development, what rhizobial determinants are required for these bacteria to survive within a host cell membrane-derived intracellular compartment? Answers to these questions will provide fundamental insights into how bacteria invade and survive within eukaryotic cells, and modulate regulatory and signaling pathways to induce host cell morphological changes and differentiation.
Associate Professor. Received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1980. After post- doctoral training at Yale University, she came to FSU in 1986. The research focus of her lab is regulation and coordination of flagellar protein gene expression in the eukaryotic green alga Chlamydomonas. Her specific research interests include determining DNA sequences that control expression of several flagellar genes, identifying protein factors that interact with these DNA regulatory sequences, and delineating the calcium-dependent signal transduction pathway leading to changes in flagellar gene induction using molecular and genetic approaches.
Associate Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1981 and did postdoctoral work at Yale University. He investigates structure and function relationships in cytoskeletons. Dr. Keller's lab is currently using biochemical and molecular-biology techniques to investigate the actin-based cytoskeleton of the intestinal epithelial cell brush borders and human blood platelets. These studies should contribute to a greater understanding of the multiple roles of the cytoskeleton in nonmuscle cells.
Associate Professor. Received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin in 2007. Her current research focuses on the process of speciation in order to understand the origin of biodiversity. She employs an integrative approach to studying speciation, which involves several fields of biology, including behavioral ecology, phylogenetics, phylogeography, population genetics, genomics, and ecology. She uses amphibians as model systems for studying this process, focusing primarily on North American and South American taxa.
Associate Professor. Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.) from the University of Muenster in 2004. His current research focuses on answering how biological molecules organize and interact on supramolecular levels to carry out a particular function, and can that function be recreated and controled synthetically? He addresses these fundamental biological questions using biological molecules such as DNA, proteins, and especially phospholipids as molecular components for the in vitro reconstitution of biomolecular functions. General interests include bionanotechnology, self-assembly and self-organization, biological membranes, cell-substrate interactions, photosynthesis, tissue engineering, synthetic biology, Langmuir-Blodgett films, micro- and nanoarrays, bottom-up microfabrication, dip-pen nanolithography, and scanning probe microscopy.
Professor [Developing Scholar Award] and Department Chairman. Received his Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of Delaware and did postdoctoral research at the University of Alberta and the University of California, Davis. His research interests include the population biology and life- history evolution of marine organisms. Ongoing research projects include the ecology and evolution of reproductive strategies in sea urchins, mating success of coral-reef fish, and the population biology of clonal invertebrates.
Associate Professor. Received her Ph.D. from the University of Houston in 2000. Her current research focuses on signaling and circadian modulation regulating associative memory.
Assistant Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2012. In his research, he aims to understand how interactions between species 1) enable those species to persist and 2) direct their future evolution. He uses a combination of theoretical, empirical, and statistical approaches. Topics of most interested in include sexual selection, host-parasite interactions, and Allee effects. In his theoretical work, he also aims to generate empirically testable hypotheses and the corresponding tools needed to test them. Lastly, because insights about the origins and maintenance of biodiversity can inform conservation, he tries to make connections with the appropriate conservation programs.
Teaching Faculty; PhD Columbia University 2010; teaching interests in general biology, genetics, and molecular biology; postdoctoral research FSU with Dr. Timothy Megraw (College of Medicine)
Professor, and Director, Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium. Received his Ph.D. in 2000 from the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on the ecological diversification in the Australian genus Banksia, morphological and anatomical shifts in the evolution of buzz pollination in Dodecatheon, and null models in biogeography.
Assistant Professor. Received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2014. Her research interests are in macroalgal populations, intertidal communities, and links between biology, environmental conditions and water chemistry. She uses a combination of field and laboratory methods to understand natural variability in marine populations, responses of species and communities to climate change and pollution.
Associate Professor. Received her Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 2000. Her current research focuses on how identical genomic sequences can be interpreted to cause distinct expression patterns and phenotypes. She is particularly interested in the regulation of epigenetic modifications that heritably alter the expression of endogenous and transgenic loci, and in the presence and function of alternative transcripts in plants. These phenomena have been shown to be key elements in the growth, development, and gene regulation of a broad range of organisms; She studys them predominantly in maize.
Professor, Director, Chemosensory Training Program, and Co-director, Program in Neuroscience [Developing Scholar Award]. Received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974. He conducted postdoctoral study at Rockefeller University and the Foundation for Experimental Biology. His research studies are on chemical sensory systems. His laboratory studies three sensory systems using electrophysiological, anatomical, and behavioral methods: (1) the olfactory system, especially the patterns of neural activity in the brain that result from odor stimulation, as measured by electrical recordings and compared with the predictions of a computer model of the neural circuits involved; (2) the vomeronasal chemosensory system, especially its influence on mating in male hamsters as a result of hormonal and behavioral changes induced by chemical signals; and (3) the nervus terminalis, a nerve that exists in humans but is particularly prominent in sharks and rays in which he investigates the neural circuits and interactions with the olfactory system.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1985. After postdoctoral research at the University of East Anglia, England, and the University of Chicago, he came to FSU in 1989. Dr. Miller's research interests include general community ecology and plant evolutionary biology. Current projects include quantifying evolution of plants in different types of competitive situations; attempting to understand the relative importance of competition, herbivory, and disturbance in determining community composition on barrier islands; and the maintenance of community patterns in the invertebrate communities living in pitcher plants.
Assistant Professor. Dr. Andrew Rassweiler is a marine ecologist who combines field experiments, data analysis and mathematical modeling to address both basic and applied questions, mainly in temperate reef ecosystems. He has used this mix of tools to understand community dynamics, particularly the mechanisms that lead to abrupt shifts from one species assemblage to another. Currently, his main focus is on synthesizing and analyzing long-term monitoring data from the National Park Service's Kelp Forest Monitoring Program, the U.S. Geological Survey's San Nicolas Island baseline monitoring and the Santa Barbara Coastal LTER's kelp forest community monitoring.
Associate Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University of Idaho in 2006. His current research investigates the molecular and statistical properties of adaptive evolution. The overarching goal of my work is to develop a robust, quantitative model of adaptive evolution at the molecular level and the statistical methology to test the model predictions and assumptions, but the available empirical data are insufficient for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of current models and guiding future efforts. Therefore, his research also involves generating empirical data sets using experimental evolution approaches.
Teaching Faculty, Director of the 2000-level lecture courses for Biological Science majors. Received her PhD from Florida State University (1998) and carried out postdoctoral studies in the same field at FSU. Dr. Spears is currently a research associate in the Department of Biological Science. Her research interests lie in the field of crustacean molecular systematics and evolution.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of Chicago. He held postdoctoral fellowships in both the Mammal Division and the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics of the Smithsonian Institution. His research revolves around systematics and evolutionary biology, predominantly from species-level phenomena to macroevolution. His current projects include molecular and morphological phylogenetic studies of the squirrel family and South American mice, comparative analyses of multivariate evolution, and the extrapolation of developmental or genetic constraints to understanding macroevolutionary patterns.
Associate Professor. Received her Ph.D. from Scripps Research Institute in 2002. Her current research focuses on understanding the structure-function relationships driving two pathways: mRNA metabolism and sulfur metabolism. She uses x-ray crystallography and single-particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to probe across resolutions, so that she can link atomic-resolution details, macromolecular assemblies, and cellular activity.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 1998. His current research focuses on virus-host cell interactions concerning human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Currently, the molecular and cell biology of HCV replication is the main focus of his lab.
Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1995. He spent four years doing postdoctoral research at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He joined the faculty at FSU in 1995. His research involves the 3-D structural analysis of muscle and muscle proteins using high-resolution electron crystallography of 2-D protein arrays, 3-D imaging of single-protein molecules and protein assemblies, and electron tomography of whole muscle rapidly frozen at intermediate stages of contraction.
Professor [Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor, University Teaching Award, and Developing Scholar Award]. Received his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1980. His research is in ecological genetics and the study of how selection molds the phenotypic and genetic variation within and among populations of a species. Most of his work has focused on how life history traits in fish and amphibians are molded by predation, intraspecific competition, and abiotic stress. Most recently, he has begun to investigate whether different regimes of population regulation can produce and maintain genetically divergent life histories in a freshwater fish.
Associate Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1990. Following postdoctoral and faculty research at Yale University School of Medicine, he joined the FSU faculty in1995. Dr. Trombley's long-term research goals are to understand the mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission and its modulation. His work focuses on synaptic circuits that use glutamate, GABA, and glycine amino acids which dominate synaptic transmission throughout the central nervous system. Neuronal pathways that use these transmitters not only are critical for the normal function of the brain, such as for learning and memory, but also are affected by many neuropathological processes such as Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. The regions of the nervous system studied in Dr. Trombley's lab include the olfactory system, hippocampus, and hypothalamus. The methods include primary neuronal culture and patch-clamp electrophysiology.
Professor. Received her Ph.D. in 1997 from Duke University. Her research interests are in the ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions, with her primary focus on how genotypic and phenotypic variation among individuals affects the long-term spatial and temporal dynamics of populations.
Associate Professor and Associate Chairman for Academic Programs. Received her Ph.D. in 1984 from Michigan State University and did postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago. Her research interests fall within the areas of plant population biology and evolutionary ecology. Current research projects include investigation of the ecological and evolutionary consequences of phenotypic plasticity, measurement of natural selection and genetic variation in plant populations, and the ecology and genetics of marine angiosperms.
Associate Professor. Received her Ph.D. in 1986 from Yale University. Her research interests are studying the roles of predators, physical disturbance, and competition in shaping sponge faunas.
Assistant Professor. Received her Ph.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College in 2008. She did postdoctoral research at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Associate Professor. Received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 2000. His current research focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanism responsible for the formation of the meiotic chromosome architecture and to examine the role chromosome organization plays in safeguarding genomic integrity. In contrast to mitosis, where paired sister chromatids separate, during meiosis I, homologs pair, recombine, then separate; meanwhile, sisters are joined together until meiosis II. Understanding the dynamics of meiotic chromosome organization and segregation can provide insights into the causes of birth defects, aneuploidy, and developmental abnormalities in humans.
Associate Professor. Received his Ph.D. from Wuhan University in 1995. His current research focuses on Kaposi's sarcom-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), a human DNA tumor virus associated with several human malignancies, including Kaposi's sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma, and multicentric Castleman's disease. He is interested in viral proteins that are localized in the tegument layer, a space between capsid and envelope in the virus particle. The tegument comprises at least a dozen proteins that are delivered into cells upon infection, so they have the opportunity to exert their functions at the very beginning in the infection process. The unique temporal and spatial expressions of tegument proteins put them in the forefront of coping with the host cellular environment. His lab discovered that KSHV tegument protein ORF45 interacts with interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF-7) and antagonizes host antiviral response. Recently, his lab found that ORF45 also interacts with p90 ribosomal S6 kinases (RSKs) and modulates the ERK/RSK MAPK signaling pathway, which plays critical roles in KSHV lytic replication. He is now exploring the mechanisms by which ORF45 evades innate immune response and modulates ERK/RSK signaling. His lab is also interested in the structural analysis of herpesvirus tegument by cryoEM. The structural organization and morphogenesis of herpesviral tegument are largely unknown. His lab uses various approaches to investigate why and how viral proteins are selectively assembled into the tegument.