• Associate Professor of Biology
  • Fellow in Catholic Studies
School of Arts & Sciences

About Me

I have been a faculty member in the biology program since 2013. I have taught courses on anatomy & physiology, hematology, cell and molecular biology, HHMI SEA-PHAGES, and I developed our biology capstone course, Evolution and the Integration of Knowledge. I assist in our pre-medicine program, and I'm a Catholic studies fellow and a member of the Society of Catholic Scientists (SCS).

In 2017, I helped launch a unique summer research program called SURVE, which provides paid lab research internship opportunities to students. SURVE has enjoyed funding support from the NIH ND-INBRE program.

Why I’m At Mary

I have long felt a sense of calling to teach biology to undergraduates at a Catholic university. It is a great privilege to help young people see the beauty of life at the molecular level, the power and potential of science to improve lives, and the harmony of faith and reason.


My PhD is in Neuroscience, and my research focuses on areas of sensory neurobiology using Drosophila as a model. I have published work on the olfactory system (on behavior, pheromones, and insect repellents).

I am currently studying the visual system, using electrophysiology, microscopy, and molecular methods to understand the genes linked to blindness or other visual impairments.

Ronderos, D.S., Lin C., Potter C.J., and Smith D.P. (2014) "Farnesol-Detecting Olfactory Neurons in Drosophila," Journal of Neuroscience. 34(11): 3959-68. PMID: 24623773 PMCID: PMC3951695 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4582-13.2014 

Kwon Y.*, Kim, S.H.*, Ronderos, D.S.*, Lee, Y., Akitake, B., Woodward, O.M., Guggino, W.B., Smith, D.P., and Montell, C. (2010) "Drosophila TRPA1 Channel is Required to Avoid the Naturally-Occurring Insect Repellent Citronellal," Current Biology. 20(18): 1672-8, 2010. PMID: 20797863 PMCID: PMC2946437 DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2010.08.016 

Ronderos, D.S. and Smith, D.P. (2010) "Activation of the T1 Neural Circuit is Necessary and Sufficient to Induce Sexually Dimorphic Mating Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster," Journal of Neuroscience. 30: 2595-2599. PMID: 20164344 PMCID: PMC3426441 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4819-09.2010 

Ronderos, D.S. and Smith, D.P. (2009) "Diverse Signaling Mechanisms Mediate Volatile Odorant Detection in Drosophila," Fly (Austin). 3(4): 290-297. (Review) PMID: 19786837 DOI: 10.4161/fly.9801

(*denotes equal contribution).


BA: Minnesota State University Moorhead, 2004
PhD: UT Southwestern Medical Center, 2011
Postdoctoral Fellowship: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2013