Meet the Faculty
Dr. Daniel A. Barr, PhD (Chemistry)– Students in Dr. Barr's group use computational modeling and molecular simulations to understand the mechanisms by which proteins operate. By studying the effects of mutations at important sites in the protein, we explore the pathways of communication throughout the protein to identify allosteric sites, predict amino acids that are critical for function, and identify the molecular basis of the protein's mechanism.
Dr. David S. Ronderos, PhD (Biology) – Dr. Ronderos’s lab focuses on the characterization of genes in the visual system. We use the model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, to identify genes required for vision. Students working on this project will learn to perform various techniques, including Electrophysiology, DNA isolation, PCR, DNA gel electrophoresis, Enzymatic Restriction Digests, DNA Ligation and Transformation, Preparation of Competent cell, Western blot, basic fly husbandry, and CRISPR experimental design.
Dr. James A. Peliska, PhD (Biochemistry) – Together with the labs of Dr. Ronderos and Dr. Barr, we are studying biochemical enzyme mechanisms. Our lab also studies the mechanism of action of several classes of novel inhibitors of the HIV-1 polymerase reverse transcriptase. Using a combination of biochemical techniques, in silico modeling methods and organic synthesis, we are trying to design, build, and study increasingly more potent inhibitors of this important viral therapeutic target.
Dr. Khalid Oweis (Engineering) - Together with Dr. Barr's lab, we are developing and using statistical analysis techniques for analyzing large and complex data sets. Our current work studies Galvanic Skin Resistance (GSR) as a measure of stress and examines its ability to predict student performance in engineering coursework.
Dr. John (‘Jack’) H. Boyle (Biology) - The Boyle lab uses publicly available museum records to reconstruct how different species' presence and abundance have changed over the 20th and 21st centuries. We use statistical and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques to test how land-use changes, agricultural practice, and more have affected biological communities in the United States. Students will learn the widely used R program for statistical analysis and data visualization, mapping, and statistical testing.
Dr. Joseph P. Biggane, PhD (Biology) — We investigate how bioelectricity influences cell behaviors outside the nervous system. The lab is particularly interested in understanding mechanisms of change in cancer-related cell characteristics (e.g., proliferation, migration, invasion). Students will learn techniques in pharmacology, cell culture, microscopy, electrophysiology, computational analysis, gene expression analysis, and western blotting.
SURVE Faculty Alumni:
Dr. Christine Fleischacker (Biology) – HHMI SEA-PHAGES and related projects in host-specificity and immunological response. (2019)