Research Programs

Research in the Department of Biological Sciences includes the following areas:

Lists of faculty by research area are also available.

Robert E. Akins, Ph.D., F.A.H.A.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Development and regulation of cellular organization and function in striated muscle.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Cell interactions, signaling cascades, and cell migration in tissue engineering and regenerative therapies.
Developmental Biology Cardiac morphogenesis and the development of congenital heart malformations.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Heterotypic cell interactions in the control of gene expression, multi-cellular organization, and contractile function in striated muscle.
Deborah Allen, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Discipline-based biology education research; biology education networks; active and collaborative learning strategies and materials; professional development in STEM teaching
E. Fidelma Boyd, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Ecology and Evolution Molecular genetics, evolution and pathogenesis of bacteria.
Microbiology and Virology Molecular genetics, evolution and pathogenesis of bacteria.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Molecular genetics, evolution and pathogenesis of bacteria.
Matthew E. R. Butchbach, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Mouse models for motor neuron diseases and nerve injury, therapeutic strategies for motor neuron diseases
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Subcellular localization of ribonucleoprotein complexes in neurons, glutamate toxicity in motor neurons
Molecular Biology and Genetics Genetics of motor neuron diseases, generation and characterization of transgenic mouse models of motor neuron diseases
Carlton R. Cooper, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Cancer Biology The role of cell adhesion in prostate cancer preferential metastasis to bone.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology
Patricia A. DeLeon, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Reproductive genetics, genomics, and sperm proteomics.
Genetics of sperm maturation and function.
Reproductive genetics, genomics, and sperm proteomics.
Melinda K. Duncan, Ph.D., FARVO
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology cataract pathophysiology fibrosis and ocular function
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Molecular basis of fibrotic eye disease Cell fate determination in the lens during development and following ocular injury
Developmental Biology Eye development.
Molecular Biology and Genetics The transcriptional consequences of cell signaling during development.
Randall L. Duncan, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Signal transduction of mechanical and hormonal stimulation in the development and maintenance of bone and cartilage.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Signal transduction of mechanical and hormonal stimulation in the development and maintenance of bone and cartilage.
Developmental Biology Signal transduction of mechanical and hormonal stimulation in the development and maintenance of bone and cartilage.
Mary C. Farach-Carson, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Molecular and cell biology of bone cells and bone extracellular matrix.
Deni S. Galileo, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Cancer Biology Adhesion molecules that influence glioma brain cancer cell motility in vitro and invasiveness in a chick xenograft model.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Cell division, death, migration, and differentiation in early development of the vertebrate brain; cancer cell biology and interaction with ECM.
Developmental Biology Early vertebrate brain development, particularly neuronal migration.
Microbiology and Virology Retroviruses and their use as vectors, including lentiviruses, in vitro and in vivo.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Migration, survival, and differentiation of vertebrate brain and of brain tumor cells.
Jason Gleghorn, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Maternal-fetal interactions, drug delivery, and health. Embryonic development.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Multicellular systems, 3D engineered culture platforms, epithelial-stromal cell interactions.
Developmental Biology Lung development, branching morphogenesis, reciprocal signaling, vasculogenesis, role of mechanical forces in organ development.
Microbiology and Virology Viral ecology, phage-bacteria interaction dynamics, microfluidic systems to visualize virus-host relationships.
Thomas E. Hanson, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Ecology and Evolution Evolution of autotrophy, tundra soil microbial ecology, metaproteomics/genomics.
Microbiology and Virology Photosynthetic metabolism, biogeochemistry, applied microbiology.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Genetic analysis of metabolism, expanding genetic toolkits in novel microbes.
Diane Herson, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
The Microbiology of Healthy Honey Bee Hives This project is being carried out with Dr. Russell Vreeland who was recently approved as an Adjunct Professor in our department. Dr. Vreeland was previously a faculty member at West Chester University. We are studying the microbial flora in bee bread from healthy and stressed/declining honey bee hives. We are using PCR and DGGE to determine if there are different DNA profiles from the two types of hives that will ultimately allow us to predict if a hive is starting to decline.
Salmonella Strains with Reduced Susceptibility (SRS) to Quaternary Ammonium Compounds. This has been a long term project in our laboratory. We have generated strains of Salmonella with reduced susceptibility to quaternary ammonium compounds. In our studies we have attempted to determine what physiological changes have occurred in all of the SRS strains that account for their ability to survive in the presence of the antimicrobial agent. We have demonstrated membrane changes as well as an increase in efflux pump activity. We have also observed that the three SRS strains lack fimbriae and were less able to infect human Caco-2 cells than the parent strain. We are currently studying cross resistance of SRS strains to a variety of antibiotics.
The Use of Crumb Rubber as a Matrix in Green Roofs This project is being carried out in collaboration with Dr. Katherine Baker of Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg. We are studying the potential use of crumb rubber (shredded from old tires) as a matrix in green roofs. For it to be used for this purpose it is important to determine that runoff from the roof does not either contain inhibitory substances or high levels of contaminating bacteria which would negatively impact the environment. Our initial studies involve mixing the crumb rubber with a synthetic rain water for different lengths of time and then determining if the leachate is inhibitory to Salmonella. Follow up studies will include testing the ability of organisms to attach to the crumb rubber and to form biofilms. The organisms tested will be those that might be introduced into a green roof from bird feces. Examples are Escherichia coli, Salmonella sp., and Campylobacter sp.
Seung M Hong, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Science Education
Calvin L. Keeler, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Microbiology and Virology Avian influenza and avian herpesviruses - host-pathogen interactions, vaccines, and diagnostics.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Genomic approaches to the study of the innate immune system.
Catherine B. Kirn-Safran, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Skeletogenesis in mice. Mechanobiology, cell signaling and cellular stress response.
Gene targeting by homologous recombination.
Mineralized tissue embryogenesis.
Osteoblast, chondrocyte, and odontoblast differentiation. Mineralized tissue Repair.
Salil A. Lachke, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Mammalian lens
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Lens fiber cell biology
Developmental Biology Mammalian eye development and disease
Molecular Biology and Genetics Mouse developmental genetics
Sigrid A. Langhans, PhD
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Pediatric brain tumors - developmental biology and treatment
Cancer Biology Link between obesity and cancer.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Therapeutic and diagnostic potential of intracellular sodium.
Gary H. Laverty, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Osmoregulation and sensory biology in the unicellular protist Tetrahymena thermophila
Ecology and Evolution
Julia Anne Maresca, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Microbiology and Virology Bacterial pigmentation and phototrophy.
John H. McDonald, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Ecology and Evolution Effects of natural selection on nuclear genes.
Blake Meyers, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Plant genomics and the biology, biogenesis, function & evolution of plant small RNAs.
Michael C. Moore, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Ecological immunology and the tradeoffs between immune and reproductive systems.
Neuroendocrine control of reproductive behavior and aggression.
Robin Morgan, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Molecular biology of Marek's disease.
Ramona Neunuebel, PhD.
Research Area Description
Microbiology and Virology Molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis.
Microbiology and Virology Molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis.
Anja Nohe, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Role of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) during skeletal development and maintenance.
Cancer Biology Role of vitamin D and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) in breast cancer.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Role of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and vitamin D during mesenchymal stem cell differentiation.
Developmental Biology Mechanisms of skeletal development.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Utilizing genetic mouse models of peak bone density to determine the mechanism underlying peak bone mass.
Oyenike ‘Nike’ Olabisi, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
bodyullidivspanspan Switch to plain text editor More information about text formats Text format Full HTMLFiltered HTMLPlain textPHP code Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Show row weights Research Areas Research Area - None -Animal PhysiologyCancer BiologyCell and Extracellular Matrix BiologyDevelopmental BiologyEcology and EvolutionMicrobiology and VirologyMolecular Biology and GeneticsScience Education Description
Eleftherios T. Papoutsakis, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Blood clotting and platelet function.
Microbiology and Virology Engineering of microbes to produce biofuels.
Mark Parcells, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Cancer Biology Cancer vaccines and tumor immunology.
Ecology and Evolution The evolution of herpesvirus virulence.
Microbiology and Virology Molecular virology of Marek's disease virus (MDV), an oncogenic herpesvirus of chickens.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Functional analysis of Marek's disease virus (MDV) gene products.
Carl Schmidt, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Microbiology and Virology Pathogenesis of oncogenic herpes viruses.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Bioinformatics and avian genomics.
Florence Schmieg, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
The effect of Problem-Based-Learning (PBL) strategies on educational outcomes.
Erica M. Selva, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Genetic and molecular control of signal transduction during Drosophila development.
Developmental Biology Control of Wnt and hedgehog signaling in Drosophila development.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Genetic and molecular control of signal transduction during Drosophila development.
Robert A. Sikes, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Modeling human prostate and breast cancer metastasis in vivo. Hormonal resistance and bone interactions
Cancer Biology Human prostate cancer progression. In particular, metastatic cell interaction with nerve and bone marrow stromal cells along with development of novel therapeutic intervention.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Role of bone marrow stromal cells in prostate cancer metastasis to bone. Role of ion channel accessory proteins in prostate cancer metastasis to bone.
Developmental Biology Development of the prostate gland.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Mechanisms progression of human prostate cancer to castration resistance. Mechanisms of prostate cancer metastasis to bone.
Jia L. Song, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Developmental Biology microRNAs regulation of developmental pathways in the early embryo
Douglas Tallamy, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Ecology and Evolution Luperine chrysomelid beetle interactions with toxic cucurbitacin triterpenes.
Shunji Tomatsu MD. PhD.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Mouse models for skeletal dysplasias - therapeutic strategies for bone diseases with bone targeting.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Role of extracellular matrix (collagen and glycosaminoglycans) in lysosomal storage disorders.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Genetics of skeletal dysplasias - generation and characterization of skeletal dysplasia and lysosomal storage disorder mouse models.
David C. Usher, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Development of adipose tissue.
The relationship of obesity to metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
Affect of undergraduate research on educational outcomes; recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in the sciences.
The relationship of obesity to metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
Kenneth L. van Golen, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Cancer Biology Understanding the mechanisms of inflammatory breast cancer metastasis. Understanding the role of RhoC GTPase in aggressive cancers.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Understanding the differences between RhoA and RhoC GTPases.
K. Eric Wommack, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Microbiology and Virology Viruses and their impact on microbial communities.
Donna Woulfe, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Animal Physiology Platelet development and roles in hemostasis and thrombosis.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Platelet signal transduction mechanisms.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Role of mutations and deletions in genes encoding platelet signaling and membrane surface molecules.
Cathy H. Wu, Ph.D.
Research Area Description
Cancer Biology Bioinformatics and computation biology of cancer biology.
Cell and Extracellular Matrix Biology Bioinformatics and computation biology of cell and extracellular matrix biology.
Microbiology and Virology Bioinformatics and computation biology of microbiology and virology.
Molecular Biology and Genetics Bioinformatics and computation biology of molecular biology and genetics.