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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Faculty

MS Program Faculty


Full-Time Faculty​

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Leo P. Bruederle, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Research Interests:
Evolution of species-rich genera such as Carex (Cyperaceae); plant systematics at and below the level of genus, population genetics and endemism, and conservation genetics in species of special concern; and development of undergraduate research opportunities.
Office:
SI 4101
Phone:
303-556-3419
E-mail 
Profile
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Amanda Charlesworth, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Research Interests:
Molecular developmental biology. Regulation of gene expression by RNA translational control and cell cycle progression during oocyte maturation, maternal to embryo transition and early development. 
Office:
SI 4106 Phone:
303-556-2854
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Greg Cronin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

 

Research Interests: ​
Dr. Cronin uses a transdisciplinary approach to restore and protect ecosystems.  He is a fan of using the STEAM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) to promote a sustainable society and protection of Earth’s ecosystems.  Two main foci of this scholarship is using aquaponics to sustainably produce food, and restoring watersheds in Haiti.  

 

Office:
SI 4100
Phone:
303-556-6036
E-mail 
Profile
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Raibatak Das, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor 
Research Interests: 

Our lab uses experimental and computational tools to study immune cell signaling.

 

 

 

B cells in our immune system respond to pathogens such as bacteria and fungi by producing antibodies that can bind to these pathogens and facilitate their elimination. We wish to understand how B cells effectively discriminate between foreign and self antigens that bind to B cell receptors (BCRs) on their surface. It is critically important for B cells to mount an immune response to a foreign antigen, and suppress the immune response to a self-antigen. The breakdown of this discrimination is at the heart of a number of autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and a majority of lymphomas.

 

 

 

Our goal is to understand the molecular events that comprise the B cell signaling. To do so, we use high resolution microscopy to visualize BCRs and other signaling molecules in B cells. We develop image-analysis tools to quantify the microscopy data, and utilize mathematical and statistical tools to extract meaningful biological information from these data.​

 
​​Office:
SI 4107
Phone:
303-556-6595
E-mail
Profile​
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Charles A. Ferguson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Research Interests:
Dr. Ferguson is interested in the academic and non-academic issues students face coming into the STEM disciplines in college. He is particularly interested in student, parent, and high school faculty perceptions of what higher education is and how it prepares students for careers in science, math or engineering.

Office:
SI 2071 D
Phone:
303-556-4350
E-mail 
Profile 

 Web Site

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Michael J. Greene, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Research Interests:
Understanding mechanisms by which semiochemicals, natural products that act as signals or cues, mediate animal physiology and behavior; characterizing the chemical structures of these semiochemicals along with factors regulating their production; and characterizing the ecological, behavioral and social contexts under which they operate.
Office:
SI 4115
Phone:
303-556-5610
E-mail
Profile
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Laurel Hartley, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Research Interests:
Dr. Hartley's research experience, and interests are in the fields of science education and ecology. Her research interests in science education involve understanding what it means to be literate about ecological concepts and how current K-16 benchmarks and practices contribute to scientific literacy. Her scientific research bridges community ecology and ecosystem ecology to explore ways that plant communities respond to perturbations such as emerging infectious diseases, intensive herbivory, nutrient inputs, and invasive species introduction.
Office:
SI 4124 Phone:
303-556-6251
E-mail
Profile
 
Aaron Johnson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Research Interests: 
Molecular mechanisms of myogenesis.  We use high throughput screens, classical genetics, and molecular and cellular techniques to discover and characterize novel proteins that direct cardiac and skeletal muscle development.

Office:
SI 4099
Phone:
303-556-2593
E-mail
Profile

Website

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Christopher Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Research Interests:
Microbial community genomics and bioinformatics.  Experimental and computational approaches measure and predict function, resilience, and response to environmental change in microbial communities relevant to the environment, bioenergy production, and human health and disease.

 

 

Office:
SI 4098
Phone:
303-556-3107
E-mail
Profile
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​Annika Mosier, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Research Interests:
Research in the Mosier lab centers around (1) microbial biogeochemistry—understanding microbial function in the environment, and (2) microbial ecology—understanding and predicting the driving factors that shape microbial community structure and function in the environment. Earth's biosphere and climate are regulated by biogeochemical carbon and nitrogen exchanges between the land, oceans and atmosphere that are chiefly driven by microorganisms, and yet much remains to be learned about these critical processes. The Mosier lab examines the biogeochemistry and ecology of carbon and nitrogen cycling microbes in aquatic environments and their responses to environmental change. These themes are addressed by exploring the connections between genes, organisms, communities and the environment through the application of field and laboratory studies.​

 

 
Office
Phone:
E-mail
Profile



Christopher Phiel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Research Interests: 
Signal transduction, epigenetics, and gene regulation. The Phiel Lab has several projects on-going for more information please click here 1) Using mouse embryonic stem cells deficient in Gsk-3, we are investigating the role Gsk-3 plays in the regulation of gene expression, including miRNAs. 2) We have found that Gsk-3 is an important regulator of DNA methylation, and we are interested in examining the effects of Gsk-3 inhibition on DNA methylation on a genome-wide scale by utilizing next-generation DNA sequencing. Of particular interest is the connection between DNA methylation and bipolar disorder, since the primary therapy for bipolar disorder, lithium, is also a Gsk-3 inhibitor. 3) We are investigating the molecular mechanism of the ketogenic diet, which is used as a therapy in the treatment of pediatric epilepsy. 4) We are interested in understanding the mechanism by which Gsk-3 inhibition leads to reduced production of the beta-amyloid peptides that form plaques in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

Office: 
SI 4111 Phone:
303-556-5681
E-mail
Profile
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Timberley Roane, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and
Director of The Biology M.S. Program

Research Interests:

Microbial methods of chemical detoxification, and physiological responses of microorganisms to environmental and biological stress. Also, understanding microbial community structure and function, and the use of microorganisms as indicators of system health and environmental quality.
Office:
SI 4096
Phone:
303-556-6592
E-mail 
Profile
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Bradley J. Stith, Ph.D.
Professor

Research Interests:
We study the induction of fertilization events through calcium, lipid and kinase signaling.  We also study the induction of meiotic cell division by progesterone, insulin action, and egg and sperm physiology.

 
 
Office:
SI 4110
Phone:
303-556-3371
E-mail 
Profile
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John G. Swallow, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Chair

Research Interests:
Evolutionary biology, comparative physiology, and behavioral ecology emphasizing the evolution and functional implications of animal ornaments. Ongoing projects include investigating how evolution driven by sexual selection (e.g. ornamentation that serves as secondary sexual signals) conflicts with locomotor performance and, ultimately, fitness as well as the neurochemical mechanisms underlying aggressive display of ornaments,escalation and conflict resolution using stalk-eyed flies as a model system. Research includes ecological, organismal, biomechanical and behavioral approaches.

Office:
SI 2071 C
Phone:
303-556-6154
E-mail
Profile




Diana F. Tomback, Ph.D.,
Professor and Associate Dept. Chair

Research Interests:
Evolutionary, behavioral, and conservation ecology emphasizing seed dispersal mutualisms between white pines and Clark's nutcrackers, as well as conservation of white pine ecosystems. Work focuses on whitebark pine ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains.​

Office:
SI 4105
Phone:
303-556-2657
E-mail 
Profile
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Alan Vajda, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Research Interests:
Environmental Signaling and Endocrine Disruption. Dr. Vajda's lab focus is on the emerging eco-human health issue of endocrine-active chemicals in wastewater-dominated streams. Studies include: neural mechanisms underlying reproductive disruption by estrogenic mixtures, ecosystem responses to major engineering upgrades, and the role of global water management decisions in mitigating adverse impacts of environmental chemicals on the health of humans and wildlife.
Office:
SI 4104
Phone:
303-556-6765
E-mail
Profile
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Michael Wunder, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Research Interests:
Quantitative ecology, biogeography, and population dynamics. Characterizing and understanding space-time dependencies in ecological systems, especially those involving highly mobile or migratory animals.
Office:
SI 4124
Phone:
303-556-8870
E-mail
Profile

Affiliated Faculty

David Albeck
David Albeck, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Research Interests:
The Albeck lab studies the behavioral and physiological effects of aging, with particular emphasis on non-invasive strategies of enhancing neurotrophin expression and cognitive function.
Office:
NC 5008H
Phone:
303-556-6740
E-mail
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Richard Allen Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Research Interests:
Psychopharmacology. Neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms that contribute to cocaine tolerance, sensitization and drug dependence (i.e., "addiction"). Glutamatergic mechanisms that underlie escalation of cocaine use.  Pharmacological, neurobiological, and behavioral mechanisms that alter the abuse potential of psychoactive drugs.
Office:
NC 5008H
Phone:
303-556-6740
E-mail​
Sondra Bland
Sondra Bland, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Research Interests: 
My research interests include the neurobiology of stress and addiction and how these can interact to affect the vulnerability of an individual to drug addiction. I am particularly interested in developmental aspects of stress/drug interactions and currently focus on adolescent models of stress
Office:
NC 5010 B
Phone:
303-352-3722
E-mail

​Adjunct Faculty




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​​

 

Paula Cushing, Ph.D.
Curator of Invertebrate Zoology
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
(2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205) 

 

Research Interests:
Paula Cushing is the Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.  She began her position in 1998.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1995.  She is an evolutionary biologist who studies evolutionary patterns and processes in arachnids (spiders and their kin). Her research focuses on the diversity of spiders in the Rocky Mountain/Great Plains ecoregion (the Colorado Spider Survey). She also oversees projects exploring the taxonomy, systematics, and natural history of spiders and solifuges. She has published on myrmecophilic spiders (spiders that live inside ant colonies) and their evolutionary relationship with the ant hosts. She has done research in all the deserts of western US, in Florida, Virginia, Puerto Rico, Panama and India.

 

She is the co-advisor on the graduate committees of master of science and Ph.D. students at Colorado State University and Western Texas A&M University. She is also coordinating the research efforts of several DMNS volunteers. She has served as the President and Director of the American Arachnological Society and is very active with that professional society. She is also co-editor for the book Spiders of North America: an identification manual.

 

 ​

Phone: 

303-370-6442
Fax:
393-331-6492

E-mail

 

DMNS Website​

spiders.dmns.org

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John Demboski, Ph.D.
Dept Chair and Curator of
Vertebrate Zoology
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80205

Research Interests:

 

Dr. John Demboski is an evolutionary biologist that studies how different processes -- like climate and geological change, gene flow/hybridization, and speciation -- create diversity in western North American mammals. He combines fieldwork and lab work to look into the basic questions about how and why species occur where they do.


 

Phone:
303-370-6443

E-mail

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Nicole Garneau, Ph.D.
Curator & Dept. Chair, Health Sciences
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80205​
 

 

Research Interests:
Dr. Nicole Garneau is a geneticist who is interested in the way a person's DNA affects their ability to taste, and therefore their food choices and diet. The data from her research will improve our understanding of how evolution has helped us adapt as a species in order to survive, and also explain the effects of taste evolution on modern day humans. She is an advocate for women in science and making science relevant through engaging communication and outreach in the community. Learn more about Dr. Garneau's alter ego "Yo Pearl the Science Girl" @yopearlscigirl on Twitter and Facebook and by visiting her lab page at www.dmns.org/genetics.​

Phone: 
303-370-6086

 

E-mail

DMNS Website

The Genetics Lab

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Benjamin N. Greenwood, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
 
Research Interests:

Research in the Greenwood lab investigates the neurobiological mechanisms by which physical activity status impacts behavior, focusing primarily on behaviors relating to depression, fear and anxiety. We are also interested in identifying factors that can enhance the generalization of memory for fear extinction; thereby reducing the relapse of fear and anxiety. Current projects include: identification of the mechanisms underlying exercise reward; assessing the impact of repeated exercise on neural circuits responsible for processing reward and aversion; delineating the roles of the mesolimbic and nigrostriatal dopamine systems in the antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of exercise; identification of the signals by which the experience of exercise is communicated to the brain to result in exercise-induced changes in brain and behavior; and determining the role of dorsal striatal direct pathway neurons in learning and memory of context-independent extinction.​ 

Office:​   TBD
Phone:  TBD
E-mail
Website​
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​Rebecca Hufft Kao
Manager of Conservation Programs
Denver Botanic Gardens
1007 York St., Denver, CO 80206
 
I manage the research component of the Gardens responsible for conservation efforts. The main focus of this work is the ecology and demography of rare plant species, including collection and preservation of seeds from rare Colorado species. I am also interested in integrating studies of biodiversity, invasive species and phenology into the conservation program.

I have a broad background in plant ecology, evolution, and conservation. My research has focused on exploring the link between plant morphological and genetic variation, focusing on evolution in novel environments and the evolution of species interactions. My work has included polyploidy, reproductive systems, phenology, grassland restoration, invasive species, biodiversity, and plant-animal interactions. I am committed to linking basic evolutionary and ecological research to important issues of concern for species management and conservation.​

​Phone:
720-865-3597

E-mail
Website​

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Frank Krell, Ph.D.
Curator of Entomology
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80205​

 

Research Interests:

Dr. Frank Krell works on the taxonomy, natural history, and ecology of living and fossil scarab beetles in the Rocky Mountain region and also worldwide. This large group of beetles contains many beneficial species, such as pollinators, dung and carrion feeders, and also important pest species (leaf and root feeders).

Phone:
303-370-8244

E-mail

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Jennifer Ramp Neale, Ph.D.
Director of Research & Conservation
Denver Botanic Gardens
1007 York Street
Denver, CO 80206

 

Research Interests: 

My research at the Gardens is focused on applied research of plants in the Southern Rocky Mountain region. My area of expertise is in utilizing genetic tools to address questions related to Colorado’s most rare and imperiled plants. I am collaborating with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to address genetic questions in four federally listed species through the use of molecular tools. In addition, I conduct long-term demographic monitoring of several species to track population dynamics over time, as well as to inform management activities. As the Gardens’ Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) conservation officer, I help protect our imperiled species from extinction through seed collection for future restoration and reintroduction needs.

As director of the Research & Conservation Department, my role is to act as the public face for the research done by our team. I not only serve in an advisory role for all the staff, but help to problem solve and ensure necessary resources are at hand.​

Phone:

720-865-3562

 E-mail​

 Website​

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Erik Oleson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor,
University of Colorado Denver
Dept. of Psychology
Research Interests:

Research in the Oleson lab generally focuses on the role of subsecond dopamine release in motivated behavior within the context of drug addiction. We are also interested in using cannabinoids to treat diseases that alter the mesolimbic dopamine system. We measure real-time dopamine release during ongoing behavior using a technique called fast-scan cyclic voltammetry and control dopamine neural activity using a technique called optogenetics. Specific projects include: assessing the role of dopamine in the co-morbid expression of schizophrenia and drug addiction, assessing the role of dopamine in drug withdrawal, establishing potential pharmacotherapies that might be used to treat schizophrenia and drug addiction.​

Office​​:
SI 0016
Phone:
303-556-5867
E-mail
The Oleson Lab
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Dr. Douglas Shepherd, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Physics
University of Colorado Denver
Dept. of Physics

 

Research Interests:

 

Stochastic gene regulation, quantitative imaging, systems biology.  We utilize high-throughput single-molecule, single-cell imaging techniques to investigate the variability in gene expression in a variety of systems.  Our research is currently centered on understanding the role of the oxidative stress signaling network in the developing lung at the genetic level both experimentally and theoretically.  Other ongoing projects include the immune system response in the allergic reaction, technique development to correlate genetic expression to macroscopic cell properties (such as morphology) using quantitative imaging techniques, and complex systems modeling to predict genetic expression in signal-activated genetic networks.​

Office:
NC 3807

Phone:
303-556-6380

E-mail

Shepherd Lab               





 


 

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