Faculty Research

The following is a brief description of research programs of full-time faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences, and the institution that awarded their doctorate degree.

Bengt J. Allen, Ph.D. (State University of New York, Stony Brook). Marine Community Ecology. Effects of climate change on the structure and function of rocky shore communities. Interactions between native seagrass and an invasive marine bivalve. Bengt.Allen@csulb.edu (Allen Lab)

Flora Banuett, Ph.D. (University of Oregon). Fungal genetics and cell biology. Molecular mechanisms of cell morphogenesis in the fungus Ustilago maydis. Signal transduction and plant-pathogen interactions. Genetic determinants of the life cycle -- the mating types. Flora.Banuett@csulb.edu

Renaud Berlemont, Ph.D. (University of Liege, Belgium). Microbial genomics and bioinformatics. Comparative (meta)genomics and polysaccharides processing by environmental microbial isolates/communities (e.g. cellulose degredation). Renaud.Berlemont@csulb.edu (Berlemont Lab)

Judy A. Brusslan, Ph.D. (University of Chicago). Plant molecular biology. Leaf senescence in Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetic and genome-wide analysis of histone modifications that accompany leaf senescence. Judy.Brusslan@csulb.edu (Brusslan Profile)

Ashley Carter, Ph.D. (Yale University). Theoretical and empirical evolutionary biology. Theoretical: mathematical and computer simulation models of evolutionary processes, comparative allometric studies. Empirical: insect quantitative genetics and morphometrics, fluctuating asymmetry. Ashley.Carter@csulb.edu (Carter Lab)

Jesse Dillon, Ph.D. (University of Oregon). Microbial ecology and evolution. Molecular diversity and ecophysiology of microbial communities in extreme environments. Jesse.Dillon@csulb.edu (Dillon Lab)

Elizabeth D. Eldon, Ph.D. (Indiana University, Bloomington). Developmental biology. Genetic and molecular analysis of receptor signaling in development and innate immunity.E.Eldon@csulb.edu

Amanda E. Fisher, Ph.D. (Idaho State University). Plant evolution and systematics, especially Acanthaceae and Poaceae. Floristics and plant conservation. Amanda.Fisher@csulb.edu

Deborah A. Fraser Ph.D. (University of Wales, Cardiff). Investigating molecular mechanisms of the innate immune response. We are looking at the role of complement proteins in inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, to identify novel therapeutic targets. Deborah.Fraser@csulb.edu

Editte Gharakhanian, Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles). Molecular cell biology. Identify genes and gene products involved in trafficking of proteins to the lysosome of Baker's yeast; study their conservation in humans and their connection to human diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer. E.Ghara@csulb.edu. (Gharakhanian Lab)

Michael Harris, Ph.D. (University of British Columbia). Physiology. Our research is primarily focused around questions of how the body sets and meets the demands of metabolism. Studies of metabolic regulation, and of the cells and neuronal circuits that respond to CO2 and O2 and modulate breathing and blood flow. Also, the evolutionary origins and consistency of these mechanisms across species from invertebrates to mammals. Michael.Harris2@csulb.edu.

Raisa Hernández Pacheco, Ph. D. (University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras). Population Ecology: I am interested in understanding processes shaping the demography of populations. I center my research on structured population models with a particular focus on Cayo Santiago rhesus macaques. Rai.HernandezPacheco@csulb.edu (Hernández Lab)

Erika Holland, Ph.D. (University of California, Davis). Aquatic Toxicology. My aim is to understand the impact of pollutants on aquatic organisms, particularly fish. Ongoing research focuses on chemicals that alter Ca2+ signaling pathways essential physiological processes including neurodevelopment, striated muscle function and oocyte fertilization. Erika.Holland@csulb.edu. (Holland Lab)

Darren Johnson, Ph.D. (Oregon State University). Ecology and evolutionary biology of reef fishes. Field studies of demographic rates and population dynamics. Quantitative genetics of growth and behavior. Natural selection in the sea. Darren.Johnson@csulb.edu (Johnson Lab)

Lisa S. Klig, Ph.D. (Albert Einstein College of Medicine). Molecular genetics and bioinformatics.Analysis of inositol metabolism in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Inositol is a sugar that can serve as a precursor for a membrane phospholipid (phosphatidylinositol), a second messenger in signal transduction, an osmolyte, or an energy source. Disruption of inositol metabolism has been observed in patients with bipolar disease, developmental disorders, and diabetes. Inositol metabolism may also be involved in the pathogenicity of specific fungi that infect humans. Furthering the understanding of inositol metabolism may lead to effective therapeutic agents. LS.Klig@csulb.edu

Brian Livingston, Ph.D. (UC Santa Barbara). Development and Evolution. We study the development and evolution of mineralized tissue in echinoderms. We use proteomics and genomics to identify genes that encode proteins involved in forming a skeleton. We use molecular techniques to study expression of these genes and to study how they evolve. Brian.Livingston@csulb.edu

Christopher G. Lowe, Ph.D. (University of Hawaii, Manoa). Physiological and behavioral ecology of teleost gamefishes and elasmobranchs. Emphasis on bioenergetics, physiological and behavioral fisheries ecology, and movement patterns of gamefishes and elasmobranches. Chris.Lowe@csulb.edu (Lowe Lab)

Ari Martinez, Ph. D. (University of Florida). Behavioral and Community Ecology: My research interest lies at the intersection of behavioral and community ecology. How does sociality among species influence the organization of animal communities? To what extent does social information about predators and food drive patterns of species associations? How do social groups influence the organization of the larger communities of which they are a part? I rely heavily on field experiments and observations, using mixed species groups of birds. I am currently incorporating molecular techniques to understand how social behavior influences diet overlap (as a proxy for niche overlap) among co-existing species. Ari.Martinez@csulb.edu (Martinez Lab)

Douglas Pace, Ph.D. (University of Southern California). Ecological Physiology.Physiological mechanisms of adaptation. Elucidation of the molecular and biochemical pathways that allow organisms to tolerate environmental stress and variability. Laboratory focuses on cellular physiology through investigations of the parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii and organismal physiology through research on marine invertebrate larvae. Douglas.Pace@csulb.edu (Pace Lab)

Bruno Pernet, Ph.D. (University of Washington, Seattle). Marine invertebrate biology. Development, functional morphology, and evolution of marine invertebrate larvae. Bruno.Pernet@csulb.edu (Pernet Lab)

Peter Ramirez, Ph.D. (University of Utah). Viral Pathogenesis / Molecular Cell Biology. My research focuses on the interplay between viruses and the host immune response. Specifically, we are trying to characterize the mechanisms by which retroviral gene products modulate host cell pathways and antiviral defenses to cause disease in humans. Peter.Ramirez@csulb.edu

Bryan Rourke, Ph.D. (University of California, Irvine). Integrative animal physiology. Vertebrate muscle physiology, effects of hibernation, exercise, and metabolism. Bryan.Rourke@csulb.edu (Rourke Lab)

Kevin Sinchak, Ph.D. (Michigan State University). Reproductive behavioral neuroendocrinology; neuroscience and neurosteroids. I study the gonadal steroid regulation of neural circuits that control reproductive behavior, and the physiology and function of steroids made in the brain (neurosteroids). Kevin.Sinchak@csulb.edu

Ted Stankowich, Ph.D. (University of California, Davis). Evolutionary Behavioral Ecology. Evolution of predator-prey interactions, including antipredator behavior, defensive weaponry, predator recognition, coloration, risk assessment, and escape decisions. Main focus is on mammals but enjoys working on other taxa as well. Theodore.Stankowich@csulb.edu (Stankowich Lab)

Houng-Wei Tsai, Ph.D. (University of Kentucky). Epigenetic neuroendocrinology. My research interest is to understand the neuroendocrine mechanisms that regulate reproductive function and behaviors at molecular, cellular, and systemic levels. I use epigenetic approach to identify the sexually dimorphic genes that control sexual differentiation in the mouse brain structure and behavior. Houng-Wei.Tsai@csulb.edu

Dessie L. Underwood, Ph.D. (University of California, Davis). Entomology and Stream Ecology: We use arthropods to quantify human impacts on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. We utilize benthic macro invertebrates and diatoms as bioassessment tools in evaluating the health of Southern California streams. We also study plant-insect interactions, insect behavior, and factors influencing the success of invasive arthropod species. Dessie.Underwood@csulb.edu (Underwood Lab)

Christine Whitcraft, Ph.D. (UCSD - Scripps Institution of Oceanography). Wetlands Ecology. Conservation Biology, Human Impacts on Salt Marsh Ecosystems and Food Webs. Christine.Whitcraft@csulb.edu (Whitcraft Lab)

Raymond R. Wilson, Ph.D. (University of California, San Diego-Scripps Institution of Oceanography). Marine ichthyology. Population genetics of marine fishes. Ray.Wilson@csulb.edu

Kelly Young, Ph.D. (John Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD). Reproductive biologist. Seasonal changes in reproductive physiology; photoperiodic regulation of ovarian/testicular function. Kelly.Young@csulb.edu

Mason X. Zhang, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin, Madison). Host-pathogen interactions. Genetic engineering of human antibodies; host defense mechanisms against microbial infection. Mason.Zhang@csulb.edu