Student examining a specimen in a microscope

Research Program

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Dr. April DeLaurier: (Ph.D., Biochemistry, University College London). Dr. DeLaurier is a developmental biologist who studies skeletal formation in zebrafish. Her research uses genetic manipulation and live cell imaging to understand the genes and cellular mechanisms that pattern the craniofacial skeleton. She teaches 121 Biological Science I and Developmental Biology. 

Dr. Allen Dennis: (Ph.D., Geology, University of South Carolina). Dr. Dennis conducts research in tectonics generally, the Ediacaran and younger history of the Appalachians in particular, and that of the Piedmont of the Carolinas and Georgia specifically. All studies are rooted in field observations and detailed geologic mapping. Over the past 33 years he has worked on kinematic models for the formation of structures in shear zones, the geochemistry and petrology of mafic-ultramafic complexes, U-Pb dating of zircon and monazite (TIMS, ion probe and laser ablation methods), structural and petrologic analysis of the basement underlying the US DOE Savannah River Site, eclogite and high-pressure granulite facies metamorphism internal to Carolinia, K-metasomatism accompanying Mesozoic rifting, provenance of tillites deposited at the D-M boundary in the Pennsylvania Valley and Ridge, and detrital zircon provenance studies of the exposed Rheic margin in the North and South Carolina. He continues to welcome highly motivated students to participate in on-going projects. He teaches 101 Physical Geology, 102 Historical Geology, 331 Structural Geology, 425 Coastal Geology, and 431 Southern Appalachian Geology.

Dr. Andrew Dyer: (Ph.D., Plant Ecology, University of California, Davis). Dr. Dyer's research interests are in population and community ecology, invasive species ecology, and habitat restoration. His current research focuses on population biology of invasive annual grasses and nutsedges with a focus on competitive ability, ecotypic variation, adaptive plasticity, and germination traits. He teaches 122 Biological Science II, 370 Ecology and Evolution, and 570 Principles of Ecology.

Dr. Kelly Gibson: (Ph.D., Marine Geology and Geophysics, University of Miami). Dr. Gibson's research interests are in reconstruction of abrupt changes in climate and the nutrient and hydrologic cycles from marine sediments and isotope geochemistry and the role of the tropics in the global climate system. She teaches 103 Environmental Earth Science and 201 Integrated Earth Science.

Dr. C. Nathan Hancock: (Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Missouri-Columbia). Dr. Hancock is a plant biologist interested in the genes that control agronomic traits. His research focuses on using a transposable element from rice to discover gene functions. He teaches 121 Biological Science I and 541 Biochemistry.

Dr. Michele Harmon: (Ph.D., Environmental Health Sciences, University of South Carolina). Dr. Harmon's research interests include aquatic toxicology, environmental fate and transport of metals, and wetland biogeochemistry. She teaches 106 Environmental Life Science, 390 Environmental Science & Human Health, and 576 Topics in Environmental Science. 

Dr. William H. Jackson, Jr.: (Ph.D., Immunology, Medical College of Georgia). Dr. Jackson's experience is in the use of viral vectors as delivery vehicles of therapeutic genes. He conducts research on the use of ribozymes and siRNAs to inhibit replication of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus - 1(HIV-1). He teaches 121 Biological Science I, 340 Virology, 350 Genetics, 502 Advanced Cell/Molecular Biology, and 550 Immunology.

Dr. Kristina Ramstad: (Ph.D., Organismal Biology and Ecology, University of Montana-Missoula). Dr Ramstad's work draws on genomic sequencing and field based ecological studies to address fundamental questions in the evolution, ecology and demography of at-risk species. She is particularly interested in the impacts of genetic bottleneck effects and inbreeding on population persistence, the effects of mating system on genetic variation, and applied conservation management, and has worked with a broad array of taxa, including salmon, tuatara, and kiwi.

Dr. Virginia Shervette: (Ph.D., Wildlife and Fisheries Science, Texas A&M University). Research in the Fish/Fisheries Conservation Lab examines ecosystem, community, and species responses to anthropogenic impacts in aquatic systems along the watershed gradient including freshwater, estuarine, and marine environments. We also investigate issues relating to human dimensions of fisheries management including benefits and risks associated with fish and other seafood consumption. Dr. Shervette teaches 122 Biological Science II, 242 Physiology, and 576 Topics in Environmental Science.

Dr. Jessica Sullivan: (Ph.D., Geological Science, University of South Carolina). Dr. Sullivan's research focuses on understanding the interactions between process and form in coastal wetland ecosystems. She teaches 103 Environmental Earth Science, 201 Integrated Earth Science, 401 Geomorphology.

Dr. Michelle Vieyra: (Ph.D., Biology, University of South Carolina). Most of Dr. Vieyra's research focuses on the effects of nutrition on physiology, stress and cognition. Her work includes studying the role of dietary sugar in obesity and behavioral changes in rats and the effects of different substances in the human diet on cognitive functioning and neuronal activation. She teaches A&P I (BIOL 243), A&P II (BIOL 244), Animal Nutrition (BIOL 365), Neurobiology (BIOL 367) and Animal Behavior (BIOL 366).

Dr. Derek Zelmer: (Ph.D., Biology, Wake Forest University). Dr. Zelmer's research interests include among-scale interactions of population and community processes in aquatic systems, determinants of parasite community structure in aquatic vertebrates, and transmission dynamics of parasites in lotic ecosystems. He teaches 122 Biological Science II, 370 Ecology and Evolution, and 531 Parasitology.