Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Students


Name Research Interest E-mail
Katie Anderson Katie is studying basking habitat selection in state endangered Northern Map Turtles. She is conducting research on the Lower Susquehanna River where the tide and water fluctuations from the Conowingo Hydroelectric Dam produce an altered flow regime. Katie is interested in determining how the turtles react to and cope with these water level changes as they attempt to thermoregulate.


Daniel Breen Dan's thesis research is focused on the succession of herbaceous and woody vegetation communities throughout a secondary successional, eastern deciduous forest. He is drawing connections between vegetation
patterns and land-use history, such as the length of time since an abandoned agricultural land has reverted to forest. His results are also being applied to land management objectives, including prioritization of the control of invasive plant species.


Nathan Byer  


Jessica Canter Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a bacterial pathogen that commonly infects poultry and songbirds such as house finches. Strains from varying years and locations have exhibited cases of conjunctivitis in these songbirds with differing severity. The virulence factors of M. gallisepticum, such as glycosidase activity, hydrogen peroxide production, and cytadherence are analyzed in an attempt to correlate visible pathogenicity with the activity of these virulence factors on a molecular level.


Jennifer Chmura Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) is a gamma-2 herpesvirus that exhibits two lifestyles: latent and lytic infection. The replication and transcription activator (RTA) is the key regulator of KSHV lytic replication, has been assigned intrinsic E3 ubiquitin ligase activity, and has been shown to stabilize and recruit the cellular E3 ubiquitin ligase RAUL. The objective of Jennifer's work in Dr. Ehrlich’s lab is to identify other cellular E3 ubiquitin ligases that are recruited by RTA.


Brian Cooper  


Clayton Costa Clayton is investigating the molecular phylogeny of the subtribe Chrysopsidinae (Asteraceae: Astereae). In particular, he is utilizing nuclear ribosomal DNA and chloroplast DNA sequence data in his work.


Sarah Fargis Genital herpes, typically caused by HSV-2, infects 15-25% of the population worldwide. Treatment typically involves multiple oral daily doses of acyclovir (ACV) or penciclovir (PCV) for topical treatment. Although these drugs have been proven to be effective in managing the symptoms, these drugs have a low oral bioavailability, a short half-life, and low patient compliance. The Towson University Herpes Virus Lab (TUHVL) has created an alternative method of drug delivery, an implant, which significantly suppresses reactivations. Sarah's research is testing the efficacy of a PCV-polycaprolactone (PCL) implant in HSV-2 infected cotton rats.


Marc Fink Marc is currently working in Dr. Michelle Snyder's lab investigating the process of cellular autophagy using the model organism, Dictyostelium discoideum. Autophagy is an intracellular degradation process that is important in cellular functions such as nutrient recycling and pathogen degradation. Dictyostelium discoideum is a model organism that has conserved autophagy induction proteins and parallels mammalian systems. Using autophagy induction assays and gene expression analysis, Marc will be investigating the role of TirA, a signaling molecule that is necessary for autophagy to occur in D. discoideum.


Jenna Hickey Jenna will be working in Dr. Margulies' lab studing drug delivery for treating Herpes virus. Her specific project concerns finding the link between Herpes and AIDs viruses for better understanding and treatment.
Jessica Hobson Cytochrome oxidases are heterologous membrane protein complexes that perform the last step in the electron transport chain during aerobic respiration. Over one hundred cytochrome bd oxidase operons contain a short gene encoding a small protein, CydX. Previous work indicates CydX interacts with the CydAB complex and is required for complex activity. Jessica is determining the essential amino acids of CydX, and is characterizing the role those amino acids play in small protein function.


Danielle Iuliucci Danielle is interested in the relative contribution of restored wetland landscapes to the production of amphibians. Her current research is focused on a restored wetland landscape at a preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy on Maryland’s eastern shore. To date her results suggest the restoration has significantly enhanced the ability of the preserve to support viable populations of pond-breeding amphibians.


Grant Izzo Grant is working on an assessment of salt impacts on streamside salamanders and the influence of modern stormwater pactices on any potential impacts. Specifically, he is looking at the variations in chloride levels in streams draining watersheds with and without stormwater management ponds. He is comparing field-measured concentrations to LC50 values determined under laboratory conditions.


Elizabeth Jackson  


Steven Messer Steven's research focuses on ants, specifically a parasitic relationship between two species called inquilinism. The species involved are Nylanderia parvula and the newly discovered parasite (currently unnamed but belongs to the genus Nylanderia). He is seeking to understand the relationship between these two species by observing their behaviors. He is also examining the natural history and ecology of the species to get a better understand as to why and how the inquiline condition evolved.


William Miller I am currently studying how urbanization affects patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation between populations of northern dusky salamanders in the area surrounding Baltimore, MD. I am specifically interested in observing how land use influences patterns of genetic connectivity along both terrestrial and aquatic dispersal pathways. My goal is to better understand how anthropogenic habitat fragmentation may affect the meta-population dynamics of sensitive headwater species


Katherine Moris  


Timothy O'Neill Tim is interested in the evolution and physiology of various modes of locomotion in fish. Through laboratory experiments, heI aims to improve our understanding of how exaggerated morphologies that arise from sexual selection affect fish swimming performance. Do morphological traits such as the long sword tail of mature male Xiphophorus have performance costs? This and related questions will be the focus of his research in Dr. Oufiero's Lab.  
Travis Poulsen Travis is researching the development of wood in Dasiphora floribunda, a relative of the emerging model organism Fragaria vesca (woodland strawberry). To address this question,he is using next-generation RNA-sequencing to identify genes that are differentially expressed in stem tissue sampled at different developmental stages. The genes that are identified as differentially expressed will be candidate genes for wood development in D. floribunda.


Kim Russel Kim's research involves non-tidal Delmarva Bay wetlands on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She is specifically looking at the plant community composition within these ecosystems and the influence of local and regional landscape factors on plant species diversity.


Jillian Sanford  


Joseph Velenovski  


Andrew Wegerski Andrew's work revolves around how environmental conditions affect fish physiology. Specifically, he is investigating the effects of hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen) on striped bass feeding using hormones and enzymes involved in appetite formation and digestive processes. The goal is to establish a biochemically link between the environment and digestive physiology of these aquatic predators.


Jason Williams Jason's work involves a systematic revision of ant genera in the family Formicinae under the guidance of Dr. John Lapolla. His main focus will be the genus Prenolepis, which currently has a worldwide representation of approximately 32 species, many of which are tentatively placed.






  Deer exclosure fence used by Drs. Beck, Beauchamp and Roberts to investigate the impacts of deer browsing on northern deciduous forests at the TU Field Station.  


Connect with the Department of Biological Sciences





University Police

Closings & News
410-704-NEWS (6397)

Text Alerts
Sign up now