Research in biology

Advancement of knowledge through novel research activities is a key component of what we do in biology.  Faculty investigators work side-by-side with graduate and undergraduate students in the process of discovery.  Take a look at what we are doing and where we do it. 

Drosophila testis

Biomedical and cell/molecular research

  • The Reproductive Physiology Laboratory studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which prostaglandins regulate corpus luteum function in mammalian females and the influence of fish oil on lipid microdomain membrane ultrastructure and cellular signaling. For more information, contact Dr. Pat Burns.
  • The Immunotoxicology Laboratory is focused on discovering the mechanisms underlying altered immune function and disease resistance that is caused by exposure to various chemicals in food, drugs, or the environment. For more information, contact Dr. Gregory DeKrey.
  • The Cancer Biology Laboratory focuses on revealing the molecular function of cancer cells for purposes of developing better anti-cancer therapies.  For more information, contact Dr. James Haughian.
  • The Virus-Host Interaction Laboratory studies small mammals and the immune response that occurs during infection with pathogens such as Sin Nombre virus (SNV), Modoc virus (MODV), Tacaribe virus (TCRV).  For information on these and other projects, contact Dr. Ann Hawkinson.
  • The Drug Discovery Laboratory seeks to develop novel anti-malarial and anti-viral compounds.  For more information, contact Dr. Susan Keenan.
  • The Developmental Biology Laboratory focuses on how the cellular microenvironment regulates adult stem cells, using the Drosophila testis as a genetic model system. For more information, contact Dr. Judy Leatherman.
  • The Neurophysiology Laboratory is studying the wiring of the brain to find better treatments for Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.  For more information, contact Dr. Mark Thomas
  • The Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory focuses on how the migration and adhesion of tissue fusion is regulated on a cellular and molecular level, using the zebrafish eye development as a molecular model system.  For more information, contact Dr. Andrea James.
  • The Inflammation Laboratory is investigating the molecular mechanisms behind processes such as allergy, wound healing, and cancer cell invasion using cell culture and mouse models.  For more information, contact Dr. Nicholas Pullen.

Ecology and evolutionary biology research

  • The Bat Laboratory studies the ecology and development of flight of bats.  For more information, contact Dr. Rick Adams.
  • The Avian Behavior Laboratory studies the form, function, and ecological context of birdsong from an evolutionary perspective. For more information, contact Dr. Lauryn Benedict.
  • The Disturbance Ecology Laboratory studies plan communities and their responses to flood and fire.  For more information, contact Dr. Scott Franklin.
  • The Plant Physiology Laboratory focuses on beneficial interactions between soil fungi and roots, and how these could affect insects that are feeding aboveground, and vice versa. The long-term goal is to develop improved management practices to maintain a balance between an efficient symbiosis and limited insect abundance. For more information, contact Dr. Karen Gomez.
  • The Venom Analysis Laboratory studies the biology of venomous snakes and the biochemistry of their venoms, and ongoing projects use discovery science approaches toward uncovering novel compounds with therapeutic potential. For more information, contact Dr. Stephen Mackessy.
  • The Plant Population Genetics Laboratory focuses on using genetic tools to understand patterns of plant diversification and how genetic data can enhance the management and conversation of rare and endangered species. For more information, contact Dr. Mitchell McGlaughlin.

Biology pedagogy research

  • The Biology Education Research Program studies teaching and learning in large classroom environments, classroom-based research experience, student argumentation.  For more information, contact Dr. SueEllen DeChenne.
  • The Metacognition Research Program focuses on the impact of authentic research experiences on student content knowledge, attitudes toward science, science process skills, and the skills learned as students move from novice to more expert-like thinking.  For more information, contact Dr. Ginger Fisher.
  • The Ethnographic Research Program investigates use of place conscious education in rural science education programs with future projects expanding beyond Colorado to rural schools in other states such as Mississippi and North Dakota.  For more information, contact Dr. Heather Rudolph at
  • The Interdisciplinary Biology Education Program studies students’ science epistemology during simulated authentic science inquiry.  For more information, contact Dr. Melanie Peffer