The University of Evansville biology major gives students the tools needed to succeed in graduate school, professional school, and in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)-related jobs. We provide purposeful learning experiences through research conducted individually through UExplore, Evansville's undergraduate research program, or one-on-one with professors. Learning is done in a hands-on environment either in faculty research labs, large greenhouse and animal facilities, or through fieldwork in the U.S. or abroad.
The University of Evansville biology department delivers results:
- Last year’s senior class of professional biology majors tested in the top one percent nationally based upon the ETS Major Field Test for Biology.
- 80 percent of last year’s senior class received support to conduct undergraduate research, both at UE and at other universities.
- 90 percent of UE biology graduates, across the past five years, are currently studying or working in a STEM-related field.
- Of the 2015 class that applied to graduate school, 100 percent were accepted.
- In addition to University-based scholarship support, biology majors can receive merit-based financial aid through endowed scholarships for biology students.
- 60 percent of last year’s biology graduating class participated in study abroad programs.
UE to Welcome Dr. James Turpin for February 22 Lecture - A Journey: Monocytes, HIV Prevention, and UE
The University of Evansville will welcome James A. Turpin, PhD, from the National Institutes of Health for a free public lecture on Thursday, February 22 at 4:00 p.m. in Vectren Lecture Hall, room 100 of the Koch Center for Engineering and Science on UE’s campus.
Turpin’s lecture, titled A Journey: Monocytes, HIV Prevention, and UE. will be part of a three-day campus visit hosted by the departments of biology and public health at UE. Turpin is a 1980 alumnus of UE’s biology department.
As a program officer and branch chief at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Turpin conducts and supports basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent a variety of infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. His research efforts, and those of his colleagues, have led to the development of new therapies, vaccines, and diagnostic tests that have improved the health of millions of people in the United States and around the world.
Turpin’s responsibilities at the NIAID include oversight and management of the non-vaccine biomedical prevention preclinical program. He is the program officer and contact for the following grant programs: Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program for HIV Topical Microbicides (IPCP-HTM), Prevention Innovation Program (PIP), Mucosal Environment and HIV Prevention Program (MEHP), Sustained Release Antiretrovirals for HIV Treatment and Prevention (SRATP), and Risk of Adolescence and Injury in HIV Susceptibility (RAIS). He is the lead for the DAIDS Non-vaccine Biomedical Prevention Sustained Release and Multipurpose Prevention Technologies programs. His branch also oversees the Comprehensive Resources for HIV Topical Microbicide and Biomedical Prevention (CRMP) contract, which supports provision of gap-filling resources for topical microbicide and prevention development for product sponsors and best practice working groups.
For more information, contact Dale Edwards, Department of Biology, University of Evansville, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Davis selected to NCAA research committee
Mark Davis, University of Evansville associate of biology, has been selected to the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program Committee.
The NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program supports research and data-driven pilot projects designed to enhance student-athlete psychosocial well-being and mental health.
Research topics may include, but are not limited to, managing transitions (e.g., from recruit to first-year student; transferring between universities; adapting from youth sports to college sports environment; developing independence from parents), identity development, stress management, substance use, bystander intervention, cultivating healthy relationships, career exploration, and sport exit strategies.
Funded projects must demonstrate potential to result in campus-level programming that can positively impact the well-being of NCAA student-athletes at a range of member institutions.
Edwards lectures at Colgate University
Dale Edwards, University of Evansville professor and chair of biology, was recently invited to give a lecture at Colgate University about his research on the evolutionary ecology of parasitic water mites. Edwards is coauthor of a book about water mites titled Mites of Freshwater Mollusks.
Biology students' frog research makes journal front cover
University of Evansville biology students Kane Stratman and Maddie Ralph recently had their work on the impacts of range expansion in green treefrogs published in the peer-reviewed journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. Their work was also selected to provide the cover image. UE associate professor of biology Noah Gordon was listed as a co-author.
Biology students present research at conference
Biology students Josh Baty and Liz Daugherty presented the results of their summer research at the KUH Summer Undergraduate Research Conference held August 2-4 in Bethesda, Maryland.
The titles of their research presentations were Rho Kinase Inhibitor, Y-27632 Plays a Role in L-Type Calcium Channel Signaling, and G Protein Estrogen Receptor Facilitates Renal Protection in Females Through Eliciting a More Enhanced Natriuretic Response, respectively. The research was conducted at the University of Alabama-Birmingham during the summer of 2017 and was supported by NIH grants awarded to David and Jennifer Pollock (’78).
Edwards and Gordon publish research article
Dale Edwards and Noah Gordon along with Anne Steele (’13) from the Department of Biology had an article published in the current volume of Journal of Parasitology. Edwards is chair of UE's Department of Biology, and Gordon is an associate professor of biology at UE
The paper titled “A Comparison of Helminth Faunas of Cope's Gray (Hyla chrysoscelis) and Green (Hyla cinerea) Treefrogs in Areas of Recent Niche Overlap” underscores the role of parasites in the successful range expansion of green treefrogs into native habitats of closely related gray treefrogs.
Hochwender to speak at Science with a Twist
Professor of biology Cris Hochwender will be speaking at Bokeh Lounge on Wednesday. August 16, at 6:30 p.m. His talk will be on loss of habitat and the survival of native species.
His talk is part of a series called Science with a Twist, a novel forum to learn about cutting-edge topics in science and technology from leading experts.
Mitch Luman from Evansville Museum has created this forum to provide an interactive, informal atmosphere where there’s no such thing as a dumb question.
Everyone has fun at Science with a Twist, from those completely unfamiliar with science to self-identified “science geeks.”
Science with a Twist is open to anyone and everyone. Join us at the Bokeh Lounge, have a beverage, and feed your mind. The night will include science trivia, a time to socialize, and an opportunity to talk about what we can all do to help the survival of native species.
Biology professor Cris Hochwender leads community outreach at Vectren Conservation Park
On Saturday, July 22, professor of biology Cris Hochwender took a group of naturalists from the Southwest Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society (SWINPAWS) to Vectren Conservation Park, to explore issues in restoration ecology.
The group discussed the ongoing efforts to restore the flood plain habitat at VCP, a 1,100 acre property of bottomland along the Wabash River. In 2007, Vectren gave the University of Evansville a long-term lease on VCP.
VCP had been used for agriculture, but is now in a permanent conservation easement and is enrolled in the US Natural Resource Conservation Service's Wetlands Reserve program. Before leasing the property to UE, Vectren planted more than 100,000 native trees and shrubs on the property.
Conservation efforts at the site include trying to restore riparian forests, floodplain forests, as well as meadows and aquatic habitats. This site not only provides opportunities for environmental studies majors to explore a diverse set of Indiana communities, but also acts as a research lab to explore environmental questions, carry out ecological research, and evaluate soil and water chemistry.
Plants from UE's Native Plant garden used at WWNP
The University of Evansville's own Native Plant Garden in Koch Courtyard was used as a plant source for species used in Wesselman Woods’ new Pollinator Garden, one of that nature preserve’s newest educational outreach efforts.
UE’s Native Plant Garden contains over 100 plant species that are native to Southwest Indiana. Come visit the native plant garden throughout the summer, while it undergoes a facelift.
Contact Cris Hochwender (email@example.com) if you have any questions about the native plant garden or restoration efforts at UE.
Biol 119 and Biol 299 research presented at HHMI symposium
UE students Humza Khan and Lauren Roberts attended the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's ninth annual SEA-PHAGES symposium at the HHMI Janelia Research Campus, where they presented a poster titled "Craff-ting our phage: isolation and annotation of Craff."
This poster summarized research performed by the students in Biol 119H and Biol 299 during the 2016-17 school year.
Students in Biol 119H isolated, purified, and characterized bacteriophages that infect soil bacteria, and students in Biol 299 examined and annotated the genome sequence of one of these bacteriophages.
In addition to Humza and Lauren, the poster was also co-authored by Shane Bentsen, Makayla Claiborne, Skip Maas, Anna McGriff, Émile Moura Coelho da Silva, Sanjana Sai, and Brett Weinzapfel. This course-based research project was led by associate professors of biology Ann Powell and Joyce Stamm.
UE biology and environmental science students publish in PIAS
Research by Andrew Nunn, Michelle Sonnenberger, and Matt Roberts – under the direction of professor of biology Cris Hochwender - was published in the most recent volume of the Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science. Nunn and Sonnenberger are graduating senior biology majors and Roberts graduated from UE with a degree in environmental science in 2016.
Their study suggests that deer may prevent tree species from transitioning above browse-level and into the mid-story strata. Given time, these changes could lead to a loss of diversity in the canopy, as replacement will consist of only those few species which escape deer browse. In addition, their research suggests that pawpaws may limit access of many tree species into the overstory.
The loss of diversity in the forest community could cause wide-ranging alterations in the forest community.
The study has helped to launch a long-term, manipulative experiment examining the importance of both deer browsing and pawpaw on forest regeneration at WWNP
Students from UE biology classes present research at HHMI symposium
University of Evansville students Humza Khan and Lauren Roberts recently attended the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's ninth annual SEA-PHAGES symposium at the HHMI Janelia Research Campus. They presented a poster titled "Craff-ting our phage: isolation and annotation of Craff."
This poster summarized research performed by the students in the classes Biology 119H and Biology 299 during the 2016-17 school year.
Students in Biology 119H isolated, purified, and characterized bacteriophages that infect soil bacteria, and students in Biology 299 examined and annotated the genome sequence of one of these bacteriophages.
In addition to Humza and Lauren, the poster was also co-authored by Shane Bentsen, Makayla Claiborne, Skip Maas, Anna McGriff, Émile Moura Coelho da Silva, Sanjana Sai, and Brett Weinzapfel. This course-based research project was led by UE associate professors of biology Ann Powell and Joyce Stamm.
UE biology students receive awards
The University of Evansville Biology Awards Reception was held on April 26 to honor the outstanding achievements of UE biology students during the 2016-17 academic year.
The James A. Brenneman Student Service Award in Biology was given to Brooke Wininger, and the Patricia L. Akrabawi Teaching Assistant Award in Biology was presented to Andrew Nunn. These awards are named in honor of retired professor Jim Brenneman and Pat Akrabawi, respectively, for their long and generous commitment to UE biology students.
The Jerry T. Seng Freshman Biology Award recognizes retired faculty member Jerry Seng for his years of tireless devotion to the success of biology students, especially the freshmen class. The recipient of the most outstanding freshmen award was Skip Maas.
Colton Houchin received the David and Jennifer Pollock Sophomore Biology Award, named in honor of David and Jennifer Pollock (’78) for their generous support and contributions to the biology department.
Josh Baty received the P. “Louie” Winternheimer Junior Biology Award, named in memory of Louie Winternheimer for his 39 years of distinguished teaching and service at UE.
The outstanding senior award is named in honor of UE benefactors Dr. and Mrs. Robertson. The Charles and Patricia Robertson Senior Biology Award was presented to Shelly Sonnenberger.
Gordon publishes research study on finding signal in noisy environments
Noah Gordon, associate professor of biology, recently published a paper in collaboration with biologists from Washington University and the University of Minnesota on the information female frogs use to orient toward desirable noise.
The paper, titled “The signal in noise: acoustic information for soundscape orientation in two North American treefrogs,” was published in the peer-reviewed journal Behavioral Ecology.
Biology alumnus publishes research article
Mackenzie Powell '15 is the coauthor of a paper titled "Activation of Neuronal Endothelin B Receptors Mediates Pressor Response through Alpha-1 Adrenergic Receptors" that was recently accepted for publication in the journal Physiological Reports. This paper is based on Powell's summer undergraduate research experience in David Pollock's '78 lab in the Division of Nephrology in the Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
UE biology and physics professors engage students in EVSC STEM test
New Tech Institute in Evansville recently hosted a STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math) Fest to engage high school students and the community in these disciplines. UE professors Angie Reisetter, Joyce Stamm, Ann Powell, and Noah Gordon helped kids visualize their voices and see in the infrared.
These techniques were used to connect kids to UE faculty research in energy conservation and wildlife.
The students's activities included painting on their skin with ice - visible in the infrared - and seeing how well they could imitate a frog call.
Biology professor gives keynote address
Katie Aldred '09, assistant professor of biology, recently attended the Gordon Research Seminar and Conference on DNA Topoisomerases in Biology and Medicine at Sunday River in Newry, Maine. She was invited to give the keynote address at the seminar. She also sat on a career panel.
Aldred’s keynote address focused on her path to becoming a member of the faculty at UE and the UExplore-funded summer research on quinolone interactions with E. coli gyrase that she conducted this summer with biology students Hannah Carter and Baylee Wildman. The panel focused on various career paths that can be taken that maintain a focus on topoisomerase research and where the future of the topoisomerase field lies.
The Gordon Research Conferences and Seminars provide an international forum for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences, and their related technologies, with a focus on presentation and discussion of pre-publication research.
UE student and alum have article published in Life Sciences
An article by UE student Choudhury (Spike) Yusuf, a biology and neuroscience major with a minor in ethics, and David Pollock '78 has been published in Life Sciences. The article is titled Ovarian hormones modulate endothelin A and B receptor expression
This work was done during Yusuf's 2015 summer research experience in Pollock's lab. Pollock is a professor in the Division of Nephrology in the Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Pollock, who earned a Bachelor’ of Science in biology at UE, is a world-renowned scientist whose research program addresses questions related to mechanisms of endothelin control of renal hemodynamics and excretory function.
Cris Hochwender Helps Plant Educational Experience at Local School
Using a gift of diverse native plants from the Native Plant Garden in the Koch Center for Engineering and Science Courtyard, professor of biology Cris Hochwender has collaborated with Gena Garrett, education program coordinator for Wesselman Nature Society on her Serve Indiana grant.
Together with Harper Elementary School, Garrett is establishing several plots of native plants to help elementary students engage in outdoor ecological experiences. By establishing gardens in the school’s yard, children will be able to see the wildlife that utilizes a diverse array of native asters, mints, legumes, and milkweeds, thereby allowing students to experience nature and learn about native species in parallel with their established curriculum.
If you are interested in helping with this project or other educational opportunities associated with Wesselman Nature Society, please contact Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in organizing an educational tour for a UE group, please contact Hochwender at email@example.com.
Plants donated from the UE native garden will help fulfill the required $500 local in-kind portion of the grant.
Biology Students Receive Awards
The Biology Awards Reception was held recently to honor the outstanding achievements of UE biology students during the 2015-16 academic year.
The James A. Brenneman Student Service Award in Biology was given to Andrew Nunn, and the Patricia L. Akrabawi Teaching Assistant Award in Biology was presented to Taylor Davidson. These awards are named in honor of Jim Brenneman and Pat Akrabawi, respectively, for their long and generous commitment to UE biology students.
The Jerry T. Seng Freshman Biology Award recognizes retired faculty member Jerry Seng for his years of tireless devotion to the success of students, especially freshmen. The recipient of the most outstanding freshman award was Kelly Nixon.
Elizabeth Daugherty received the David and Jennifer Pollock Sophomore Biology Award, named in honor of David and Jennifer Pollock, ’78 for their generous support and contributions to the biology department.
Kate Slater received the P. “Louie” Winternheimer Junior Biology Award, named in memory of Louie Winternheimer for his 39 years of distinguished teaching and service at UE.
The outstanding senior award is named in honor of UE benefactors Dr. and Mrs. Robertson. The Charles and Patricia Robertson Senior Biology Award was presented to Alexandra Arguello.
Biology Professors to Teach for Indiana Master Naturalists Program
Dale Edwards and Cris Hochwender, biology department faculty members, will be teaching courses for the Indiana Master Naturalist program. Their topics will include the ecological framework for the program, tree identification training, and the negative impacts of human activity on natural resources.
The Indiana Master Naturalist program brings together natural resource specialists with adult learners to foster an understanding of Indiana's plants, waters, soils and wildlife and to promote volunteer service in local communities. People with a passion for the natural world can take this opportunity to build their knowledge and skills. For more information contact Gena Garrett at
Gifts from Vectren and Alcoa for UE Greenhouse
The Office of Development is pleased to announce that the Alcoa Foundation and the Vectren Foundation will be providing funding to support the current greenhouse project. Vectren has committed to $50,000 while Alcoa has agreed to $40,000.
This is very exciting news in that these two gifts complete fundraising for the project with a total of $701,000 being raised from alumni, friends, and now local corporate foundations. The lead gift for the project was provided by Sharon and Burkley McCarthy. Sharon and Burke were inducted as honorary members of the UE Alumni Association in 2004. Sharon serves as a member of the UE Board of Trustees.
Biology Professor Publishes Article
Professor of Biology Dale Edwards, Brian Ernsting, and two biology research students, Taylor Timbrook and Margaret Frerichs, published an article "Preliminary evidence of cryptic species among host-associated populations of Unionicola hoesei (Acari: Unionicolidae)" in the International Journal of Acarology. The results of this study are part of a much larger research program characterizing cryptic biodiversity among unionicolid mussel-mites.
UE Graduate Scott Fites Publishes in the Journal "Nature"
University of Evansville biology alumnus Scott Fites coauthored a research article titled “Amphibians acquire resistance to live and dead fungus overcoming fungal immunosuppression” in a recent issue of the journal Nature. The research was featured on the cover of the journal.
In the article, Scott and his colleagues present experiments demonstrating that several species of frogs can overcome a fugal pathogen – one that has been implicated in the declines of many amphibian species worldwide – after repeated exposure and can even be immunized against it using dead pathogen.
Scott, who received his degree from UE in 2009, is currently a post-doctoral fellow at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
UE Professors Awarded Grant for Science, Math Scholarships
University of Evansville faculty members Joyce Stamm, associate professor of biology, and Adam Salminen, associate professor of mathematics, have secured a five-year, $610,600 grant through the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program to assist students in science and mathematics. The grant is one of about 90 awarded from the 436 proposals submitted to the S-STEM program, and is the largest faculty grant in school history.
The award provides funds for financial, academic, and professional support for students majoring in the sciences and mathematics. The majority of the grant, around $528,000, will fund the new UE Science and Math Scholarship (SAMS), which will provide four-year scholarships to approximately 34 academically talented students with financial need who are majoring in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, environmental science, mathematics, or physics.
The grant also provides funds for new support services for science and mathematics majors at UE. These services include an introductory summer course for incoming students, a semester-long course on study skills and time management, monthly career colloquiums, and a science and math-themed living-learning community in a campus residence hall. These activities will be available to all math and science students at UE and will continue after the grant ends in 2018.
“This grant not only represents an incredible opportunity to transform the lives of future students at the University of Evansville, but the National Science Foundation’s decision to fund the proposal also demonstrates the University’s outstanding track record of preparing students to succeed in math and science careers and graduate programs,” said John Mosbo, UE senior vice president for academic affairs. “At UE, students receive a personalized education that equips them to make an impact on the national shortfall of qualified STEM professionals. Dr. Salminen and Dr. Stamm’s successful grant application affirms that commitment to teaching.”
“Thanks to this grant, we’ll be able to help an even greater number of high-achieving students pursue an education at the University of Evansville,” said Salminen. “We expect that the SAMS scholarship will increase enrollment of students majoring in math and the sciences.”
“The new student success initiatives will also help ease students’ transitions from high school to college, and from college to graduate school or the workforce,” Stamm added. “We believe this level of personal support will increase retention of students in math and science majors, and ultimately increase the number of qualified professionals in the STEM workforce.”
SAMS scholarships will be available starting with UE’s entering freshman class of 2014. For selection criteria and application details, interested students may visit the program website.
UE's Dale Edwards Publishes New Book
Dale Edwards, professor and chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Evansville, has published a new book, Mites of Freshwater Mollusks. Edwards co-authored the book with his colleague Malcolm Vidrine, a retired professor of biology at Louisiana State University-Eunice.
“Often the least among us most inform us, and these mites are living proof,” said Edwards. “These mites and their host mussels serve as an excellent example of the roles that little-known organisms play in the health and survival of natural areas. They also serve as indicator organisms that can be used to analyze the impact of various kinds of environmental changes.”
The book provides a summary of worldwide research on the mites parasitizing freshwater mollusks and integrates new data regarding the evolutionary relationships among these mites. The mollusks, mainly freshwater mussels, are also major topics of the book: These mussels are considered the most threatened freshwater organisms in the world, with many species either federally protected or extinct.
The book provides numerous ideas for future research for students and scientists, and it focuses on the theme of conserving, protecting, and preserving watersheds, which provide numerous services both for wildlife and for humans, including drinking water.
Mites of Freshwater Mollusks is available at Amazon.com.
Biology students sweep conference awards!
Congratulations to our Biology majors that swept the first place awards in both the oral presentation and poster presentation sections at MESCON - the undergraduate Math, Science and Engineering Conference 2013. Ashley Rich earned first place in the oral presentation category. Coauthors Taylor Schoenheit and Taylor Timbrook tied for first with Emmy Ogawa in the Biology poster category. Great job all!
Biology Seniors Score in 99th percentile:
Once again the seniors in Biology tested in the highest category on the nationally administered Major Field Test in Biology. The test assesses mastery of concepts, principles and knowledge of graduating Biology students from approximately 400 institutions nationwide. It is important to note that our students receive no coaching or exam preparation materials prior to the exam, so it is to their credit that they perform at such a high level. Congratulations seniors!
Bio major research abstract chosen as official template
Senior biology/pre-med and psychology student, Shemikah A. Colleton's abstract tilted "Development and optimization of quantitative image analysis for hepatocyte BrdU labeling indices using NIS-Elements software" has been chosen by the Society of Toxicological Pathologists as the official template for all abstract submissions for the 2013 annual convention in Portland, Oregon. Congratulations Shemikah!
Aces Baseball Player Discovers New Species
Junior Biology major and Aces Pitcher James Kohler's discovery of a new species of bacteria was featured on Inside Aces Athletics. To see more of how he integrates athletics and academics click on the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUt2s2wIRW0