Faculty Research Interests

More complete information can be obtained by calling individual faculty or consulting the Research Opportunities book in the Department Office. A more detailed PDF version is available here

Jennifer Armstrong

My laboratory focuses on chromatin remodeling factors, which utilize the energy of ATP to slide, remodel, or assemble nucleosomes. Understanding the normal function of these proteins is critical since their loss can lead to mis-regulation of the genome and several distinct forms of disease, including cancer.

Kersey Black

Molecular modeling as a way of understanding the mechanism of chemical processes with a particular focus on thermally induced rearrangements of organic molecules.

Newton Copp

Animal physiology, especially interaction between neural physiology and behavior in crayfish
Insect mating systems � ladybird beetle aggregations
Analysis of animal locomotion (computer aided motion analysis and electro physiology)

Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert

Cell and molecular biology
Gene expression
Pre-mRNA splicing in yeast

Patrick Ferree

Lethal ring-Y chromosomes

Satellite divergence and hybrid incompatibility

Effects of selfish B chromosomes

Spiroplasma-induced male killing

Sarah Gilman

Students in my lab work on ecological questions involving coastal marine invertebrates. Past/current projects include:

  • The preference of predatory snails for native and nonnative oysters in Newport Bay
  • The effect of temperature on the metabolic rates of intertidal animals
  • The effects of air and water temperature on the feeding rates of predatory snails
  • Using sound to monitor the feeding behavior of predatory snails
  • The growth and survival of intertidal barnacles under warm and cool temperatures

Scot Gould

See research interests

Larry Grill

Viral Vectors for Vaccine Development

Daniel Guthrie

Sort and identify collection of bones from a Pleistocene pond in the Chino Area. Involves some work in Irvine sorting � then identification work in Claremont.
Winter bird use of the Bernard Field Station are birds using the field station, or the areas nearby � conduct spot counts at various localities - identify dependence on neighbors, lake, etc.
The corridor concept � value to wildlife in urban areas.
Analysis of kill rates on highways with and without wildlife underpasses.
evolution of island Peromyscus (deer mice) comparison of modern mice with a collection 7000 years old.
evolution of island Chendytes � change in bone structure in an extinct flightless goose over the period of its fossil record. Also any evidence of sexual dimorphism.
consideration of oaks as islands for insect and bird faunas.
compare field station oaks with campus � insect diversity � based on isolation and plot size and % of native plants available.
effects of introduced parasites on caterpillars (butterfly and moths)
specificity of color in mating attraction. how specific is color preference?

Mary Hatcher-Skeers

NMR studies of nucleoside dynamics
FTIR studies of dynamics in methylated DNA
High Resolution NMR of DNA Binding Sites
Solid-state deuterium NMR of DNA
Effects of cobalt complexes on genetic transformations

Adam Landsberg

Applied Mathematics/Scientific Modeling of Complex Systems: networks, game theory, chaos, pattern formation, human-brain networks, self-organized criticality, economic and queuing systems, fluids, superconductors, solar cycles, etc. Students interested in summer research or senior-thesis research opportunities should contact me directly.

Jessica Malisch

How Acute is the Acute Stress Response: Behavioral changes 24 hours following acute stress in high-activity and control mice

Donald McFarlane

**** See my faculty web-page for current opportunities *****
Studies in evolution of islands, cave biology
Late Quaternary paleontology of mammals; recent mammalian extinctions
Island biogeographic analyses
Late Quaternary climate and sea-level change.
Cave science, including microclimate modelling.

Emil Morhardt

Biology of Fisheries Science
Population/habitat management models for Southern California steelhead or Eastern Sierra brown trout (computer modeling)
Development of antenna configurations for reading Passive Integrated Transponders in streams ( practical electronics)
Use of bootstrap in Monte-Carlo techniques to establish confidence intervals on instream flow decision tools ( applies statistics and programming)
Habitat modeling from closely-spaced transects in streams ( field measurements, hydraulic modeling)
Economics and policy related to biology
The economic consequences of listing Southern California steelhead as endangered
A decision model for policies associated with listing Southern California Steelhead as endangered.
Environmental Management
Application of the ISO 14000 environmental management standard to a small manufacturer

Sarah Nichols

Modeling a macroscopic quantum object: students can learn computer programming and experimental skills while developing a detailed understanding of a simple quantum mechanical system.

Thomas Poon

Supramolecular Chemistry Within Zeolites
Reactions of Singlet Oxygen
Isolation of Shikimic Acid from Natural Sources

Kathleen Purvis-Roberts

Urban Air Pollution Chemistry of Fine Particulate Matter Health and Environmental Impacts of Nuclear Testing in Kazakhstan Environmental Policy

Colin Robins

Note: I am scheduled for sabbatical in Fall 2015.

I support thesis research by science students interested in a variety of disciplines in Earth Science or Geology, especially geomorphology, soil genesis, mineralogy, GIS-based mapping, and paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Field and/or laboratory project topics (proportions of Environmental Science, Geology, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology are flexible) might include:
- Field and GIS mapping of soil-geomorphology and floral biogeography (Geomorphology/Ecology)
- Experimental soil genesis (Geochemistry, mineralogy)
- Optical and/or scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis and interpretation of soil/paleosol microstructures (Micromorphology)
- Clay mineralogy and dust geochemistry

David Sadava

Cancer chemotherapy using conventional and less conventional approaches
Drug resistance in tumor cells

Lars Schmitz

1) Analysis of morphological evolution. Students are measuring morphological traits in museum collections (e.g., LA County Museum of Natural History) and analyze the data from a functional and phylogenetic perspective. 2) Retina physiology and visualization. After the arrival of our new confocal laser scanning microscope we can analyze retina fine structure with traditional histology, stereology, and immunohistochemistry. In addition to lab work, students are involved in developing new visualization techniques of spatial distributions of cells across the retina. 3) Behavioral tests of visual performance. In order to groundtruth optical models we are carrying out experiments to determine the actual abilities of our study organisms. All projects have a strong computational component.

Nora Sullivan

The bacterium, Proteus mirabilis, can move rapidly on a solid surface and while doing so forms cells that are ~40x longer than normal. Understanding how these extra-long cells are formed and maintained will improve our understanding of bacterial physiology.

Zhaohua Irene Tang

1. Cell signaling for the interplay between cell-division cycle and gene expression events such as pre-mRNA processing in eukaryotes involving several protein kinases including Dsk1p and Kic1p.
2. Genes required for the cellular sensitivity and resistance to platinum-based anticancer drugs.
3. Response networks for environmental phenol stress factors

Diane Thomson

Conservation biology (especially for plants and insects), causes and effects of biological invasions, and pollination ecology. Thesis students in my lab carry out projects on a wide range of topics, but some examples of ongoing opportunities include research on:
Interactions between native annual plants and invasive grasses at the Bernard Field Station.
Effects of invasive herbivores and climate change on rare plant populations and communities of the California Channel Islands.
Changes in pollination biology of native plants resulting from habitat fragmentation and introduced bees.
Modeling extinction risk of rare species.

Emily Wiley

Cellular localization of histone deacetylase enzymes through GFP-tagging;
Engineering gene knockout constructs of chromatin modification enzymes, generation of knockout cell lines, and phenotype characterization of mutant cells;
Identification of protein complexes that modify chromatin;
Mechanistic roles for histone deacetylase enzymes in the control of gene expression and other cellular processes

Andrew Zanella

Transition metal complexes: nitrile hydration, proton exchange on complexed nitriles, restricted rotation involving coordinated amides.
Environmental chemistry: heavy metal pollutants in urban areas