Biology is the study of life. In the classroom we learn what is already known, how it became known, and why it is relevant to us and our career path. But real biology is practiced rather than learned. This is why almost all of our biology courses at Andrews are accompanied by a lab in which the student can apply the things he or she has learned to real discovery. And this is why we actively encourage each student to get involved in research and discover something new outside of the classroom and in the real biological world.

Each of our faculty is actively engaged in biological discovery. The specialties of biology that are represented here are wide-ranging, encompassing everything from molecular biology to physiology and ecology. There is something for everyone to get involved in!

Included below are some representative student projects from the past few years. Many of our students have presented their work at meetings and have been coauthors on publications.

If you are interested in research, complete the Undergraduate Research Application. This application form describes the opportunities and expectations of research and is the first step to getting involved in biological research here at Andrews University.

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Peter Lyons, cellular and molecular biology
Structure and function of metallocarboxypeptidases and implications in human disease

Christian Bardan, 2015, "Modeling mammalian carboxypeptidase O expression patterns with the thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus)"

Philip Giddings, 2014, “Cytosolic carboxypeptidase 5 and cilia development in zebrafish”


Marlene Murray, molecular biology
Effects of omega-3-fatty acids on the phosphoinositol biosynthetic pathway

Patrick Knighton, 2015, "The effect of omega-3 fatty acids on concentration of myo-inositol"

Daniel Colon-Hidalgo, 2012, “The effects of Omega-3 fatty acids on Saccharomyces cerevisiae inositol pathway mutants”


Denise Smith, cancer biology
The role of the oncogene Her2/Neu (erbb2) in breast cancer

Douglas Van Putten, 2015, "Taphanomic degradation of chicken feathers by bacteria and fungus in varying sediments"



Robert Zdor, soil microbiology
Rhizobacteria as possible agents for biological weed control


Athena Smith, 2015, "The possible effects of deleterious rhizobacterial combinations on the growth of the weed velvetleaf"

Jonathon Ahn, 2014, “The effects of celite formulated rhizobium rubi and tryptophan on velvetleaf plant growth”



Pamela Coburn-Litvak, neurobiology

Pathophysiology of mood disorders and the use of exercise as therapy

Rebecca Clous and Mikyung Kim, 2013, “Adaptation to chronic unpredictable threat yields resilience under testing conditions that match previous exposure to threat”


David Mbungu, neurobiology and entomology
Modulation of insect phonotactic behavior by second messenger cascades

Erik Thordarson, 2014, “Factors affecting phonotactic responses in male Acheta domesticus”

Esther Cha, 2013, “Protein kinase C inhibitor blocks the effect of Juvenile Hormone III on the phonotactic selectivity of female crickets”


Benjamin Navia, neurobiology
Neurophysiology of insect phonotactic behavior

Re'Jeanne Greene, 2015, "The effect of varying sound intensities on phonotactic selectivity in Female Acheta domesticus"





James Hayward, behavioral ecology and paleobiology
Mathematical modeling of vertebrate behavioral ecology
Taphonomy of avian and non-avian dinosaur eggshell

Ashley Reichert, 2015, "The behavior of glaucous-winged gull egg cannibals"

Sumiko Weir, 2015, “Ovulation synchrony as an adaptive response to egg cannibalism in a seabird colony”



Daniel Gonzalez-Socoloske, vertebrate ecology and conservation biology
Ecology and conservation biology of West Indian manatees and other Central American mammals





Tom Goodwin, paleobiology
Biology and paleobiology of ground squirrels and other mammals

Jamie Kim, 2014, “Investigation of spatial isotope ratios in soil and the effects of fertilizer on plant isotope ratios”

Jacob Andrew Brassington, 2013, “Spatial and seasonal signals in stable isotopes of incisor enamel from free-ranging, thirteen-lined ground squirrels”


Kanya Long, virology and vector biology
Transmission and public health impact of Mayaro and other mosquito-born Neotropical viruses

M. Nelson Starkey, 2015, "Variations in microbiota of Culex (Melanoconion) ocossa and Culex (Culex) declarator across periurban and rural environments"

Viktoria Kolpacoff, 2015, “Spatial analysis of Mayaro virus antibody prevalence outside of Iquitos, Peru”