Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Student Research


alphabetical order by last name


Rebecca Arns (Advisor Dr. Brian Peer)

"My research is dealing with the Brown-headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater, an obligate brood parasite in North America. The goal of my study is to determine if cowbirds act as vectors for bacteria to a common host."


brookeBrooke Bryant (Advisor Dr. Tim Spier)

"My thesis research regards fish alarm pheromone behavioral responses in native minnow and darter populations of Illinois, studying Red Shiners, Blunt-Nosed Minnows, Orangethroat Darters, and Johnny Darters. I am interested in determining the effects of varying water conditions on the behavioral alarm pheromone response."



DeaverNoland R. Deaver (Advisor Dr. Andrea Porras-Alfaro)

"My research is concerned with the diversity and distribution of fungi in habitats ranging from arid grasslands, temperate forests, and invertebrate hosts."




AndrewAndrew Englund (Advisor Dr. Richard Musser)

"I am examining the Interactome of the corn earworm Helicoverpa zea and corn Zea mays. This is primarily a genomic analysis of the effects that the pest has on the plant as well as the effects of the plant on the pest."






Kimberly Gillespie (Advisor Dr. Shawn Meagher)

"My research is focusing on parasites (flukes) that infect bluegill found in Spring Lake in Macomb. The focus of the project is to compare parasite loads in fish captured in the fall versus fish in the spring. I will be looking at two consecutive years (fall of 2010 and spring of 2011, and then fall of 2011 and spring of 2012), with the hypothesis that higher parasite loads will be found in the fall fish because parasitized fish will not be healthy enough to overwinter successfully and will die, resulting in smaller parasite loads in the spring fish."


rebRebekah Haun (Advisor Dr. Sean Jenkins)

"My thesis project is a comparison of fish population structure and community between Pool 19 and Pool 20 on the Mississippi River using electroshocking techniques."






Laura Hemphill (Advisor Dr. Sue Hum-Musser)

"My research is studying the effect of ozone on seed germination."


KiddShavaun Kidd (Advisor Dr. Jeanette Thomas)

"I am in the process of wrapping up an anthrozoological research study focused on identifying specific reasons that motivate potential pet owners to choose shelters rather than breeders or pet stores for the source of their animal companions."



katieKatie Lamagdeleine (Advisor Dr. Ken McCravy)

"I am studying how conservation management techniques affect the species composition of ground beetles across a chronosequence of restored prairie at Nachusa Grasslands. I hope to eventually see how the re-introduction of bison in this area affects the ground beetle community."



Joseph Lucas (Advisor Dr. Scott Holt)

"I am studying ways to improve the transformation efficiency of bacteria of the genus Leukonostoc. Several species of Leukonostoc produce unique polysaccharides, but study of how these complex carbohydrates are produced is hindered by low transformation efficiency. My research is focused on remedying this problem using electroporation and cell wall treatments."


keshabKeshab Mainal (Advisor Dr. Sue Hum-Musser)

"I am particularly interested in the genetic basis of susceptibility and resistance to antimicrobial agents.  I am studying the effect of bacteria on the gene expression of the corn ear worm."



mike Michael Mandru (Advisor Dr. Brian Peer)

"My thesis research looks at coevolution between the Brown-headed Cowbird, an avian brood parasite in North America, and its grassland hosts. I am investigating any mimicry seen of host eggs and nests by Brown-headed Cowbird eggs. This study focuses on possible parallels seen in ultraviolet (UV) light reflectance."



samiSami McCarrel (Advisor Dr. Shawn Meagher)

"My research concerns the life cycle of “White Grub”, a parasitic fluke found in Spring Lake. This worm requires several hosts to complete its life cycle, and I am interested in infection patterns in snails and how that is related to infection in fish hosts."





breannBreAnn Nesteby (Advisor Dr. Susan Romano)

"My research is looking at the effects of Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) management, and the ecology of the federally threatened Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea). I want to understand the effects of Reed Canary Grass management on population dynamics of the orchid."




desmondOsatuyi (Desmond) Mobayode (Advisor Dr. Sue Hum-Musser)

"I am studying the effect of different strains of bacteria onHelicoverpa zea caterpillars and gene expression."



myrthaMyrtha Pierre (Advisor Dr. Rich Musser)

"My research focuses on the genetic expression of caterpillars that feed on fungus-treated maize plants."




katrinaKatrina Sandona (Advisor Dr. Andrea Porras-Alfaro)

"I am working with the fungus Beaveria bassiana and determining its effects as both a pesticide and a fungal endophyte."



Stephanie Stenger (Advisor Dr. Laura Barden-Gabbei)

"My focus deals with the development science resources for the education of exceptional children, specifically children with behavioral, learning, and attention disorders in grades 6-12 dealing with the Next Generation National Science Education Standards."


terriTerry Tobias (Advisor Dr. Andrea Porras-Alfaro)

"My research focuses on plant-fungal interactions and the study of fungal diversity. Specifically, I am examining the symbiotic associations formed between endophytic fungi and plants. I am interested in the mechanism of transmission and function of fungal endophytes."


jasonJason Tuter (Advisor Dr. Rich Musser)

"I am researching the symbiotic relationship between the fungal endophyte, Phialocephala fortinii and corn. Specifically, I am interested in the transcriptome analysis of the corn to find out what genes are being stimulated and repressed in response to exposure to the fungus."



David Wade (Advisor Dr. Tom Alton)

"My research is dedicated to preventing extinction." 


Here is my previous research:  The New England Cottontail

Current research -- Dr. Alton and David's research on Prairie Gray Fox, the Plains Spotted Skunk, and a Distinct Population Segment of the Mearn's Eastern Cottontail in East-Central Illinois and Western Indiana to be listed as Endangered or Threatened Species.