Biology Directory: Organismal Biology

Lisa Angeloni

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

My research focuses on the evolution of animal behavior and the interface between animal behavior and conservation biology.

Michael Antolin

Chair and Professor
BA: University of Pennsylvania; MSc: University of Alberta, Canada; PhD: Florida State University

My laboratory group works on the effects of fragmented and patchy populations in evolution, genetics, and ecology. Currently, we study the epidemiology of plague in natural populations of black-tailed prairie dogs and other small rodents on the short grass prairies of north-central Colorado, and are part of the Laramie Foothills Chronic Wasting Disease Project, where we study the genetics of CWD in mule deer in relation to spatial epidemiology and genetics http://www.nrel.colostate.edu/projects/modelingCWD/.

Meena Balgopal

Associate Professor
Ph.D., North Dakota State University

My research group studies how people make meaning of natural science concepts through reading, writing, and speaking. We use discourse and communication theories to understand how undergraduate students identify and resolve misconceptions. Most of my research centers on writing-to-learn and writing-to-communicate during problem-based cooperative group activities.

Daniel R Bush

Professor and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
Ph.D., UC Berkeley

My research focuses on sugar and amino acid allocation from sites of primary assimilation to import-dependent sinks in plants. This is a fundamental process that allows plants to function as multicellular organisms. We use molecular, genetic and biochemical tools to define the mechanisms and regulation of this essential process.

Greg Florant

Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University

My research interests are centered on the mechanisms that animals use to adapt to different situations. Recent investigations have focused on animals that hibernate and the mechanisms they use to regulate energy stores.

W. Chris Funk

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Montana

My research focuses on conservation genomics and evolutionary ecology of vertebrates and stream insects. Current projects include: (1) conservation genomics of endangered species; (2) the effects of gene flow on adaptation, fitness, and population dynamics; and (3) the vulnerability of stream organisms to climate change.

Cameron Ghalambor

Professor
Ph.D., University of Montana

My research is focused on the empirical study of adaptation in natural populations. I am particularly interested in how trade-offs are resolved during the process of adaptive evolution in life history, behavioral, and physiological traits. We use a variety of field and lab techniques to test and develop theory while also striving to understand the natural history of the organisms we study.

Kim Hoke

Associate Professor

The primary goal of the Hoke lab is to understand the processes that shape evolutionary trajectories. We focus on the mechanisms of convergent evolution of behavioral and morphological traits. We link molecular, neural, and developmental mechanisms to their consequences for organismal phenotypes, and we investigate the neural and hormonal mechanisms of context- or experience-dependent changes in behavior.

Shane Kanatous

Associate Professor
PhD

My research combines my expertise in exercise and skeletal muscle physiology with molecular techniques to focus on oxygen metabolism; especially on the control and regulation of skeletal and cardiac muscle adaptations to extreme environmental conditions such as hypoxia. The ultimate goal is to enhance our understanding of molecular changes associated with hypoxia and translate these results for therapeutic applications in the treatment of myopathies.

June Medford

Professor
Ph.D., Yale University

We work on Plant Synthetic Biology. Synthetic Biology is forward engineering of biological organisms for specific purposes both basic and applied. On the basic side, we are using synthetic biology to understand complex natural processes such as signal transduction and pattern formation. We are using synthetic biology to produce new types of plants and plant traits such as highly specific plant detectors, plants producing biofuels and plant that do useful things for humans and the environment

Janice Moore

Professor
Ph.D., University of New Mexico

I am interested in the evolutionary ecology of parasite-host interactions. I study the effects of parasites on animal behavior, as well as the effects of parasites on other parasites in communities.

Rachel Mueller

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

I am interested in three basic questions in evolutionary biology: (1) How do genomes evolve, particularly those at the extremes of genome size? (2) How do transposable elements shape genome biology and evolution? (3) How does genome size impact phenotype and the evolutionary trajectories of lineages?

Don Mykles

Professor; Director University Honors Program
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

I study the regulation of molting and limb regeneration in decapod crustaceans using molecular biological, transcriptomic, and proteomic methods. I am also Director of the University Honors Program (http://www.honors.colostate.edu).

Dhruba Naug

Professor

I combine my interests in behavioral and cognitive ecology to understand the functioning of individuals and social groups. My research involves experimental work in behavior and physiology complemented by approaches based on individual based modeling.

Jennifer Neuwald

Special Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis

I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in using a multidisciplinary approach to investigate how environmental variation and evolutionary processes converge to influence the patterns of demographic, genetic, and genomic variation in natural populations, especially those of conservation concern.

Marc Nishimura

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University

My research group studies the molecular mechanisms determining the outcome of plant-microbe interactions. We’re particularly interested in how plant immune receptors function to limit pathogens and how pathogens seek to subvert host defenses. The plant immune system and pathogen virulence mechanisms are in an endless battle over evolutionary timescales. Understanding this arms race at a mechanistic level will reveal critical strategies for engineered disease resistance and improvement of our agricultural systems.

Graham Peers

Associate Professor

My primary interests lie in the fields of photosynthesis and algal eco-physiology. In particular, I’m interested in the diversity of mechanisms that algae use to protect themselves from too much light and other abiotic stresses.

Marinus Pilon

Professor
Ph.D., Utrecht University, The Netherlands

My lab investigates how the photosynthetic machinery in plants acquires the essential metal cofactors copper and iron. These metal ions are required for photosynthesis and thus plant productivity, yet they are toxic at too high concentrations. We use genetics together with whole plant physiology, cell and molecular biology and biochemistry in the model plant Arabidopsis to unravel the regulation of copper delivery and the assembly of iron-sulfur clusters in proteins.

Elizabeth Pilon-Smits

Professor
Ph.D., Utrecht University, The Netherlands

In the Pilon-Smits lab we are interested in processes by which plants accumulate and detoxify environmental pollutants, as well as in ecological and evolutionary aspects of selenium hyperaccumulation. We study these processes from the molecular level to the field. Our approaches include genomics, genetics, biotechnology, biochemistry, whole-plant physiology, and ecological studies. These studies are aimed to gain knowledge about basic biological processes, but have applications for the use of plants for environmental cleanup or as fortified foods.

A.S.N. Reddy

Professor
Ph.D., Jawaharlal Nehru University

One of the fundamental questions in plant biology is how plants sense and respond to environmental (abiotic and biotic) and hormonal signals that regulate diverse cellular processes and various aspects of plant growth and development. Our group has been studying i) calcium-mediated signal transduction mechanisms with emphasis on calcium sensors and their target proteins, ii) mechanisms that regulate basic and alternative splicing of pre-messenger RNAs in response to stresses, iii) disease resistance, iv) cell wall degrading enzymes for biofuel production and iv) synthetic signal transduction circuits in plants. We use molecular, cell biological, genetic, biochemical, bioinformatics and computational tools to accomplish our research goals. Arabidopsis, maize, potato and Miscanthus are used in our research. Studies on computational aspects of alternative splicing and protein-protein interactions are being done in collaboration with Asa Ben-Hur in the Department of Computer Science at CSU (http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~asa/projects.html).

Kristen Ruegg

Assistant Professor
PhD, University of California, Berkeley

My research is focused on ecological and evolutionary genomics in a changing world.  I am co-director of the Bird Genoscape Project, a large, multi-institutional effort to use genomic methods to facilitate migratory bird conservation. As part of this effort we are addressing questions such as: 1) How are genetically distinct populations connected across breeding, migratory and wintering areas, 2) What is the role of migration in generating avian diversity? and 3) Which populations will have to adapt most to keep pace with climate change

Mark Simmons

Professor and Curator of the Charles Maurer Herbarium
Ph.D., Cornell University

My research program consists of two interrelated components: phylogeny and taxonomy of the flowering-plant family Celastraceae (spindle-tree family), and conceptual aspects of molecular phylogenetics. Molecular phylogenetics uses genomic data (typically DNA sequences) to reconstruct evolutionary relationships among species. This field is playing an increasingly central role in biology, from inferring the diversification of multigene families, to tracking invasive species, conservation of protected species, as evidence in criminal investigations, and fighting bioterrorism.

David Steingraeber

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

My interest’s center on the ecological significance of plant form and structure. Topics of study in my laboratory include the following: patterns of shoot development, branching, and leaf placement in different environments; modular and clonal growth; and the conservation and population biology of rare plants.

Diana H. Wall

Professor
Ph.D., University of Kentucky

My research focuses on soil ecology and how soil invertebrate biodiversity influences ecosystem processes. Experimental research in field and lab measures factors affecting distribution patterns of soil animals at small to global scales and their influence on above-belowground linkages. A key aspect is understanding how soil biodiversity contributes to long term sustainability of soil ecosystems.