Credited/Funded Research and Research Faculty

UCA biologists engage in a wide range of research activities, from studies related to cancer treatment to studies of ecological relationships in Arkansas streams. Research projects engage students in a wide variety of activities.
Faculty supervise student research projects and much of the equipment and instrumentation obtained through faculty projects is also available to students. Faculty members in the Department of Biology are active in securing grant and contract funds to support their research activities, as well as to enhance the
department’s teaching capabilities. Current or recent grants have been obtained from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. National Park Service, and the American Heart Association, as well as from various state and local organizations.

Research Credit

Students may receive 3000-level credit (3×85) for research with faculty members by speaking with faculty members with openings for undergraduate researchers.  Credit for 3×85 counts as a general upper-division elective, but does NOT count as elective hours toward the biology major laboratory credit
hour requirements.

Students may receive 4000-level credit (4×85) for approved research with faculty members.  Credit for 4×85 counts as elective hours toward the biology major requirements (up to 4 hours).  Approval for 4×85 credit requires students to consult with a faculty member the semester prior to the proposed research, and formulate and submit a research proposal to the Undergraduate Research Committee for approval.  Review the Guidelines for Students/Faculty Submitting Undergraduate Research Proposals, complete the Undergraduate Research Credit Request Form, and submit proposals by email to the committee chair, Dr. Mindy Farris,   Evaluation Criteria for research proposals can be found here.

Due dates/timeline for 4000-level credit research proposals:

Summer research—Proposal due 2nd Monday in April.
Fall research—Proposal due 2nd Monday in April, unless the student will be doing 3000-level research with the same faculty member during the summer, in which case the proposal is due the 3rd Friday in July.
Spring research—Proposal due Friday following Thanksgiving break.

After submission to the committee chair, the proposals will be sent to the committee for review.  Within 2 weeks students and mentors will be notified by email of any modifications requested or a final decision.  Resubmissions and reevaluations must be complete by the end of add/drop.  Approved credit hours will be emailed to the CNSM program coordinator (Jennifer McCune, by Dr. Farris for generation of a CRN# for registration.  Students must still register for the course through DegreeWorks by the end of add/drop.

Funded Research

For information regarding funded biology research see Proposal Funding Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria.

Research Faculty Include:

Ginny Adams – Assistant Professor Ph.D., Southern Illinois University, 2005. Conservation Biology, Evolutionary Ecology Research Specialty: Fish Ecology, Streams, Caves. Advising Specialty: Environmental Science Program Coordinator

Reid Adams – Assistant Professor Ph.D., Southern Illinois University, 2004. Freshwater Ecology Research Specialty: River Ecology/Fish Biology

Mark Bland – Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Northern Colorado, 2004. Science Education Research Specialty: Evolution Education

Ben Cash – Professor Ph.D. University of Mississippi, Zoology, Physiological and Behavioral Ecology; Amphibians and Reptiles; Wetland Ecology.

David Dussourd – Professor Ph.D., Cornell University, 1986. Animal Behavior/Entomology Research Specialty: Insect-plant interactions Advising Specialty: Graduate Coordinator

Mindy Farris – Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of Vermont, 2008. Cell Biology, Mechanisms of Aging. Research specialty: nutrient, environmental, & hormonal impacts on aging & neurodegeneration, C. elegans.

Matt Gifford – Associate Professor, Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis, 2008. Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology, Research Specialty: Amphibians and Reptiles, Energetics, Physiological Performance, Natural Selection, Population Ecology.

Hal Halvorson – Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of Arkansas 2016. Ecosystem Ecology and Invertebrate Zoology. Research Specialty: Aquatic ecolog

Tammy Haselkorn – Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2010. Genetics. Research Specialty: Characterizing the diversity of bacterial symbionts and the ways they affect their hosts’ ecology and evolution.

Brent Hill – Assistant Professor and Biology Interim Chair  Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia, 2000. Vertebrate Physiology Research Specialty: Cardiovascular physiology/pharmacology/sex hormones Advising Specialty: Pre-Veterinary

Leah Horton – Lecturer II Ph.D., University of Central Arkansas, 2017. M.S., Emory University, 1999. Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology Advising Specialty: Undergraduate Coordinator

Katherine Larson – Associate Professor Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 1989. Ecology Research Specialty: Invasive species and restoration Advising Specialty: Environmental Science

Calin Marian – Assistant Professor Ph.D., Florida State University, 2005. Research interest:

M. Victoria McDonald – Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Florida, 1986. Behavioral and evolutionary ecology of birds and mammals; Vertebrate Zoology

Arijit Mukherjee – Assistant Professor Ph.D., Clemson University, 2007. Plant Genetics and Molecular Biology

Kari Naylor – Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2004. Microbiology/Cell Biology Research Specialty: Mitochondrial dynamics Advising Specialty: Pre-Optometry

Richard Noyes – Assistant Professor Ph.D., Indiana University, 1999. Evolutionary Biology/Genetics Research Specialty: Plant genetics and evolution

Jeffrey Padberg – Assistant Professor Ph.D., Tulane University, 2002. Neuroscience Research Specialty: Comparative Neurobiology.  Advising Specialty: Pre-Dental

Amita Puri – Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2008. Principals of Biology I, Biology for General Education, Introduction to Neuroscience, Sensation and Perception. Research interest: Visual perception and cognition; Attention and cognitive control; Perception in populations with atypical neurodevelopment; Multisensory integration.

Ben Rowley – Assistant Professor Ph.D., Temple University, 2004. Immunology /Microbiology Research Specialty: Heavy metal-induced immune system alterations.

Benjamin Waggoner – Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 1997. Invertebrate Paleontology and Macroevolution

Laurie Warren – Lecturer I Ph.D., Clemson University, 1996. Environmental Toxicology Research Specialty: Aquatic Toxicology, invertebrates Advising Specialty: Environmental Science