Faculty Research

Faculty Research Initiatives

Our faculty members are active researchers in many areas, from scientific laboratory work to behavioral studies. If you are interested in participating in any of our ongoing research projects and have already reviewed our faculty interests, feel free to contact us!

CERE Instructor

John F. Stolz, Ph.D.
Director and Professor
Environmental Biology and Applied & Environmental Microbiology

I am interested in microbe/mineral interactions with three major areas of research: 1) the ecophysiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of metal and metalloid (e.g., arsenic, selenium) metabolizing bacteria, 2) the microbial community structure in biofilms, flat laminated microbial mats, and stromatolites (Bahamas, Shark Bay), and 3) the environmental impacts and microbiology of unconventional shale gas extraction. A combination of chemical analyses, genomics, proteomics, and biochemical approaches in addition to microscopy (SEM, TEM, Confocal) are used.

CERE Instructor, Dr. Neil Brown

Neil Brown, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Social and Environmental Intersectionality

My research interests are varied but broadly focus on the intersection between societal priorities and environmental impacts, such as the impact of food production on air quality or community-based conservation efforts. In addition, all my work is grounded in scholarship that advances the development and advancement of inclusive science education practices

CERE Instructor Jan Janecka, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor - Biology
Genomics, Bioinformatics, and Wildlife Genetics

My lab studies genomics and population genetics on order to understand the distribution and structure of wild populations, molecular mechanisms that lead to evolution and adaptation, and genetic factors that contribute to various phenotypes. Our work primarily focuses on snow leopards, bobcats, tigers, other wild felids, camels, horses, pangolins, and white-tailed deer. We also provide DNA services for wildlife forensics to state wildlife agencies.

CERE Instructor

David Kahler, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Engineering, Public Health, and Public Policy

He uses computational models to study the fluid mechanics of groundwater remediation to find techniques that accelerate the cleanup of a range of contaminants. These groundwater models are unique because they resolve the dynamics at the pore scale. Dr. Kahler's water security and international development research use computational models combined with field and satellite data to develop tools for decision-makers to better manage water resources in low-resource areas. An integral component of this work involves the assessment of drinking water quality treatment from the household level to the municipal level.

CERE Instructor H.M. 'Skip' Kingston, Ph.D.

Professor - Chemistry
Analytical, Environmental, and Bioanalytical Chemistry

Fundamental research in separation science, chromatography, microwave energy application, instrument development, standard reference materials development and certification, analytical and environmental test method development, and laboratory automation including expert systems and robotics.

CERE Instructor

David Lampe, Ph.D.
Professor - Biology
Molecular Biology, Genetics, Biology of Insect Disease Vectors

My laboratory investigates novel ways to halt the spread of insect-transmitted diseases like malaria by creating bacterial strains that express anti-malarial proteins and peptides. We aim to design bacterial strains suitable for field release in Africa as part of a multipronged approach to controlling this deadly disease.

CERE Instructor

Brady Porter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Biology
Conservation Biology and Molecular Ecology

Combining natural history and molecular markers, research in the Porter Lab involves conservation genetics, mating systems, phylogeography, and systematics of North American freshwater fishes and aquatic organisms.

CERE Instructor, Dr. Philip Reeder

Philip Reeder, Ph.D.
Geoarchaeology, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis

Using the geosciences to gather and analyze data that allows the history of the Holocaust to be written and revised. Current study locations include Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. I am also leading a project in Belize, Central America that is studying land-use patterns of the ancient Maya in the Belize River Valley, using soil and sediment grace analysis.

CERE Instructor

Kyle W. Selcer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Biology
Reproductive Physiology and Environmental Biology

My lab is interested in steroid hormone physiology and pathology, and in environmental chemicals that mimic steroid hormones. One project involves the role of steroid sulfatase in human metabolic and reproductive processes. Another project involves the use of vitellogenin as a biomarker for environmental endocrine disruptors in reptiles and amphibians.

CERE Instructor

Nancy Trun, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Biology

Microbes are capable of a vast array of metabolic reactions, allowing them to use many different compounds as carbon and energy sources. This characteristic is exploited in bioremediation systems to enlist microbes in detoxifying contaminated industrial sites. We are using the settling ponds for the abandoned coal mine drainage at Wingfield Pines in Southwestern PA to study the quantity, types, and metabolic capabilities of the microbes present. Our goal is to determine which microbes are contributing to the contamination and which are helping in remediation.

CERE Instructor Sarah Woodley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor - Biology
Environmental Physiology and Behavior

I examine the effects of environmental stressors on vertebrate biology using amphibians as models. This work involves characterizing responses to both natural and manmade stressors, in the field and the laboratory. My work measures the effects of environmental stressors on a variety of endpoints including gene expression, developmental rate, neurobiology, behavior, stress hormone levels, brain neuropeptide levels, intermediary metabolism, and immune function, including susceptibility to the amphibian chytrid fungus.