The Biology Department Seminar Series invites guest speakers from research institutions around the country to share their research results several times each semester.

Biology thesis students also present their work through the Biology Seminar Series.

2022-2023 Henry Louis Smith Lecture

Dr. Shane C. Campbell-Staton, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University

Tuesday, January 24, 2023: Evolution in the Age of Us: Mechanisms and Consequences of Human-Mediated Selection

Human impact is reshaping the planet and its ecosystems in ways never before seen. Animals and plants are rapidly changing to find ways to live alongside us. What challenges do these species face in their journey to keep pace with us? What can these changes tell us about how life works? Can the solutions found by natural selection help us deal with some of the biggest problems facing human health and well-being in the world we’ve built for ourselves? Shane Campbell-Staton will explore these questions as he discusses his most recent research on rapid evolution in the Anthropocene, from elephants adapting to poaching, to lizards evolving in cities and wolves surviving in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Along the way, he reveals some emerging truths about the lasting biological impact of our human footprint on the tree of life.

Recent Seminars

Dr. John Quinn, Furman
Where to Save Biodiversity: Supporting Conservation Decision Making Beyond Protected Areas

Dr. Devyn Gillette, Duke
Put Your Dukes up: Ineffective Innate Immune Responses to Infection

Dr. Debbie Thurtle-Schmidt, USCF
What Regulates the Regulators? Investigating How Genomic Organization Contributes to Transcriptional Regulation

Chicka Fujii '17, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Modeling CD4 gene regulation with short-lived EGFP

Jon Lim '17, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Investigating Roles of Testis-Specific Subunits in Mediating ATP Synthase Interactions and Nebenkern Shaping in Drosophila

Zachary Zapatero '17, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Deciding To Be A Helper: Exploring The In Vivo Function Of The Cd4 Enhancer NCE

Dr. Terry Fry, NIH
Immunotherapy for Pediatric Leukemia: At the Intersection of Science and Clinical Medicine

Dr. Beth Destasio, Lawrence University
Investigating the Complexity of Neuronal Gene Expression

Dr. Kevin Saunders '05, Duke
Progress Towards Developing a Protective HIV-1 Vaccine

Dr. Jim Oliver, UNCC
Topic Pathogenesis of Vibrio vulnificus

Chika Fujii '17, Jon Lim '17, Zachary Zapatero '17, Davidson
Thesis Previews

Dr. Susan Sloan, Visterra
From Bench to Clinic: Designing Antiviral Monoclonal Antibody Therapeutics

Dr. Amy Cheng Vollmer, Swarthmore
The Importance of Mentoring and Networking

Zach Carico '10, Duke
How to Assemble a Diverse Pool of T Cell Receptors: Modern Technologies Help Answer an Old Question

Morgan Shannon '16, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Investigating the Role of Slitrk1 in Zebrafish Spinal Cord Development

Hannah Itell '16, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Characterizing Paper-Based Genetic Networks as a Low-Pathogen Detection Technique

Elizabeth Brunner '16, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Exploring Unique Mitochondrial Membrane Shaping in Drosophila

Brian Johnson '16, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Characterizing the Rold of nmd in Drosophila Spermatogenesis

Caroline Naso '16, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: The Effects of BPA on the Developing Tadpole Brain

Emily Keator '16, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Analysis of Antiviral Compounds

Phoebe Parrish '16, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: The Multifactorial Role of the Phytotoxin Coronatine in Plant Disease in Nicotiana benthamiana

Annalee Tutterow '17, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Few and Far Between: Evaluating the Status of NC Bog Turtle Populations

Adi Dubash, Ph.D., Furman University
Cardiac Disease Gene Regulation by Cell-Cell Contact

Adam Reitzel, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Charlotte 
Molecular Pathways For Environment- Organism Interactions in "Simple" Animals: A View From an Estuarine Cnidarian

Leslie Vosshall, Ph.D., Rockefeller University
Smith Lecture: Mosquitoes: Understanding and Controlling the World's Most Dangerous Animal

Nic Kooyers, Ph.D.,  University of Virginia
Yogis of the Plant World? Understanding Rampant Local Adaptation in a Widespread Annual Plant, Mimulus guttatus

Phoebe Parrish '16, Davidson College
Thesis Preview: The Role of the Bacterial Phytotozin Coronatine in Plant Disease

Caroline Naso '16, Davidson College
Thesis Preview: The Effects of BPA on Tadpole Brain and Behavior

Morgan Shannon '16, Davidson College
Thesis Preview: Investigating the Role of Slitrk1 in Nervous System Development

Hannah Itell '16, Davidson College
Thesis Preview: Low Tech Pathogen Detection to Improve Public Health

Brian Johnson '16, Davidson College
Thesis Preview: Characterizing the Role of Nmd in Drosophilia Spermatogenesis

Elizabeth Brunner '16, Davidson College
Thesis Preview: Exploring Unique Mitochondrial Membrane Shaping in Drosophilia

Emily Keator '16, Davidson College
Thesis Preview: Characterizing New Antiviral Compounds

Annalee Tutterow '17, Davidson College
Thesis Preview: The Conservation Status of North Carolina Bog Turtle Populations

Gerald Siu, M.D., Ph.D.
Modern Biology in Drug Discovery

Michael Beuhler, Ph.D., Carolinas Poison Control Center
North Carolina Snake Envenomations

Sabrice Guerrier, Ph.D., Millsaps College
Understanding the Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Trafficking During Tetrahymena Conjugation

Kaki Bennett '15
Thesis Presentation: Do the ENDS Justify the Means? Characterizing the Effects of Electronic Cigarette Vapor on Rat Alveolar Type II Cells

Hannah McMillan '15
Thesis Presentation: Helping Plants Fight Back: Calcium's Nuclear Role in Plant Immunity

Devon Harris '15
Thesis Presentation: Proteins Involved in Interactions Between Mitochondria and the Cytoskeleton in Developing Fruit Fly Sperm

Thomas Pederson '15
Thesis Presentation: Invasive Species in Temporary Ponds: a Case Study in Drought as a Method for Restoration

Sophie Zebell, Duke University
To Be or Not to Be, Questions in Plant Defense

Matthew Surdel '10, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Novel Strategies to Fight Infection: Target Identification of a Small Molecule Activator of Heme Biosynthesis

Dennis Tarasi, UNC Chapel Hill
Invaders in Our Midst: Exotic Plant Species Dominance and Its Impacts in NC Forests

Marty Chalfie, Ph.D., Columbia University
Touching Worms: Using C. elegans Genetics to Examine Sensory Neuron Development and Function

Marty Chalfie, Ph.D., Columbia University
GFP: Lighting Up Life

Kyle Summers, Ph.D., East Carolina University
Life History Tradeoffs and the Evolution of Cancer

Kyle Summers, Ph.D., East Carolina University
Mimicry and Monogamy in Peruvian Poison Frogs

Lauren Woods, Ph.D., Davidson College
Influence of Landscape Context and Disturbance on the Biodiversity of Aquatic Ecosystems

Shannon Pittman '08, Ph.D., Davidson College
Importance of Movement Ecology in Species Conservation

Angela Bauer, Ph.D., High Point University
Endocrine Disruption and Human Health

Jeremy Hyman, Ph.D., Western Carolina
Aggression, Personality, and Urbanization in Song Sparrows

Sue McRae, Ph.D., East Carolina
Royal Flush: Behavior and Ecology of the King Rail, a Threatened Species in North Carolina's Coastal Marshes

Chris Peek '15, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Investigation of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Attachment and Replication

Sally Permar '97, M.D., Ph.D., Duke University
Can We Achieve an AIDS-free Generation?

Jonathan Mein, Ph.D., Monsanto Center for Food and Nutrition, North Carolina Research Campus
Vegetable Innovation for Consumer Appeal: Providing Consumers with New, Nutritious Vegetable Options

Patrick Zollner, Ph.D., Purdue University
Over Simulated or Valuable Insight: The Use of Individual Based Models in Ecology

Richard Peek '84, M.D., Vanderbilt University
The Interplay Between Ulcer Bacteria and Cancer

Catherine Doyle '14, Davidson College
Converting Aptamers to Riboswitches is Essential for Modular Programmed Evolution of Bacteria for Optimization of Theophylline Biosynthesis

Eric Sawyer '14, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Roles for ATP Synthase in Drosophila Spermatogenesis

Nathan Tublitz, Ph.D., University of Oregon
A Spineless Tale: Those Amazing Cephalopods

Birgit Scharf, Ph.D., Virginia Tech
Motility and Chemotaxis of the Symbiotic Soil Bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti

David Pfennig, Ph.D., University of North Carolina
The Flexible Organism

Melissa Srougi, Ph.D., North Carolina State University
Rho GTPases in the DNA Damage Response

Elene Clemens '13, Davidson College
Characterization of Ammonium Chloride Resistance and Viral Entry in Reovirus Mutants

Raye Alford '86, Ph.D., Baylor School of Medicine
Down the Rabbit Hole: The Human Genome & Electronic Medical Records

Max Kern '13, Davidson College
Thesis Presentation: Factors Causing Deviation from Optimal Egg Size Theory in the Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

Kelli Carroll '09, Harvard University
The Role of Estrogen on Blood Stem Cell Formation

Susanne Brander, Ph.D., UNC Wilmington
From Molecules to Metapopulations: Assessing Endocrine Disruption in Aquatic Life