Stephen F. Austin State University

Faculty and Staff

Department Chair

Dr. Stephen Mullin
Dr. Stephen Mullin Educational Background: Dr. Mullin earned his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, M.S. from the University of South Florida, and Ph.D from the University of Memphis Office: Miller Science Building; Room S101A Phone: 936.468.3601

Visit Dr. Mullin's webpage

Dr. Mullin's research focuses on two concepts: The ecological influence of physical structure on interspecific interactions and the environmental and developmental cues which stimulate the expression of behavior. He is coeditor of Snakes: Ecology & Conservation and the current editor of Herpetologica.

Faculty and Staff

Dr. Daniel Bennett
Dr. Daniel Bennett Educational Background: Dr. Bennett earned his B.S. from the University of Washington in zoology, M.A. from the University of Kansas in entomology and his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in entomology Research/Areas of Interest: Dr. Bennett's research interests include systematics, behavior, and geological history of bees and wasps. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S210 Phone: 936.568.5163
Dr. Brent Burt
Dr. Brent Burt Educational Background: Dr. Burt earned his B.S. from Angelo State University in biology, M.A. from the University of Kansas in systematics and ecology and his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in ecology and evolutionary biology. Research/Areas of Interest: Dr. Burt's research interests include behavioral and evolutionary ecology. His current research focus is phylogenetic analyses of the adaptive nature of animal behavior and morphology. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S222 Phone: 936.468.2482
Dr. Sarah Canterberry
Dr. Sarah Canterberry Educational Background: Dr. Canterberry earned her B.S. from Texas A&M University in animal science. Dr. Canterberry completed her doctoral reseach at Texas A&M University in the Canine Genetics Research Laboratory. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S202 Phone: 936.468.2168
Dr. Canterberry joined the biology faculty in August, 2008. A native of Nacogdoches County, Dr. Canterberry earned her B.S. in animal science from Texas A&M University in 2001. Following completion of her doctoral research at Texas A&M University in the Canine Genetics Research Laboratory, Dr. Canterberry spent the next 2 years as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist for the Reproductive Sciences Laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Canterberry's research involves utilizing RNA interference (RNAi) to thwart viruses that infect horses and other equine species. RNAi is a highly conserved mechanism among eukaryotes that regulates gene expression via post-transcriptional gene silencing. Dr. Canterberry is working on methods to induce the silencing of viral genes and viral receptors on equine cells to inhibit viral infection and replication. Specifically, she is currently targeting Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIAV). This virus causes a persistent and highly contagious infection in equids that is spread through biting insects. There is no vaccine and no cure, therefore the current method of control for an animal testing positive (Coggins test) is either lifelong quarantine or euthanasia. Thus, novel approaches must be considered to protect naïve animals and to offer treatment options for those already infected.
Erin Childress
Erin Childress Educational Background: Mrs. Childress earned both her B.S. and M.S at Stephen F. Austin State University. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S214A Phone: 936.468.6619
Mrs. Childress is currently one of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab Coordinators. Mrs. Childress is also a SFA 101 instructor and the facility advisor for an on campus non-profit safe ride program called Driving Jacks.
Dr. Bea Clack
Dr. Bea Clack Educational Background: Dr. Clack earned her B.S in biochemistry from Texas A&M University, M.S. in molecular and cell biology from the University of Texas at Dallas, and her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of Texas at Dallas. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S113 Phone: 936.468.1017

Visit Dr. Clack's webpage


Research projects that Dr. Clack has been involved in include:

  1. Genetic Characterization of the Threatened East Texas Rose Mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx)
  2. Identifying Eco-friendly biopesticides to the Sunn pest (Eurygaster integriceps)
  3. Development of an prolyl endo protease for the treatment of Celiac's Disease
  4. Structure/function studies of a unique prolyl endoprotease and
  5. Use of Chaperone Proteins to assist in expression of recombinant enzymes in E. coli and
  6. Identification of new anti-cancer compounds from plants.
These projects provide opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students to learn many state-of-the art techniques in molecular biology such as cloning, PCR, microarray, pyrosequencing, Real Time PCR, qRT-PCR, RNA isolation, cDNA synthesis, spectroscopy techniques, protein expression methods, tissue culture and many more.

Dr. Dennis Gravatt
Dr. Dennis Gravatt Educational Background: Dr. Gravatt earned his B.S. in systematics and ecology ('88) and a M.A. in botany ('91) from the University of Kansas. In 1994, Dr. Gravatt completed his Ph.D. from LSU. Office: Miller Science Building; Room 239 Phone: 936.468.2418

Visit Dr. Gravatt's website

Dr. Gravatt maintains active research in the areas of how plants adapt to environmental stress. He uses the understanding of plant physiology to elucidate the mechanisms of plant responses to different growth limiting factors. Adaptation of interest include physiological, biochemical, and morphological to such stresses. He is particularly interested in the environmental and biochemical limitations on photosynthetic capacity in stressful environments.

An emphasis in the lab includes efforts to understand the physiology, morphology and anatomy of developing plantlets of the genus Sedum. The purpose of this work is to gain an understanding of how Sedum reproduces using vegetative propagules. In addition, he is interested in the physiological ecology of all species found on shallow soils throughout the United States.

Not all research is with succulent plants. His group searches for answers to questions relating to the physiological and ecological adaptations of plants to stress. Such studies include biochemical and morphological response to flooding, canopy level physiology in loblolly pine stands, and physiological responses to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

Dr. Jennifer Gumm
Dr. Jennifer Gumm Educational Background: Dr. Gumm earned her B.S from Millikin University, M.S. from Texas State University, Ph.D. from Lehigh University, and Postdoc from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S123 Phone: 936.468.2322

Visit Dr. Gumm's website

Dr. Gumm is interested in the causes and consequences of diversity in reproductive behaviors and animal communication systems. In her lab, students study how sexual selection results in some of the most dramatic traits found in animals and how the dynamics of sexual selection lead to change within populations, between populations and ultimately, between species. Her lab's research is integrative and uses techniques from behavior, ecology, physiology, molecular genetics, and comparative phylogenetics. Members of her lab conduct studies in both lab and field settings. Current research is focusing on the co-evolution of vision and coloration in darters (genus Ethostoma), and reproductive behaviors and hybridization in pupfishes (genus Cyprinodon).

Dr. Gumm has worked closely with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help with the conservation of threatened and endangered pupfishes.

In Dr. Gumm's courses, she teaches core concepts (such as evolution) and competencies lay the foundation for knowledge of specific course content. Her teaching also emphasizes the skills required for success in the sciences. Dr. Gumm aims to impart understanding and application of the scientific method in all subjects. This provides the framework necessary to foster critical thinking and quantitative skills. She also aims to provide a comprehensive view of subjects by integrating the classroom, laboratory and natural world. This multifaceted approach brings an appreciation for how science is relevant in today's society.

Ron Havner
Ron Havner Research/Areas of Interest: Mr. Havner is the Microbiology Lab Coordinator. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S237 Phone: 936.468.5196
Dr. Vance Imhoff
Dr. Vance Imhoff Educational Background: Dr. Imhoff earned his B.A. from DePaul University, B.S. from the University of Texas, and Ph.D. from Lehigh University. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S214B Phone: 936.468.2232
Dr. Imhoff is one of the current Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory Coordinators. Dr. Imhoff's research focuses on understanding the genetic basis and evolution of traits within and across species of Lepidopterans.
Dr. Matthew Kwiatkowski
Dr. Matthew Kwiatkowski Educational Background: see below Office: Miller Science Building; Room S241 Phone: 936.468.5986

Dr. Kwiatkowski earned his B.S. in biology from New Mexico State University, his M.A. in biology from the University of South Dakota, and his Ph.D. in biology from Arizona State University. Following his Ph.D., Dr. Kwiatkowski was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Colorado State University and a Lecturer at Arizona State University.

Dr. Kwiatkowski's research focuses on two main areas of reptile and amphibian evolutionary ecology. The first focus is on the spatial ecology of reptiles and amphibians in both natural and fragmented habitats, including urbanized areas. This includes analysis of movements, home range size, and habitat use, often utilizing GIS techniques. Molecular tools such as DNA microsatellites are also used to investigate gene flow and genetic structure among fragmented populations. The second component of Dr. Kwiatkowski's research investigates mating behavior and how environmental variables influence sexual selection. Much of Dr. Kwiatkowski's research is strongly linked to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

Dr. Kevin Langford
Dr. Kevin Langford Educational Background: see below Office: Miller Science Building; Room S201 Phone: 936.468.2258

Dr. Langford joined the biology faculty in the Fall of 2002. A native of East Texas, Dr. Langford earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology from SFA. Following completion of his doctoral research at the Medical College of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, Dr. Langford spent the next 7 years at the Arkansas Cancer Research Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dr. Langford maintains active research in the areas of cellular and molecular events that dictate the transformation of a single cell into an individual organism during embryonic development. Much of this work involves the biology of syndecan, an important cell surface receptor that performs critical functions during development as well as normal growth. Currently, Dr. Langford is investigating the role of syndecan during the development of the coronary blood vessels using a chicken embryo model system. Also, to better understand how syndecan functions as a broad spectrum regulator, molecular models as well as the nematode C. elegans model system are being used.

Visit the Pre Health Professions Program Website

Volha (Olga) Minich
Volha (Olga) Minich Educational Background: Ms. Minich was born in Minsk, Republic of Belarus. There she earned her degree in elementary education (Minsk Pedagogical College, 1998) and B.S. in bioecology (Belarusian State University, 2003). Research/Areas of Interest: Interested in aquatic ecology, Ms. Minich earned a M.S. from Stephen F. Austin State University. After graduation from SFA, Ms. Minich worked as a biology teacher in Nacogdoches ISD (2007 - 2012). Office: Miller Science Building; Room S224 Phone: 936.468.5195
Currently, Ms. Minich is a Lecturer, Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 238 and 239).
Dr. Rebecca Parr
Dr. Rebecca Parr Educational Background: Dr. Parr recieved her B.S. in medical technology from McNeese State University and her M.S in veterinary microbiology from Texas A&M University. She then received her Ph.D. in veterinary microbiology from Texas A&M University. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S112 Phone: 936.468.2267

Visit Dr. Parr's Website

Dr. Parr's research efforts include: 1) the exploration of host-viral pathogen interactions associated with viral infections; 2) the discovery of natural products that inhibit or stop viral infections; and 3) detection of viruses in our environment that have the potential to cause zoonotic emerging infectious diseases.

Dr. Don Pratt
Dr. Don Pratt Educational Background: Dr. Pratt received his B.S. in botany from Brigham Young University and a M.S. in botany, plant systematics and evolution from Iowa State University. He then received his Ph.D. in botany, plant systematics and evolution from Iowa State University. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S111 Phone: 936.468.2038
Dr. Pratt joined the biology faculty in the fall of 2003.

Dr. Pratt's primary research is in plant systematics (evolutionary history and taxonomy), with an emphasis in the important weedy genus Amaranthus, as well as the closely related Chenopodiaceae and Amaranthaceae plant families. Dr. Pratt's current research emphasizes 1) the recovery of evolutionary histories (phylogenies) using molecular markers; and 2) using well-developed molecular based phylogenies to better understand the evolution of morphological characters. Examples include: the evolution of breeding systems in Amaranthus, the distinctive bract structures of the Amaranthaceae, and the dispersal units of the Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae. Dr. Pratt's research includes both lab (DNA sequencing, molecular markers, and herbarium study) and field (plant collection) aspects.
Gene Sullivan
Gene Sullivan Research/Areas of Interest: Mr. Sullivan is the Lab Coordinator for both the Botany Introductory Lab and the Concepts of Biology Lab. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S105 Phone: 936.468.2458
Justin Sullivan
Justin Sullivan Educational Background: Mr. Sullivan earned both his B.S. and M.S. in biology at Stephen F. Austin State University. Research/Areas of Interest: Justin Sullivan is currently the Lab Coordinator for both the Zoology Introductory Lab and the Human Biology Lab. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S108 Phone: 936.468.5987
Dr. Josephine Taylor
Dr. Josephine Taylor Office: Miller Science Building; Room S106 Phone: 936.468.2268
Dr. Taylor joined the biology faculty in 1992. Dr. Taylor earned her B.S. degree in agricultural education from Stephen F. Austin State University and her Ph.D. degree in plant pathology from the University of Georgia. Following completion of her doctoral degree in 1990 , Dr. Taylor spent the next 2 years as a postdoctoral research associate in the Biology Department at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Taylor maintains active research in the areas of plant pathology and mycology. Her major interests include host-pathogen interactions in fungal diseases of plants and mechanisms of plant disease resistance. Students working in her lab gain experience in light and electron microscopy, as well as in the culturing and identification of fungi.

Visit the Electron Microscopy Lab website
Dr. Alexandra Van Kley
Dr. Alexandra Van Kley Office: Miller Science Building; Room S236 Phone: 936.468.2569

Visit Dr. Alexandra Martynova-Van Kley's website

Dr. Alexandra Martynova-Van Kley received her B.S. in Biochemistry, Biology, Pedagogy in 1984 from Bashkir State University, Ufa, Russia. In 1990 she completed her Ph.D. in Plant Physiology at the Institute of Experimental Botany of Belorussian Academy of Science in Minsk, Belorussia. She came to SFA in 2000 as a Research Associate to the Biotechnology program following a long career as a Research Scientist at the Russian Academy of Science (Ufa, Russia) where she obtained considerable laboratory experience and authored a number of peer-reviewed publications. In 2002 she was offered a Professor position in the Biotechnology program.

Her current research interests include observation of bacterial and fungal communities using the newest molecular technology in microbial DNA analysis and bioinformatics to unravel various questions such us: Do bacterial communities from different parts of the animal body vary from sick to healthy animals? Can they be affected by outside factors such as temperature? How the bacterial or fungal communities vary on plants roots with the respect to host plant and environmental factors such as season, habitat type, soil chemistry.

Dr. Alexandra Martynova-Van Kley teaches:

BIO121 - Concepts of Biology
BIO130 - Principles of Cell & Molecular Biology
BIO470 - Graduate Seminar
BTC563 - Molecular Biochemistry
BTC555 - Nucleic acids & Proteins
BTC548 - Bioinformatics

Dr. James Van Kley
Dr. James Van Kley Office: Miller Science Building; Room S115 Phone: 936.468.2068

Dr. Van Kley came to SFA in the fall of 1993 from West Lafayette, Indiana, where he completed a Ph.D. in forest ecology at Purdue University. He is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his B.S. degree from Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI), and his M.S. degree from Central Michigan University (Mt Pleasant, MI).

Current research includes the development of an ecological classification system for the National Forests in Texas and Louisiana, analysis of portions of the Dutch National Vegetation Database in collaboration with colleagues at the Alterra Institute for Green World Research in the Netherlands, and analysis and monitoring of the wetland plant communities of Caddo Lake in northeastern Texas.

Dr. Van Kley's overall research program focuses on patterns of vegetation across the east Texas landscape and how these patterns relate to environmental and biotic factors. Research projects address the change in wetland vegetation at Caddo Lake, Texas, resulting from the invasion of non-native species (giant salvinia, water hyacinth, alligator weed and Chinese Tallow tree); and patterns of diversity of Mycorhhizal fungi in East Texas forests in relation to the vascular plant community, seasonality, habitat type, and host plant. For more information of Dr. Van Kley's research, visit the Pineywoods Vascular Plant Gallery.

Dr. Van Kley is also curator of the ASTC Herbarium at SFA, which includes more than 77,000 specimens, mostly from east Texas.

Visit the Pineywoods Plants Digital Gallery.

Dr. Stephen Wagner
Dr. Stephen Wagner Office: Miller Science Building; Room S223 Phone: 936.468.2135

Dr. Wagner received his B.S. in environmental biology from Heidelberg College, an M.S. in microbiology from North Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. in agronomy (soil microbiology) from Clemson University. He spent two years as a postdoctoral research associate with the USDA, working on herbicide biodegradation.

Dr. Wagner's research interest is microbial ecology, emphasizing bioremediation, plant-parasite interactions, effects of management practices on soil ecology, and poultry microbiology. He also directs the department's program for K-8 pre-service teachers and is the director of a project funded by NASA and the US Department of Education to develop a new course, called "Supernova", to support these teachers as well as in-service teachers.

Reasearh link: SFA's NOVA Homepage

Dr. Robert Wiggers
Dr. Robert Wiggers Research/Areas of Interest: Current research interests include the genetics of plant / nematode interactions, the occurrence of zoonotic diseases in east Texas, and the molecular genetics of melanoma in gray phenotype horses. Office: Miller Science Building; Room S204 Phone: 396.468.2147

Wiggers received his B.S. in biochemistry and his Ph.D. in genetics from Texas A&M University. After a post-doctoral position at the UCLA School of Medicine, he joined the Biology Department in 1992. Dr. Wiggers teaches Human Biology (for non-science majors), Genetics, Cancer Biology, and Advanced Cell Biology.

Professional Staff

Laura Anderson
Laura Anderson - Administrative Assistant Office: Miller Science Building; Room S101 Phone: 936.468.3601
Anita Beavers
Anita Beavers - Pre-Health Professions Administrative Assistant Office: Miller Science Building; Room S127 Phone: 936.468.2315
Cassidy Owens
Cassidy Owens - Accounting Clerk III Office: Miller Science Building; Room S107 Phone: 936.468.2491

Adjunct Graduate Faculty

Dr. Craig Rudolph - Research Ecologist - USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station Educational Background: Dr. Rudolph earned both his B.A. and M.A. degrees in zoology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his Ph.D. in zoology from Texas Tech University. Office: USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, 506 Hayter St., Nacogdoches, TX 75965 Phone: 936.569.7981

Dr. Rudolph's current research includes: (1) Biology and management of the red-cockaded woodpecker, (2) Ecological relationships and management of the Louisiana pine snake, (3) Structure of Lepidopteran communities in fire-maintained pine ecosystems, and (4) Biology of the butterflies in the genus Speyeria, with emphasis on the Diana.

Dr. Rudoph's research website
Dr. Daniel Saenz
Dr. Daniel Saenz - Research Wildlife Biologist - USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station Educational Background: Dr. Saenz earned both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology from Stephen F. Austin State University, and his Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University. Office: USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, 506 Hayter St., Nacogdoches, TX 75965 Phone: 936.569.7981

Dr. Saenz research focuses primarily on basic amphibian ecology and the impacts of forest management practices on amphibian communities. The long-range goals for his research are: (1) To determine the impacts of various forest management practices (including fragmentation) on amphibians, (2) To determine likely consequences of climatic changes on amphibians, (3) To develop guidelines for managing southern forest ecosystems to ensure healthy populations of amphibians, (4) To develop and evaluate alternative monitoring protocols for amphibians, and (5) To develop and validate predictive habitat relationship models for amphibians.

Dr. Saenz's Southern Research Station, US Forest Service

Dr. Saenz's research

Cliff Shackelford
Cliff Shackelford - Statewide Non-game Ornithologist - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Educational Background: Cliff earned both his B.S and M.S degrees in biology from Stephen F. Austin State University. Research/Areas of Interest: See below Office: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 506 Hayter St., Nacogdoches, TX 75965 Phone: 936.559.5795
Cliff has been the statewide ornithologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department since 1997. His interest in birds involves their distribution, habitat preferences, and conservation across Texas. Research interest is varied and includes the ecology of forest dwelling and grassland birds.