Stephen F. Austin State University

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduates are encouraged to get involved with research under the direction of the Biology faculty. Students desiring to do research need to first contact the professor in the department who is carrying out research in the student's area of interest. Students must be registered in a biology course which may be any of the lecture courses and/or a BIO 275 or BIO 475 depending on the research faculty's recommendation. To see what research is being done by the individual professors visit the faculty webpages or view below.

Undergraduate students many times will be coauthors on presentations such as and publications of their research. Presentations include posters at state and national scientific meetings and special on campus symposia. Co-author of publications will include journal articles in state, national and international journals.

Current Faculty Members involved in undergraduate research:

Dr. Stephen Mullin

Current Research: Our lab group tends to focus on predator-prey relationships that involve one or more species of amphibians or reptiles, especially snakes. Research questions typically have a behavioral or conservation ecology focus, and all endeavors are strongly grounded in natural history. Previous projects have addressed the dynamics of trophic webs and management strategies for non-game wildlife.

Preferred criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individuals who have completed Bio125 and Bio133.

To contact: Email your information and interest to sjmullin@sfasu.edu

Dr. Daniel Bennett

Current Research: systematics, behavior, and geological history of bees and wasps.

Preferred criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual to be working on a degree in life sciences and have an interest in invertebrates.

To contact: Email your information and interest to bennettdj@sfasu.edu

Dr. Bea Clack

Current Research: (1) Genetic characterization of the threatened East Texas Rose Mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx); (2) Idenifying 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; (5) Use of chaperone proteins to assist in expression of recombinate enzymes in E. coli; (6) Identification of new anti-cancer compounds from plants

Preferred criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual to be working on a degree in life sciences.

To contact: Email your information and interest to bclack@sfasu.edu

Dr. Dennis Gravatt

Current Research: Search 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 lobolly pine stands, and physiological responses to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

Preferred criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual be working on a degree in life sciences, as well as, having completed or in the process of completing BIO 130 or 131.

To contact: Email your information and interest to dgravatt@sfasu.edu

Dr. Jennifer Gumm

Current Research: 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).

Preferred criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual to be working on a degree in life sciences, that have or are completing BIO 125 and/or 133.

To contact: Email your information and interest to gummj@sfasu.edu

Dr. Josephine Taylor

Current Research: Maintain active research in the areas of plant pathology and mycology. Major intrests include host-pathogen interactions in fungal diseases of plants and mechanisms of plant disease resistance.

Preferred criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual to have completed 7-8 hours of biology courses.

To contact: Email your information and interest to jtaylor@sfasu.edu

Dr. Kevin Langford

Current Research: Maintains active research in the ares of cellular and molecular events that dictate the transformation of a single cell into an individual organism during embryonic development. Musch of this work involves the biology of syndecan, an important cell surface receptor that performs critical funcitons during development as well as normal growth.

Preferred criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual to be in the Pre Health Program with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

To contact: Email your information and interest to klangford@sfasu.edu

Dr. Rebecca Parr

Current Research: 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.

Preferred criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual to be at a sophomore level or higher with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

To contact: Emal your informaiton and interest to parrr1@sfasu.edu

Dr. Alexandra VanKley

Current Research: Maintain active research in the areas of molecular ecology and DNA fingerprinting. Major interests include bacterial community structure in different environments, its dynamics under various factors (pathogens, invasive species etc).
Preferred criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual to have completed 7-8 hours of biology/biochemistry courses.

To contact: Email your information and interest to avankley@sfasu.edu

Dr. James Van Kley

Current Research: 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.

Prefered criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual to be in good standing within the departments of: Biology, Forestry, Environmental Science, or Agriculture.

To contatct: Email your information and interest to jvankley@sfasu.edu

Dr. Stephen Wagner

Current Research: 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.

Prefered criteria for an interested undergraduate: Prefer individual to be in good standing with an interest in environmental microbiology or biology education.

To contact: Email your information and interest to swagner@sfasu.edu