Keep in Touch

We are proud of the contributions our alumni make to science and society. We would like to keep up with graduates from the Department of Biological Sciences, just to find out where you are and what you’re doing. Please consider sharing your information with us by completing our alumni update form.

We’re happy to share what our alum are doing on this page, but there are more ways to stay engaged! Like our department page on Facebook and check out the Bama Biology Newsletters!


Amber Foster Emerson headshot

Amber Foster Emerson

Amber Foster Emerson (B.S. 2012) is a UA BSC graduate who also earned a a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education – General Science from UA in 2016. As a graduate student she was awarded the William H. Mason Fellowship. Amber is now a science teacher at Westlawn Middle School and was recently named the 2019 Outstanding Alabama Middle School Science Teacher by the Alabama Science Teachers Association. The honor recognizes and awards teachers, district directors, industries and other individuals who have demonstrated outstanding qualities and contributions to science education in Alabama annually. She has also been named a Tuscaloosa City Schools Educator Ambassador. (2/20)

Nathan Whelan

Nathan Whelan

Nathan Whelan (Ph.D. 2013)  is currently the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Conservation Genetics Lab. He also has a dual-appointment as an assistant professor at Auburn University in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences. Since graduating with a Ph.D. in 2013, Nathan has published on topics ranging from the evolution of comb jellies and theoretical phylogenetics to freshwater snail taxonomy and conservation genetics. As of 1/2020, Nathan’s lab currently consists of a postdoctoral research fellow, a first-year Ph.D. student, and a lab technician. The Whelan lab’s research focuses on aquatic species biodiversity and conservation, and they also provide genetic program evaluation to numerous national fish hatcheries in the southeastern United States. (1/20)

Lauren Harper

Lauren Harper (B.S. 2019) is working as a clinical research assistant at UNC Chapel Hill studying fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and its use in the treatment of severe and enduring anorexia nervosa. She is also conducting other hormonal and eating disorder resarch projects with the department of psychiatry. (1/20)

Jason Chesser

Jason Chesser (B.S. 2006) has just completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Biology at the University of Mississippi. Jason was an undergraduate researcher in the Rissler Lab during his undergraduate days. (5/10)

Dr. J. Whitfield Gibbons

Dr. J. Whitfield Gibbons (B.S. 1961, M.S. 1963) was awarded the Clarence E. Watson award by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Dr. Gibbons is Senior Research Ecologist at the Savannah River Ecology Lab and Professor of Ecology at the University of Georgia. (5/10)

Dr. Gary N. Ervin

Dr. Gary N. Ervin (B.S. 1996, Ph.D. 2000) Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Mississippi State University, received the 2009 MSU College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Research Award. Dr. Ervin also was named the 2009 Doug Wilcox Outstanding Associate Editor for his services as Associate Editor to the international scientific journal, Wetlands. (2009)

Dr. James D. Wiliams

Dr. James D. Williams (Ph.D. 1969) has published “Freshwater Mussels of Alabama and the Mobile Basin in Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.” Dr. Williams is a Research Associate in the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida. (4/09)

Dr. Heather Johnson

Dr. Heather (DeHart) Johnson (B.S. 1992, M.S. 1994, Ph.D. 1997), Associate Professor of Biology at Western Kentucky University has received the Ogden College of Science and Engineering Teaching Award (left) and the Western Kentucky University Teaching Award (right). (3/09)

Dr. Heather (DeHart) Johnson (B.S. 1992, M.S. 1994, Ph.D. 1997), Associate Professor of Biology at Western Kentucky University has received the Ogden College of Science and Engineering Teaching Award (left) and the Western Kentucky University Teaching Award (right)

Nathan Putman

Nathan Putman (B.S. Marine Science 2006) has just completed his second year in the Ph.D. Program at UNC Chapel Hill. In addition he has published his first, first authored article (Putman NF and Lohmann KJ. 2008. Compatibility of magnetic imprinting and secular variation. Current Biology 18 (14) R596-R597). Congratulations Nathan. (9/08)

Dr. Lawrence Davenport

Dr. Lawrence Davenport (M.S. 1978, Ph.D. 1983) Professor of Biological and Environmental Science at Samford University, was named the 2007 Alabama Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. (5/08)

Dr. Rick Myers

Dr. Rick Myers (B.S. 1977) has been named the director of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville. Dr. Myers is currently professor and chair of Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine and director of the Stanford Human Genome Center. He will begin his full-time duties at HudsonAlpha in fall 2008. (9/07)