Category: News


Dr. Ciesla to give virtual NIH Office of Dietary Supplements seminar on 10/11 @ 10 a.m. CST

On October 11th at 10 a.m. CST, Dr. Lukasz Ciesla will present an NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) seminar entitled Dietary Supplements and Neurological Resilience in Aging. Dr. Ciesla will talk about a major focus of his research, the potential of chemicals present in plants abundant in the human diet to increase neurological and cognitive resilience to aging. Download the seminar flyer for more information. Zoom meeting number: 161 487 8886Meeting passcode: ODSseminar (63773646 from phones)Audio connection: 1-669-254-5252 call-in […]

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New study in PNAS by Kocot lab members sheds light on early mollusk evolution

The Cambrian Explosion was a dramatic event during which almost all major animal groups emerged simultaneously, making it a challenge to reconstruct the relationships between different branches of the animal tree of life. To better understand the early evolution of Mollusca, the second most diverse group of animals, a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences co-authored by Dr. Kevin Kocot and PhD candidate Meghan Yap-Chiongco in Department of Biological Sciences and Alabama Museum of Natural History […]

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Dr. Brandon Kim awarded $447K NIH R15 grant to study impairment of the cerebral vasculature during bacterial meningitis

Effect of GBS infection on the efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in the brains of mice. Uninfected animals show expected P-gp expression co-localized with the blood vessel marker lectin (top). GBS infection results in a loss of P-gp in the cerebral vasculature where little to no P-gp is detected infected mouse brain (bottom).

Dr. Brandon Kim has been awarded a $447K NIH R15 grant to study impairment of the cerebral vasculature during bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is a serious life-threatening infection of the central nervous system that occurs when bacteria are able to cross the highly specialized cerebral vasculature and enter the brain. The cells that comprise the cerebral vasculature are collectively known as the blood-brain barrier and possess unique properties that ensure proper brain homeostasis while also restricting toxins and pathogens. Group […]

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Drs. Benstead, Huryn, and Shogren awarded $990K NSF grant to study thermal compensation in stream ecosystems in response to drought

Little Fishing Creek, Frederick, MD

Drs. Benstead, Huryn, and Shogren’s research proposal entitled “Collaborative Research: NSFDEB-NERC: Warming’s silver lining? Thermal compensation at multiple levels of organization may promote stream ecosystem stability in response to drought” ($990,203) has been funded by the Nation Science Foundation. This collaborative NSFDEB-NERC project (with Wyatt Cross at Montana State) will combine laboratory measurements (University of Iceland), stream mesocosm manipulations of temperature and drought (University of Birmingham, U.K.), and whole-reach drought manipulations (Hengill geothermal catchment, Iceland) to test the overarching hypothesis […]

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Drs. Staudhammer, Atkinson, Shogren, Starr, and Heinrich awarded $3M NSF grant for Woods to Water (W2W) training for the next generation of ecologists and natural resource managers

Image of a stream with trees in the background

Drs. Christie Staudhammer, Carla Atkinson, Arial Shogren, Greg Starr, and Kaleb Heinrich have been awarded an NSF-RaMP grant. This is a $3 million grant to train postbaccalaureates in field ecology, targeting participants who have been traditionally under-represented in ecology and natural resources. The team will be recruiting 3 cohorts of 10 students for year-long training that will occur at our local NEON sites and the Jones Center at Ichauway in southwest Georgia, with integrated classroom exercises and workshops. Units will […]

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Dr. Harris and Worth Pugh awarded $78K IMLS Grant to rehouse and digitize its department’s collection of ~20,000 crayfish specimens

Herpetology Collection

Dr. Philip Harris and Worth Pugh, Coordinator of Zoological Collections, have been awarded $78,323 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to rehouse and digitize its department’s collection of ~20,000 crayfish specimens. This award will be used to hire and train paid and volunteer student workers who will catalog, label, and shelve specimens. In addition, staff will also conduct database cleanup for crayfish lots from waterbodies across Alabama, updating taxonomy and georeferencing for increased accuracy. Finally, to advance the […]

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Dr. Higgins awarded $1.8M NIH grant to Investigate Biosynthetic Enzymes to Enhance Natural Product Discovery

Melanie Higgins

Dr. Melanie Higgins has been notified that her NIH proposal titled “Investigating biosynthetic enzymes to enhance natural product discovery” has been selected for funding. This proposal is being funded through the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) through NIGMS and is for $1.8M.  Proposed research: Natural products (NPs) have diverse complex structures and play a vital role in drug discovery and development. Although the rate of discovery of natural products has increased significantly, traditional bioactivity-guided discovery methods frequently lead to the […]

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In Memory of Jake Dybiec

Jake Dybiec

It is with great sadness that we notify our alumni, faculty, staff, students as well as the broader community, that one of our graduate students, Jacob “Jake” Dybiec of Cleveland, OH passed away unexpectedly on Monday, July 3, 2023. A graduate student in the College of Arts & Sciences, Jake was pursuing a Ph.D. in Biology and had advanced to candidacy. A team member in the Cherry Wetland Ecology Lab, Jake was previously awarded a Graduate Council Fellowship and served as a research assistant for the […]

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In Memory of Dr. Martha Powell

Martha Powell

It is with great sadness that we notify our alumni, faculty and staff, as well as the broader community, that our former Department Chair, Dr. Martha Powell, passed away on June 20th after battling a debilitating condition for a few years. Dr. Powell joined the department in 1997 and oversaw unprecedented growth in both student enrollment and faculty numbers during her time as chair.  Under her leadership the department greatly expanded its research profile and her impact on our success is […]

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Bama Microbes

Chris Youssef is a Biology M.A. AMP student who finished his undergraduate degree in May of 2022. Chris has begun a creative project where he collects and showcases microbes from around UA’s campus on social media. You can find these videos @bama.microbes on TikTok and Instagram. Chris was awarded an Innovation Seed Grant from the Levitetz Leadership Program and garnered additional support from AmScope to fund this project. He has also had plenty of support from department faculty who have […]

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