The Biology Lecture Series in Memory of Dr. Donald J. Ross Sr.

‌This lecture series is dedicated to the memory of Donald J. Ross Sr., Professor Emeritus, who passed away in August 2008 and was one of the founding members of the Fairfield University Biology Department. Teaching was Dr. Ross’ first priority, whether it was in the classroom or laboratory. Hundreds of his students over his 58-year teaching career went on to earn M.D.s and advanced degrees in biology or related fields. This series continues his work of educating and engaging students in scientific inquiry.  For powerpoints and audio recordings of each lecture, please click here.   

All lectures take place in the DiMenna-Nyselius Library in the multimedia room at 12 noon.


Upcoming: April 29, 2015  Janine Caira, Ph.D  Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut
The Denizens of the Deep Revealed: A Global Look at Shark and Ray Tapeworms

September  24, 2014 
Jennifer Matos '03, Ph.D,
Post-Doctoral Fellow at Hackensack University Medical Center
Immunotherapeutic Approaches to Combat Graft-versus-Host Disease

October 29, 2014  Shirin Bahmanyar, Ph.D,  Assistant Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University
Using C. elegans to Dissect Nuclear Envelope Dynamics

November 19, 2014  Erin Daly, '05, Ph.D, Recent Post-Doctoral work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Probing Tubulin Interactions with Epothilone D Analogues as a Segue to a Career in Patent Law

January 28, 2015  Emily Mis, '05, Ph.D   Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine
Building the Body: Using Mice and Frogs to Understand Birth Defects

February 25, 2015  Robyn Smyth, Ph.D  Assistant Professor at the Center for Environmental Policy at Bard College
Bio-physical Modeling of Photosynthesis in the Southern Ocean: Implications for Carbon Sequestration?

March 25, 2015  Gary LeCleir, '98, Ph.D  Research Scientist, The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Using Next Generation Sequencing Technology to Answer Questions in Aquatic Microbial Ecology 

Past Events


September 25, 2013
Kristen Desy Soto ’05, MPH, Field Epidemiologist for the Northwest region at the Connecticut Department of Health
“Solving Food borne Illness Mysteries: An Investigation of a Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella bareilly and Salmonella nchanga”

October 30, 2013
Matthew Rockman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, New York University
“What Happens When Worms Evolve Hermaphroditism?”

November 20, 2013
Sarah Kopac ’08, Ph.D. candidate at Wesleyan University
“Tough Times in Death Valley Soils: Geochemical Stressors Associated with Diversification of the Bacillus subtilis-B.licheniformis Clade in Death Valley, USA”

January 29, 2014
David Richardson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology at State University of New York
“New Paltz Environmental Change on the Shawangunk Ridge: How Acid Rain and Invasive Fish are Affecting the Sky Lakes”

February 26, 2014
Dustin Rubenstein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University 
“Environmental Uncertainty and the Evolution of Complex Sociality: Patterns, Processes, and Mechanisms”

April 2, 2014
Lisa M. Runco ’02, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology at New York Institute of Technology
“Designer Pathogens - Gene customization for vaccine development”

April 30, 2014
Jonathan Velotta ’07, Ph.D. candidate at University of Connecticut
“Evolved Physiological and Genomic Responses to Freshwater Invasion by a Saltwater Fish”


September 26, 2012
Cassandra Godman Tierney ’05, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Health and Natural Sciences Department at Goodwin College
“Genetic Reprogramming of Cancer Cells - HDACs and the Bad Wrap”

October 31, 2012
Kristen Desy Soto ’05, MPH, Field Epidemiologist for the Northwest region at the Connecticut Department of Public Health
“An Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157 Associated with Raw Milk”

November 28, 2012
Robert Pinsonneault ’99, Ph.D., Senior Associate Editor of the journal Molecular Medicine; High School Teacher
“Double Edged Sword: Pediatric Leukemia and the Biology of Adaptive Immunity”

January 30, 2013
David Ellerby, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Wellesley College
“The Biomechanics of Bloated Bloodsuckers: Physiological and Behavioral Adaptations for an Extreme Feeding Strategy”

February 27, 2013
Scott Weatherbee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics at Yale University
“Identifying Genes that Control Organ Shape, Size and Disease Using Mice”

March 27, 2013
Laura Macesic, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Wheaton College
“Walking Stingrays and Hand-Standing Frogs: Using Unusual Locomotor Systems to Probe Musculoskeletal Form and Function”

April 24, 2013
Marina Simeone Penney ’02, Ph.D., Biomarker Lead in the Clinical Biomarkers group at Vertex Pharmaceuticals
“Biomarkers and Drug Development; Exploring the Role of Biomarkers in Inflammatory Epilepsy”


September 28, 2011
Carolyn Stankiewicz Schober ’05, Ph.D., Post Doctoral Fellow in the Pathology Department at Yale University’s School of Medicine
“Investigation of the Requirement for VRK1 in Mammalian Germ Cell Development”

October 26, 2011
Zac Freedman ’05, Ph.D. candidate in Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University
“Hot Spring Time Machine: Insights into Bacterial Mercury Detoxification from its Ancestral Habitat”

November 30, 2011
Thomas Giove ’00, Ph.D., Manager of Publications and Analytics, Millennium, The Takeda Oncology Company
“The Role of Adrenomedullin and Nitric Oxide in Neuronal Degeneration in the Diabetic Mouse Retina”

January 25, 2012
Mustafa Khokha, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics at Yale University
“Dissecting Congenital Heart Disease Using Man and Frogs”

February 29, 2012
L. Michael Romero, Ph.D., Professor for the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Biology at Tufts University
“Stress in Wild Animals: From the Arctic to the Equator”

March 28, 2012
Elena Bennett, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Ecology in the McGill School of Environment and Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University
“Interactions among Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes”

April 25, 2012
Valentina Greco, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Genetics at Yale University
“Stem Cell Niche Dynamics and Signaling in Tissue Regeneration”