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.


September  30, 2015  Michael A. Bell, Ph.D.  Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University
Vertical Integration of Evolutionary Mechanisms: Pelvic Reduction in the Threespine Stickleback Fish

October 28, 2015  Deanna Mele, Ph.D.  Senior Scientist at AstraZeneca
Utilizing Small Molecules to Inhibit Epigenetic Regulators to Alter T cell Fate: Implications in Autoimmunity and Cancer

November 18, 2015  Karin Kiontke, Ph.D.  Senior Researcher in Fitch Laboratory, Department of Biology at New York University
What Worm Tails Teach Us About Timing of Development

*January 27, 2016  Clinton Moran, Ph.D.  Postdoctoral Researcher in Gerry Laboratory  
A Fish Tail: Using Functional Morphology to Conserve Arizona's Native Fish Legacy

*February 24, 2016  Ashley Helton, Ph.D.  Assistant Professor, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment & the Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering
at University of Connecticut
Wetlands at the Leading Edge of Climate Change: The Effects of Saltwater Intrusion on Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling in Freshwater Wetland Ecosystems

*March 30, 2016, 2016  Annie Murphy, '07, Ph.D. Candidate at Virginial Institute of Marine Science at the College of William & Mary
Mud, Mollusks, and Microbes...Oh My!  Effects of Clam Aquaculture on Nitrogen Dynamics in Shallow Coastal Ecosystems

April 27, 2016  Elena Levantini, Ph.D  Instructor of Medicine at Harvard University
Targeting the Oncogene Bmi1 in Lung Cancer: From Murine Models to Patients

* Indicates "Water" Theme in University 2014-16 Water Focus

Past Events


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 

*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

* Indicates "Water" Theme in University 2014-16 Water Focus


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 at 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