These are some of our current graduate students and their research interests.
Dr. Mathew Gilg
My research focuses on speciation and reproduction in fishes. I am currently investigating barriers to reproduction in the sympatric species Fundulus grandis and F. heteroclitus. The results of this study will shed light on the evolution of these fishes and may be used to support coastal resource management strategies using F. heteroclitus and F. grandis as indicators of overall ecosystem health in Northeastern Florida salt marshes.
A.S. in Aquaculture -Hillsborough Community College, 2003; B.S. in Marine Science and Biology, Minorin Chemistry - The University of Tampa, 2007
My graduate research focuses on the pathogen, Klebsiella
pneumoniae, a gram negative, rod shaped bacteria prevalant in
nosocomial infections. This includes pneumonia and systemic infections. I am
interested in observing the relationship between the bacteria and immune cells,
particularly alveolar macrophages. I use confocal microscopy as a tool to
observe phagocytosis of different strains of K. pneumoniae by
macrophages. This allows me to analyze the different ways in which the strains
of K. pneumoniae are able to evade the immune system due to
characteristics such as porin loss, capsule production, and O antigen loss. I
hope to further explore this relationship through other molecular methods as my
research continues, here and UNF.
Dr. Doria Bowers
My research title is "Sindbis virus infection of mosquito salivary glands: permissive cells of the lateral lobes and refractory cells of the median lobe". My work will focus on differentiating the lobes by identifying and localizing the proteins of the salivary glands of Aedes albopictus.
B.S. Biology, UNF, 2009
Dr. Kelly Smith
My research interests are on the interactions between marine species and their habitats. My thesis research is to compare the oyster reef and salt marsh restoration efforts within the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve to surrounding natural reefs in the Guana Peninsula along the Tolomato River in terms of fish habitat usage. I am looking at the effectiveness of this restoration effort on improving available fish habitat for resident and migratory marine species by studying population size, species diversity and community assemblages.
Dr. Jim Gelsleichter
The goal of my research is to determine if high levels of
mercury accumulation that have been observed in shark muscle also occurs in
their brain, the main target for mercury toxicity, and if these levels are
associated with damage to their nervous system. This study will focus on
mercury concentrations in the brain, and S-100, a protein marker of brain
damage, in the cerebrospinal fluid of the Atlantic sharpnose shark
(Rhizoprionodon terraenovae). Additional markers of oxidative stress and lipid
peroxidation will be tested as well.
B.S. Marine Biology with honors, University on North
Carolina Wilmington, 2011
Dr. David Waddell
My research involves better understanding how MuRF-1, a muscle specific transcription factor, interacts and coordinates with TGF-beta, a growth factor, to regulate the expression of Dusp-4, a dual specificty phosphatase involved in the MAP kinase pathway. The overall goal of the research is to better understand how certain growth and transcription factors help control gene expression in muscle atrophy.
B.S. Biology, UNF, 2012
Dr. Greg Ahearn
My research is centered on the histological and physiological analysis ofelasmobranchs scroll and spiral valve intestines. Specifically, to examine theexpression of putative membrane transporters in absorptive cells identifiedusing vesicle experiments. Results will help establish a detailed understandingon the absorptive role of the elasmobranchs valvular intestine.
B.S. Marine Biology, Florida Institute of Technology, 2013
Dr. Amy Lane
My graduate research focuses on exploring marine organisms as sources of naturalproducts. Natural products are chemical compounds derived from livingorganisms that can be used as pharmaceuticals, such as the commonly knownmedicines, penicillin and morphine. I am currently working on expressing,isolating and characterizing individual enzymes that play roles in naturalproduct production.
Dr. Matt Gilg
I am interested in the movement of invasive species, primarily aquatic invertebrates. My research focuses on the determination of the vertical distribution of larvae of the invasive green mussel, Perna viridis, for use in an ecological niche model. This study will allow us to better predict larval movement and determine which environmental factors will be key in determining larval habitat preference.
B.S. Biology, Emphasis in Environmental Biology, University of Southern Mississippi, 2009
Dr. Quincy Gibson
My interests lie in the socio-sexual behavior of marine mammals. My research will be focused on thebehavior of social alliances of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in the St.Johns River.
B.S. Biology & B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies(Marine Science), University of Georgia, 2012
B.S. Biology, University of Northern Colorado,
My research is focused on exploring the genes and enzymes involved in thebiosynthesis of novel natural products by marine actinomycetes, which are agroup of gram-positive bacteria. Natural products are biologically activecompounds produced by living organisms that have antibacterial, anticancer, andantifungal properties. I am interested in understanding both the genes andenzymes responsible for the synthesis of these natural products as well as thecompounds themselves.
B.S. Biology, UNF, 2013
My thesis is titled "Midgut response to Sindbis
in orally infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes".
I'm interested in investigating the interaction between the midgut of Aedine
species mosquitoes with variants of Sindbis, an Alphavirus under the Togaviridae family
utilizing confocal and electron microscopy. The midgut is the first barrier of
several that are required for the virus to cross before
the mosquito becomes infectious.
Physics, UNF 2010 and BS Math, UNF 2010. Double major.
My research is focused on marine mammal
endocrine physiology and rehabilitation. I am currently comparing and
contrasting the hormones of the somatotropic axis in pinniped milk versus
formulas given to pinniped pups undergoing rehabilitation. Stranded seal pups
that are taken to a rehabilitation facility grow at a much slower rate than
pups in the wild consuming maternally derived milk. The objective of this study
is to improve the growth rate of rehabilitated pups.
Dr. Eric Johnson
I am broadly interested in negative pressures affecting ecologically andeconomically important fish species. My current research focuses on thelionfish, a predatory marine invader from the Indo-Pacific, which has invadedthe Caribbean, Western Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico at an unprecedented rate.Previous studies on the species have been mainly focused in the Caribbean, buthave presented troubling evidence of declines in native species recruitment, competitionwith commercially important grouper and snapper species, rapid reproduction anddispersal, and the attainment of higher densities in their invaded range thanin their native range. I will be studying lionfish in a new ecosystem, NortheastFlorida, and specifically studying growth, population biology, and prey speciesconsumption in an effort to provide local fisheries managers with current andaccurate data from this biogeographical province.
B. S. Rutgers Unversity, Department of Ecology, Evolution, & Natural Resources
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