Department Chair

Harney Science Center 223

Professor Sikes is interested in the evolution and development of regeneration and asexual reproduction in invertebrates, particularly marine and freshwater flatworms. Current research focuses on understanding developmental mechanisms that allow some flatworms to regenerate and the molecular developmental processes that lead to diversification of asexual reproductive strategies.

Education:
  • PhD, University of Maryland
  • BS, Furman University

Full-Time Faculty

Leslie Bach is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology. She received a BS in animal science from Michigan State University and a PhD in genetics from the University of California, Davis. Her graduate research focused primarily on control of the hair growth cycle in the domestic cat and the construction of a high-resolution radiation hybrid panel to aid the correct assembly of the full cat genome. She currently teaches general biology, human anatomy, and human physiology.

Education:
  • UC Davis, PhD in Genetics, 2010
  • Michigan State University, BS in Animal Science, 2004
Harney Science Center 270

Jennifer A. Dever is Professor in the Department of Biology. She received her PhD from Texas Tech University. Professor Dever studies the genetics of threatened and/or endangered populations of vertebrates, including crocodiles and foothill yellow-legged frogs. She employs molecular markers to assess the genetic structure of these populations, with the goal of species conservation. Several graduate and undergraduate students are collaborating with Professor Dever on this research.

Watch her...

Education:
  • PhD, Texas Tech University
Harney Science Center 258

Louise Goupil is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology. She received a BS in chemical biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in chemical biology from the University of California, San Francisco. Her graduate research focused on the role of cysteine proteases in the free-living flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea as a potential model system for parasitic flatworms.

Professor Goupil teaches general biology I/II, cell physiology, molecular biology, and...

Education:
  • PhD in Chemical Biology, University of California, San Francisco
  • BS in Chemical Biology, University of California, Berkeley
Harney Science Center 245

Professor Karentz is a marine biologist with expertise in plankton ecology and ultraviolet photobiology. Her work has focused on investigating the ecological implications of Antarctic ozone depletion, specifically identifying strategies for protection from UV exposure and understanding mechanisms for repair of UV–induced damage. She has over 30 years of field experience in Antarctica.

In addition to research, Deneb mentors early-career scientists through the US National Science Foundation...

Education:
  • PhD, University of Rhode Island
  • MS, Oregon State University
Harney 236

Professor Sangman Kim is broadly interested in the interaction between hosts and microbes. His current research focuses on a family of receptors called toll-like receptors (TLRs) that are used by host immune systems to distinguish between different classes of microbes, in order to drive a tailored immune response. He is utilizing a variety of molecular methods to dissect signaling downstream of TLR activation, and investigating the impact of commonly-occurring TLR polymorphisms on microbial...

Education:
  • PhD, Immunology, University of Chicago
  • MS, Biological Sciences, Seoul National University
  • BS, Biological Sciences, UC Davis
Harney Science Center 219A

Leslie King is an instructor in the Department of Biology. She received her BS in zoology from the University of California, Davis in 1989 and her MA in physiology and behavioral biology from San Francisco State in 1993. Professor King's graduate research focused on hemoglobin-oxygen affinities in adult and fetal swell sharks (Cephaloscyllium ventriosum) and she participated in field studies of shark behavior and feeding in the Bahamas. She is interested in science and health communication...

Education:
  • MA in Physiology and Behavioral Biology, San Francisco State University, 1993
  • BS in Zoology, University of California Davis, 1989
Harney Science Center 257

As a graduate student, Professor Lai performed a biochemical and structural analysis of the enzyme telomerase. Following graduate school, he worked in early-stage research at Genentech where he investigated the Hedgehog signing pathway and its role in tumorigenesis. Most recently, Prof. Lai served as the head of commercial operations at the biotechnology start-up company LakePharma.

Harney Science Center 259

Professor Niles received her BS from San Francisco State University in 1985 and her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992. She is interested in the regulated development of B-lymphocytes, a population of cells critical to adaptive immunity. Her research focuses on defining the molecular events that promote the assembly, transport, and secretion of antibodies.

Education:
  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley
  • BS, San Francisco State University
Harney Science Center 238

Scott Nunes is Professor in the Department of Biology. He earned his BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his PhD from Michigan State University.  His research focuses on the behavioral ecology of mammals.  His recent work with Belding’s ground squirrels in the Sierra Nevada has examined breeding dispersal in adult males, and short- and long-term benefits of play behavior for young animals.

Education:
  • PhD, Michigan State University
  • BA, UC Santa Cruz
Harney Science Center 263

John R. Paul, Assistant Professor, earned his BS degree from The Evergreen State College and a Masters in Zoology from the University of Florida. He earned a PhD in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, working on the phylogenetics and ecology of the tropical plants in the lab of Stephen J. Tonsor. He held two postdoctoral researcher positions at Colorado State University, and also served as a general biology lecturer there for three semesters. His research program at USF focuses on the...

Education:
  • PhD, Biology, University of Pittsburgh
  • MSc, Zoology, University of Florida
  • BSc, Evergreen State College
Harney Science Center 261

John Sullivan holds the Fletcher Jones Endowed Chair. He received his AB from Dartmouth College, and his MS and PhD from Lehigh University. Prof. Sullivan investigates the role of the molluscan immune system in responding to parasitic infection and foreign tissue transplants. He is specifically interested in the interaction between the schistosome parasite, a major cause of human disease, and the snail intermediate host.

Education:
  • PhD, Lehigh University
  • MS, Lehigh University
  • BA, Dartmouth College

Professor Suni is interested in how environmental change and ecology influence the evolutionary trajectories and conservation status of populations. Her current research focuses on how drought and deforestation affect plant-pollinator interactions, and how we can increase positive feedback between human-dominated and natural areas.

Education:
  • PhD, Biology, Stanford University
  • BA, Biology, Colorado College
Harney Science Center 219H

Dr. Nicole Thometz is a broadly trained physiological ecologist who specializes in marine mammal physiology, ecology, and behavior. She has spent her career studying the ontogeny of energy demands, development of diving capacities, reproductive energetics, and foraging behavior of southern sea otters.

In addition, Dr. Thometz has studied the physiology and behavior of Weddell seals in the Antarctic, the metabolic demands and diving capacities of Hawaiian monk seals, and the physiology of...

Education:
  • PhD, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz, 2014
  • BS, Biology, University of Portland, 2008
Harney Science Center 219-D
Professor Brian Thornton is interested in the molecular control of cell division in eukaryotes. His past research has focused on cell division in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, through the application of genetic, biochemical, and cell techniques to study the role of the Anaphase Promoting Complex in the cell cycle.
Harney Science Center 229 & 231

Prof. Tzagarakis-Foster studies the transcription factor, DAX-1, which is a member of the nuclear hormone receptor family and is linked to the human disease X-linked Adrenal Hypoplasia Congenita (AHC). Specifically, her research explores the role of DAX-1 in human development as well its involvement in the initiation of breast cancer.

Professor Wagner is interested in RNA, translational recoding, and structural biology. His past research has focused on how the structure of RNA molecules can influence translation by leading to programmed translational readthrough of the stop codon. Professor Wagner teaches introductory biology, genetics, molecular biology, and an interdisciplinary lab course.

Education:
  • Harvard University, PhD in Biology, 2019
  • University of Michigan, BS in Cellular & Molecular Biology, Physics, and Astrophysics, 2014

Professor Young’s research has focused on understanding the mechanism of macromolecular machines, and the application of this to developing more effective protein drugs. His PhD work involved understanding how RNA polymerase is able to melt promoters to gain access to the template strand for RNA synthesis. As a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley, he sought to isolate actomyosin cytokinetic rings to better understand how this complicated apparatus divides cells. Following his postdoc, he...

Education:
  • PhD, University of California, San Francisco

Professor Naupaka Zimmerman is broadly interested in the intersection of microbial community and ecosystem ecology. His lab research focuses on the ecology of plant-microbe interactions, with a particular focus on asymptomatic foliar fungi (also known as fungal endophytes).

Born and raised on the Big Island of Hawai'i, Professor Zimmerman continues to conduct some of his research there, focusing on the endemic Hawaiian tree Metrosideros polymorpha. At USF, he has expanded his research to...

Education:
  • PhD, Biological Sciences, Stanford University
  • BA, Environmental Science, Public Policy, Cultural Anthropology, Harvard University

Faculty Emeritus

Raymond James (Jim) Brown joined the USF faculty in fall 1970 as an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department. Over his 37 years at USF, Jim taught General Biology, Organic Evolution, Comparative Anatomy, Vertebrate Embryology, and California Wildlife. Later in his career, he directed the Graduate Environmental Management Program and helped establish the Environmental Science Department. He was the first chair of the department and taught Environmental Science and Environmental Monitoring...

Paul K. Chien is Professor of Biology. He received his BS in both Biology and Chemistry from Chung Chi College, N.T., Hong Kong, and his PhD from the University of California, Irvine. Prof. Chien is interested in the physiology and ecology of inter-tidal organisms. His research has involved the transport of amino acids and metal ions across cell membranes and the detoxification mechanisms of metal ions.