Contact Us

The Albion College Department of Art and Art History is located in the Bobbitt Visual Arts Center, at 805 E. Cass St. Contact the department at 517/629-0246 or through the form below.

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Program Resources

CELLS alive!

A visual tour of cells, bacteria, viruses and their interaction with one another.

A Gene Map of the Human Genome

The Human Genome Project is expected to produce a sequence of DNA representing the functional blueprint and evolutionary history of the human species. However, only about 3% of this sequence is thought to specify the portions of our 50,000 to 100,000 genes that encode proteins.

UCMP Phylogeny Wing: The Phylogeny of Life

Life! It's everywhere on Earth; you can find living organisms from the poles to the equator, from the bottom of the sea to several miles in the air, from freezing waters to dry valleys to undersea thermal vents to groundwater thousands of feet below the Earth's surface.

Microbe Zoo

A digital earning center for microbial ecology.

National Center for Biotechnology Information

The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.

Biology

What you’ll study.

Living organisms. Biospheres. And the relationships and mechanisms that tie all life on earth together. Through active involvement with organisms and the systems of life, you’ll learn how to observe, analyze, and communicate. Then you’ll build on your expertise by applying these skills to your area of specialization. Majors and minors.

What you’ll do.

You will formulate and test hypotheses through course projects and independent research. You’ll work in the field, both here—at our 135-acre Whitehouse Nature Center—and at more distant locations, such as the forests and coral reefs of Belize and southern Florida. Biology internship opportunities.

Where you’ll go.

Advisory groups. Meetings. Visits with professionals and representatives for postgraduate opportunities. The close ties you’ll make with our faculty will lead you to what’s next, whether it’s a career in medicine, natural resources, or any number of health or science fields. Potential career paths.

Faculty Research

Biology-researchOne of the great benefits of attending a small college such as Albion is the ability to work closely with faculty members in the classroom and laboratory. This opportunity is evident in course work, but also exists in independent student research projects conducted under faculty supervision. The Department of Biology at Albion has a long history of undergraduate student research that has led to presentations and/or publication in scientific journals. As a student you are encouraged to seek out a faculty member whose research interests most closely match your own, and to conduct a research project under her/his direction.

Dr. Roger Albertson is a cell and developmental biologist who investigates one of the most fundamental processes of life: cell division. Proper cell division is essential for development of an organism and has particular relevance in cancer and stem cell biology. Dr. Albertson's interests lie primarily in two aspects of cell division: 1) how cells coordinate cleavage furrow invagination with vesicle transport and 2) how asymmetric cell divisions specify the fates of mother / daughter progeny.

Cytokinesis relies on a contractile ring that drives plasma membrane invagination from the cell cortex. Recent studies have revealed that vesicle trafficking is also important for cytokinesis. This insight has raised new and exciting avenues of research: what are the sources of vesicles, how vesicle transport to cleavage furrows is regulated, and whether vesicles deliver proteins required for cytokinesis. Dr. Albertson has recently addressed these issues by conducting a genome-wide screen in the fruitfly, Drosophila, that revealed several new genes involved in cytokinesis. Current and future research goals include mapping these genes and characterizing their function using genetic and molecular approaches.

A second area of interest lies in factors that influence cell fate specification. During Drosophila development, neuronal stem cells undergo asymmetric cell divisions that yield daughter cells with unique fates. A recent study has indicated that a Drosophila strain infected with the bacterium Wolbachia are unable to properly specify neuronal cell fates. Yet, how Wolbachia influences cell fate determination at a cellular level is a complete mystery. Genetic, molecular, and cellular approaches will be used to monitor subcellular Wolbachia localization and to identify which cellular pathways the bacteria affect. Wolbachia is the pathogen that causes African River Blindness in humans. Thus, in addition to learning about Drosophila development, these studies will further our understanding of host-pathogen interactions at a cellular level.

Dr. Jeffrey Carrier's shark researchDr. Jeffrey Carrier was the department's physiologist until his recent retirement in December 2010. His primary research interests concern aging, growth, migration, and reproductive biology of nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) in the Florida Keys. Carrier and his colleagues have systematically studied a breeding population of sharks for more than a fifteen years and have documented the relationship between the breeding population and the research site, now a protected area. The studies have further revealed the gestation period for this species, demonstrated multiple paternity in litters, and have begun to unravel an intricate social order in this little studied group of marine fish. His most recent investigations have employed remote sensing technologies to track short and long-term movements of sharks and, in collaboration with the Remote Imaging Laboratory of the National Geographic Society, have used animal-borne video and data recording systems (CritterCam) to explore more intimate aspects of shark mating behaviors. Carrier and his students have appeared in 15 shows produced for network and cable television ranging from National Geographic Explorer, CritterCam Chronicles, and Discovery Channel specials to Florida Public Television documentaries and segments for Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures and Fox's Wild Animal Moments.

Dr. Dale Kennedy, Albion CollegeDr. Dale Kennedy is a behavioral ecologist whose research focuses primarily on factors that affect clutch size (number of eggs laid) and breeding success in birds. She carries out field studies on mating and feeding behaviors, clutch size, hatching and fledgling success, and nestling growth rates of a variety of cavity-nesting birds. In recent years she and her students have examined sex ratios of nestling House Wrens and Tree Swallows, patterns and variation in songs of House Wrens and other birds, effects of nest box microclimate on breeding success of wrens and swallows, and dominance and movements of local Black-capped Chickadees. Almost all her work is done in the Whitehouse Nature Center at Albion College. In addition, as Director of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program, Dr. Kennedy assists students college-wide to develop their research interests into a senior honors thesis.

Dr. Sheila Lyons-Sobaski is an ecologist whose research utilizes both field and molecular genetic techniques to investigate the ecology and evolution of plant populations. In particular, she is interested in how gene flow maintains genetic variation within isolated plant populations to better understand the ecological patterns and evolutionary processes which structure them. Her research was a comprehensive study of gene flow and its influence on the genetic structuring of a regionally-endangered annual plant, Sabatia campestris (Gentianaceae). Her research is important because, at the level of an individual, she empirically demonstrated the significance of the soil seed bank in conserving genetic variation over time. In addition to studies of local gene movement, she has explored regional genetic differences for S. campestris by comparing peripheral populations, those located at the edge of a species range, with centrally located populations where the species is common. Her future research plans include further studies in the molecular ecology and gene flow of regionally endangered species.

Dr. Ola Olapade is primarily a microbial ecologist/microbiologist interested in the delineation of microbial community composition and structure, especially those in biofilms in various aquatic systems such as lakes, streams, and rivers. He currently employs both standard microbiological and molecular techniques to examine and describe the abundance and distribution of various bacterial populations in response to changes in hydrodynamics, seasonality, nutrient and organic C availability, as well as predation in freshwater environments. Apart from his interest in taxonomic diversity, he is presently exploring diversity amongst various functional groups as well as their enzymatic activities.

Dr. Brad Rabquer uses fruit flies in his research as a molecular and cellular physiologist.Dr. Brad Rabquer is a molecular and cellular physiologist interested in human inflammatory and angiogenic diseases. Inflammation and angiogenesis play key roles in the pathogenesis of many cancers, and in autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic sclerosis (SSc). State-of-the-art therapies for select cancers and RA target angiogenesis and inflammation, respectively. However, while these treatments have shown to be effective, many patients do not respond adequately to them. Therefore, more research is needed to understand the pathological basis of inflammation and angiogenesis.

The first aspect of Dr. Rabquer's research focuses on angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. He is interested in determining the role of a novel family of soluble adhesion molecules, junctional adhesion molecules (JAMs), in mediating facets of angiogenesis. For these studies, Dr. Rabquer employs a number of cell and molecular biology approaches including quantitative PCR, Western blotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), and cell culture techniques. In addition, Dr. Rabquer is studying how the upregulation of angiogenic chemokines affects the development of blood vessels in patients with SSc. As SSc progresses, a loss of arteries and capillaries is observed in many organs, including the skin. However, despite the loss of vasculature, compensatory angiogenesis is dysregulated and does not occur normally. Various studies have demonstrated a paradoxical increase in proangiogenic molecules in both the skin and serum of patients with SSc. Dr. Rabquer's research will attempt to explain how the overexpression of these angiogenic factors affects microvascular endothelial cells in SSc skin.

The second aspect of Dr. Rabquer's research focuses on the role of monocytes in inflammation. He is interested in determining the role of soluble JAMs (sJAMs) in monocyte migration. To date, he has found that these molecules are upregulated in the synovial fluid (joint fluid) of patients with RA and therefore may play a role in inflammation. For these studies, Dr. Rabquer employs a number of cell and molecular biology approaches including quantitative PCR, Western blotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), and cell culture techniques including chemotaxis assays.

Dr. Ken Saville is a geneticist and molecular biologist whose primary research interests are transposable elements and DNA repair, using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. Transposable elements are discrete segments of DNA with the ability to "jump" into and out of chromosomes. Dr. Saville's research is primarily focused on a particular genetic element called hobo. When hobo jumps out of (excises from) a chromosome it causes a particular type of DNA damage- a double strand DNA break, sealed at the end with a hairpin loop structure. This damaged DNA must be repaired by the normal cellular DNA repair machinery in order to maintain genomic integrity. There are two main mechanisms for repairing double strand breaks in DNA: Homologous recombination and non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). Under certain conditions it appears that hobo generated damage is repaired with a strong preference for the NHEJ pathway, Similar DNA damage and repair processes are involved in the formation of antibodies and other important molecules in vertebrate immune cells. Failure to repair this type of damage in mammalian cells leads to severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) and a high susceptibility to cancer. The goal of Dr. Saville's research is to develop hobo excision as a unique model of DNA damage and repair and to ultimately apply the knowledge learned from this system to a further understanding of similar processes in mammalian cells, particularly those processes that, when compromised, lead to increased cancer susceptibility in humans. This work has been supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has been the source of research projects for more than twenty Albion students over the past several years.

A second area of interest is the basic genetic processes that control animal development. In this area, Dr. Saville has studied a gene essential for Drosophila development. This work revealed that the protein, now called pros26, encoded by this gene is a subunit of the Drosophila proteasome, which is essential for the degradation of cellular proteins via the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway. The relationship of this function to development remains a mystery, however similar genes are present in virtually all organisms, suggesting their fundamental significance in biology. Recently, a second mutation was identified by genetic interaction with the a mutant allele of pros26, and its protein, too was shown to be a proteasome subunit. This research relates to Dr. Saville's overall interest in cancer in that proteasomes have been shown to be an effective drug target for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

Finally, Dr. Saville has also collaborated with Albion Professor Dr. Jeff Carrier to apply molecular techniques to the analysis of nurse shark mating behavior. This work led to the discovery of multiple paternity in nurse sharks and publications with Albion student co-authors.

Dr. Ruth Schmitter is a cell biologist who was initially drawn to a career in biology by a strong and persistent interest in natural history and nature study. Her research interests are centered around the fine structure and physiology of dinoflagellate algae. First, intracellular digestion is uncommon in actively photosynthetic organisms, yet she has discovered by light and electron microscope studies that several dinoflagellate species possess enzyme activity typical of animal cell lysosomes. Undergraduates have carried out publishable work on this topic. Second, certain freshwater dinoflagellates have recently been shown by others to be acidophilic, and Dr. Schmitter is beginning studies on dinoflagellate algae as potential acid rain indicators in Michigan waters. Finally, she has extensive experience with some of the more exotic properties of marine dinoflagellates -- bioluminescence, circadian rhythms, and the formation of toxic blooms called red tides.

Dr. Dan Skean researches flowering plants, including the ghost orchid.Dr. Dan Skean is interested in the systematics of angiosperms, i.e., the classification and evolutionary relationships of flowering plants, especially those belonging to the family Melastomataceae. Skean has conducted floristic inventories in the southeastern United States and West Indies, and has current research projects in southern Michigan and on the island of Hispaniola. Skean's research involves data from many sources--morphology, anatomy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and field ecological studies, which are used in computer-assisted phenetic and cladistic analyses to estimate phylogeny, i.e., evolutionary history. Presently Skean is studying the systematics of the genus Calycogonium DC. Incorporating data from diverse approaches, Skean's research makes many different undergraduate projects possible. Dr. Skean also manages the Albion College Plant Image Database.

Dr. Doug White is an ecologist whose research focuses on coevolutionary interactions between fruit-eating animals, particularly birds, and fleshy- fruited plants. He has studied the nutritional composition and physical characteristics of temperate and tropical fruits, avian feeding preferrences, seasonal patterns of fruit use, interactions between feeding capacities of birds and fruit size, and patterns of avian seed deposition. His other research interests are (1) avian population biology including studies of interspecific competition and nesting microclimate in cavity-nesting birds, (2) ptilochronology, using feather growth rates to assess nutritional status in birds, and (3) evaluation and conservation of remnants of native forest which are jeopardized by development. Outside biology, Dr. White enjoys building reproductions of Shaker furniture.

Dr. Abigail Cahill's research interests center around evolutionary ecology of early life stages of marine species. She is interested in questions relating dispersal of marine invertebrates to other ecological and evolutionary processes, especially how dispersal type can influence local adaptation to temperature regimes and ultimately how these species may or may not evolve in response to global climate change. She is also interested in how marine invertebrate population dynamics are driven by recruitment and subsequent survival, and how these crucial processes are affected by environmental, phenotypic, and genetic variation. Answering these questions involves labwork using molecular methods, as well as lab and fieldwork with live organisms. At Albion, she will be branching out into freshwater invertebrate systems to ask some of these same questions regarding connectivity, dispersal, and life history.

Conservation Biology Advocates for Change in Food Service Menu

Having students apply classwork in their lives is a rewarding outcome for professors; having studentslyonssobaski_orangeroughy2 use their classwork to change the campus, and even the world, makes that outcome even sweeter. Recently, students in Sheila Lyons-Sobaski's Conservation Biology class took a project to the College's Dining Services. As a result of the class's advocacy, orange roughy has come off the menu in Albion's dining hall.

Professor Emeritus Jeff Carrier had raised the issue regarding orange roughy with Dining Services Director Todd Tekiele, who asked for student input on the matter. Lyons-Sobaski and her class took up the request, with support from Carrier, who joined them from the Florida Keys via Internet technology. "It was a fun, valuable project for students," said Lyons-Sobaski. "It helped to show that to really do conservation, you must take action."

Students provided a range of information on the orange roughy, including details about reproduction, habitat, life history, and commercial harvesting techniques, in making their case that it's not a sustainable food source for humans. Orange roughy are widely distributed throughout the world's oceans, are relatively easy to process commercially, and are popular with diners. Unfortunately, they are also slow to mature and congregate for mating, making them both an attractive and especially vulnerable target for commercial fishing.

"Presenting and working on orange roughy conservation allowed me to experience what it really means to be a conservationist," said student Seth Everson. "Not only do you have to gather information in a meaningful way, you also have to communicate it to people who have little understanding of the subject, and get the point across in a way that avoids just being a biology lesson."

Beyond detailing the reasons why orange roughy shouldn't be eaten, students also researched alternative, more sustainable choices, considering reproduction rates, fishing practices, taste, and cost of various species. Canadian Atlantic haddock, pollock, halibut and yellow perch were among their choices.

Following the student presentation, Tekiele and staff agreed that orange roughy should not be served on campus. "Having students give compelling arguments, with fact-based research behind it, provided us with enough knowledge to make an informed decision," said Tekiele, who also is co-head of Albion's Sustainability Committee. "As we continue to improve our sustainable practices, the opportunity to bring students, faculty, and staff together in this environment was a memorable experience that yielded real results."

"Our aim is to continuously improve the overall experience for our diners," Tekiele concluded. "We are always open to feedback and willing to develop our program with the assistance of our campus community."

"I think the campus will gain moral satisfaction knowing that they are not eating a fish that is unsustainable," concluded student Heidi Richardson. "People on campus are concerned with all aspects of sustainability, and this project will help educate people on how we can be sustainable [beyond actions like] recycling."

Conservation Biology Advocates for Change in Food Service Menu

Having students apply classwork in their lives is a rewarding outcome for professors; having studentslyonssobaski_orangeroughy2 use their classwork to change the campus, and even the world, makes that outcome even sweeter. Recently, students in Sheila Lyons-Sobaski's Conservation Biology class took a project to the College's Dining Services. As a result of the class's advocacy, orange roughy has come off the menu in Albion's dining hall.

Professor Emeritus Jeff Carrier had raised the issue regarding orange roughy with Dining Services Director Todd Tekiele, who asked for student input on the matter. Lyons-Sobaski and her class took up the request, with support from Carrier, who joined them from the Florida Keys via Internet technology. "It was a fun, valuable project for students," said Lyons-Sobaski. "It helped to show that to really do conservation, you must take action."

Students provided a range of information on the orange roughy, including details about reproduction, habitat, life history, and commercial harvesting techniques, in making their case that it's not a sustainable food source for humans. Orange roughy are widely distributed throughout the world's oceans, are relatively easy to process commercially, and are popular with diners. Unfortunately, they are also slow to mature and congregate for mating, making them both an attractive and especially vulnerable target for commercial fishing.

"Presenting and working on orange roughy conservation allowed me to experience what it really means to be a conservationist," said student Seth Everson. "Not only do you have to gather information in a meaningful way, you also have to communicate it to people who have little understanding of the subject, and get the point across in a way that avoids just being a biology lesson."

Beyond detailing the reasons why orange roughy shouldn't be eaten, students also researched alternative, more sustainable choices, considering reproduction rates, fishing practices, taste, and cost of various species. Canadian Atlantic haddock, pollock, halibut and yellow perch were among their choices.

Following the student presentation, Tekiele and staff agreed that orange roughy should not be served on campus. "Having students give compelling arguments, with fact-based research behind it, provided us with enough knowledge to make an informed decision," said Tekiele, who also is co-head of Albion's Sustainability Committee. "As we continue to improve our sustainable practices, the opportunity to bring students, faculty, and staff together in this environment was a memorable experience that yielded real results."

"Our aim is to continuously improve the overall experience for our diners," Tekiele concluded. "We are always open to feedback and willing to develop our program with the assistance of our campus community."

"I think the campus will gain moral satisfaction knowing that they are not eating a fish that is unsustainable," concluded student Heidi Richardson. "People on campus are concerned with all aspects of sustainability, and this project will help educate people on how we can be sustainable [beyond actions like] recycling."

Scholarships and Awards

Each year during the spring semester, student scholarship and award applications are solicited. All recipients are announced at the Honors Convocation in April.

The Barbara Putnam Award

To receive this award the student of any major must have attained rising junior or rising senior standing. The student must have demonstrated a career interest in the environmental resources area. The Barbara Putnam Award is based on merit and need. The recipient does receive a monetary award.

To Apply:

Submit a brief essay in which you indicate your present aims in life, especially in relation to your environmental interests, your present activities related to them, and how you see your Albion College education relating to those aims. Attach to your essay a current Albion College student transcript. Turn your essay and transcript in to the Biology Department Office.

Steven D. Reed Award for Excellence in Student Laboratory Teaching

The Biology Department Faculty and Staff choose the recipients of the Steven D. Reed Scholarship. Only students who have previously or are currently working as Biology Department Assistants are eligible to receive this honor. No application is made for this scholarship.

The Marilyn Young Vitek Merit Scholarship in Biology

To be awarded this scholarship you must be a Biology Major, and have an overall GPA of at least 3.5. A sophomore must have completed three units of biology; juniors must have completed five units of biology. A brief essay is required. The essay should indicate your present goals in life, both biological and otherwise, the origins of those goals, and how you see your Albion College education, including your studies in biology, as related to them. Attach to your paper a current Albion College student transcript. Turn essay and transcript in to the Biology Department Office. The recipient receives a monetary award.

The Ewell A. and Barbara J. Stowell Scholarship in Environmental Biology

To be awarded this scholarship you must be a Biology Major with a GPA of at least 3.0. The criteria listed below must also be met. The recipient receives a monetary award.

  1. Successful completion of at least one year of work at Albion College
  2. Demonstrated interest in environmental aspects of biology
  3. Well-defined goals and apparent motivation toward those goals
  4. Demonstrated teaching and leadership potential
  5. Recommendations from two instructors, one a biology faculty member and one not
  6. A 2-3 page essay will be used to assess goals and an interest in environmental biology. Attach to your paper a current Albion College student transcript.

Turn essay, transcript and letters of recommendation in to the Biology Department Office.

The A. Merton Chickering Prize in Biology

A. Merton Chickering taught at Albion College for 44 years, chaired and shaped the Biology Department for 39 years, and was an arachnologist of international reputation. The prize will be awarded for student research in biology. The criteria are listed below:

  1. The biology research project must have either been carried out at Albion College or, if off campus, under the active direction of an Albion College Biology staff member.
  2. The student must have either junior or senior standing at the time the research is done.
  3. The student must submit an abstract and a two to three page written summary of the research project. The abstract must be written in 12 point font, single spaced, and fit within a space 7" wide (i.e., use 1" left and right margins) and 3.5" long. The abstract should include the title of the research project, the name of the student, the name of the faculty advisor, and a succinct description of the goals, methods, and conclusions of the project. The abstract will be included in an abstract volume which will be distributed at The Biology Research Symposium. The written summary should not exceed three pages and should expand on the content of the abstract. Abstracts and research summaries are to be submitted to the Biology Department Office.
  4. A 15 minute oral presentation of the work must be presented at The Biology Research Symposium. Presentations are open to the public; all Biology majors will be encouraged to attend.
  5. At least six biology faculty members must attend the oral presentation. The written summaries will be evaluated by all biology faculty.
  6. A monetary award will accompany the honor of the Prize.

The Lyman S.V. Judson Award for the Outstanding Senior Biology Major

The Biology Department Faculty chooses the recipient of the Lyman S.V. Judson Award. No formal application is made for this award.

Premedical Scholarships for which you might be eligible (see below).

There are also Premedical Scholarships for which you might be eligible. For Premedical Scholarship and application information contact the Coordinator of the Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Institute.

Internships

An Albion College student out in the field researching plants.The internship program in the Biology Department was organized with the intent of giving Albion College students an opportunity to experience a profession under "real life" conditions. In the program students spend six weeks during the summer (or if approved, 15 weeks during the semester) observing first hand such professions as: medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, physical therapy, cardiopulmonary respiratory therapy, optometry, environmental biology, greenhouse management, laboratory technician, and natural resources. The internship carries one-half unit (Biol 391) or one unit (Biol 392) of credit. General guidelines of the program are:

  1. Participants must be degree-seeking students at Albion College.
  2. Students must have completed a minimum of two years of college in order to be eligible for an appointment.
  3. Students must make a written formal application by the announced deadline. Application forms are available from the Biology Department Secretary.
  4. Internship appointments are made by a screening committee.
  5. Minimal G.P.A. required:
    1. 2.7 is college minimum for all.
    2. End of Junior year: 3.0 (3.2 for Premedical Internships)
  6. Student must have shown evidence of the following personal characteristics: responsibility, maturity, initiative, social concern, good interpersonal skills.
  7. Academic courses suggested as useful for internships:
    1. Premedical and predental internships: Anatomy, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry, Physiology.
    2. Physical therapy internships: Anatomy, Physiology.
    3. Prenursing internships: Anatomy, Microbiology, Physiology.
    4. Cardiopulmonary therapy internships: Anatomy, Organic Chemistry, Physiology.
    5. Natural resources internships: Field biology courses, Geology.
    6. Laboratory internships: Microbiology, Organic Chemistry.
    7. Pre-optometry internships: Anatomy, Physics.
  8. Student interns are responsible for their own room and board during their assignment. In many cases cafeteria meals are available at the institution at reduced rates. Faculty will help in this area as much as possible.
  9. Under certain circumstances a student may be awarded a second internship. Only one unit of internship credit may be counted toward the fulfillment of a major in Biology.

Career Opportunities

Professor Ola Olapade with Albion College biology students.The Biology Department at Albion College has traditionally maintained strong programs for the preparation of students for careers in a wide variety of professions. The Department recognizes that students need to be informed about the many different professional directions possible, and that they often desire advice on the best ways to prepare to enter specific professional careers. The Biology faculty take a strong interest in their advisory function and regularly participate in meetings to inform students of career options, in hosting visits by professionals and representatives of postgraduate opportunities with whom students can interact, and by providing students with opportunities for direct [internship] experiences in areas of biology in which they have interests. Some of the many professions in which our graduates have made their life work include:

  • The Health Sciences: Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Anesthesiology, Optometry, Podiatry.

  • The Allied Health Sciences: Nursing (R.N., Doctor of Nursing, and Nurse Anesthetist), Physical and Occupational Therapy, Health Psychology, Genetic Counselling, Physician Assistant.

  • Health-Related Areas: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Services Administration, Public Health Administration, Environmental Health, Nutrition Science, Dietetics, Pharmacology.

Some areas of Graduate Study, usually leading to the PhD degree: Arachnology, Bacteriology, Biological Chemistry, Botany, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology and Embryology, Ecology and Environmental Science, Genetics, Human Ecology, Immunology, Invertebrate Zoology, Limnology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Museum Curation, Neurobiology, Paleobiology, Parasitology, Physiology of Plants and Physiology of Animals, Radiation Biology, Virology, Wildlife Biology. These credentials usually lead to college/university teaching and research but may also lead to industrial, governmental, natural resources and fisheries, or nature center interpretive employment among others. Listed below are some graduate schools and programs currently or recently attended by Albion biology graduates.

  • Duke University School of the Environment
  • Florida International University - School of the Environment and Marine Science
  • Harvard University - Medical Sciences Department
  • Michigan State University - Biology, Plant Pathology, Zoology
  • Ohio State University - Microbiology
  • Sarah Lawrence College - Genetic Counseling
  • Scripps Institute of Oceanography - Marine Biology
  • Southwest Medical Center, Dallas - Cell Biology
  • Tufts University School of Nutrition
  • University of Arizona - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • University of Cincinnati - Molecular Biology and Biological Sciences
  • University of Hawaii School of Marine Science
  • University of Miami - Physiology
  • University of Michigan - Public Health, Microbiology/Immunology Program, Nutrition
  • University of Nebraska - Cell Biology
  • University of North Carolina - Molecular Biology
  • University of Rhode Island - Zoology
  • University of Tennessee - Knoxville - Biotechnology, Ecology/Wildlife Management
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison - Molecular Biology, Medical Microbiology
  • Washington University - Biochemistry
  • Yale University - Molecular Biology

Ornithology Returns to Magee Marsh

Dr. Dale Kennedy's Ornithology class visited Magee Marsh (Ohio) on April 29 and was rewarded with sightings of 49 different bird species in spite of cold weather. The trip has become a regular field trip to close the semester's study of bird life. The photograph clearly reveals the hectic pace of students' observations.

 

Magee_Marsh_Sized-2

Biology Students Present in Elkin Isaac Research Symposium

Biology majors figured prominently in Albion College's Elkin Isaac Research Symposium held April 14 as a part of the College's annual recoginition of student research and academic achievement. Of the 84 presentation at the 2011 Symposuium, 21 (25%) were from Biology majors. Platform presentations and poster sessions showcased student/faculty research conducted over the past year, much of which was supported by Albion College's Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Actitivity (F.U.R.S.C.A.). Mikki Burger and Emeritus Professor of Biology Dr. Jeff Carrier were photographed by David Trumpie during Burger's poster presentation.

Mikki_JC_Poster_EI_Sized

Campus Facilities

If applicable; not all sites need a facilities page.

Alumni

If applicable; not all sites need an alumni page.

Faculty and Staff

Kenneth Saville, Biology
Kenneth J. Saville

Chair and Professor
Office: Putnam 264
Phone: 517/629-0388
Email:

Faculty Profile

Roger Albertson, Biology
Roger Albertson

Associate Professor
Office: Putnam 262
Phone: 517/629-0572
Email:

Faculty Profile

KennedyDale

E. Dale Kennedy
Professor
Office: Palenske 128
Phone: 517/629-0297
Email:

Faculty Profile

Sheila Lyons-Sobaski, Biology

Sheila Lyons-Sobaski
Associate Professor
Office: Putnam 260
Phone: 517/629-0649
Email:

Faculty Profile

 

Ola Olapede, Biology
Ola Olapade

Associate Professor
Office: Putnam 056
Phone: 517/629-0296
Email:

Faculty Profile

Bradley Rabquer, assistant professor of biology at Albion College

Bradley Rabquer
Assistant Professor
Office: Putnam 266
Phone: 517/629-0633
Email:

Faculty Profile

Ruth Schmitter, Biology
Ruth E. Schmitter

Professor
Office: Putnam 054
Phone: 517/629-0379
Email:

Faculty Profile

Dan Skean, Biology
J. Dan Skean, Jr.

Professor
Office: Putnam 160
Phone: 517/629-0525
Email:

Faculty Profile

Douglas White, Biology
Douglas W. White

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Office: Putnam 150
Phone: 517/629-0266
Email:

Faculty Profile

Abigail E. Cahill
Abigail E. Cahill
Assistant Professor of Biology
Office: Putnam 254
Phone: 517/629-0570
Email:
Website: aecahill.weebly.com

Faculty Profile

Brad Cavinder
Visiting Assistant Professor
Office: Putnam 256
Phone: 517/629-0389
Email:

Freyja Davis, Biology
Freyja Davis

Secretary
Office: Putnam 154
Phone: 517/629-0291
Email:

Kurt Hellman, Biology
Kurt Hellman

Laboratory Technician
Office: Putnam 158
Phone: 517/629-0292
Email:

Melissa Goodell, Biology
Melissa Goodell

Greenhouse Keeper
Office: Kresge 176B
Phone: 517/629-0291
Email:



Faculty Emeritus

Jeff Carrier, Biology

Jeffrey C. Carrier
Professor Emeritus
Office: Putnam 256
Phone: 517/629-0389
Email:

Faculty Profile
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The Albion College Department of Biology is located in the Science Complex at Hannah Street and Michigan Avenue. Contact the department at 517/629-0291 or through the form below.

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Abigail E. Cahill

Abigail Cahill
Assistant Professor of Biology

aecahill.weebly.com

B.A., 2007, Colgate University (Biology, French)
Ph.D., 2014, Stony Brook University (Ecology & Evolution)

Appointed: 2016

Expertise Areas: Ecology, evolution, marine biology, dispersal, invertebrate biology

Current Courses:

  • BIO 195 (Ecology, Evolution, Biodiversity)
  • BIO 225 (Invertebrate Biology)
  • BIO 289 (Marine Biology)

Research Interests:
Dr. Cahill's research interests center around evolutionary ecology of early life stages of marine species. She is interested in questions relating dispersal of marine invertebrates to other ecological and evolutionary processes, especially how dispersal type can influence local adaptation to temperature regimes and ultimately how these species may or may not evolve in response to global climate change. She is also interested in how marine invertebrate population dynamics are driven by recruitment and subsequent survival, and how these crucial processes are affected by environmental, phenotypic, and genetic variation. Answering these questions involves labwork using molecular methods, as well as lab and fieldwork with live organisms. At Albion, she will be branching out into freshwater invertebrate systems to ask some of these same questions regarding connectivity, dispersal, and life history.

Roger Albertson

AlbertsonRogerAssistant Professor

B.S., 1977, University of Colorado at Denver
Ph.D., 2003, University of Oregon

Appointed: 2008

Expertise Areas: Cell Division, Cell Polarity, Development, Drosophila

Current Courses:
Biology 210: Cell and Molecular Biology

Biology 317: Genetics

Biology 324: Developmental Biology

Biology 401: Stem Cell Biology

Research Interests:
Dr. Albertson is a cell and developmental biologist who investigates one of the most fundamental processes of life: cell division. Proper cell division is essential for development of an organism and has particular relevance in cancer and stem cell biology. Dr. Albertson's interests lie primarily in two aspects of cell division: 1) how cells coordinate cleavage furrow invagination with vesicle transport and 2) how asymmetric cell divisions specify the fates of mother / daughter progeny.

Cytokinesis relies on a contractile ring that drives plasma membrane invagination from the cell cortex. Recent studies have revealed that vesicle trafficking is also important for cytokinesis. This insight has raised new and exciting avenues of research: what are the sources of vesicles, how vesicle transport to cleavage furrows is regulated, and whether vesicles deliver proteins required for cytokinesis. Dr. Albertson has recently addressed these issues by conducting a genome-wide screen in the fruitfly, Drosophila, that revealed several new genes involved in cytokinesis. Current and future research goals include mapping these genes and characterizing their function using genetic and molecular approaches.

A second area of interest lies in factors that influence cell fate specification. During Drosophila development, neuronal stem cells undergo asymmetric cell divisions that yield daughter cells with unique fates. A recent study has indicated that a Drosophila strain infected with the bacterium Wolbachia are unable to properly specify neuronal cell fates. Yet, how Wolbachia influences cell fate determination at a cellular level is a complete mystery. Genetic, molecular, and cellular approaches will be used to monitor subcellular Wolbachia localization and to identify which cellular pathways the bacteria affect. Wolbachia is the pathogen that causes African River Blindness in humans. Thus, in addition to learning about Drosophila development, these studies will further our understanding of host-pathogen interactions at a cellular level.

E. Dale Kennedy

KennedyDaleA. Merton Chickering Professor of Biology

B.A., College of Wooster, 1975
M.A., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1979
Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1989

Appointed: 1994

Expertise Areas: Behavioral ecology of cavity-nesting birds; animal communication

Current Courses:

  • Biology 195: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity
  • Biology 206: Tropical Forest and Reef Biology
  • Biology 227: Vertebrate Zoology
  • Biolgy 248: Ornithology
  • Biology 314: Comparative Anatomy

Research Interests:
Dr. Kennedy is a behavioral ecologist whose research focuses primarily on factors that affect clutch size (number of eggs laid) and breeding success in birds. She carries out field studies on mating and feeding behaviors, clutch size, hatching and fledgling success, and nestling growth rates of a variety of cavity-nesting birds. In recent years she and her students have examined sex ratios of nestling House Wrens and Tree Swallows, patterns and variation in songs of House Wrens and other birds, effects of nest box microclimate on breeding success of wrens and swallows, and dominance and movements of local Black-capped Chickadees. Almost all her work is done in the Whitehouse Nature Center at Albion College.

Selected Publications:
Dubois, N., E. D. Kennedy, and T. Getty. 2006. Surplus nest boxes and the potential for polygyny affect clutch size and offspring sex ratios in house wrens. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series B: 1751-1757.

Rintoul, D. A. and E. D. Kennedy. 2002. Aberrant plumages in a Carolina Wren and two House Wrens from Kansas. KOS (Kansas Ornithological Society) Bulletin 53(2):21-23.

Kennedy, E. D. and D. W. White. 2002. Form and function: Feeding in birds. Wilson Ornithological Society's Manual of Field and Laboratory Exercises for Ornithology.

Songer, A. L. and E. D. Kennedy. 1999. Seed and fruit preferences of small rodents: Effects of food location and toxicity. Michigan Academician 31:371-384.

Kennedy, E. D. and D. W. White. 1997. Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii). In The Birds of North America, No. 315 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

White, D. W. and E. D. Kennedy. 1997. Effect of egg covering and habitat on nest destruction by House Wrens. Condor 99:873-879.

Kennedy, E. D. and D. W. White. 1996. Interference competition from House Wrens as a factor in the decline of Bewick's Wrens. Conservation Biology 10:281-284.

Sheila Lyons-Sobaski

Lyons-SobaskiSheilaAssistant Professor of Biology

B.S., 1989, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S., 1994, Kansas State University
Ph.D., 2003, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Appointed: 2005

Expertise Areas: Molecular ecology, conservation biology, population genetics, gene flow in plants

Current Courses:
Biology 195: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity

Biology 237: Ecology

Biology 389: Population Genetics

Biology 389: Conservation Biology

Research Interests:
Dr. Lyons-Sobaski is an ecologist whose research utilizes both field and molecular genetic techniques to investigate the ecology and evolution of plant populations. In particular, she is interested in how gene flow maintains genetic variation within isolated plant populations to better understand the ecological patterns and evolutionary processes which structure them. Her dissertation research was a comprehensive study of gene flow and its influence on the genetic structuring of a regionally-endangered annual plant, Sabatia campestris (Gentianaceae). This research was important because, at the level of an individual, she empirically demonstrated the significance of the soil seed bank in conserving genetic variation over time. In addition to studies of local gene movement, she has explored regional genetic differences for S. campestris by comparing peripheral populations, those located at the edge of a species range, with centrally located populations where the species is common.

Her current research plans include studying the population genetics of Sabatia angularis which is state-threatened in Michigan. Dr. Lyons-Sobaski is investigating the importance of peripheral populations, populations at the edge of a species range, by comparing the genetic variation of peripheral populations where the species is rare with core populations where it is common.

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