Ruth E. Schmitter

SchmitterRuthAssociate Professor of Biology


B.S., Michigan State University, 1964
M.Sc., University of Edinburgh, 1966
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1973

Appointed: 1982

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

Biology 215: Aquatic Botany

Biology 301: Cell Biology

Biology 321: Medical Microanatomy

LA101: Sexuality and Reproduction

Neuroscience 242: Neuroscience II

Science 205: Women and Ethnic Minorities in Science

Research Interests:
Dr. 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.