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Diane Husic

Diane HusicProfessor of Biology (2004) 

  • B.S.  Biochemistry (1981) Northern Michigan University 
  • Ph.D. Biochemistry (1986) Michigan State University

Email: dhusic@moravian.edu
Phone: 610-625-7100
Office: Collier Hall of Science, Room 311
Personal Website: home.moravian.edu/users/bio/medwh03/
Blog: anewprosperity.blogspot.com

Areas of Research and/or Expertise

Ecological restoration; plant stress responses to heavy metals, and ecological assessment surveys for habitat enhancement and revitalization project sites.

Biochemistry of photorespiration in the unicellular eukaryotic alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; phylogenetic relationships between alpha-hydroxy acid metabolizing enzymes; regulation of chloroplast gene expression; the social impact of science and technology; and ethical considerations associated with science, technology, and the environment.


In 2009-10, Dr. Husic is serving as the president of the Council on Undergraduate Research (and is a long-time councilor in the Chemistry Division). She is the project coordinator for the NCAA Division II Faculty Athletics Representatives Leadership Institute. Her research is currently supported through grants from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Recent publications can be found in the monograph Transformative Research at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (2010), Wildlife Activist (several articles 2007 – 2009), CUR Quarterly (several articles and columns, 2006, 2009, 2010), and Reviews in Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2002).

She serves on the boards of the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society and the Lehigh Gap Nature Center and as a participant in the Keck-Project Kaleidoscope Initiative on Facilitating Interdisciplinary Learning.  In addition, she has been invited to serve as the external evaluator for a new National Science Foundation-funded Research Coordination Network called the Ecological Research/Education Network (EREN) for primarily undergraduate institutions.

In 2009, Dr. Husic attended the UN Climate Change Convention in Copenhagen (COP15) as a civil society observer and subsequently has been asked to serve on the PA Adaptation to Climate Change Working Group for Natural Resources.

Recent Activities of Note


  • Moravian College was well represented at the CUR Conference. Diane Husic, chair and professor of biological sciences and immediate past-president of the CUR, led an interactive session with Michael Deibel of Earlham College: "Linking Undergraduate Research, Service Learning, and Community Partnerships Through Work at Regional Contaminated Sites."
  • Prior to the June 19-21 conference, CUR held its board meeting and annual business meeting – which Dr. Husic led as president of the organization. Besides engaging in a strategic visioning exercise, CUR finalized the legal agreement for the joining of CUR and NCUR, and it welcomed in a new division of Health Sciences for programs such as Nursing, Exercise Science, Pharmacology, Speech Pathology, etc.
  • On June 28, Diane Husic traveled to the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where she was the invited plenary speaker for the newly formed group Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) – a consortium funded by a major National Science Foundation grant. The title of her talk was "A Discussion on Science-based Consortia, Undergraduate Research and Curriculum, Service Learning, and Community Partnerships." She also will serve as one of two external evaluators for this grant project.
  • Diane Husic, chair and professor of biological sciences and president of the Council on Undergraduate Research, was a featured speaker at Pennsylvania's 2010 Climate Change Conference, "Adapting to Climate Change—Planning for the Future of Our Natural Resources," held April 30 in Harrisburg. The topic of her talk was "Adapting to Climate Change on a Global Scale: Perspectives from the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit."
  • Diane Husic, professor and chair of biological sciences and president of the Council on Undergraduate Research, was invited to attend the PA Adaptation to Climate Change Kick-off Meeting, held March 24 in Harrisburg.  In 2008, Pennsylvania passed Act 70, which requires the Commonwealth to develop a climate action plan. Last year, the climate change advisory committee worked on a plan that focuses on mitigation (reducing greenhouse gases).  Now they are creating 4 working groups to deal with climate change adaptation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines adaptation as the "adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities." Dr. Husic reports that while a wide variety of stakeholders attended the meeting, relatively few were from institutions of higher learning, and she was the only one from an undergraduate liberal arts institution at the meeting. The four groups for Pennsylvania include natural resources, public health and safety, infrastructure, and tourism and outdoor recreation. Dr. Husic has been invited to serve on the natural resources group, which will meet for the first time at the end of April.
  • At the Association of American Colleges and Universities Academic Renewal Conference held March 25-27 in Philadelphia, Diane Husic co-presented a poster, "Original Research in the Undergraduate Science Classroom and Beyond: a Means to Many Ends." Dr. Husic and her co-presenters David Dunbar (Cabrini College) and Louise Temple (James Madison University) presented models and assessment data from programs at their respective colleges; all involve "teaching science the way you do science in the 21st century." The conference theme was "The Role of Faculty in High Impact Practices."
  • Diane Husic, chair and professor of biological sciences and president of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), contributed two chapters to a CUR monograph on transformative research, which was unveiled at a recent Congressional briefing on the topic. Her chapters were 1) "The Role of Department Chairs in Promoting and Supporting Transformative Research;" and 2) "Transformative Research as a Means of Transforming Landscapes and Revitalizing Academic Departments: A Case Study." The second features the partnership between the Moravian Department of Biological Sciences and the Lehigh Gap Nature Center in the restoration project at the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund site.
  • Diane Husic, chair and professor of biological sciences and president of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), recently attended the CUR Dialogues 2010 in Washington D.C., where she gave a presentation on "Transformative Research at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions." Transformative research is defined by the National Science Board as "research driven by ideas that have the potential to radically change our understanding of an important existing scientific or engineering concept or leading to the creation of a new paradigm or field of science or engineering." CUR held a summit on this topic last summer in response to the National Science Foundation requirement that grant proposals state how the work might be transformative.
  • At the CUR Dialogues 2010 event, Dr. Husic also co-led a discussion about the movie Naturally Obsessed:  the Making of a Scientist, which is about the culture of scientific research and the hurdles young adults face in graduate school.


  • Diane Husic, professor and chair of biological sciences, served as a moderator and panelist for the session "Faculty Scholarship: How Much and at What Cost," presented at the forty-third annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Liberal Arts Chemistry Teachers, held at Washington College (Chestertown, Maryland), November 14, 2009. Her co-panelists were Dr. Shaun Murphree of the Chemistry Department at Allegheny College and Dr. Robin Kinnel, Hamilton College.
  • Diane Husic, professor and chair of biological sciences, recently facilitated the fifth annual Division II NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives (FAR) Fellows Leadership Institute, held October 23-25 in Indianapolis. She is the project coordinator for the NCAA grant-funded initiative. Together with Lynne Kaplan–a Washington, D.C.-based consultant, Professor Husic co-organizes and runs the institute each year. An article about the 2009 institute appeared in NCAA News.
  • Diane Husic, professor and chair of biological sciences, led a workshop on September 30 at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia. The theme of the daylong session was "At the Heart of the Liberal Arts Experience:  Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity." Professor Husic is president of the Council on Undergraduate Research.
  • Frank Kuserk, professor of biological sciences and director of the environmental studies program, and Diane Husic traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, to attend the annual meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS); its theme was Environment: The Interdisciplinary Challenge. They presented a talk, "Enhancing Environmental Studies Programs through Undergraduate Research." Professor Husic also presented a poster, "A Carbon-neutral Course on Climate Change—Engaging Students in Sustainability and Action." Hilde Binford, associate professor of music and co-teacher of "Climate Crises: Past, Present, Future," was co-author.
  • Diane Husic, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, contributed a column to the Summer 2009 issue of CUR Quarterly (issue theme: Undergraduate Research that Informs Public Policy). Her piece was entitled "Advocacy and the political process: It's not for me. Is it?" Another article in the issue, "Connecting students to their community: a public research model of service," mentions Moravian College in a case study of the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium.
  • In July, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), of which Professor Diane Husic is president, announced that it will merge with the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research to strengthen the promotion of undergraduate research. The new organization will retain the name CUR. Professor Husic was quoted about the benefits of combining the two organizations in a July 14, 2009 press release submitted to Newswise.
  • On July 21, 2009, a Congressional subcommittee held a hearing on "Encouraging the Participation of Female Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Fields." The Council on Undergraduate Research was invited to submit written testimony as part of the official record of the hearing. Professor Diane Husic, CUR president, worked with Mary Boyd, dean of arts and sciences at University of San Diego; Kerry Karukstis, past CUR president and professor of chemistry at Harvey Mudd College; and Della Cronin, vice president for legislative and public affairs at Washington Partners, LLC, to co-author the testimony document. Cecilia Fox, associate professor of biological sciences; Dan Kunkle, director of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center; and JoAnne Daniels of Moravian Academy contributed input.
  • In June, Diane Husic, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, attended a Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) summit on the contributions of smaller colleges toward transformative research. The conference was held in Snowbird, Utah. Transformative research is experimentation driven by ideas that have the potential to radically change understanding of an existing scientific concept or to lead to the creation of a new paradigm or field of study. A related monograph will be published this fall. Professor Husic has been asked to contribute a case study of work at the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site, as well as a chapter on the role of department chairs in supporting transformative research.
  • Moravian College has been awarded a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. The grant will support the Environmental Studies Program, and consists of a cash award of $50,000 ($10,000/year over five years), plus a gift of securities. Frank Kuserk, professor of biological sciences, and Diane Husic, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, worked with Sue Schamberger, director of foundation relations, to apply for the grant.
  • An op-ed, "Climate Action Will Cost and Benefit Consumers," by Diane Husic, professor and chair of biological sciences, appeared in April 18, 2009 issue of The Morning Call.
  • An article in the May-June 2009 issue of Audubon magazine features the Lehigh Gap Naturalists' Club led by Diane Husic, professor and chair of biological sciences. Her sons Corey and Joren are featured in the article, as well.
  • Diane Husic, professor and chair of biological sciences, presented a poster at the recent joint conference of the Mid-Atlantic Chapters of the Society for Ecological Restoration International and The Ecological Society of America, entitled, "The Central Role of Plants in the Remediation and Ecological Monitoring of a Metal-Contaminated Site in Eastern Pennsylvania." Three student/alums were co-authors: Sarabeth Brockley ’10, Yi Li ’08, and Greg Niehoff ’08; Dan Kunkle, executive director of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center, also was a co-author.
  • Diane Husic also was a co-author of a paper delivered by Dan Kunkle (along with Joan Dickerson of the Finger Lakes Conservation Services), entitled, "Lehigh Gap restoration project: Revegetating a Superfund Site with Native Grasses." The presentation was given at the conference Bridging the Gap: Connecting Ecological Research and Restoration Practice," held March 13-14 at The College of New Jersey.
  • Diane Husic, professor and chair of biological sciences, recently served on a Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation team for Wells College in Aurora, New York.
  • Moravian College has been awarded a LI-COR Environmental Education Fund Grant of $40,000 toward the purchase of a portable photosynthesis and fluorescence system to be used in the lab and in the field by students and faculty. Diane Husic, professor and chair of biological sciences, worked with Sue Schamberger in the grants office to secure the grant.
  • A student who has been working with Diane Husic, professor and chair of biology, has been selected to present a research poster in Washington, D.C., May 4-5. Sarabeth Brockley '10, an environmental studies major, will present "Analysis of Plant Succession at the Lehigh Gap—a Superfund Site Undergoing Restoration" at the annual Council on Undergraduate Research "Posters on the Hill" event. Of the 447 proposals received by CUR, only 60 were accepted. Besides participating in the poster session, Sarabeth will attend a workshop on advocacy and will meet with individual members of Congress. The research was supported, in part, by the SOAR (Student Opportunities for Academic Research) program and Rokke Endowment. Dan Kunkle and the Lehigh Gap Nature Center have been partners in the restoration project.