The collective expertise of the members of the Department of Biological Sciences covers a broad swath of classical and modern biology. From molecules to microbes and organisms to ecosystems, the faculty brings their love of all aspects of the life sciences to their classes and laboratories. We strive to ensure that our students have an understanding and appreciation of all of the levels of living systems.
Our Biology curriculum emphasizes this approach, with courses in Zoology, Botany, Genetics, and Cell Physiology required of all majors. Seniors also participate in a capstone seminar course focused on researching and communication, both written and oral. Just as our discipline is one examining the dynamic nature of the living world, we are constantly examining our courses and curriculum for ways to improve them in order to better help our students learn as much as they can.
Student research is a key part of the faculty's mission as educators and scientists. We support students conducting research not only in our course laboratories but also working with individual faculty mentors one-on-one in independent study projects and Honors thesis research. Since the College's senior Honors program began in 1960, the Department of Biological Sciences has had more than 100 students graduate with Honors — more than any other department at Moravian.
Christopher Jones | Professor and Chair
B.A. in Biology and Russian, Haverford College
M.Phil. in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Yale University
Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Yale University
I'm interested in many aspects of molecular genetics, but my research focuses primarily on the genetics of behavior in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, especially learning and memory as well as seizure disorders.
Leung, W., ... Christopher J. Jones, Stephanie L. Christ, Sami Mamari, Adam S. Rinaldi, Ghazal Stity, ... and Sarah C.R. Elgin. 2017. "Retrotransposons are the Major Contributors to the Expansion of the Drosophila ananassae Muller F Element." G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics 7(8):2439–2460. (Moravian student authors in italics)
Laakso, M.M., L.V. Paliulis, P. Croonquist, B. Derr, E. Gracheva, C. Hauser, C. Howell, C.J. Jones, J.D. Kagey, J. Kennell, S.C. Silver Key, H. Mistry, S. Robic, J. Sanford, M. Santisteban, C. Small, R. Spokony, J. Stamm, M. Van Stry, W. Leung, and S.C.R. Elgin. 2017. "An undergraduate bioinformatics curriculum that teaches eukaryotic gene structure." CourseSource 4:1–9.
Elgin, S.C.R.E., C. Hauser, T.M. Holzen, C. Jones, A. Kleinschmit, J. Leatherman, and The Genomics Education Partnership. 2016. "The GEP: Crowd-Sourcing Big Data Analysis with Undergraduates." Trends in Genetics 33(2):81–85.
Leung, W., … C.J. Jones, T. Aronhalt, J.M. Bellush, C. Burke, S. DeFazio, B.R. Does, T.D. Johnson, N. Keysock, N.H. Knudsen, J. Messler, K. Myirski, J.L. Rekai, R.M. Rempe, M.S. Salgado, E. Stagaard, J.R. Starcher, A.W. Waggoner, A.K. Yemelyanova, … and S.C.R. Elgin. 2015. "Drosophila Muller F Elements Maintain a Distinct Set of Genomic Properties over 40 Million Years of Evolution." G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics 5(5):719–740. (Moravian student authors in italics)
Shaffer, C.D., C.J. Alvarez, ... C.J. Jones, ... and S.C.R. Elgin. 2014. "A Course-Based Research Experience: How Benefits Change with Increased Investment in Instructional Time." CBE—Life Sciences Education 13(1):111–130.
Lopatto D., C. Alvarez, D. Barnard, C. Chandrasekaran, H.-M. Chung, C. Du, T. Eckdahl, A.L. Goodman, C. Hauser, C.J. Jones, O.R. Kopp, G.A. Kuleck, G. McNeil, R. Morris, J.L. Myka, A. Nagengast, P.J. Overvoorde, J.L. Poet, K. Reed, G. Regisford, D. Revie, A. Rosenwald, K. Saville, M. Shaw, G.R. Skuse, C. Smith, M. Smith, M. Spratt, J. Stamm, J.S. Thompson, B.A. Wilson, C. Witkowski, J. Youngblom, W. Leung, C.D. Shaffer, J. Buhler, E. Mardis, and S.C.R. Elgin. 2008. "Genomics Education Partnership." Science 322(5902):684–685.
Joiner, M.A., Z. Asztalos, C.J. Jones, T. Tully, and C.-F. Wu. 2007. "Effects of Mutant Drosophila K+ Channel Subunits on Habituation of the Olfactory Jump Response." Journal of Neurogenetics 21(1):45–58.
Nowotny, P., S.M. Gorski, S.W. Han, K. Philips, W.J. Ray, V. Nowotny, C.J. Jones, R.F. Clark, R.L. Cagan, and A.M. Goate. 2000. "Posttranslational Modification and Plasma Membrane Localization of the Drosophila melanogaster Presenilin." Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 15(1):88–98.
Pinto S., D.G. Quintana, P. Smith, R.M. Mihalek, Z.H. Hou, S. Boynton, C.J. Jones, M. Hendricks, K. Velinzon, J.A. Wohlschlegel, R.J. Austin, W.S. Lane, T. Tully, and A. Dutta. 1999. "latheo encodes a subunit of the origin recognition complex and disrupts neuronal proliferation and adult olfactory memory when mutant." Neuron 23(1):45–54.
Mihalek, R.*, C.J. Jones*, and T. Tully. 1997. "The Drosophila Mutation turnip has Pleiotropic Behavioral Effects and Does Not Specifically Affect Learning." Learning and Memory 3:425–444.
* Equal contributors
John Bevington | Professor
Office location: Collier 306
Office phone: 610-861-1430
A.B. in Botany and Chemistry, Indiana State University
M.S. in Plant Physiology, Purdue University
Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, Purdue University
Latteman, T.A., J.E. Mead, M.A. DuVall, C.C. Bunting, and J.M. Bevington. 2014. "Differences in anti-herbivore defenses in non-myrmecophyte and myrmecophyte Cecropia trees." Biotropica 46 (6): 652–656.
Huynh, A.V. and J.M. Bevington. 2014. "MALDI-TOF MS analysis of proanthocyanidins in two lowland tropical forest species of Cecropia: A first look at their chemical structures." Molecules 19: 14484–14495. doi: 10.3390/moleculesl90914484.
Bevington, J.M. 2013. "Anti-herbivore defenses in non-myrmecophyte Cecropia." Invited presentation at a Gordon Research Conference. Plant-Herbivore Interaction: The changing face of plant-herbivore studies. Ventura, California.
Hance, B.A. and J.M. Bevington. 1992. "Changes in protein synthesis during stratification and dormancy release in embryos of sugar maple (Acer saccharum)." Physiologia Plantarum 86: 365–371.
Bevington, J.M. and M.C. Hoyle 1981. "Phytochrome action during prechilling induced germination of Betula papyrifera Marsh." Plant Physiology 67:705–710.
Downs, R.J. and J.M. Bevington. 1981. "Effect of temperature and photoperiod on growth and dormancy of Betula papyrifera." Amer. J. Bot. 68:795–800.
Hilary Christensen | Visiting Assistant Professor
Office location: PPHAC 219
Office phone: 610-861-1434
B.A. in Biology, Carleton College
Ph.D. in Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago
I am a vertebrate paleontologist with broad interests in mammalian evolution and dietary strategies through time. My current research focused on the timing and nature of the mammalian transition to herbivory after the KT extinction and evaluating dietary niche partitioning in early Eocene mammalian faunas using stable isotope analysis.
Cecilia M. Fox | Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of the Neuroscience Program
B.S. in Biology, Manhattan College
Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Kentucky
I teach Neuroscience (BIOL263), Introduction to Neuroscience Methods (NEUR 367), Neuroscience Seminar (NEUR373), Brain Sex (NEUR218), Anatomy and Physiology (BIOL103–104), Human Physiology (BIOL350) and Histology (BIOL345). My research focuses on the neuroprotection of the nigrostriatal pathway in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease. My undergraduates and I examine the efficacy of several antioxidants and growth factors in protecting dopamine neurons of the midbrain from the degeneration typically observed in this lesion model.
Halasz S., R. Stowell, and C.M. Fox "DNSP-11 is protective in the MPP+ and TaClo models of Parkinson's disease." In preparation.
McCambridge T., J. daSilva, N. Hadeed, and C.M. Fox "Dietary selenium protects dopamine levels and has the potential to improve motor behavior in the 6-hydroxydopamine rodent." In preparation.
Fox C.M. 2015. "Developing the next generation of civic-minded neuroscience scholars: Incorporating service learning and advocacy throughout a neuroscience program." Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 14(1): A23–A28.
Fox C.M. 2014. "Engaging neuroscience undergraduates in advocacy." Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Quarterly 2(2):3–5.
Fox C.M. 2010. "Cow brains and sheep brains and rat brains, oh my! Using service learning to educate the public about the benefits of animal research."Research Saves 2(10):24–25.
Fox C.M. 2007. "Brain Awareness Day: Integrating service with classroom instruction in neuroscience."Journal of College Science Teaching 37(2): 40-45.
Mueller S., M. Drost, and C.M. Fox 2007. "Dietary and intraperitoneal administration of selenium provide comparable protection in the 6-hydroxydopamine lesion rat model of Parkinson’s disease."IMPULSE 2:1–10.
Fox C.M. 2004 "The positive outcomes of student involvement in Brain Awareness Day, 2004." Proceedings of the Best Practices in Higher Education, November issue: 19–21.
Fox C.M., D.M. Gash, M.K. Smoot and W.A. Cass. 2001. "Neuroprotective effects of GDNF against 6-OHDA in young and aged rats." Brain Research 896(1–2):56–63.
Fox C.M. and R. Alder. 2000. "Neural Mechanisms of Aging," Neuroscience for Rehabilitation, 2nd edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Diane White Husic | Dean, School of Natural and Health Sciences and Professor of Biological Sciences
B.S. in Biochemistry, Northern Michigan University
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Michigan State University
I am trained as a biochemist but have taught a wide range of courses in environmental science, conservation biology, nutrition, biochemistry, sustainability, tropical ecosystems, and climate change. My research focuses on the restoration of a contaminated site (the Palmerton Superfund site) and the impact of climate change on the Appalachian landscape. I am also interested in communicating environmental issues to the public, engaging the public in citizen science, and the development of policy to address climate change at the local to international levels. I routinely attend the international meetings as a credentialed observer for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and serve as a member of the steering committee for the Research and Independent NGOs constituency group.
Husic, D.W., Peterman, K.E., Foy, G.P., and Binford, H. (2014) "Undergraduates, Faculty Mentors, and Professional Disciplinary Societies Address Climate Change as a Global Human Rights Issue." CUR Quarterly 34 (3): 19–20.
Husic, D.W. (2014) "What Fires Should Educators Light?" Liberal Education 100 (1). Husic, D. (2013) "On the Value of Raptors" American Hawkwatcher 38: 16–19.
Husic, D. (2012) "Environmental Literacy, Wild Places and Play as Elements of a Quality Education." Wildlife Activist 71: 6–7.
Husic, D.W. (2011) "Climate Change is Not a Spectator Sport: Make a Difference Globally and in Your Backyard." Keystone Wild! Notes, Spring edition, pp. 15–18, by invitation.
Husic, D.W., Husic, C., Kunkle, D., and Kuserk, F. (2010) Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge Ecological Assessment Part II.
Husic, D.W., and Hensel, N. (2011) "From Transforming the Curriculum to Tackling Global Grand Challenges — The Role of Undergraduate Research in the 21st Century." PKAL 20th Anniversary Essays, by invitation.
Elrod, S., Husic, D. and Kinzie, J (2010) "Research and Discovery Across the Curriculum," Peer Review 12: 4–8.
Husic, D. and Kunkle, D. (2010) "From Superfund to Super Habitat: Lehigh Gap Nature Center." Keystone Wild! Notes, Spring 2010, PA Wild Resource Conservation Program.
Husic, D.W. (2010) "The Role of Department Chairs in Promoting and Supporting Transformative Research." In Transformative Research at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions, Karukstis, K. and Hensel, N. eds., Council on Undergraduate Research, Washington, D.C.
Husic, D.W. (2010) "Transformative Research as a Means of Transforming Landscapes and Revitalizing Academic Departments: A Case Study." In Transformative Research at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions, Karukstis, K. and Hensel, N. eds., Council on Undergraduate Research, Washington, D.C.
Frances Irish | Associate Professor
Office location: Collier 312
Lab location: Collier 310
Office phone: 610-861-1427
A.B. in Biology, Oberlin College
A.M. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
My research applies comparative and experimental approaches to the problem of how complex structural systems behave, focusing on the feeding apparatus of snakes and fish.
Cundall, D., E. Fernandez, and F. Irish. 2017. "The suction mechanism of the pipid frog, Pipa pipa (Linnaeus, 1758)." Journal of Morphology. In press.
Fernandez, E., F. Irish, and D. Cundall. 2017. "How a frog, Pipa pipa, succeeds or fails in catching fish." Copeia 105.1 (2017): 108-119.
Cundall, D. and F.J. Irish. 2008. "The Snake Skull." pp. 349–692. In: Biology of the Reptilia, vol. 20. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.
Cundall, D., A. Deufel, and F. Irish. 2007. "Feeding in Boas and Pythons: Motor Recruitment Patterns During Striking." pp. 315–343. In: Biology of the Boas and Pythons. Eagle Mountain Publishing.
F.J. Irish 1989. "The role of heterochrony in the origin of a novel Bauplan: Evolution of the ophidian skull." Geobios 12: 227–233.
Frank Kuserk | Professor of Biological Sciences and Director, Environmental Studies & Sciences Program
Office location: Collier 323
Lab location: Collier 322
Office phone: 610-861-1429
B.S. in Biology, University of Notre Dame
Ph.D. in Ecology and Organismal Biology, University of Delaware
Microbial ecology, evolution, and animal behavior.
Simmons, J.A., M. Anderson, W. Dress, C. Hanna, D.J. Hornbach, A. Janmaat, F. Kuserk, J.G. March, T. Murray, J. Niedzwiecki, D. Panvini, B. Pohlad, C. Thomas, and L. Vasseur. 2014. "A Comparison of the Temperature Regime of Short Stream Segments Under Forested and Non-Forested Riparian Zones at Eleven Sites Across North America." River Research and Applications. DOI: 10.1002/rra.2796
Husic, D.W., C. Husic, D. Kunkle, and F. Kuserk. 2010. Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge Ecological Assessment Part II.
Scholtes, C., and F. Kuserk. 2006. "Isolation and Identification of Proteolytic Bacteria From Leaves of the Northern Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia purpurea." Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science. 80(1): 24.
Joshua Lord | Assistant Professor
Office location: PPHAC 218
Lab location: Collier 126
Office phone: 610-861-1414
B.A. in Biology, Colby College
M.S. in Marine Biology, University of Oregon
Ph.D. in Oceanography, University of Connecticut
I teach courses related to marine biology and invertebrate ecology, including Climate Change (BIOL371), Marine Ecology, and a variety of others. My research focuses on understanding how invasive species and changing environmental conditions can affect predation and competition between species. Along with the students in my lab, I work with a variety of marine species (especially crabs, snails, and biofouling organisms) and test their responses to climate change and resistance to predation.
Lord JP, Barry JP, Graves D (2017). "Impact of climate change on direct and indirect species interactions." Marine Ecology Progress Series 571: 1-11 (Feature Article)
Lord JP, Barry JP (2017) "Juvenile mussel and abalone predation by the lined shore crab Pachygrapsus crassipes." Journal of Shellfish Research 36: 209–213
Lord JP (2017) "Potential impact of Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus on native northeast Pacific crabs." Biological Invasions 19: 1879-1887
Lord JP, Williams LR (2017) "Increase in density of genetically diverse invasive Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) populations in the Gulf of Maine." Biological Invasions 19: 1153–1168
Lord JP (2017) "Impact of seawater temperature on growth and recruitment of invasive fouling species at the global scale." Marine Ecology 38: e12404
Lord JP (2017) "Temperature, space availability, and species assemblages impact competition in global fouling communities." Biological Invasions 19: 43–55
Lord JP, Grant G, Palma D, Nigrete N, Dalvano B (2016) "Global collaboration of students and teachers to monitor invasive species." Current: The Journal of Marine Education 30: 49–54
Lord JP, Dalvano BE (2015) "Differential response of the American lobster Homarus americanus to the invasive Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus and green crab Carcinus maenas." Journal of Shellfish Research 34:1091–1096
Lord JP, Calini JM, Whitlatch RB (2015) "Influence of seawater temperature and shipping on the spread and establishment of invasive marine fouling species." Marine Biology 162:2481–2492
Lord JP, Whitlatch RB (2015) "Predicting competitive shifts and responses to climate change based on latitudinal distributions of species assemblages." Ecology 96:1264–1274
Kara Mosovsky | Assistant Professor
Office location: Collier 311
Lab location: Collier 317
Office phone: 610-861-1428
B.S. in Animal Bioscience, The Pennsylvania State University
M.S. in Immunology and Infectious Disease, The Pennsylvania State University
Ph.D. in Microbiology, Colorado State University
Dr. Mosovsky studies host-pathogen interactions, particularly those between bacterial pathogens and mammalian hosts. Her research and interests include antibiotic resistance, intracellular infections, and infectious disease.
Collins, C. and Mosovsky, K. 2018. "Antibiotic Tolerance of Burkholderia: Distinguishing between Classical Resistance and Persistence in a Macrophage Infection Model." Fine Focus (in press).
Anastasia Thévenin | Assistant Professor
Office location: Collier 316
Office phone: 610-861-1607
B.S. in Biomedical Science, Lynchburg College
Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware
I am interested in understanding how phosphorylation of Gap Junction (GJ) protein, Connexin 43 (Cx43), affects its function. GJs are pores found in plasma membranes of two neighboring cells and are made up of 12 Cx43 molecules. These pores are the only means cells have for direct cell-cell communication, allowing small molecules and ions to move from cell to cell. Cell-cell communication is key for many cellular functions, such as development, proliferation, and differentiation. Current projects are focused on using phosphomimetic mutants of Cx43 to study their ability to interact with other protein partners and to affect GJ function.
Anastasia F. Thévenin, Rachel Margraf, Rachael Andrews, Charles Fisher and Matthias M. Falk. “Phosphorylation regulates connexin/ZO-1 binding and release, an important step in gap junction turnover” Mol Biol Cell 28 (25):3595-3608, 2017.
Catherine Chen*, Byung H. Ha*, Anastasia F. Thévenin, Hua J. Lou, Rong Zhang, Kevin Y. Yip, Jeffrey R. Peterson, Mark Gerstein, Philip M. Kim, Stefan Knapp, Titus J. Boggon, and Benjamin E. Turk. "Identification of a major determinant for serine-threonine kinase phosphoacceptor specificity." Molecular Cell 53(1):140-7, 2014.
* equal author contribution
Anastasia F. Thévenin, Tia J. Kowal, John T. Fong, Rachael M. Kells, Charles G. Fisher, and Matthias M. Falk. "Proteins and Mechanisms Regulating Gap Junction Assembly, Internalization and Degradation." Physiology 28: 93-116, 2013.
Anastasia F. Thévenin, Chati L. Zony&, Brian J. Bahnson and Roberta F. Colman. "Activation by phosphorylation and purification of human c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) isoforms in milligram amounts." Protein Expr Purif 75 :138-146, 2011.
& undergraduate student
Anastasia F. Thévenin, Chati L. Zony&, Brian J. Bahnson and Roberta F. Colman. "Requirements for complex formation between c-Jun N-terminal kinase and Glutathione S-Transferase in vitro." Protein Science 20: 834-848, 2011.
& undergraduate student
Anastasia F. Thévenin*, Elizabeth S. Monillas*, Jason M. Winget, Kirk Czymmek and Brian J. Bahnson. "Trafficking of Platelet-activating Factor Acetylhydrolase type-II in response to oxidative stress." Biochemistry 50:8417-8426, 2011.
* equal author contribution
Daniel Proud | Visiting Assistant Professor
B.A. in Mathematics, B.S. in Biology, Virginia Wesleyan College
Ph.D. in Environmental & Evolutionary Biology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The primary focus of work in my lab is to address fundamental questions related to the origin and maintenance of biodiversity and distribution of species, especially arachnids, using an integrative approach. One particular group of interest in my lab is the arachnid order Opiliones (harvestmen). Given their ancient origins and limited dispersal abilities, harvestmen provide an ideal, non-model system to study fundamental concepts in evolutionary biology and biogeography. Ongoing projects include studies of arachnid diversity and systematics, Caribbean island biogeography, Gondwanan biogeography, population genetics, evolutionary ecology, and functional morphology.
Elizabeth Ballard | Adjunct Professor
B.S. in Athletic Training, Western Carolina University
D.P.T. (in progress), Mary Baldwin University
Scholarship and Research Interests
I am a BOC-Certified Athletic Trainer and hold State Licensure to practice Athletic Training in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. My scholarship includes more than fifteen peer-reviewed professional presentations at state, regional, national, and international sports medicine conferences. My research interests include the evaluation and treatment of neurodynamics, manual therapy, and extracorporeal shockwave therapy.
Marie Hosier | Laboratory Coordinator
Office location: Collier 314
Office phone: 610-861-1674
R.T., Easton Hospital
A.A., Northampton Community College
B.S. in Biology, Moravian College
M.S. in Biology, East Stroudsburg University