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Integrative Biology Graduate Research


Kelli Carter

Kelli Carter

My research focus within biology education is investigating student learning of anatomy & physiology. Through the development of a formative assessment tool, instructors can obtain feedback about student understanding of the core concept structure and function. The formative assessment tool I am developing involves student writing via short answer essay responses, which are time consuming to grade. However, using text analysis to automate the grading will facilitate the process.

 

 

Phone: 813 974-8434
E-mail: kellicarter@mail.usf.edu

CV: Kelli Carter


James Conrad

James Conrad

Currently I am investigating bacterial DNA methylation. Through the use of single molecule real time sequencing, RT-qPCR, and exposing bacteria to a variety of environmental conditions I hope to elucidate the role of DNA methylation on bacterial stress response and virulence. Potentially bacteria which lack definitive virulence factors, such as the opportunistic human pathogen V. vulnificus, may use genomic methylation to regulate gene expression and express a virulent phenotype.

 

 

 

E-mail: conradj2@mail.usf.edu

CV: J. Conrad


Chandler Eaglestone

Chandler Eaglestone

Chandler came to USF in January 2017 to work with Drs. Earl McCoy and Henry Mushinsky after obtaining a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation from Virginia Tech. Her master’s thesis is on movement patterns of the Florida Sand Skink (Plestiodon reynoldsi).

 

 

 

 

Phone: 813 974-4747
E-mail: eaglestone@mail.usf.edu

CV: C. Eaglestone


Stephen Hesterberg

Stephen Hesterburg

I focus on topics related to marine community ecology, particularly those associated with coastal and estuarine benthic systems (i.e., oyster reef, mangrove, and seagrass habitats). Much of my research aims to understanding how biological processes interact with the physical structure of these habitats to influence communities. I also possess an interest for research that extends our temporal understanding of marine systems beyond annual timescales to elucidate the long-term processes that influence coastal ecosystems and the true magnitude of human impact.

 

Phone: 813 974-4747
E-mail: hesterberg@mail.usf.edu

CV: S. Hesterberg


S. Michelle Hoffman

S. Michelle Hoffman

Currently, I am pursuing a doctoral degree in freshwater wetland ecology at the University of South Florida. I study the distribution of waterbirds at freshwater ponds across an urbanization gradient in Florida, as well as the physical site and landscape characteristics associated with particular cohorts, to determine whether particular taxa can be predicted and/or managed through design of constructed ponds. I plan to complete my dissertation in the Fall of 2017.

 

 

Phone: 813 974-4747
E-mail: smhoffm4@mail.usf.edu

CV: S. M. Hoffman


Meredith Krause

Over the past couple of years, my focus and interests within my education have drastically changed. I have, however, always had an interest in infectious diseases. Through courses I have completed in both my undergraduate and graduate career, as well as my research, my interest in this field has expanded. After spending time conducting research in the Master’s program here at USF, I have decided that I would like to further my education more by completing a PhD. My hope is to work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife or a similar organization in conservation efforts through disease ecology research.

I am currently close to completing a meta-analysis of the Red Queen Hypothesis (RQH). Thus far, this meta-analysis has shown that the combined 69 studies show evidence for the RQH. However, one predictor for the RQH that is noteworthy in this study is the form of asexual reproduction utilized by host species. Due to the wide variety of asexual strategies, there appears to be differences in results of RQH experiments. This variation in results has prompted me to further investigate these different forms of asexual reproduction and how they affect Red Queen dynamics in addition to providing much needed insight into the function and evolution of lesser studied asexual strategies.

In order to further understanding of this area, I plan to model Red Queen dynamics in which hosts undergoing different types of asexual reproduction will compete with one another in the face of parasite infection. Few studies have explored how the RQH relates to sexual reproduction in parasites which is why my research is not only novel, but an important to filling this gap in the current literature. I have recently begun a three part experiment which will explore this. Ultimately, this experiment can provide insight into why parasites undergo sexual reproduction, although under theory they should better benefit from the more efficient asexual reproduction. I hope that, through my research on RQH and asexual reproduction, I am able to further the scientific understanding of host-parasite interactions.

E-mail: meredithk@@mail.usf.edu

CV: M. Krause


Samantha Mangum

Through my research, I hope to perform a qualitative systematic review of the approaches researchers have taken to quantify flowering phenology. The goal of my research is to determine how researchers approach the task of quantifying flowering phenology.

 

 

 

 

Phone: 813 974-4747
E-mail: mangum1@mail.usf.edu

CV: S. Mangum


Karena Nguyen

Broadly, Karena's research lies at the intersection of disease ecology and public health. Her dissertation specifically focuses on climate change and the effect of temperature on Schistosoma mansoni, the causative agent of human schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease, and its intermediate host, Biomphalaria glabrata. She aims to combine her knowledge of biological processes to eventually inform and shape public health policy. Recently, Karena has become extensively involved in science outreach and education for children K-12 and continues to mentor undergraduates at USF.

 

 

E-mail: knguyen63@mail.usf.edu

CV: K. Nguyen


Mary Kate ODonnell

Mary Kate O'Donnell

I'm interested in biomechanics and functional morphology. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. at the University of South Florida studying climbing in salamanders. I'm interested in how the scaling of body size, the kinematics of climbing, and the function of biological attachment mechanisms account for variation in climbing performance in salamanders, and how environmental factors such as surface wetness and surface roughness impact this performance.

 

 

E-mail: mkodonnell@mail.usf.edu

CV: M. K. O'Donnell