|Rebecca Beach, associate professor, cellular and developmental biology
B.S., University of Arizona; M.S., University of Connecticut-Storrs; Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin
Most of my training is in molecular biology, but my true passion is for developmental biology. My fascination with embryogenesis — the process by which a fertilized egg develops into an adult — has inspired me to study a number of different animals, including sea urchins, seq squirts and frogs. In recent years I have been studying regeneration in an aquatic worm, Lumbriculus variegatus. This "worm project" is a collaborative effort with my long-time friend Dr. Karen Crawford, a developmental biologist at St. Mary's College of Maryland, and with students at both Hollins and SMCM. Our work on this system was recently presented at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology in Boulder, CO. I teach courses in molecular and cell biology, genetics, and developmental biology.
|Renee Godard, professor, ecology and animal behavior
B.S., Guilford College; Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
As a child, a walk in the woods filled my mind with stories and questions about the animals and plants I had seen. Now my walks evoke more sophisticated questions and the angle at which I try to answer them has changed, but my mind is still completely absorbed by the wonders of the natural world. At Hollins, many of the classes that I teach feed my passion and allow me to share it with my students. From the classroom to the field, we explore ecological and behavioral questions, asking questions and finding answers. The woods that I share now with my students have changed since I was a child. Global climate change and other significant environmental problems threaten much of the fabric of the natural and agricultural systems upon which we rely. As such, in my classes we also explore these environmental problems and search for hopeful solutions. The classes I teach at Hollins include Environmental Science, Ecology, Animal Behavior, Evolution and the Human Condition, Senior Seminar and Winter Wanderings. The research questions that my students and I explore are wide ranging from discovering factors that impact breeding success in birds (primarily bluebirds) to determining the degree to which our technological systems for delivering food can result in microbial contamination of what we consume.
Ryan D. Huish, assistant professor, biology (Botanically Speaking Web site)
My earliest memories are of plants. After observing plants for several years, I began to wonder if everything grew like plants. This question lead me to perform my first experiment at age five. I placed a rock in the sunshine on my bedroom windowsill and watered and measured it periodically. After concluding that rocks don’t grow like plants, I gave up on geology and my love for plants has been growing ever since. With a background in botany and cultural anthropology, I am fascinated with how historic and modern peoples around the world use plants for food, medicine, and art, and also the commodification and conservation of these plants. The courses I teach at Hollins include Plant Biology; Plants and People: An Introduction to Ethnobotany; Conservation Biology, with a strong GIS (Geographic Information Systems) component; and Plants in Poetry and Art. My research interests incorporate an interdisciplinary approach to address basic and applied questions in ethnobotany, ecology, and plant conservation by employing techniques in the fields of plant ecology, genetics, anthropology, phytochemistry, biogeography, sustainable management, and GIS. Most recently I have focused on studying the ethnobotany, ecology, and sustainable management of sandalwood (Santalum yasi), a culturally and economically significant but threatened plant endemic to Fiji and Tonga that is harvested for its aromatic and medicinal oil. I am also involved with an ongoing project studying the medicinal plants of Tonga. I welcome opportunities for students to explore some of these questions with me through collaborative research.
|Amy S. White, lecturer, microbiology and immunology
B.S., James Madison University; M.S., The Medical College of Virginia
The intricate dance between microbes, that cause disease, and the immune system, that combats these organisms, is one that has captivated me because of its complexity and importance to human health. After completing my masters degree, I strayed to some degree from this focus into applied toxicology. Specifically, I worked with avian and aquatic toxicity and biodegradation studies. While this work was challenging and rewarding, my true love was still microbiology and it is with delight that I am able to teach courses at Hollins in areas I find fascinating. I currently teach biological self defense, microbiology, and immunology.
|Morgan Wilson, (Homepage) associate professor, physiology and anatomy
B.S., Hampden-Sydney College; M.S., Virginia Tech; Ph.D., University of Mississippi
I’ve always been interested in how living organisms “work”, how they are built, and how they interact with their surroundings. Thus, I might best be described as a physiological ecologist, as my interests rest at the intersection of these biological disciplines. At Hollins, I teach courses in Human Physiology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Invertebrate Zoology, Physiological Ecology, Ornithology, Senior Seminar, and a January Term course entitled The Art, Literature, and Science of Fly Fishing. My research interests are diverse but regularly focus on understanding key events in the annual cycle of animals (often birds). My recent research investigations include: the behavior and endocrine physiology of birds during breeding and migration; the hatchability of avian eggs exposed to various environmental conditions; and the influence of diet on the responses of eastern garter snakes to fish alarm substance. I enjoy working in both the laboratory and in the field, and these research questions have provided me with wonderful opportunities to collaborate with both students and faculty colleagues.