Department of Biological Sciences
Biographies of 2017 Lecturers
Daniel Babcock Chris Kauzman
Shashwati Bhattacharya Michael Kuchka
Elizabeth Bloch Michael Layden
Robert Buckheit Daniel Lopresti
R. Michael Burger Linda Lowe-Krentz
Lesley Chow Krystle McLaughlin
Hannah Dailey Julie Miwa
Sara Lynn Farwell Marcos Pires
Jordan Garrison Amber Rice
John Glod Peter Shank
Julie Haas Neal Simon
Jamie Havrilak Joshua Slee
Santiago Herrera Robert Skibbens
Katie Hoffman Jennifer Swann
Sabrina Jedlicka Vassie Ware
  Ryan Wynne
Daniel Babcock, Ph.D.Daniel Babcock, Ph.D. - The Babcock Lab is interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying degeneration of synapses in neurodegenerative diseases.  He uses the model system Drosophila melanogaster to study how synaptic dysfunction occurs and how it impacts progression of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Dr. Babcock earned a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Delaware and his Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Texas Health Science Center.  At the University of Texas Health Science Center, he was awarded the President’s Research Scholar Award.  He then held a postdoctoral position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  His work has been published in Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Current Biology. Dr. Babcock is a new faculty member at Lehigh this year.  He is currently teaching a BioS 90 section on “Neurodegenerative Diseases”.
Shashwati Bhattacharya - Ms. Bhattacharya is a third year graduate student working in the laboratory of Dr. Kathy Iovine where she studies bone development and joint formation pathways in zebrafish.  Her thesis project is entitled “The crosstalk of Connexin43 and Simplet during bone joint formation“. She earned an undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Calcutta in India. Prior to coming to Lehigh, Ms. Bhattacharya earned a master’s degree in bioinformatics from West Virginia University where she worked on the evolution of the ADAM gene family in vertebrates.
Elizabeth BlochElizabeth Bloch - Ms. Elizabeth “Betty” Bloch is a graduate student in the Ph.D. program in Chemistry, working in the laboratory of Dr. Damien Thévenin.  Dr. Thévenin’s research focuses on membrane biophysics and drug delivery.  Two areas of specific interest in the Thévenin lab are: developing new strategies for specific delivery of novel therapeutics to cancer cells, and understanding how membrane receptors deliver signals across membranes.  In the Thévenin lab, Ms. Bloch is working to understand the role and activity of transmembrane and juxtamembrane domains in signaling within a family of membrane proteins called receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases.  Ms. Bloch earned a B.A. in biochemistry from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont before coming to Lehigh to study membrane biophysics in the Thévenin lab.
Robert Buckheit, Ph.D. - Dr. Buckheit is Director of Business Development and Manager of Immunology and the Flow Cytometry Services Program at ImQuest BioSciences in Frederick, MD.  Dr. Buckheit has a longstanding connection to Lehigh. Both his parents and older sister attended Lehigh. He graduated from Lehigh University in 2009, with degrees in molecular biology and history.  He then attended the Graduate Program of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Johns Hopkins University where he earned a Ph.D. with a focus on HIV and Viral Immunology in the labs of Bob Siliciano and Joel Blankson.  After achieving a Ph.D. in 2013, he accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Frederick Maryland, where he focused on Virus-Host Interactions.  Dr. Buckheit joined ImQuest BioSciences in 2016.  He is a member of the Lehigh University Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the President of the Lehigh Regional Club of Baltimore. 
R. Michael Burger, Ph.D.R. Michael Burger, Ph.D. - Dr. Burger’s research focuses on the neurobiology of hearing with an emphasis on electrophysiological techniques.  The objectives of his work include resolving the synaptic and systems level function of auditory brain circuitry.  He has published in several prestigious journals including the Journal of Neuroscience, the Journal of Neurophysiology, and the Journal of Comparative Neurology. His work is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Burger received his BA from Ithaca College, his PhD from the University of Texas and did his postdoctoral training at the University of Washington Medical School and the University of Munich.
Lesley Chow, Ph.D.Lesley Chow, Ph.D. - Dr. Chow’s research interests include the design of multifunctional and hierarchically organized biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. She earned her bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering at the University of Florida and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She then trained as a postdoctoral research scientist at Imperial College London before coming to Lehigh. Dr. Chow is an assistant professor in the materials science and engineering department and is a part of the bioengineering program.
Hannah Dailey, Ph.D. - coming soon!

Sara Lynn Farwell - Ms. Farwell is a member of the Lowe-Krentz laboratory where she studies mechanisms of endothelial cell dysfunction and blood vessel regeneration. Her Ph.D. thesis work has thus far resulted in four publications found in Frontiers in Physiology, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). Ms. Farwell graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 2012 where she earned bachelors degrees in immunology and infectious diseases and toxicology. She joined the Lowe-Krentz lab in 2012 after participating in the Biosystems Dynamics Summer Institute as a graduate student fellow.

Jordan Garrison, M.D.Jordan Garrison, M.D. - Dr. Garrison is a Board Certified General Surgeon who has specialized in Laparoscopic Bariatric and General Surgery for over 20 years. He has performed nearly 1000 bariatric procedures during his career and now specializes in robotic bariatric procedures. Dr. Garrison is a Lehigh University graduate where he earned a BS degree in chemistry. He earned his MD from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical school in Piscataway, NJ in 1982. He then completed further medical and surgical training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) before completing an American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery-sponsored Fellowship in Bariatric Surgery in 2008.  For three years he served as the Director of Bariatric Surgery for several hospitals affiliated with the Carepoint Health Group until 2015 when he joined North Jersey Laparoscopic and Bariatric Associates in Teaneck.  Dr. Garrison is also an avid sports supporter. He currently is a Ringside Physician with the NJ Athletic Control Board and coaches several Pro-Am Basketball teams throughout the year.
John Glod, M.D., Ph.D.John Glod, M.D., Ph.D. - Dr. Glod is a practicing pediatric oncologist and his research laboratory studies hereditary cancer syndromes.   Dr. Glod earned his B.S. in biochemistry from Lehigh University in 1988 and his M.D. and Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Colorado. He did his residency and a fellowship at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Additional fellowships in neuro-oncology were at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.  He then became an Associate Professor at Rutgers Medical School before moving to the NIH in 2013. 
Julie Haas, Ph.D.Julie Haas, Ph.D. - Dr. Haas’ research focuses  on synaptic plasticity and how activity affects the strength of neural connections.  She uses electrophysiology techniques and high resolution imaging approaches in her work on plasticity of gap junctional  (electrical) and inhibitory synapses in brain slices. Her work has been published in numerous journals including Science, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, Journal of Computational Neuroscience, and Journal of Neurophysiology.   Dr. Haas earned a bachelor’s degree in Music and Mathematics from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University.  Thereafter, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, San Diego. Most recently, she was a research associate  in the laboratory of Dr. Carole Landisman at the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University before coming to Lehigh. 
Jamie Havrilak, Ph.D.Jamie Havrilak, Ph.D. - Dr. Havrilak’s scientific interests lie in understanding how cellular interactions during development regulate organogenesis.  After receiving her B.S. degree in biology from Susquehanna University, she earned her Ph.D. in molecular and developmental biology from the University of Cincinnati, working at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to examine tissue interactions during early lung development in the mouse, particularly examining the role of endothelial cells in early lung specification and branching morphogenesis.  Her current developmental biology interests focus on understanding how signaling pathways interact and regulate crosstalk between cells to drive development (specification, differentiation and morphogenesis) and how these processes may differ during regeneration. In Dr. Michael Layden's lab, she is studying the mechanisms of nervous system development and regeneration in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.  
Santiago Herrera, Ph.D.Santiago Herrera, Ph.D. - Dr. Herrera's research focuses on the ecological and evolutionary processes that produce the biodiversity patterns in the ocean. He uses an interdisciplinary approach that combines experimental molecular genetics and bioinformatics analyses to study deep-sea and cold-water ecosystems and the biological models such as corals, anemones, fish, and hydrothermal vent barnacles, and shrimp that inhabit oceanic ecosystems. Dr. Herrera received bachelor's degrees in biology and microbiology, and a Master's degree in biological sciences from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. During his Master's training, he was a graduate fellow at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. He earned a Ph.D. in biological oceanography from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Prior to coming to Lehigh as a Visiting Assistant Professor, Dr. Herrera was a postdoctoral fellow funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) at the University of Toronto. He teaches courses in biodiversity, epigenetic mechanisms, and biological oceanography.
Katie Hoffman, Ph.D. - Professor Hoffman is a new Professor of Practice, arriving at Lehigh this year from a post-doctoral fellowship at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense.  Her research interests focus on the cellular basis of information processing in the brain and she has published her work in journals focusing on toxicology and neuropharmacology.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in both microbiology and in psychology at the University of Montana.  Her Ph.D. in neuroscience is also from the University of Montana.  Professor Hoffman’s teaching portfolio includes introductory and advanced courses in the biological sciences curriculum, including introductory genetics and biochemistry laboratory, and will include introductory cell and molecular biology as well as molecular genetics laboratory.   
Sabrina Jedlicka, Ph.D.Sabrina Jedlicka, Ph.D. - Dr. Jedlicka received her BSE degree from Kansas State University and her MSE and PhD degrees from Purdue University before joining the Lehigh faculty in January 2008. Her research interests include biomaterials synthesis & characterization, neuroengineering, biointerface design, surface science, and neuronal cell biology.  Currently her research focuses on interactions between mammalian cells and cell culture substrates, and is she particularly interested in developing  biointerfaces that communicate with cells and affect cell fate and cell function. Dr. Jedlicka is an associate professor in the materials science and engineering department and a member of the bioengineering program.
Chris KauzmanChris Kauzman - As the Innovations Program Manager for the Baker Institute, Chris works with students, community members, Lehigh alumni, and local companies to build network that supports entrepreneurship.  He supervises the student mentoring program of the Institute and helps to build cross disciplinary relationships between students and experts in the field to encourage and enable innovation.  Chris is a 2013 mechanical engineering graduate from Lehigh.  Thereafter,
Michael Kuchka, Ph.D.Michael Kuchka, Ph.D. - Dr. Kuchka’s research has focused on the regulation of expression of chloroplast genes as well as interactions between the nucleus and chloroplast in the unicellular green alga, Chlamydomonas  reinhardtii.  His laboratory is now focusing on genes involved in several metabolic pathways including the glyoxlate cycle.  Dr. Kuchka earned his B.S. degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.  After postdoctoral work in the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Geneva, Dr. Kuchka came to Lehigh University in 1988.  Dr. Kuchka teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in cell and molecular biology and molecular genetics.
Michael Layden, Ph.D.Michael Layden, Ph.D. - Dr. Layden is a molecular/cellular developmental biologist who studies neural development and neural regeneration in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. His work is particularly relevant to understanding the mechanisms that regulate how neural regeneration occurs and could provide critical insights that lead to neuroregenerative therapies with biomedical applications. Dr. Layden earned his B.S. in cell and developmental biology from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. in 2006 from the University of Oregon’s Department of Biology and the Institute for Molecular Biology where he studied motor neuron development in the embryonic central nervous system of the fruit fly.  He did postdoctoral research at the University of Oregon and at Kewalo Marine Laboratory at the University of Hawaii before returning to the mainland as an assistant researcher at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience at the University of Florida.  He arrived at Lehigh in 2014 as an assistant professor in the department of biological sciences.
Daniel Lopresti, Ph.D.Daniel Lopresti, Ph.D. received his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth in 1982 and his Ph.D. in computer science from Princeton in 1987. After completing his doctorate, he joined the Computer Science Department at Brown and taught courses ranging from VLSI design to computational aspects of molecular biology. He went on to help found the Matsushita Information Technology Laboratory, and later also served on the research staff at Bell Labs. In 2003, Dr. Lopresti joined the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Lehigh where his work focuses on fundamental algorithmic and systems-related questions in pattern recognition, with applications in bioinformatics, document analysis, and computer security. His projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Dr. Lopresti is co-director of the Lehigh Pattern Recognition Research (PatRec) Lab. He has authored over 100 publications and holds 21 U.S. patents.
Linda Lowe-Krentz, Ph.D.Linda Lowe-Krentz, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, as well as serving as its department chair. She earned her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Northwestern University. She then carried out research in cancer biochemistry at the Chicago Medical School. Her current research is focused on signal transduction and wound repair in the vascular system. Among other things, she teaches biochemistry of metabolism and a graduate course on signal transduction and cancer.
Krystle McLaughlin, Ph.D.Krystle McLaughlin, Ph.D. - Dr. McLaughlin is a structural biologist who uses X-ray crystallography as well as biochemical, molecular, and biophysical techniques to determine the molecular structure of proteins and protein complexes.   Several structural biology projects are currently under investigation in Dr. McLaughlin’s laboratory.  A major focus is a study of proteins of the commensal human gut bacterium Bacteriodes ovatus that may play a part in promoting bacterial survival in the gut or in provoking autoimmune responses as observed in ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. She collaborates with Dr. Vassie Ware at Lehigh along with undergraduate students from Lehigh’s SEA-PHAGES Program to characterize novel protein targets from bacteriophages that may be useful as biocontrol agents. Dr. McLaughlin earned a BA in physics from Colgate University and both her MS and PhD in biophysics from the University of Rochester.  She was a SPIRE Postdoctoral Scholar in the Chemistry Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and  a Visiting Lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  In 2014 she became a Professor of Practice at Lehigh in the Department of Biological Sciences.  In the 2017 academic year, she joined the faculty at Vassar College where  her research is focused on microbial systems including bacteria in the gut microbiome,  antibiotic resistance, and mycobacteriophages.  At Vassar she teaches courses in general chemistry, protein chemistry, and biochemistry.
Julie Miwa, Ph.D.Julie Miwa, Ph.D. - Dr. Miwa’s research  focuses on the genetics of learning and behavioral plasticity in the brain.  Her work examines what changes occur in our brain to alter learning potential as we age.  She discovered a gene in mice called lynx1, which is expressed during the time the brain transitions from its most “plastic” state in youth to its adult status.  Her work now focuses on understanding how lynx1 works on a cellular level and how the activity of the gene might be controlled. Her work encompasses molecular biology and genetics, electron, light, and fluorescence microscopy, slice electrophysiology, and behavioral research.   Dr. Miwa earned her undergraduate degree in neurobiology from the University of California at Berkeley and her Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University in Neuroscience.  She remained at Rockefeller University for postdoctoral work and trained further at Yale University in the Psychiatry Department.  Most recently, she was a senior research fellow at California Institute of Technology before coming to Lehigh.  Dr. Miwa teaches courses in neuroscience, molecular genetics of the brain and behavioral plasticity.
Marcos Pires, Ph.D.Marcos Pires, Ph.D. - Dr. Pires’ research interests focus on understanding the chemistry and biology of bacterial cell surfaces.  His work has broad implications in numerous areas, including understanding mechanisms of multidrug resistance, developing new biomaterials, and developing novel types of antibiotics.  This year Dr. Pires received the American Chemical Society’s Infectious Disease Young Investigator Award, “acknowledging "outstanding early career researchers" based on the significant contributions they have made to the infectious disease field.”Dr. Pires earned a BA from Ithaca College in 2003 and a PhD from Purdue University 2009. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania before coming to Lehigh in 2011.  Here at Lehigh, he is advisor to undergraduate biochemistry majors.  His teaching interests include biochemistry and bio-organic chemistry.
Amber Rice, Ph.D. - As an evolutionary biologist, Dr. Rice has focused her research interests on the genetics of ecological speciation and hybridization using population genetic and genomics approaches. Dr. Rice earned her BA degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from The College of Wooster and her PhD in biology from the University of North Carolina in 2008. After postdoctoral work at the Evolutionary Biology Centre at Uppsala University in Sweden and back at the University of North Carolina, she joined the faculty here at Lehigh in 2011. Her teaching interests include courses ine volutionary biology, ecology and population biology.
Peter Shank, Ph.D.Peter Shank, Ph.D. - Dr. Shank’s laboratory has worked on the regulatory genes of HIV-1, with the goal of understanding the mechanism of action of the transcriptional activator Tat.  His laboratory has also been interested in the role of HIV in inducing malignancies within human B cell populations.  He has worked with both avian and human retroviruses.  Dr. Shank earned his B.S. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco working with Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus, both of whom would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1989 for their contributions to the retrovirus field.  Dr. Shank joined the Brown faculty in 1978.  He has served on numerous editorial boards and NIH review panels, and has published widely on the molecular biology of retroviruses.
Neal Simon, Ph.D.Neal G. Simon, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences, has over 25 years research experience in behavioral neurobiology. His research in drug development, hormone-neurotransmitter interactions, and behavioral regulation has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Ben Franklin Northeast Tier Technology Partnership, the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA, and the H.F Guggenheim Foundation, and private corporations. Dr. Simon serves on foundation and scientific advisory boards and consults for biotechnology companies. Dr. Simon received a B.A. with honors from the State University of New York at Binghamton, the M.S. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University, and was a National Research Service Postdoctoral Fellow at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  In 1996, he served as a Distinguished Research Professor at Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France.
Joshua Slee, Ph.D.Joshua Slee, Ph.D. - Dr. Slee’s primary research interest is in the human inflammatory response.  As a cell and molecular biologist, he studies how vascular cells transmit and respond to inflammatory and anti-inflammatory signals from their environment. Dr. Slee earned both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in biotechnology from Marywood University in 2008.  He earned his Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology here at Lehigh in 2013, working in the laboratory of Dr. Linda Lowe-Krentz  where he focused his dissertation research on signaling pathways involved in inflammatory responses leading to the development of atherosclerosis. He was then an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he studied mechanisms to attenuate the foreign body reaction, particularly in response to polymers within medical devices that are implanted in the body. Dr. Slee is an assistant professor in the department of natural science at DeSales University.
Robert Skibbens, Ph.D.Robert Skibbens, Ph.D. - Dr. Skibbens’ research lab focuses on chromosome segregation and cell cycle regulation.  His research has been supported by awards from the NIH, NSF and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation. Dr. Skibbens received his B.S. from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He went on to pursue his post-doctoral studies first at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and then at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Baltimore.  Dr. Skibbens teaches courses in molecular cell biology, the biology of cancer, and immunology.
Jennifer Swann, Ph.D.Jennifer Swann, Ph.D. - Dr. Swann’s laboratory research focuses on how the brain regulates behavior. Her laboratory has mapped connections to a small nucleus in the preoptic area of the brain that play a critical role in male sex behavior by integrating hormonal and pheromonal signals. Her work is now focused on the subcellular and biochemical events that mediate steroidal regulation of male sex behavior. Dr. Swann earned a B.S. degree in Psychology and Pre-medicine from The Pennsylvania State University, her M.S. degree in Psychology from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. in Reproductive Neuroendocrinology from the Department of Neurobiology and Physiology at Northwestern University. She was then a postdoctoral associate in the Reproductive Endocrinology Program and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Michigan. She came to Lehigh in 1995 after serving on the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at Rutgers Newark.
Vassie Ware, Ph.D.Vassie Ware, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences, received her BA from Brown University, her MPhil and PhD from Yale University, and did her postdoctoral training at Brown University.  Her laboratory studies species-specific differences in ribosome maturation in eukaryotic cells, with special interests in ribosomal RNA (rRNA) processing and rRNA-ribosomal protein interactions.  Dr. Ware is the Co-director of the HHMI-sponsored undergraduate education initiative at Lehigh.  She also serves as Co-director of the Distance Education MS Molecular Biology Program and is a member of the Graduate and Infrastructure Committees in the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Ware teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, primarily in the areas of molecular genetics and molecular cell biology.
Ryan Wynne, Ph.D.Ryan Wynne, Ph.D. - Dr. Wynne received his BA in biochemistry/chemistry from East Stroudsburg University, his PhD in biochemistry from Lehigh University, and did his postdoctoral training at the University of Rochester before becoming a member of the faculty of St. Thomas Aquinas in 2008.  He teaches courses in biochemistry, genetics, neurobiology and nutrition.  His past research focused on the role estrogen plays in protecting the brain from degeneration following injury.  Dr. Wynne’s current research focuses on understanding how hormones shape both the structure of the vertebrate brain as well as behavior.  Dr. Wynne has received numerous faculty and advisor awards at St. Thomas Aquinas, including “Faculty Advisor of the Year” for 2015. He also directs the Honors Program at St. Thomas Aquinas.
Caption of image on top of page: Motor neuron terminals (green) that innervate the indirect flight muscles. (Babcock, D.)

BioS 10
Bioscience in the 21st Century
Vassie Ware, Ph.D.
© 2016
All content on this website is protected by copyright.
Please contact us for permission prior to use.