Student Profiles: Sam Israel, ’10

Sam Israel began his Biology work at Bard in Eukaryotic Genetics (BIO202, currently known as “Genetics and Evolution”) with Mike Tibbetts. During his time at Bard, Sam took an ambitious load of courses, including Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Biostatistics, Introduction to Physiology, Biochemistry, Protein Structure & Function, Molecular Biology, an Advanced Seminar in Ecology, Microbiology, Cancer Biology, and a Cell Biology Tutorial. He was also a member of the Bard Music Conservatory and graduated with degrees in both music and biology. His coursework was complemented by 3 (!) summer research experiences, including a semester and summer at the Bard-Rockefeller Semester in Science Program. Sam completed his senior project in the lab of Mike Tibbetts.

As of Fall 2015, Sam is close to the completion of his PhD in the lab of John Ngai at UC Berkeley, where he studies how smell drives fear behaviors in larval Zebrafish. He also works as a science educator and is one of the leaders of the finance team for “Beyond Academia”: a series of highly successful student-run conferences educating students and researchers about non-academic jobs.

Sam’s Linkedin profile:
Sam talking about his graduate program:
Beyond Academia:

Below is a sample of Sam’s current work: a double-stained confocal microscopy prep of the olfactory bulb in a 5-days old larval Zebrafish. Here, magenta displays the various glomeruli in the olfactory bulb, while green shows a particular subtype of olfactory sensory neurons that project from the olfactory epithelium to the olfactory bulb. The cell bodies of these neurons, that look like flask-shaped bright glowing blobs in this picture, contain olfactory receptors that allow the fish to sense (smell) chemicals in the water. The scale bar represents 20um.

zebrafish OE sensory cells

Faculty Highlight: Special Issue on Antimicrobial Resistance

The spread of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens is one of the most urgent challenges in public health today. While the discovery of new drugs remains central in our fight against microbial infections, our ability to understand how antibiotic resistance evolves in the first place is crucial in the development of sound public health policies. In this Special Issue published in Evolutionary Applications, Dr. Perron, acting as guest-editor, present a collection of articles discussing the different contributions of evolutionary biology and ecology to help solving the current antibiotic crisis.

Web link:

Tenure-Track Position In Biology Available!

Tenure-Track Position In Biology

The Biology Program at Bard College is seeking an accomplished individual at the Assistant Professor level for a tenure-track position in biology. The ideal candidate would contribute to the diversity of our offerings, complementing our strengths in microbiology, ecology, genetics, molecular biology, and neuroscience. A particular area of interest is the biology of organisms, including, but not limited to, individuals with topical interests in evolution, development, or physiology, and whose research involves fungi, plants, or invertebrates. The successful applicant would teach a combination of introductory and advanced courses for undergraduates and maintain an active and ambitious research program while involving students in research both inside and outside the classroom.

Applicants should have a PhD in Biology and preferably post-doctoral experience.

Applications will be reviewed beginning September 2015.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, CV, statement of research and teaching interests, and the names and contact information for three references through Interfolio at:

Bard College is an equal opportunity employer and we welcome applications from those who contribute to our diversity.

Summer Research Poster Session

The Summer Research Poster Session happened in RKC on Sep 24. Students presented results of their summer projects, both from the Bard Summer Research Institute (BSRI) program, and from various external research internships. About eighty people attended the session, which was quite a crowd for this late hour, and some incredibly interesting conversations happened at the posters.

Tropical Ecology and Sustainability Studies in Montserrat

January Intersession 2016

The Bard College at Simon’s Rock program in Montserrat is an opportunity for students to engage both theoretically and practically in tropical ecology, conservation biology, and island and global sustainability issues. This year, in partnership with Marist College and Bard College, students will have the opportunity to study the island’s ecology, including endangered and endemic species; receive training in ecological survey methods; and participate in one of several opportunities for community service.

Program summary:

Dec. 27, 2015 – Jan. 20, 2016
Simon’s Rock, Marist College, and Bard College sophomores and above are eligible
$4000 includes room & board, and RT airfare from NYC to Montserrat
4 300-level science credits

Information sessions will be held on all three campuses in September.

Contact Info: Dr. Thomas Coote, Director of Sustainability Programming at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. email:

Student Profiles: Daniela Anderson ’12

Daniela Anderson came to Bard having recently visited leper colonies in Nepal, and received a grant through Bard’s Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) Program to create a program that supports these colonies. Later in her undergraduate career, she and a friend bicycled across the US to raise awareness and funds for leper colonies. In the summer of her junior year, Daniela earned a competitive NSF-REU award to study genetics of cancer growth; her summer research grew into her senior project, which examined the effects of micro RNA on the differentiation of cancer cells as a means of making them susceptible to existing therapies. Daniela earned a prestigious Watson Fellowship, which funded her for a year following graduation to visit existing leper colonies around the world and learn about both the medical and human impacts of this disease, which still infects tens of thousands of people annually. She is planning to pursue medicine as a career.

Faculty research: Collision detection center in the tadpole brain

It was known for some time that Xenopus tadpoles try to avoid collisions with objects that approach them, but until now it was not quite clear what part of the brain detects potential collisions and makes the tadpole change its swimming trajectory. In this study Dr. Arseny Khakhalin shows that most likely this calculation happens in the midbrain region called the optic tectum.

Citation: Khakhalin AS, Koren D, Gu J, Xu H, Aizenman CD. (2014). Excitation and inhibition in recurrent networks mediate collision avoidance in Xenopus tadpoles. European Journal of Neuroscience, 40(6), 2948–2962

Download pdf

Faculty research: Co-Infection Prevalence in Blacklegged Ticks

The ticks that harbor the bacterium that causes Lyme disease can also carry other pathogens. Dr. Felicia Keesing and co-authors showed that ticks are more likely to be coinfected with the organism that causes babesiosis than expected by chance, as ticks are likely to acquire both pathogens when they feed on a single small-mammal host.

Citation: Hersh, Michelle H., Richard S. Ostfeld, Diana J. McHenry, Michael Tibbetts, Jesse L. Brunner, Mary E. Killilea, Kathleen LoGiudice, Kenneth A. Schmidt, and Felicia Keesing. “Co-Infection of blacklegged ticks with Babesia microti and Borrelia burgdorferi is higher than expected and acquired from small mammal hosts.” (2014): e99348.

Download the paper: Hersh et al. 2014 – coinfection

Welcome to the New Bard Biology web-site!

The Bard College biology program offers courses and research opportunities in the most exciting areas of biology research today — biodiversity, neuroscience, emerging infectious diseases, climate change, evolution, and more. Students in the program receive outstanding preparation for all areas of graduate study in the biological sciences and health professions. Our program gives all students the opportunity to be critical thinkers in the world of science, and to gain hands-on experience designing and conducting biological experiments.