Faculty and Staff

 Cathy Collins
Assistant Professor of Biology
How do anthropogenic changes such as  nutrient deposition and fragmentation influence biodiversity?  How can we use this information to restore diversity and function to plant communities in degraded habitats? These general questions drive much of the work in professor Collins’ lab. By investigating spatial and temporal patterns of species’ abundances, she attempts to disentangle how the identity, order, and rate at which species undergo colonization and extinction dynamics depends on species traits, species interactions, and the quality and quantity of habitat. While Dr. Collins typically focuses on plants as a field “system”, she has addressed fundamental ecological questions with fungi, birds, insects, and mammals.
Eli Dueker
Eli Dueker

Assistant Professor of Biology and
Environmental and Urban Studies
Eli Dueker, an environmental microbiologist, is also part of the Environmental and Urban Studies Program. His research is fueled by scientific questions relating to water sustainability and public health. His research focuses on the microbial ecology (bacteria, fungi, viruses) of water and air, and the overlooked consequences of connections and similarities between these populations in urban and rural areas. His research is conducted in a wide range of environments, including shallow drinking water aquifers, the open ocean, urban and rural coastlines, estuarine systems, freshwater streams, coastal forests, and puddles. He also works with students and local community members in monitoring water quality in the Saw Kill Watershed (where we get our drinking water) in the Bard Water Lab, located in the Bard Ecology Field Station.
Brooke Jude

Assistant Professor of Biology
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 210
Phone: (845) 752-2337
E-mail: bjude@bard.eduBrooke Jude is a microbiologist who studies isolates of microorganisms found in various (local and foreign) aquatic sources. She is currently investigating the mechanisms that aquatic bacteria use to bind to surfaces in the environment. She uses classic microbiological techniques for isolation and culture of the strains, and identifies organisms via modern sequence analysis. Investigations within the lab also include molecular cloning to create deletion strains, biofilm assays, protein expression, tissue culture binding assays and investigation into bacterial behavior within microbial communities.
Felicia Keesing
Keesing V&C 2009

David and Rosalie Rose Distinguished Professor of Science, Mathematics, and Computing
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 211
Phone: 845-752-2331
E-mail: keesing@bard.eduFelicia Keesing is a community ecologist who studies the consequences of interactions among species. Since 1995, she has studied how African savannas function when the large, charismatic animals — like elephants, buffaloes, zebras, and giraffes — disappear. She also studies how interactions among species influence the probability that humans will be exposed to infectious diseases. Keesing’s disease research has primarily focused on three tick-borne diseases: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. She is particularly interested in how species diversity affects pathogen transmission.
Arseny Khakhalin
Arseny Khakhalin

Assistant Professor of Biology
Arseny Khakhalin is a neuroscientist who studies how neural circuits in the brain function and develop; how they encode and process information, and dynamically tune and re-tune themselves as the brain matures. In his research, he uses a simple animal model: the tadpole of the African Clawed Frog. Dr. Khakhalin combines electrophysiology, calcium imaging, and behavioral techniques to probe the functioning of visual and motor networks in the tadpole brain at different developmental stages, and after various experimental manipulations.
Bruce Robertson

Assistant Professor of Biology
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 213
Phone: (845) 752-2332
E-mail: broberts@bard.eduBruce Robertson is a conservation ecologist. His research focuses on questions that address important conservation issues, but that also provide fundamental insights into ecological theory. Broadly speaking, he investigates the direct and indirect impacts of human activities on biodiversity, species persistence and species interactions with special emphasis on how rapidly changing environments may disrupt evolved relationships and trigger maladaptation. He is especially interested in cases in which novel environments trigger animals to actually prefer to make inappropriate, detrimental and often dangerous decisions. These scenarios are known as evolutionary traps. Traps are an emerging conservation problem that can contribute population declines in species of concern. He collaborates extensively on a variety of projects including a study of the impact of new forms of pollution (polarized light pollution) on aquatic insects, and research investigating how to grow next generation bioenergy crops that facilitate the conservation of biodiversity. Trained as an ornithologist, Bruce increasingly uses arthropods, mammals and plants as study organisms.
Gabriel Perron

Assistant Professor of Biology
WebsiteGabriel G. Perron is an evolutionary biologist who studies the emergence of medically important traits in a broad range of microorganisms. His research uses a combination of real-time evolution experiments, genomic and metagenomic approaches, and field studies to understand how bacteria evolve antimicrobial resistance. Using different microbial systems, including bacteria such as Salmonella, Dr. Perron work seeks to understand the impact of human activity on the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in natural environments and its possible impact on public health issues. More recently, Dr. Perron has been also studying the impact of human activity on microbial communities found in Polar Regions.
Emily Pollina
Emily Under Hapulu cropped
Visiting Assistant Professor of BiologyEmily Pollina is a plant ecologist who studies the ways global change influences the interactions plants have with each other, with animals, and with microbes. She is particularly interested in the role of disease in shaping plant communities and the ways global change alters plant disease risk. Her work studies the ways rising carbon dioxide and ozone levels alter the impact of a plant virus on plant physiology, growth, and competition. From the viral perspective, she studies the way changing atmospheres alter the ability of the virus to replicate within a host and spread within hosts. More recently, she has also become interested in the ways changes in temperature alter plant communications about attack.
Michael Tibbetts

Professor of Biology; Director, Biology Program
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 212
Phone: 845-752-2309
E-mail: tibbetts@bard.eduMike Tibbetts is a molecular biologist who uses zebrafish as a model to investigate questions related to hearing. The lateral line system of zebrafish is comprised of structures, called neuromasts, that contain specialized cells, called hair cells, that are remarkably similar to the hair cells in our inner ear, which are responsible for converting sound waves into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. One line of investigation in the lab is based on the fact that hair cells must maintain a precise orientation in order to send sensical information about the direction of water flow across the body to the zebrafish brain. However, hair cells also need to change positions within neuromasts in order to fill in where old hair cells have died and to accommodate the formation of new ones. A second avenue of research in Dr. Tibbetts’ lab, stems from evidence from a specific mutant zebrafish and from chemical interference studies which suggest that the mechanism by which lateral line hair cells regenerate (a property that is, unfortunately, not shared by our inner ear hair cells) is distinct from the mechanism by which they first form in development. Using genetic and pharmacological interventions, Dr Tibbetts’ lab is asking which proteins and which cellular processes are important for each of these phenomena.
Maureen O’Callaghan-Scholl
Laboratory ManagerMaureen O’Callaghan-Scholl is involved with the day-to-day happenings in the biology and chemistry laboratories. Her work includes preparing and setting up solutions, media, and equipment for the intro laboratory courses, maintaining equipment, scheduling outside services, ordering supplies, managing budgets and helping faculty and students with research project needs in addition to managing laboratory safety issues.
Craig Jude
Laboratory CoordinatorCraig Jude works closely with Biology faculty and students on preparation and execution of laboratory classes and projects. Craig’s expertise is in molecular biology. His graduate work involved the investigation of the role of the Mixed Lineage Leukemia gene in hematopoiesis and hematopoietic stem cells, using a conditional gene knock-out mouse model.