students reading in hallway

Faculty and Staff

 

Website
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 210
Phone: (845) 752-2337
E-mail: bjude@bard.edu
Brooke 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 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 and her biology department colleague, Mike Tibbetts, currently have two grants from the National Science Foundation to study emerging tick-borne diseases of humans called anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Keesing also studies Lyme disease, another tick-borne disease. She is particularly interested in how species diversity affects disease transmission.
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 retune 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.
Website
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 213
Phone: (845) 752-2332
E-mail: broberts@bard.edu
Bruce 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.
Amy Savage is a molecular parasitologist, with a particular interest in vector-borne and zoonotic parasites. Her present work focuses on understanding the development of Trypanosoma brucei (the causative agent of African sleeping sickness and nagana) in the tsetse fly vector. Questions central to her work emphasize two distinct areas of inquiry. First, she is interested in host-parasite, symbiont-parasite, and host-symbiont-parasite interactions as a means to understand factors that allow or prevent parasite establishment in the challenged fly. Second, she is interested in the basic developmental biology of the parasite in the tsetse vector. The parasite undergoes several distinct differentiation processes before ultimately gaining human infectivity in the final stage in the fly. Understanding these processes at the molecular level can lead to development of novel strategies to reduce transmission of this fatal disease. Savage's earlier work emphasized malarial parasites of birds, and the mosquito system. More broadly, Savage is interested in the epidemiological and ecological drivers of disease dynamics in both animal and human systems.
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 212
Phone: 845-752-2309
E-mail: tibbetts@bard.edu
Mike 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.
Sasha Wright is a plant ecologist specializing in plant interactions at the ecological, physiological, and physical levels. Her research addresses how plants may benefit each other when growing together. A long legacy of research in plant ecology emphasizes the negative effects of living close to your neighbors: your neighbors utilize the resources that would otherwise be available for you. While this type of competition is important, there are many instances where it is outweighed by the positive effects that your neighbors confer. As plants are sessile organisms, they are very sensitive to the environmental conditions that are in their immediate vicinity (the microclimate). For this reason neighboring plants can have surprisingly strong effects on neighbors through their effects on the physical environment. For example, neighboring plants may provide shade when irradiation is damaging, neighbors may provide an air conditioning effect through evaporative cooling when evaporative demand is high, and neighbors may aerate the soil during extreme flooding. This amelioration of the physical environment becomes increasingly relevant as the environment becomes more severe. As climate change increases the occurrence and magnitude of extreme weather events in the future, understanding how plants may buffer each other from physiological stress may become increasingly important.
 

 

Maureen 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.
Dwane joined the biology staff at Bard in the summer of 2007. Although his major responsibilities revolve around preparation for the laboratory instruction portion of our biology classes, he also maintains all of the model organisms housed in the Reem-Kayden Center. He works closely with students and their professors to facilitate research needs, especially animal husbandry and technical guidance with laboratory and field equipment. He researched mycorrhizal fungi while in graduate school and enjoys leading nature walks. Dwane is a watchmaker during his copious spare time.