Faculty and Staff

Heather Bennett, Assistant Professor of Biology (Website) Heather L. Bennett is a neurobiologist. Dr. Bennett’s research focuses on understanding how the nervous system senses, responds to, and compensates for environmental and internal stress. More specifically, her laboratory aims to elucidate the genetic interactions, cellular and molecular mechanisms, as well as the neural circuitry that allow organisms to adapt and survive diverse stresses. Dr. Bennett’s work primarily uses Caenorhabditis elegans, a microscopic non-parasitic nematode worm, to investigate such questions and uses a multidisciplinary approach as well as combined techniques from molecular biology, genetics, and neuroscience.

ccollins-smallCathy Collins, Associate Professor of Biology (Website) 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, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental and Urban Studies (Website) 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.

judeBrooke Jude, Associate Professor of Biology (Website) 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.

Keesing V&C 2009Felicia Keesing, David and Rosalie Rose Distinguished Professor of Science, Mathematics, and Computing (Website) Office: Reem-Kayden Center 211
Phone: 845-752-2331
E-mail: keesing@bard.edu 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’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 KhakhalinArseny Khakhalin, 
Assistant Professor of Biology
khakhalin@bard.edu (Website) Arseny Khakhalin 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 computational approaches, electrophysiology, calcium imaging, and behavioral techniques to probe the functioning of visual and motor networks in the tadpole brain.

bruce1Bruce Robertson, 
Associate Professor of Biology (Website) 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.

GabrielPerronGabriel Perron, Associate Professor of Biology (Website) Gabriel 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.

Mike_fishingMichael Tibbetts, Professor of Biology; Biology Program Director. 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.

ocalla-scholl Maureen O’Callaghan-Scholl, Laboratory Manager 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.