Faculty


Randy Christensen

Randy Christensen

Associate Professor of Biology

B.S., Brigham Young University
Ph.D., The Ohio State University

Dr. Christensen’s research interests lie in the areas of molecular genetics and developmental biology. Dr. Christensen’s lab uses gene expression analysis to analyze molecules involved in wound healing and regeneration in salamanders, specifically in the molecules involved in cell-cell communication following injury. For example, excitatory neurotransmitter molecules can be released at toxic levels after injury, affecting nearby nervous system cells in a process known as excitotoxicity. Knowing more about the molecular changes that occur in nervous system cells after injury may someday enhance human recovery from spinal cord or traumatic brain injury.


Cassy Cozine

Cassy Cozine

Assistant Professor of Biology
University of Iowa Masters of Public Health 4:1 Program Coordinator

B.S., University of Southern Mississippi
Ph.D., University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Dr. Cassy Cozine’s research focuses on the inflammatory and innate immune responses in the model organism C. elegans. Students who work with Dr. Cozine examine the effects of complementary and alternative medicinal products on inflammation and the immune system responses of this model organism. Compounds of interest have included curcumin, an active component of turmeric, and Astragalus, a traditional Chinese herb.


Maria Dean

Maria Dean

Ben Peterson Professor of Chemistry

B.S., University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Maria Dean's research involves the study of two sea worm biocements. Phragmatopoma lapidosa (reef building worm) and Pectinaria gouldii (ice cream cone worm) make protective coverings using sand or coral and a biocement produced by the sea worms. She uses the tools of molecular biology as well as advanced microscopic techniques to study these materials.


Michael Leonardo

Michael Leonardo

Professor of Biology, Chair
Molecular Biology Administrative Coordinator

B.A., Knox College
M.A., Ph.D., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Professor Leonardo’s research focuses on various physiological aspects of dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria (DMRB) using molecular and classic culture techniques.  Biomineral formation during metal reduction, identification of DMRB from a variety of habitats and the production of Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) and biofilms are some of the topics studied. He is studying the genetics of biofilm production by Shewanella and Vibrio species.


David Lo

David Lo

Assistant Professor of Biology

B.A., Concordia College
Ph.D., University of North Dakota

Specializes in human anatomy and neuroinflammatory processes associated with disorders of the brain.


Paul Storer

Paul Storer

Associate Professor of Biology

B.S., Allegheny College
M.S., Duquesne University
Ph.D., Loyola University, Chicago

Dr Storer's research focuses on how the immune, endocrine and nervous systems interact and communicate in relation to brain injury and neuroimmunological disorders. Specifically, he is looking at the role of both estrogens and antihistamines as regulators of glial activity.