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Steve Trombulak Reception.jpg

Biology faculty Erin Eggleston, Steve Trombulak, and Jeremy Ward pictured at Steve's retirement reception.

Tom Root Reception.jpg

Retiring biology professor Tom Root, with students Kyle Meredith and Sabrina Quintanilla

Bryan Costa, Class of 2003

Bryan Costa playing with dolphins after collecting data describing the seafloor in Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. As a Geospatial Scientist contracted to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Biogeography Branch, Bryan Costa has worked for the last 5 years to map, monitor and model the physical and biological processes of marine regions and coral reef ecosystems in the coastal waters, territories and flag islands of the United States. 

Cell labeled with Ki67

This is a fluorescently labeled cell in the hippocamppus showing the protein Ki67, which a marker of cell proliferation.

Brave Genius

Dr. Carroll will chronicle the adventures of Jacques Monod, a co-founder of molecular biology, from the dark years of the German occupation of Paris to the heights of the Nobel Prize, his friendship with the great writer Albert Camus, and his emergence as a public figure and leading voice of science. The lecture will be a synthesis of science, history, and literature.  Dr. Carroll will also deal with denialism of two of the biggest ideas in biology, as effectively confronted by the lead character Monod


Caitlin Hicks getting her PhD 2012, University of Florida, Gainesville where she studied the response of soil and plant carbon to climate change in the Alaskan tundra.  She's now headed to California: has a post doc at the Dept of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley, California where she will be studying the vulnerability of soil carbon to climate change.

Lauren Sanchez, Class of 2011

After a post-graduation adventure spent teaching in Morocco, Lauren has begun her graduate studies at Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her Masters in Environmental Management research focuses on the geopolitical implications and environmental impacts of climate change in the Middle East and North Africa. She spent last summer with Darwin's turtles on the Galapagos Islands and will be on a Tanzanian safari after conducting her summer research in Algeria and Lebanon, inshallah! She still spends her days speaking four languages while learning about international environmental development and marathon training.

Cassidy D'Alioa

The sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus has always been assumed to be an introduced parasite in Lake Champlain, but recent genetic evidence suggests they may be native. Utilizing molecular and population genetic techniques, and the department's DNA sequencer, Cassidy’s data show the likelihood of multiple changes in the sea lamprey population over the past 200 years, with population size rapidly decreasing about 150 years ago, and more recently, expanding. 

Kyle and Liz von Hasseln

Kyle's undergraduate thesis combined field and genetic techniques by collecting blood and tissue samples from endangered rat snakes and sequencing the mitochondrial marker in order to understand the species’ post-glacial migration into New York and Vermont. After graduation he married Liz Rolerson ('03), and studied molecular ecology at UC Irvine.  Currently he is enrolled in a Masters of Architecture program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture focusing in prefabrication, passive design, and efficiency.

Marisa Lipsey, Class of 2006

I completed my Master’s in Conservation Biology at the University of Cape Town, then worked in Tanzania for a conservation/environmental education NGO, tracking large and small mammals, conducting bird surveys and more! Back in the U.S. I’ve been a wildlife biology intern in remote northeastern Montana, and continued my sage-grouse work tracking winter habitat in Colorado’s Yampa Valley for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. It’s been quite an adventure, and my thanks go out to Middlebury and all the exceptional faculty of the biology and environmental studies departments who helped to send me on my way!

Caitlin Littlefield, Class of 2008

Caitlin Littlefield (Environmental Studies-Conservation Biology) at work in UVM's Carbon Dynamics Lab.  She went on to receive an M.S. in Natural Resources Forestry from the University of Vermont, and currently works as a forest analyst in the Burlington area.

Moria Robinson (Class of 2012) and E. O. Wilson

Moria Robinson '12, and E.O. Wilsonat the ATBI Conference, April 2012.  Moria was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF)  Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF).  In addition to three years of funding and an annual stipend, the Fellowship offers international research and collaboration opportunities.  Moria begins her PhD in Fall ’12 at U.C. Davis, in the Population Biology program, in the lab of Dr. Sharon Strauss. Moria is a talented photographer and artist, as well as scientist. 

Liz (Rolerson) von Hasseln, Class of 2003

After graduating in 2003, I worked as a CRA and then as a tech in the Spatafora Lab. In 2006 I married Kyle (!) and began a PhD program at UC Irvine, but at the end of that year we moved to Portland with eleven other Midd grads, all eager for some re-assessment. After two amazing years almost all of us ended up heading back to business schools, med schools, masters and PhD programs.  Kyle and I both started a masters program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and I am  loving it!  I didn't take any architecture as an undergrad, but I've consistently felt that Middlebury has equipped me incredibly well for my graduate work, both in Biology and in Architecture

Phil Higuera, Class of 1998

Phil Higuera, who graduated with a double biology-geology major back in 1998 (and wrote a thesis on avalanche disturbances in the Adks) is now an assistant professor of forestry at the University of Idaho.

Hilary Eisen, Class of 2006

Hilary Eisen is at the University of Montana working on a Master's degree in wildlife biology. She grew up in Billings, MT and ventured to Middlebury, VT for college, completing a joint degree in biology and environmental studies in 2006.  Hilary has worked for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and before that, spent her summers working on Forest Service trail crews and as a wilderness ranger in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness, and her winters assisting with wildlife research in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and Kananaskis Country, Alberta.

Dr. Elizabeth Engle, Class of 1980

Dr. Engle is Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School. Her work has been recognized by multiple high-profile publications and by receipt of multiple honors, including the E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics from the Society for Pediatric Research, the Sidney Carter Award in Child Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology and a Research Award for Vision from the Alcon Institute. 

Lauren Sanchez, Class of 2011

After graduating Lauren continued her research on carbon dynamics at Harvard University and led summer field studies programs in Costa Rica. In fall 2011 she moved to North Africa and is now a Teaching Intern at the American School in Fez. Lauren shares her love for Biology, Environmental Studies and Spanish with her Moroccan students while pursuing her interest in sustainability issues abroad. She spends her days speaking four languages, exploring the fine art of teaching, and applying to graduate programs for next year.

L to R:  George B. Saul II, Christopher Watters, (Dr.) Elizabeth Engle, and Tom Root. The photo was taken following Dr. Engle's thesis defense in 1980.  She went on to receive her M.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and is currently Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and at Children's Hospital Boston, she is a member of the Departments of Neurology, Ophthalmology and Medicine (Genetics).

Spatafora Lab

Undergrads in Dr. Grace Spatafora's lab sail on Lake Champlain

 Beck Research Funds

Document contains guidelines and application form for Priscilla (Kay) Beck '52 Research Funds to support academic year research. (For students enrolled in BIOL 500/700 only.)

Combelles Lab

Summer research student Hope Yu (’11) dissecting bovine ovaries in Prof. Catherine Combelles' lab.

Spatafora Lab 2010-2011

Dr. Grace Spatafora and summer research students: Jeff Haswell (’12), Evan Smith (Lab Tech, Midd‘10), Mark Sorrentino (’11), Patrick Tivnan (’11), Frank Sweeney (’11), Grace Spatafora (Principal Investigator). Frank Spatafora (Lab Manager), and Will McConaughy (’11)

Ward Lab – Mammalian Genetics and Education Outreach

The Ward Lab – Summer 2010:Nancy Graham (research technician and outreach program director), Dr. Jeremy Ward, Sky Feuer (Midd ’9.5, research technician), Anne Runkel (Midd ’11)

Spritzer Lab - Behavioral Neuroendocrinology

Dr. Mark Spritzer and summer research students Tyler Prince (’11) and Shannon Engelman (’11)

Spritzer Lab (Behavioral Neuroendocrinology)

Tyler Prince (’11) staining brain tissue histological sections in Prof. Mark Spritzer's lab

Lloyd Lab

Dr. Andi Lloyd and Amanda Warren (‘11) holding cross-sections of Alaskan paper birch, collected as part of a project to better understand how future climate change will affect the growth and productivity of high-latitude forests

Chris Free

I've spent the last few months developing a spatially explicit population growth model of big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) in order to examine the population level impact of density-dependent seedling mortality. The seeds of a number of neotropical tree species are known to suffer increased mortality in areas of high adult conspecific density as a result of increased predation and herbivory by small mammals, caterpillars, and other invertebrates. This phenomenon is known to contribute to the high diversity of tropical ecosystems by maintaining space between conspecific adults but other population level impacts remain unexplored. The purpose of my project is to examine the population level impacts of these density dependent interactions and to determine the importance of these interactions in the management and conservation of overexploited big-leaf mahogany. The resulting model will be made readily available online as a tool for harvesters to design sustainable harvest programs on their own land.

Biology Department Spring 2010

Biology faculty and students on the first day of Spring 2010 semester.
The subject of my current research is the natural history of this tiny forest dwelling ant Aphenogaster rudis. By understanding its natural history we can place it into the web of forest life.

Alexa Warburton

Alexa Warburton's ('09.5) independent research explored how the octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) is able to solve maze problems. Her work, which is among the first to examine this, shows that octopuses use both visual and motor response cues to navigate.

Darwin's 200th birthday

Singing "It's a long way from Amphioxus"

Students reading "The Monkey and the Fig"

BIOL0140 Spring 2008

Students reading "The Monkey and the Fig"

BIOL0140, Spring 2008

Reading of "The Monkey and the Fig"

BIOL0140, Spring 2008

Reading of "The Monkey and the Fig"

BIOL 140, Spring 2008. Helen Young and Alex Draper reading "The Monkey and the Fig" by Stuart Altmann.
This is cell in the dentate gyrus region of the brain that is a double labeled for recently devided cells (red marker) and neurons (green marker). This demonstrates neurogenesis in the adult brain.

Dendate Gyrus

This section of a rat brain shows the dendate gyrus region with cells newly proliferated neurons labeled brown. Images like these can be used to determine the effect of hormones and social interactions on adult neurogenesis.

Weighing vole in field

A wild caught female meadow vole is weighed in the field in order to determine reproductive condition for a independent research project (BIOL0500).
Alyssa Panning weighing a meadow vole for an independent research project (BIOL0500) comparing neurogenesis in males and females.

Students in BIOL0203 Plant Biology

Field labs give students in BIOL0203 a chance to become part of the wetlands they are studying (Leicester Bog, Fall 2009)

Class photo BIOL0203 Plant Biology

Field labs are an important part of biology. Students in BIOL203 Plant Biology explore wetlands.

Biology Department 2003

Seated: Chris Watters, Josh Kavaler, Helen Young, David Parfitt, Vickie Backus Standing: Steve Trombulak, Grace Spatafor, Joanna Shipley, Tom Root, Susan DeSimone, Andi Lloyd, Bob O'Hara, Sallie Sheldon

Pitch Pine seedling

Students in the introductory course BIOL0140 Ecology and Evolution have been assessing the population fate of a rare Pitch Pine forest in Salisbury, VT.

Collecting data in the Salisbury Town Forest

BIOL0140 Ecology and Evolution students have been collecting data to follow the fate of a population of pitch pines in the Salisbury Town Forest. Pitch pines are rare in Vermont so an estimate of the population's parameters produces novel data.

BIOL0140 students taking a quiz

Lab quizzes can be fun if they are held at the field site. Here students in BIOL0140 are tested on their knowledge of stream insects.

Biol0140 students collect stream data

Students in BIOL0140 collect data in the Middlebury River to explore niche partitioning in aquatic insects.

BIOL0140 students measure stream depth

Students in the BIOL0140 Ecology and Evolution class record stream depth as part of a lab project.

Cassidy D'Alioa

Cassidy D'Alioa verifies data recorded by BIOL0140 students in the Salisbury Town Forest. The data collected there will help the Town of Salisbury make management decisions.

West entrance to the Science Center

The Science Center was the home of Biology until McCardell Bicentennial Hall opened in 1999.

The Science Center

The Science Center was home to Biology until 1999 when McCardell Bicentennial Hall opened. The Science Center was located on Storrs Ave. and was dismantled to build the Library.

BIOL0145 uses the Cell Imaging Facility to collect data

These cells are undifferentiated muscle stem cells that were stained for the presence of actin. Students then used the Christopher D. Watters Cell Imaging Facility to record their findings.

BIOL0145 results to detect GMO ingredients in food.

The introductory course in Cells and Genetics uses PCR and electrophorsis to detect GMO ingredients in common foods. The bands in lanes 5 and 6 and 9 indicate that those foods contain GMO ingredients.

Middlebury College Teaching and Research Natural Area

Periodic mowing keeps this field open as habitat for grassland-breeding songbirds.

Banding Birds

Students in BIOL0302 contribute to a long-term data set on migratory bird patterns in the Champlain Valley.

Sanctuary Wetland

Wetlands are important parts of the landscape. The Middlebury College Teaching and Research Natural Area allows classes and researchers to study wetlands close to campus.

SDS-PAGE gel from BIOL0145

SDS-PAGE gels are one way to view the protein composition of a sample. The introduuctory course Cells and Genetics uses these to compare the protein composition of various tissues.

Wetland Trail Bridge

The Middlebury College Teaching and Research Natural Area is a 20ha that is available for class and research use.
Human oocycte in the meiotic stage Metaphase II as imaged in the Christopher D. Watters Cell Imagine Facility. Chromosomes are stained red while spindle fibers are green.

Jewelweed spur

Jewelweed is a common plant in Vermont. Dr. Helen YOung has been studying the co-evolution of the flowers and their bee pollinators here in Vermont.
Jewelweed flowers with different spur shapes. Dr Helen Young has been studying how the interaction between the flowers and their bee pollinators might lead to these differences in shape.
This map shows the location of several gaps created by the 1998 ice storm. Regeneration dynamics in these gaps has been the focus of student theses by Amy Gilbert in 1999, Kelly Jewell in 2001, Becky Hewitt in 2004, and Aiko Weverka in 2009.
Alumni College, Aug. 2009. Students replica-plating bacterial colonies.
Alumni College, Aug 2009. Students replica-plating bacterial colonies.
Prof. Helen Young examining a jewelweed flower

Battel Forest Gap

Students Nick Meiers and Meaghan Conneeny sampling plants in a gap created by a 1998 ice storm. Comparing the new growth in these gaps with growth in closed canopy areas can help us learn about forest regeneration.

Battell forest canopy

The closed canopy at the Battell Research Forest. Recent student theses have compared forst regeneration under closed canopy areas such as this to gaps created by at 1998 ice storm.

Battel forest students

Students from a BIOL0490 Senior Seminar sample sediment cores at the Battell Research Forest. From L-R: Kristin Link, Jill Morrison, Anna Chavis and Dr. Andi Lloyd.

Department of Biology

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753