Latest Developments

Department News:

Watch our 2023 Biology Graduation video on YouTube HERE.

WCSU Department of Biology’s Microscopy Lab helps students visualize proteins central to brain function and more

"Western Connecticut State University’s Department of Biology Microscopy Lab in the Midtown campus Science Building serves as a place for students and staff in the department to conduct learning and research. Unveiled in 2021, the lab was first used educationally at that time by Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kristin Giamanco, who can’t say enough about its attributes."

Western Connecticut State University’s new TAF program offers graduate students interested in earning an M.S. in Integrated Biological Diversity a blended opportunity that helps fund their education while they learn to become educators and work on their research and stewardship projects. (posted 12-8-21)

New Microscopy Lab: The Department of Biology at Western Connecticut State University has unveiled a new Microscopy Lab in the Science Building on the university’s Midtown campus. Serving as a place for students and staff in the department to conduct learning and research. (posted 7-18-21)

Faculty News:

For the past seven years, Budd Veverka has been the Director of Land Management for Mianus River Gorge, Inc, an independent, non-profit conservation and education organization here in Bedford, NY, where he directs day-to-day land management efforts on the Mianus River Gorge Preserve, Taylor Preserve, and conservation easements throughout the Mianus River Watershed. Budd sits on the steering committee of the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (LH PRISM) and is chair of the LH PRISM Invasive Species Prevention Zone committee and an active member of the LH PRISM Species Categorization committee. He is also the president-elect of the Northeast Section of The Wildlife Society. Prior to his time in New York, Budd spent eight years as the Small Game Biologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and was also their state black bear liaison. He has also worked seasonally with various wildlife in Kentucky, Georgia, and Nebraska. Budd has a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife from Unity College in Maine and a Master’s Degree in Biology from Eastern Kentucky University. (posted 1-11-22)

New Faculty Members: The Department of Biology is ecstatic to welcome our newest faculty member, Dorothy Christopher. Dorothy is an evolutionary ecologist and studies topics such as evolutionary ecology of plant mating systems and conservation biology. (posted 11-22-22)

Interdisciplinary Research: Dr. Josh Cordeira (Biology) and Dr. Forest Robertson (from Chemistry) in getting their research “When Good Food Goes Bad: The Impact of Rancidity on Mouse Feeding Behavior and Health” funded by the American Association of Laboratory Science (AALAS). (posted 06-16-22)

Watershed Pipeline: Michelle Bissett, an intern at Great Hollow Wildnerness School, 2016, and Theodora Pinou, a biology professor at Western Connecticut State University, are part of a team of researchers using an antenna to detect the frequency associated with various sterile grass carps. (posted 7-6-21)

New Faculty Members: WCSU welcomes Dr. Carlos Santibanez-Lopez and Dr. Rayda Krell.  Learn more about our two new faculty members here. (posted 1-12-21)

Congratulations to Dr. Neeta Connally for being awarded the CSU Board of Regents Faculty Research Award for WCSU AND ALSO the CSU Board of Regents System-Wide Research Award! Learn more about Dr. Connally's tickborne disease ecology and prevention research here. (posted 6-2-20)

Dr. Neeta Connally presented her research about integrated backyard tick management at the New Tick Threats and Control Tactics national webinar hosted by the US Environmental Protection Agency Center for Integrated Pest Management, in February 2020. (posted 5-11-20)

Dr. Theodora Pinou co-authored "Spatial distribution of epibionts on olive ridley sea turtles at Playa Ostional, Costa Rica" in PLoS ONE 14(9): e0218838. (posted 5-11-20)

Dr. Thomas Philbrick co-authored "Plastid Genomes of Five Species of Riverweeds (Podostemaceae): Structural Organization and Comparative Analysis in Malpighiales" in Frontiers in Plant Science 10. Article 1035. DOI 0.3389/fpls.2019.01035. (posted 5-11-20)

Dr. Theodora Pinou led a symposium, "Exemplary Practices in Herpetological Education" at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in July, 2020. (posted 08-25-19)

Student News:

Jacob Bethin (Biology, ‘21) will begin an M.S. in Entomology at the University of Florida in Fall 2022. Jacob’s graduate program will be fully funded through his work as a Graduate Research Assistant at McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History! (posted 06-16-22)

Herpetology Lab Win: John Michael Arnet on receiving funding from the Diamondback Terrapin Working Group (DTWG) towards his field research this year! Only 40% of the applicants were funded this round (posted 05-19-22)

Graduate Student Receives National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship: Ericka Griggs, a graduate student at Western Connecticut State University, has been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her thesis proposal and work on loon biology and conservation. Griggs is entering her second year pursuing a master’s degree in Integrative Biological Diversity at WCSU. (posted 06-25-21)

Graduate students in action: Check out this recent Hamlethub article featuring WCSU Biology MS in Integrated Biological Diversity students learning about limnology with Professor Larry Marsicano. (posted 1-4-21)

WCSU Biology in our community: Check out this recent Wilton Bulletin article about summer work restoring riverweed being conducted by Dr. Tom Philbrick and MS Student Kelly Nealon.  This project is being conducted in partnership with the Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited. (posted 6-10-20)

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) 
Congratulations to our 2020 SURF students, Emily Hoegler and JD Hannon! Emily plans to work with Dr. Cordeira to investigate how the neurotransmitter dopamine is involved in exercise and food intake in mice which has important implications for human health and disease.  JD will be working with Dr. Monette to examine the impacts of multiple environmental stressors such as temperature and salinity on gene expression in the gills of Atlantic killifish, which has important implications for the impacts of climate change on the distribution and abundance of estuarine fishes.  JD also received a CT Sea Grant Undergraduate Research Fellowship for this work.  Way to go! (posted 5-11-20, updated 6-10-20)

Jacob Bethin (Biology Ecological Sciences, Class of 2021) presented his SURF project at the 2020 virtual Entomological Society of America annual meeting.  For his project, mentored by Dr. Connally, Jacob investigated the role of songbirds in the eastern US as possible hosts for the exotic Asian longhorned tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis. (posted 1-11-21).

Jenny Kry (Biology, Class of 2018) and her faculty advisor, Dr. Joshua Cordeira, have published an article, "Binge-eating Behavior in Socially Isolated Female Mice" in the Journal of Young Investigators (JYI), based on her Advanced Sr. Research project. (posted 12-06-18)