The discipline of biology encompasses many subject areas ranging from the study of molecular and cellular functions to the ecological interactions among organisms.

As biology majors, students gain a solid background in the discipline while also gaining an appreciation for the application of biological principles to our world. Students planning on majoring in biology will prepare for the major with appropriate courses in mathematics, chemistry, and physics.

As first-years and sophomores, students will be introduced to the breadth of the discipline in the introductory biology course and will gain a foundation in the areas of cell biology and genetics. Upon declaration of the major, students will complete a series of courses focusing on specific areas of study within the discipline. These courses will include elective courses in cell and molecular biology, organismal biology, and ecology and evolution. At the senior level, our majors all enroll in the capstone senior seminar course.

 

The Facilities

Centre College has outstanding facilities that allow our students to gain an excellent introduction to basic laboratory techniques in all major areas of biological study. The biological sciences facilities are located in Young Hall. Laboratories are well equipped to serve the needs of the various biology courses that are offered.

 

The laboratory equipment available for use by our students include microscopy laboratories which provide students with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation for tissue culture, fluorescence microscopy, digital image analysis and scanning-electron microscopy; an aquatic research laboratory that enables intensive investigations of both marine and freshwater organisms; and the greenhouse and botany lab for plant-related studies. The nearby Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge is used regularly by classes, and is also a good place for independent study projects.

Special Features

Although biology is a discipline that can be pursued at just about any college or university, the biology experience at Centre is unique in many ways. First, there is the biology faculty itself—as enthusiastically committed to their respective disciplines as they are to the philosophy of a liberal arts education. The relatively small class sizes mean individual attention from the faculty themselves. Unlike students at larger institutions, the biology major at Centre really has an opportunity to get to know the faculty. The biology faculty is more than willing to work with each student individually to determine the types of courses that will best serve that student’s post-graduation aspirations and goals. For students with specific professional interests, such as medical, dental, or veterinary schools, the pre-health professions committee members will provide guidance to ensure that the proper courses are taken. Students interested in getting research experience are strongly encouraged to engage in a collaborative research project either during the academic year or in the summer. Students selected for these collaborative opportunities have often presented the results of their research at state and national meetings of professional scientific societies.

Off-Campus Opportunities

Centre biology students have engaged in primate research in Barbados, observed volcanoes in New Zealand, and studied coral reefs in the Bahamas. The three-week CentreTerm in January makes these intensive field experiences possible with minimum interruption to the normal sequence of courses required of the biology major. The biology program also offers several internship opportunities during CentreTerm. These involve intensive research participation at some of the outstanding university labs in the country, including the University of Arizona, University of Arkansas, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Louisville. With careful planning, it is also possible for the aspiring biology major to participate in the college’s long-term off campus experiences in Europe, China, and Central/South America.

Tri-Beta Honor Society

Beta Beta Beta is a society for students, particularly undergraduates, dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. Since its founding in 1922, more than 162,000 persons have been accepted into lifetime membership, and more than 406 chapters have been established throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The Kappa Nu chapter of Beta Beta Beta was installed at Centre College on April 22, 1999 by Dr. Donald Roush, District II Director for the Southeast Region.

 

2017-2018 Officers
President: Gentry Brown
Vice President: Logan Oatman
Secretary: Thomas Nunn
Treasurer: Lexi Szalanczy
Historian: Kate Sarkan

 

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kelly O’Quin

 

National Office Website

 

Read about the BIOLOGY program:

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Stephanie Dew

Photo of  Stephanie  Dew
Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology • Chair of Biology Program Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Work Young Hall—120 Work Phone: 859.238.5316 Website: Personal website:
Biography

Stephanie Dew is a professor of biology at Centre College, where she has taught since 1994. Dew was named a Centre Scholar in 2009, and has served as chair of the biochemistry & molecular biology program. Her teaching assignments are concentrated in biochemistry and molecular biology, including courses in biomolecular architecture and biochemical pathways.

Dew has pursued research since her own undergraduate days at Centre, focusing on the proteins and enzymes required for the transport and metabolism of vitamin A, especially in freshwater fish. In 1997, she received a grant from the Teagle Foundation for research at King’s College of the University of London. Dew worked with a team investigating the role of vitamin A in development.

At Centre, Dew seeks to involve her students in research. In her first four years at the college, she has directed seven independent study-research projects, including two students chosen for Centre’s prestigious John C. Young Scholars program. Brad Eilerman, a Centre student who collaborated with Dew on a summer research, won first place in the undergraduate division of the Kentucky Academic of Science for his presentation of the research.

An innovative teacher, Dew has been at the forefront of efforts to obtain and appropriately use technology in Centre’s science classes.

She earned a B.A. at Centre, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and completed a Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, where she was a University Graduate Fellow.

Email: stephanie.dew@centre.edu

File last updated: 5/2/13

Notes

EXPERT: Undergraduate instruction in biochemistry and biomolecular biology — Web as a tool in undergraduate science — Research on vitamin A metabolism

Long-term research on the proteins and enzymes required for the transport and metabolism of vitamin A, especially in freshwater fish. Role of vitamin A in development. Collaborative research with students — two John C. Young Scholars in four years.

Stephen E. Asmus

Photo of  Stephen E. Asmus
H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Work Young Hall—123 Work Phone: 859.238.5318
Biography

Steve Asmus is H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. He has taught in the biology and biochemistry/molecular biology programs since 1996. He received the Kirk Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001 and again in 2016, and was named a Centre Scholar in 2011. Prior to joining the college, he held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University.

Asmus has special expertise in the field of developmental neurobiology, which focuses on how the brain develops. He describes his research as a study of the development of neurons, which are specialized types of cells found in the nervous system. The neurons produce chemicals known as neurotransmitters that make it possible for the neurons to communicate with each other.

Asmus is interested in how neurons produce the correct neurotransmitter during development. He has analyzed the neurotransmitters produced in developing sympathetic neurons, addressing the question of whether different target tissues influence this “decision” process during development.

Currently, Asmus is studying the neurotransmitters that are produced in the cerebral cortex of the developing and adult brain to examine whether some cortical neurons may change the neurotransmitter that they produce as they mature. Asmus uses a variety of cell staining and microscopy techniques in his laboratory research.

Asmus encourages Centre students to collaborate with him on research. His recent collaborators, all biochemistry and molecular biology majors, include Kaylind Batey ’17, Serena Gale-Butto ’17, Shannon Murray ’17, and Lexie Szalanczy ’18.

Asmus has published his research in journals including the Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy (2016), Brain Research (2008 and 2011), and the Journal of Neuroscience (2000). Asmus co-authored these research articles with numerous student collaborators.

Asmus earned a B.S. degree from Cleveland State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and conducted a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University before coming to Centre.

Email: steve.asmus@centre.edu

File last updated: 10/23/14

Notes

EXPERT: Cloning — Stem cells — Developmental neurobiology — Research on the development of neurons and neurotransmitters — Analysis of neurotransmitters, sympathetic neurons, and target tissues

Special expertise in the field of developmental neurobiology. Research on the neurotransmitters produced in interneurons of the cerebral cortex during development. Asmus frequently collaborates with students on his research. He has authored professional papers for journals including Brain Research and Developmental Biology.

Brian Hoven

Photo of  Stephanie  Fabritius
Visiting Instructor of Biology
Work Young Hall - 225
Work Phone: 859.238.6530
Biography

Brian Hoven joined the Centre College faculty in 2019 as visiting instructor of biology.

Hoven earned a B.S. and an M.S. in conservation biology from the State University of New York (SUNY), and is a Ph.D. candidate in ecology, evolution, and environmental biology at Miami University.

File last updated: 10/8/2019

Amanda Falk

Photo of  Amanda  Falk
Assistant Professor of Biology • Pre-Veterinary Advisor Biology Work Office: Young Hall - 122 Work Phone: 859.238.5304
Biography

Amanda Falk graduated with a B. S. (Honors) in Biology from Lake Superior State University, performing a senior thesis on molecular and morphometric sexing of bald eagles and related species. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Kansas, studying avian paleontology and ichnology—trace fossils—as well as anatomy and behavior of modern birds. During this time she began research in China and South Korea, supported by a U.S. Fulbright Grant from 2011-2012 that provided the opportunity to perform extensive research in China.

She has expertise in paleobiology, evolutionary biology, functional morphology, and fossil behavior. Her current research interests are studies of fossil avian anatomy, avian ichnology (the study of preserved behavior known as trace fossils—footprints, burrows, etc.), comparative studies of modern avian anatomy, studies of modern avian footprint production and tracemaking behavior, laser-stimulated fluorescence of fossils, and paleobiodiversity and mass extinction.

Email: amanda.falk@centre.edu

File last updated 6/26/17

Mark L. Galatowitsch

Photo of  Mark L. Galatowitsch
Assistant Professor of Biology Biology Work Office: Young Hall-221 Work Phone: 859.238.5320 Website: http://sites.google.com/site/marklgalatowitsch/
Biography

Mark Galatowitsch joined Centre’s faculty in 2015 as assistant professor of biology.

His research focuses on the strategies aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates use to exploit dynamic environments. Galatowitsch uses a combination of extensive field surveys, field and laboratory experiments, and population genetics to test hypotheses in ecology and evolution. He has studied life-histories of generalist aquatic insects that exist across New Zealand permanent lakes and unpredictable temporary ponds, mass mayfly nymph migrations from Georgia river channels to seasonal floodplain wetlands, and leafhopper behavioral responses to predatory birds in Costa Rica. He enjoys mentoring research students keen to study entomology, freshwater ecology, and applied environmental science topics.

Galatowitsch received a B.S. in biology from Allegheny College, an M.S. in entomology from the University of Georgia, and a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Canterbury.

Email: mark.galatowitsch@centre.edu

File last updated 9/14/15

Margaret "Peggy" G. Richey

Photo of  Margaret
Ewing T. Boles Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology • Chair of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Program • Nursing School Advisor Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Work Young Hall—124 Work Phone: 859.238.5319 Website: web.centre.edu/bio/richey/index.htm
Biography

Peggy Richey is Ewing T. Boles Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.

Richey’s primary area of research interest involves the identification of novel chemical inhibitors of bacteria. She has engaged her Centre students in collaborative research on several research projects. Richey also has actively encouraged her students to pursue off-campus research projects, helping them earn placements with short-term or summer projects at major university laboratories throughout the United States.

Richey has published her research in academic journals including Phytopathology, Journal of Bacteriology, and Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology.

A magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Kentucky, Richey also holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in plant pathology from UK.

Email: peggy.richey@centre.edu

File last updated:1/14/14

Notes

EXPERT

Biochemistry, physiology, and molecular biology of plant disease; the identification of novel chemical inhibitors of bacteria — Long-term research on the testing of chemicals for antibacterial activity against a range of bacteria — Undergraduate science education and research

Kelly E. O'Quin

Photo of  Kelly E. O'Quin
Assistant Professor of Biology Biology Work Young—121 Work Phone: 859.238.5370
Biography

Kelly O’Quin joined Centre as assistant professor of biology in 2014.

O’Quin’s research focuses on microevolutionary changes in eye development, structure, and function. His study systems include the Mexican blind cavefishes and African cichlid fishes. O’Quin uses genetic crosses and genome sequencing of these fishes to identify mutations responsible for evolutionary changes in eye development, especially as they relate to photoreceptor differentiation. He has published his research with undergraduate co-authors in the journals PLoS ONE, BMC Evolutionary Biology, and Evolution & Development. He enjoys mentoring research students interested in evolutionary biology, genetics, and genomics. O’Quin teaches Introductory Biology, Genetics, Cave Ecology, Biostatistics, and Genomics.

He received a B.S. in biology from Louisiana State University, and a Ph.D. in behavior, ecology, evolution and systematics from the University of Maryland.

Email: kelly.oquin@centre.edu

File last updated: 8/29/16

Joseph Styga

Photo of  Marie  Nydam
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
Work Young Hall—118 Work Phone: 859.238.6329
Biography

Joseph Styga joined the Centre College faculty in 2019 as visiting assistant professor of biology.

Styga’s research interests include functional, developmental, and genetic constraints among fitness-related performance characteristics and associated morphology.

Styga earned a B.S. in fisheries and wildlife from the University of Georgia, an M.S. in biology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Alabama.

File last updated: 10/8/2019

Jessica Taylor

Photo of  Marie  Nydam
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
Work Young Hall—5320 Work Phone: 859.238.5320
Biography

Jessica Taylor joined the Centre College faculty in 2019 as visiting assistant professor of biology.

Taylor earned a B.S. exercise science from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in biomedical science from the University of Missouri.

File last updated: 10/8/2019

Anne Lubbers

Photo of Anne Lubbers
Professor of Biology Biology Work Young Hall—223 Work Phone: 859.238.5321 Work Email: anne.lubbers@centre.edu
Biography

Anne Lubbers is professor of biology at Centre College, where she has taught since 1993.

A plant ecologist, Lubbers has special expertise on factors affecting seed production. Her work has been published in professional journals, including the American Journal of Botany and Ecology.

Lubbers provides her Centre students opportunities for collaborative research. For the last five years she has studied reproductive success in wild ginseng. One or two students work with her each summer as they visit eight forest populations throughout Kentucky of this increasingly uncommon species. One of those students, Karen Trowbridge, subsequently was awarded third place in the biology poster competition at the joint annual meeting of the Tennessee and Kentucky Academy of Sciences in the fall of 2001. This summer Lubbers will continue the process of studying how soil conditions, sunlight, and pollination affect the plant’s ability to produce seed.

Lubbers says of such field work for students: “Whatever field our students go on to pursue, they gain some really important basic skills in this program—how to be organized in collecting data, the importance of being careful when recording numbers or doing lab work, how to interpret the information obtained, how to use a computer for graphing and—especially—how to think logically and concisely.”

Lubbers is a member of the Botanical Society of America, the Kentucky Native Plant Society, the Ecological Society of America, and the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society. She holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a Ph.D. from Duke University.

Email: anne.lubbers@centre.edu

File last updated: 8/5/13

Notes

EXPERT

Botany — Plant reproductive ecology — Invasive plants

A plant ecologist with expertise on factors affecting seed production in native plants. Articles published in the American Journal of Botany. Regularly involves her Centre students in collaborative research. Most recent work is on American ginseng; Lubbers and her students are studying how water availability, sunlight, and pollination affect the plant’s ability to produce seed. Interested in invasive plants and teaches one biannual course on plant-herbivore interactions.