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Graduate Program

Graduate Students

Current Graduate Students

Austin Alleman, B.S., The University of Texas of Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Srini Kambhampati
Research Interests: Arthropod Evolution, Insect-Bacterial interactions, Genomics and Next-gen sequencing
Email: aalleman@patriots.uttyler.edu 

Alex Arp, B.S., Kent State University (Zoology)
Advisor: Dr. Blake Bextine
Research Interests: Populations genetics of Potato Psyllid and Zebra chip disease
Email: aalex@patriots.uttyler.edu

David Bakken, B.S., Indiana University
Office: BEP 116
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Research Interests: Habitat ecology and life history of freshwater mussels
Email: dbakken@patriots.uttyler.edu

Anna Biesbrock, B.S., California State University, Fresno
Advisor: Dr. Blake Bextine
Research Interests: I am currently working with cell cultures of glassy-winged sharp shooters (Homalodisca vitripennis), a major proponent in Pierce's Disease. I am investigating the effects of the HoCV-01 virus on cell proliferation to determine whether or not the virus can be used as an effective insecticide.
Email: abiesbrock@patriots.uttyler.edu

Omar Castillo, B.S. in Biology (Concentration: Microbiology), University of Texas at San Antonio
Office: BEP 135
Advisor: Dr. Ali Azghani
Interests: Interactions between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the immune system.
Email: ocastillo@patriots.uttyler.edu

Justin Dalrymple, B.S. in biology, Boston College
Office: BEP 106
Advisor: Dr. Josh Banta
Research Interests: Conservation genetics and ecology
Email: jdalrymple2@patriots.uttyler.edu

Kurt Felix, B.S. The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Lance Williams
Email: kfelix@patriots.uttyler.edu

David Ford, B.S. Louisiana Scholar’s College
Office: BEP 118
Advisor: Dr. Lance Williams
Research Interests: I am interested in everything about biology.  My current focus includes studying mussel populations in freshwater systems, river ecology and modeling systems
Email: dford9@patriot.uttyler.edu

Kirian Heffentrager, B.S., Penn State University (Wildlife and fisheries sciences)
Office: BEP 118
Advisor: Dr. Lance Williams
Research: Anthropogenic effects of land use on freshwater mussel ecology, Natural resource conservation
Email: kheffentrager@patriots.uttyler.edu

Kayla Key
Advisor: Dr. John Placyk
Research Interests: Ecology, population biology, conservation biology and evolution
Email: kkey3@patriots.uttyler.edu

Lauren Lambeth, B.S. The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Blake Bextine
Research Interests: Molecular detection of insect transmission and vector relationships of phytoplasma in palm diseases; Texas Phoenix Palm Decline and Florida Lethal Yellowing
Email: llambeth@patriots.uttyler.edu

Nate Marshall, B.S. in zoology, The Ohio State University
Office: BEP 135
Advisor: Dr. John Placyk
Research Interests: Aquatic Ecology, Mussel life history traits (specifically glochidium), and mussel genetics
Email: nmarshall@patriots.uttyler.edu

Kaitlyn Pettingill, B.S., University Wisconsin at Eau Claire
Office: BEP 116
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Research Interests: Ecology, Evolution - Life History Traits and Conservation
Email: kpettingill@patriots.uttyler.edu   

Julia Potocnjak, B.S. Biology
Advisor: Dr. Blake Bextine
Research Interests: Vector biology and Infectious diseases
Email: jpotocnjak@patriots.uttyler.edu

Lindsey St. Clair, B.S.,Austin College
Office: BEP 118
Advisor: Dr. Lance Williams
Research Interests: My research interests include conservation, restoration and population ecology. I have worked on blackland prairie restoration both on the ecological and microbiological side and now I am working on mussel conservation through Dr. Lance Williams’ Lab.
Email: lstclair2@patriots.uttyler.edu

 Former Graduate Students

2012

Jeremy Chamberlain, B.S., in Biology from Iowa State University; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: Stochastic life-history variation in populations of western ribbon snakes (Thamnophis proximus) in East Texas.

Katie Chamberlain, B.S., in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. John S. Placyk, Jr.
Thesis: Effects of the herbicide atrazine on the behavior of the checkered gartersnake (Thamnophis marcianus).

Rebekah Chapman, B.S., Northern Michigan University; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Blake Bextine
Thesis:  Population genetics of the potato Psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli.

Ashley Dunithan, B.S., Ball State University; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Lance Williams
Thesis:  Using Ecological Niche Modeling to Predict Occurrence of Rare Fish and Unionid Mussels in East Texas.

Daniel Goodding, B.S., Morningside College (Sioux City, IA); M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: Influence of substrate and hydraulic variables on habitat preferences of a sculptured and an unsculptured freshwater mussel.  

Bradley Martin, B.S., The University of Texas at Tyler; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. John S. Placyk, Jr.
Thesis: Molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography of the American box turtle (Terrepene spp.).

Christopher S. Samuelson, B.A., Liberal Arts New School for Social Research N.Y. N.Y. ; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Jim Koukl
Thesis:  Movement patterns in resident and translocated Three-toed box turtles (Terrepene caolina triunguis).

Julia Sonn, B.S., The University of Arkansas; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Troy Anderson
Thesis: Influence of Agricultural stream habitat alterations on mosquitos and amphibians: patterns, processes, and predictions.

2011

Jamie L. Cantrell, B.S., University of Southern Mississippi; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. John Playck & Dr. Darrell Pogue
Thesis:

Henry L. Schreiber IV, B.S., in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Blake R. Bextine
Thesis: Genetic analysis of the prophage regions of a phytopathogenic bacterium.

2010

Sheri A. Sanders, B.S., in Environmental Science & Management and Zoology, Michigan State University; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. John Placyk
Thesis:  Ecological, morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses of the pseudogeographica subgroup (Genus: Graptemys).

Matthew J. Troia, B.S., University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Lance Williams
Thesis: Spatial and temporal variability in hydrogeomorphic conditions structure fish and mussel assemblages on the upper Neches river.

2009

Iqbal Ahmed, B.S., University of Texas at Arlington; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Cliff Boucher
Thesis: The role of IcmP, a Pseudomonas aeruginosa insulin-cleaving metalloprotease, in respiratory infection.

Curtis A. Clark, B.S., The University of Texas at Tyler; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Ali Azghani
Thesis: Mechanism of epithelial barrier disruption by Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase.

Chase Hively, B.A., Carson-Newman College; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. James F. Koukl
Thesis: A comparative analysis of two turtle assemblages in an altered floodplain.

2008

Dawn Byars, B.S., Texas A&M University; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: Influences of diet and dam on age of maturation in African house snakes, Lamprophis fuliginosus.

Elizabeth Farley, B.S., University of Florida; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Darrell Pogue & Dr. Lance Williams
Thesis: Breeding ecology of Bachman’s sparrow (Aimophila aestivalis) in post oak savannah on Camp Maxey, Lamar County, Texas.

David Kimberly, B.A., Otterbein College; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: Mercury and the physical performance of cottonmouths (Agkistrodon piscivorous).

Denise Lin, B.S., University of California, Davis; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Blake Bextine

Thesis: Putative Zebra Complex Pathogens Detection, Biotype Differentiation, and cDNA Library Construction of Potato/Tomato Psyllid (Bacteriera cockerelli) in Texas   

Jake A. Pruett, B.S., Middle Tennessee State University; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: Thermal ecology and habitat use of the western cottonmouth Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma

Danielle Tufts, B.S., University of California, Davis; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Drs. Blake Bextine and Darrell Pogue
Thesis: Identification of colony phenotype and potential biological control methods of Solenopsis invicata buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) using molecular techniques.

2007

Andree Clark, B.S., The University of Texas at Tyler; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Cliff Boucher
Thesis:  Role of the outer membrane protein OprQ in Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence

Brian Jackson, B.S., University of California, Riverside; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Blake Bextine
Thesis: Impact of feeding behaviors on the transmission of Xylella fastidiosa by Homalodisca vitripennis (Hemiptera, Cicadellidae).

Peixin Jiang, B.S.; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Blake Bextine
Thesis: Competition of two strains of Xyella fastidiosa in foregut of glassy-winged sharpshooter.

Jason Keyes, B.S.; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler

Advisor: Dr. Jim Koukl

Thesis: Evaluation of acclimation for repatriated three-toed box turtles (Terrepene carolina triunguis).

Melissa Nicholson, B.S.; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Don Killebrew
Thesis: The effect of density and relative egg sac placement on the life history traits of green lynx spider Peucetia viridans (Araneae, Oxyopidae).

Robert Jadin, B.S.; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Ron Gutberlet
Thesis: Phylogeny of the Porthidium group (Squamata: serpentes: crotalinae) inferred from morphological data.

2006 

Jessica Coleman, B.S., The University of Texas at Tyler; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Ron Gutberlet
Thesis: Basking habits of map turtles (Emydidae: Graptemys) along the Sabine River in East Texas.

Timothy R. Hunkapiller, B.S.; M.S., The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: The effects of all-terrain vehicle use on the herpetofauna of an East Texas floodplain.

Stephan Lorenz, B.S., M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Darrell Pogue
Thesis: Effects of local and landscape habitat characteristics on wintering grassland birds in north central Texas.

Allyson Modra, B.S., M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Ron GutberletThesis: Phylogeny of Bothrops, Bothriopsis, and Bothrocophias species (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae) inferred from morphological data. 

2005

David Bolanowski, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Jim Koukl

Thesis: Habitat selection, movements and survival of translocated juvenile three-toed box turtles (Terrepene carolina triunguis). 

2004

Vanessa Adams, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Darrell Pogue
Thesis: Edge effects on reproductive success of bottomland forest birds.

Shelby Braman, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Darrell Pogue
Thesis: A study of the occurrence, distribution, and effects of larval Protocalliphora (Diptera: Calliphoridae) on secondary cavity-nesting bird species.

Alan Byboth, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: The influence of age on mating success in male gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor).

Paul Hampton, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: Effects of management techniques on amphibian and reptile populations in an East Texas floodplain.

Casey Wieczorek, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: A test of the fractional egg hypothesis using African house snakes, Lamprophis fuliginosus, that vary in egg size. 

2003

Roberto Brenes, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: Movements and habitat selection of the Gulf Coast Waterdog (Necturus beyeri: Proteidae) in East Texas.

Brian Fontenot, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Ron Gutberlet
Thesis: Molecular and morphological analysis of the taxonomic status of the East Texas toad, Bufo velatus.

 Karen Rispin, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Jim Koukl
Thesis: Habitat selection, movement patterns, and survival rate of hatchling three-toed box turtles, Terrepene carolina triunguis.

2002

Matthew Gifford, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Ron Gutberlet
Thesis: Cryptic diversity in the Ameiva chrysolaema species complex (Squamata: Teiidae) as revealed by analysis of morphology and mitochondria DNA.

Milton Yacelga, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: An investigation of optimal foraging theory in a natural setting in prey choice and patch use by semi-aquatic snakes.

2001

Rita Mehta, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: Prey-handling behavior in newly-hatched trinket snakes, Elaphe helena.

Rod Wittenberg, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Ron Gutberlet
Thesis: A phylogenetic analysis of Bitis (Reptila: Squamata: Viperidae): recovering the evolutionary history of Africa’s most diverse viper genus. 

2000

Mark Doles, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Neil Ford
Thesis: The use of ephemeral pools of a managed floodplain by semi-aquatic snakes.

1999

Brad Low, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. James Stewart
Thesis: Identification of a bacterium that grows in crystal violet using PCR and Base sequence analysis.

Peggy Parsons, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler

Advisor: Dr. Don Killebrew

Thesis: Aquatic arthropods of the Old Sabine Bottom Wildlife Management Area

1998

Susanne Alden, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Lynn Sherrod
Thesis: Woody plant species diversity of the old Sabine bottom wildlife management area, Smith County, Texas.

1997

Stacie Yarbrough, B.S. M.S.; The University of Texas at Tyler
Advisor: Dr. Don Killebrew
Thesis: Biodiversity of the aquatic coleptera with an emphasis on the adult population dynamics of the haliplidae at two East Texas sites.

 

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