Biology Department Faculty

Margaret Bloch Qazi
B.A., Wellesley; Ph.D., Tufts
Teaches: First Term Seminar, Invertebrate Biology, Entomology, Organismal Biology
Research Interests:
"I study insect reproductive behaviors and physiology using two model systems, the flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) and the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). While males and females must cooperate to reproduce at all, there is also often conflict regarding how many progeny to produce, when to produce them, and who will fertilize the female's eggs. This tension between cooperation and conflict results in fascinating reproductive behaviors and physiology. While these types of male-female interactions have been documented in organisms ranging from primates to plants, insects present a particularly tractable study system. My research includes techniques and questions from the disciplines of animal behavior, physiology, genetics, development, and evolution.
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm. 2340; 507.933.6287
Homepage: Dr. Margaret Bloch Qazi

Laura Burrack 
B.A. Macalester College, Ph.D. Harvard University
Teaches: Principles of Biology, ST: Cancer Biology, Microbiology
Research Interests: During cell division, organisms must accurate divide their genetic information in order to survive; however, some variation is necessary to provide genetic diversity necessary for evolution. The focus of my research is to understand the role of flexibility in chromosome segregation mechanisms and to determine the consequences of this flexibility in the evolution of microorganisms under stress and in the development of increased fitness as a model for cancer cells. Microorganisms are particularly useful to study genome stability due to their large population size and the ease in which different conditions and genetic phenotypes can be tested. In my research, I use the yeast Candida albicans as a model system to explore the mechanisms and consequences of alterations in chromosome segregation using a combination of microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology techniques.
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm 3144; phone 507.933.7325

Maureen Carlson
Technical Coordinator 
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm 2140; phone 507.933.7334

Jeffrey Dahlseid Joint appointment with the Biology Department and the Chemistry Department
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College; Ph.D., Northwestern University.
Teaches: Biochemistry; Cell & Molecular Biology.
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm. 4532; 507.933.6129
Homepage: Courses and Research Opportunities

Eric Elias
B.S., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; M.S., Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN
Teaches: Coordinates & teaches Principles of Biology Labs; Coordinates and teaches Organismal Biology Labs;
Research Interests: The Role of 17a-ethynylestradiol and Tamoxifen on the Reproductive Development of Juvenile Rainbow Darters (Etheostoma caeruleum).
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm. 2141; phone 507.933.7329

Michael Ferragamo
B.A., Boston University; M.A., SUNY at Stonybrook; Ph.D., Brown University. 
Teaches: Cell & Molecular Biology, Human Anatomy, Neuroscience, Neurobiological Methods. 
Office: Beck Hall Rm. 247; 507.933.6369

Jon Grinnell
B.A., California Polytechnic State University; Ph.D. University of Minnesota
Teaches: Evolution, Ecology & Behavior; Vertebrate Zoology; Animal Behavior; Evolution.
Research Interests: I am interested in how the behavior of an animal is influenced by ecological and social factors, in the evolution and functional significance of bioacoustic signals, and in the coexistence of humans and other species. My current research interests include the social significance of roaring and other vocalizations in African lions; the social ecology of Chipping sparrows and other local species; and the landscape ecology of vertebrates in the Minnesota River Valley.
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm. 3102; phone 507.933.7332
Homepage: Dr. Grinnell

Colleen Jacks
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus; Ph.D., University of Minnesota. 
Teaches: Cell and Molecular Biology; Genetics; Molecular Genetics; Developmental Biology 
Research Interests: I am interested in gene expression and how gene expression is regulated. We are using ribosomal protein genes of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana in our investigations. Ribosomes are found in three compartments of the plant cell - the cytoplasm, the plastid (e.g. chloroplast) and the mitochondrion. All three types of ribosomes contain a unique set of proteins, mostly encoded by genes within the nucleus of the cell. The genes encoding cytosolic ribosomal proteins are coordinately regulated, i.e. turned on and off together, in many organisms. In plants, many of the ribosomal proteins are encoded by families of genes. We want to understand the role of each family member in the growth and development of the plant. Currently, we are studying the ribosomal protein S15 gene family. Data from the Arabidopsis genome project indicate there are five members of this gene family and cDNA/EST sequences are available for two members. We are determining the expression pattern in different plant tissues and at different developmental stages for each of these family members using RT-PCR and have isolated a T-DNA insertion mutant for one of the S15 genes.

We are also investigating the function and expression of a gene known as H1flk3 linked to one of the S15 genes. This gene of unknown function is one of three related genes isolated from the Arabidopsis genome; the other two genes are linked to histone H1 genes (H1flk1 and H1flk2). We have isolated a T-DNA insertion mutant for the H1flk3 gene.
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm. 3247; phone 507.933.7326

Yuta Kawarasaki
B.A., Ottawa University, KS; Ph.D., Miami University, OH
Teaches: Comparative Physiology; Principles of Biology; Organismal Biology Lab; Evolution, Ecology & Behavior Lab; Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates
Research Interests: I am broadly interested in physiological adaptations of animals to environmental stress. In particular, my current projects focus on adaptations of insects for winter survival. Characteristics of the winter environment such as low temperature and decrease in water availability impose manifold constraints on survival of ectothermic animals. These stresses have, in turn, collectively shaped diverse strategies of these animals – evasion or tolerance of freezing, mechanisms of energy conservation, and resistance or tolerance to dehydration – through the process of the natural selection. To better understand the basis for these adaptations, I employ a broad range of approaches from cutting-edge molecular techniques to classical, whole-organism studies.
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm. 2341; phone 507.933.6348

Pamela Kittelson
B.A. Colorado College; M.A. Humboldt State University; Ph.D. University of California
Teaches: Ecology; Plant Physiology; Evolution, Ecology & Behavior; General Biology and Directed Research in Plant Ecology
Research Interests: I am interested in the ecology and evolution of plant populations. My recent publications focus on how the genetic architecture of lupine populations have been shaped by natural selection and reproductive events; I clarified mechanisms of evolution across small geographic areas. At Gustavus, my students and I examine interactions between plant and animal species, and we use a molecular tool called AFLP to measure genetic variability in oak and prairie species. Our work contributes to more thorough understanding of how populations respond isolated, fragmented landscapes. Finally, we also explore how the presence of invasive plants affects native species and ecosystems in Minnesota, California and Montana.
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm. 3324; phone 507.933.7331
Homepage: Dr. Kittelson

Jennifer Kruse
Department Administrative Assistant 
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm. 2147; phone 507.933.7333

S. Brookhart Shields
B.S. Chemistry, Winona State University, Winona, MN, Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, Postdoc Cell Biology and Biophysics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Teaches: Cell and Molecular Biology, Labs for Principles of Biology, Advanced Cell Biology, BioExplorations for Non-Majors, and Social and Art Knitting
Research Interests: There are three ongoing areas of investigation in my lab: (1) the cross talk between the ubiquitin-dependent (proteasome and lysosome) and ubiquitin-independent (autophagy) protein degradation pathways, (2) the connection between protein folding stability and metal ion homeostasis, and (3) mechanisms that regulate the degradative enzymes (proteases and lipases) within lysosome. Sharing with students the astonishing beauty and wonderment I have for cell biology is where I derive my greatest amount of professional fulfillment.
Office: Nobel Hall of Science Rm. 3535; phone: 507.933.7330