Wheaton College Color Logo

Biology Faculty Research Projects

Dr. Jennifer BuschDr. Jennifer Busch
Physiologist

Dr. Busch’s research focuses broadly on signal transduction and specifically on kinases, an important class of proteins within these transduction pathways.  She studies mechanisms by which specific kinases modulate cellular responses to stressors.  Currently, she is using the small invertebrate Cordylophora as a model organism.

Nadine RoremDr. Nadine C. Folino-Rorem
Marine & Invertebrate Zoologist

Dr. Rorem and her research students are studying the ecology and molecular taxonomy of the invasive colonial hydroid, Cordylophora. Current areas of interest are how physiological adaptations may explain the global distribution of this invasive hydroid and the predatory role of this hydroid in aquatic systems.  She is also interested in cnidarian biology with a focus on freshwater cnidarians.

Vanya KooDr. Vanya Koo
Microbiologist
Dr. Koo studies how bacteria regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. She uses a marine bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, an exclusive symbiont of the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, as a model system to investigate how small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) and their chaperones regulate gene expression. Specifically, the lab is looking at the regulation of processes required for Vibrio colonization of the squid light organ, including motility, biofilm formation and bioluminescence.

Ray Lewis

Dr. Raymond J. Lewis
Botanist

Dr. Lewis' research involves characterizing the factors that control the growth and reproduction of marine brown algae. Specifically, growth and gametogenesis of microscopic gametophytes of the large and ecologically significant kelps are characterized in response to salinity, pheromones, pH, and nutrients.

Kristen PageDr. L. Kristen Page
Ecologist

Dr. Page’s research involves answering questions about how diseases are transmitted, and trying to understand how disease transmission changes as humans alter landscapes and habitats. Many of the projects conducted with her research students investigate the transmission dynamics of raccoon roundworm in urban landscapes.

Rodney ScottDr. Rodney J. Scott
Geneticist

Dr. Scott uses techniques of molecular biology (microsatellite markers and molecular barcoding) to conduct studies in conservation genetics. He has studied freshwater turtles in Costa Rica and a local endangered turtle species, the Blanding’s turtle here in Illinois. He is currently consulting with an ecologist at the DuPage County Forest Preserve and Biologists at the Shedd Aquarium to help initiate a microbiome study of a Blanding’s turtle “head start” program. A microbiome is the collection of bacterial species that inhabits an organism and/or a specific location. The head start program raises young Blanding’s turtles in captivity for later release back to the wild. Dr. Scott has also recently begun another collaboration with the DuPage County Forest Preserve to study genetic patterns associated with the spread of invasive zebra mussels among several Forest Preserve lakes. He also has several current projects that focus on the biogeography and phylogeny of local fishes.

Dr. Nathaniel Thom
Neurobiologist

Dr. Nathaniel Thom is interested in modifying factors that promote an adaptive response to stress. More specifically, he uses psychophysiological and neuroimaging methods to better understand how physical and mental training programs alter brain-behavior relationships in ways that promote a healthy response to and recovery from stress. Dr. Thom’s research evaluating interventions to promote physical activity, has also provided an interest in advanced statistical techniques including meta-regression and structural equation modeling, which he employs when analyzing brain imaging data.