Academic Program at Centre College
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.
File last updated: 10/23/14
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.
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.
File last updated: 5/2/13
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.
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.
File last updated 6/26/17
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.
File last updated 9/14/15
Christina Garcia joined the Centre College faculty in 2018 as assistant professor of biology.
Garcia earned a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Centre College, and a Ph.D. of philosophy in cancer biology from Vanderbilt University.
Before coming to Centre, Klooster was a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard University. His research interests are plant population and community ecology, evolutionary-ecology, symbioses, phylogeography, population genetics, genomics, and conservation of rare and endangered species. Klooster graduated cum laude from Xavier University with a B.S. in biological sciences and earned a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Cincinnati.
Since arriving at Centre, Klooster received a National Science Foundation grant in 2011 in collaboration with Dr. Steven Miller (University of Wyoming) to study highly specialized plant-fungal symbioses. The grant has facilitated research opportunities for Centre students and provided funding for a research/teaching post-doctoral fellow. He was named a Centre Scholar in 2013 and served as director of the Bonner Scholars Program from 2013 until 2016. In 2016, in collaboration with Centre colleagues Kyle Anderson, Danielle Kirchner, and Brett Werner, he received a four-year LIASE Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to pursue novel pedagogical practices integrating contemporary issues of Asia and the environment.
File last updated: 10/11/16
Staff Congress Representative (2015 — 2016)
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.
File last updated: 8/5/13
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.
Marie Nydam joined Centre’s faculty in 2012 as an assistant professor of biology. She was named a Centre Scholar in 2016.
Nydam has a B.S. in evolution and ecology from the University of California, Davis. She earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from Cornell University and completed a postdoctoral position at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Nydam studies phylogenetic relationships, speciation, and self/non-self recognition. She studies marine invertebrates in the English Channel and the Mediterranean Sea. She enjoys mentoring research students who are interested in evolutionary biology, genetics, and molecular biology techniques.
Nydam teaches Evolution, Biodiversity, Ecology (BIO 110), Introduction to Genetics (BIO210), Evolutionary Biology (BIO305), and Invertebrate Biology (BIO310).
File last updated: 5/2/13
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.
File last updated: 8/29/16
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.
File last updated:1/14/14
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