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Department of Biology
167 Castetter Hall
Telephone: (505) 277-3411

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UNM Biology, Castetter Hall 1480
MSC03-2020, 219 Yale Blvd NE
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

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UNM Biology Faculty

Core Faculty

Faculty List (Alphabetical)


Coen Adema

Coenraad Adema, Professor
Comparative immunobiology, molecular aspects and cell biology of parasite/invertebrate host compatibility, digenean/snail interactions, and molluscan genomics.


Michael Andersen

Michael J. Andersen, Assistant Professor
Evolutionary biology, biogeography, speciation, island biogeography, rapid radiations, avian systematics and taxonomy.


Ulfar Bergthorsson

Ulfar Bergthorsson, Associate Professor
ON LEAVE UNTIL AUGUST 2017
Molecular evolution; evolution of bacterial and organellar genomes; horizontal gene transfer; evolution of RNA editing, gene duplication and evolution of novel gene function; evolution of mutation rate.


Scott Collins

Scott L. Collins, Distinguished Professor; Regents' Professor; Potter Chair
Plant community dynamics; gradient models and structure; the role of disturbance in communitie; fire ecology; patch dynamics; landscape ecology; grassland ecology; analysis of species distribution and abundance.


Joe Cook

Joseph A. Cook, Professor; Director, Museum of Southwestern Biology, & Curator, Division of Mammals, Museum of Southwestern Biology
Biotic conservation, historical biogeography, molecular and morphological evolution, systematics, speciation, natural history of subterranean mammals, island biology.


Cara Lea Council-Garcia Cara Lea Council-Garcia, Principal Lecturer
Coordinating and designing of undergraduate biology major labs, biology labs for health-related majors, and biology labs for non-majors biology courses.

Rich Cripps

Richard M. Cripps, Professor; Director, Postbaccalaureate Research & Education Program (PREP)
Using genetics and molecular biology to understand muscle development in Drosophila: regulation of muscle-specific gene transcription; identification and characterization of new genes required for heart and muscle development; cell biology of developing muscle fibers.


Charlie Cunningham

Charles Cunningham, Associate Professor
On Leave November 2016–October 2017
Invertebrate Immunology; oysters as environmental biosensors; annotating the genome of the oyster Crassistrea gigas; the response of schistosome to stressors; the mode of action of the anti-schistosomal drug praziquantel.


Eric Y. Denkers 

Eric Y. Denkers, Associate Professor
Host immunity during parasite infections; immunoregulatory function of innate immunity; muscosal immune responses during infection; signal transduction during intracellular infection; microbial mechanisms of immune evasion.


Michelle R. Facette 

Michelle R. Facette, Assistant Professor
Mechanisms of cell polarity and asymmetric cell division in plants; cell signalling; cytoskeletal function; proteomics; stomatal function and morphology in grasses.


Ben Hanelt 

Ben Hanelt, Senior Lecturer
Parasitology: coevolution of the host–parasite unit; biodiversity and biology of the phylum Nematomorpha; coevolution of host–parasite interactions with a focus on immune systems.


Dave Hanson

David T. Hanson, Professor
Interactions between photosynthesis and respiration, diffusion of CO2 within plant tissues, evolution of photosynthetic CO2 concentrating mechanisms; physiological ecology of early land plants and algae, and algal biofuels/bioproducts.


Bruce Hofkin Bruce V. Hofkin, Principal Lecturer
Parasitology; molecular screening of wildlife pathogens; vector control.

Kelly Howe; Kelly A. Howe, Principal Lecturer
The genetics of sexual development in Neurospora crassa; regulation of gene expression by small RNAs; peroxisome assembly and function.

Matthew D. Hurteau, Assoc. Professor
The influence of climate and disturbance on forest productivity and species distributions across space and time. Climate change mitigation and adaptation in forest ecosystems.


Chris Johnston Christopher A. Johnston, Assistant Professor
Molecular mechanisms of mitotic spindle positioning during cell division; genetic pathways involved in asymmetric cell division of Drosophila neural stem cells; cellular approaches to elucidating the pathways linking cortical polarity to division axis orientation; understanding the structural and evolutionary basis for protein-protein interactions involved in signal transduction pathways; defining the role of oriented cell division in development and disease.

Tom Kennedy

Thomas L. Kennedy, Senior Lecturer
Ecology: the effects of river regulation on transition zone communities; the role of nutrient enrichment and the spread of invasive species, and the natural history of New Mexico.


Marcy Litvak Marcy E. Litvak, Professor
Ecosystem physiology and ecology, plant physiological ecology; emphasis on investigating the effects of climate variability, disturbance and/or land use on the exchange of carbon, water and energy between ecosystems and the atmosphere.

Sam Loker Eric S. (Sam) Loker, Distinguished Professor & Regents' Professor; Curator, Division of Parasitology, Museum of Southwestern Biology; Director, NIH COBRE Center for Evolutionary & Theoretical Immunology (CETI)
Immunobiology of host–parasite interactions with emphasis on schistosomes and other snail-transmitted parasites; immune systems of invertebrates; comparative immunology; evolution of schistosomes.

Tim Lowrey

Timothy K. Lowrey, Professor; Curator, UNM Herbarium, Museum of Southwestern Biology; Co-Director, Museum Studies Program; Associate Dean, Graduate Studies
Plant systematics; flowering plants of the tropics; hybridization in plants; plant breeding systems and reproductive biology.


Diane Marshall Diane L. Marshall, Professor; Director, Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program; Assoc. Dean, Arts & Sciences
Plant population biology; plant reproductive ecology and genetics; the evolution and ecological significance of patterns of plasticity in plants; plant resource allocation.

Kelly Miller Kelly B. Miller, Professor; Associate Department Chair; Curator, Division of Arthropods, Museum of Southwestern Biology
Insect systematics and evolution; insect morphology and natural history; insect phylogenetics using morphological and molecular data; evolution of sexual conflict in arthropods in a phylogenetic framework; aquatic insect taxonomy.

Rob Miller

Robert D. Miller, Professor
On Leave of Absence
Comparative immunology; evolution of vertebrate antigen receptor genes; evolution of maternal/fetal interactions and immunity.


Bruce Milne Bruce T. Milne, Professor; Director, Sustainability Studies Program
Ecology; landscape ecology; multivariate statistics and fractal geometry.

Don Natvig

Donald O. Natvig, Professor
On Leave until January 2017
Fungal evolution, ecology and genomics.


Seth Newsome Seth D. Newsome, Assistant Professor
Causes and consequences of diet variation among individuals, populations, and species; how animals acquire and synthesize amino acids to build tissues; development of isotopic methods to study animal resource and habitat use; characterizing shifts in the ecology and life history of animals resulting from anthropogenic exploitation and/or disturbance.

Will Pockman William T. Pockman, Professor & Regents' Lecturer; Department Chair; Director, Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research (LTER).
Whole plant physiological ecology of desert vegetation; ecological implications of xylem cavitation and hydraulic conductance; evolution of drought tolerance characteristics; ecophysiological perspectives on plant competition and invasion; plant and community response to climate change.

Steve Poe Steven Poe, Associate Professor
Theory and practice of phylogenetic systematics; Anolis lizard biology; herpetology, especially lizards and crocodilians; evolution of development; philosophy of biology.

Jennifer Rudgers Jennifer A. Rudgers, Professor
Ecology and evolution of mutualism and symbiosis, with a focus on plants, microbes, and arthropods; plant population dynamics; plant communities and succession; microbiomes; decomposition; natural history of endophytic fungi; ecological and evolutionary consequences of climate change; alpine, forest, grassland, and dune ecosystems.

Irene Salinas Irene Salinas, Assoc. Professor
The evolution of mucosal immune responses in early vertebrates (mostly fish) at the cellular and molecular level. The interactions between fish immune system and commensal microorganisms. Fish parasites and the host immune responses.

Dorothy Scholl Dorothy C. Scholl, Senior Lecturer
Vector-borne infectious disease; parasitology (host–parasite interactions; immunomodulatory effects of arthropod saliva); global public health issues.

Marieken Shaner Marieken G. Shaner, Principal Lecturer
Evolutionary ecology, plant reproductive biology, and a persistent fascination with microbes.

Bob Sinsabaugh Robert L. Sinsabaugh, Professor
Ecosystem ecology, microbiology, nutrient cycling.

Felisa Smith Felisa A. Smith, Professor
Paleoecological and evolutionary research; effects of current global and past climatic change on mammals.

Howard Snell Howard L. Snell, Professor; Curator, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles, The Museum of Southwestern Biology; Associate Department Chair
Conservation biology of the Galápagos islands, evolutionary ecology, and herpetology.

Steve Stricker Stephen A. Stricker, Professor; Director, Electron Microscopy Facility
Cell and developmental biology; the roles of kinases and cyclic nucleotides in eggs; calcium dynamics during oocyte maturation, fertilization, and early development.

Cristina Vesbach Cristina D. Takacs-Vesbach, Professor
Molecular microbial ecology, especially microbial diversity and productivity in extreme environments.

Lee Taylor D. Lee Taylor, Associate Professor; Associate Department Chair
Evolutionary ecology of plant-microbe interactions; fungal biodiversity.

Randy Thornhill Randy Thornhill, Distinguished Professor Emeritus (working retiree)
Evolution and ecology of social interactions, especially sexual interactions and sexual selection.

Eric Toolson Eric C. Toolson, Professor
Physiological ecology; evolution of physiological and biochemical adaptations; thermobiology and water relations of insects and arachnids; ecological genetics.

Tom Turner Thomas F. Turner, Professor; Curator, Division of Fishes, The Museum of Southwestern Biology; Associate Dean for Research, A&S
Evolutionary ecology of fishes, especially the role of early life history variation in population persistance and dispersal biology; population genetics: ecological and biogeographic determinants of population structure in fishes; molecular systematics of fishes.

Bob Waide Robert B. Waide, Professor; Director, CREST
Long-term population dynamics of tropical organisms; trophic dynamics in tropical ecosystems; the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function; the effect of changes in land use and land cover on regional climate; the relationship among abiotic gradients, disturbance, and ecosystem structure and function; the use of remotely-sensed data to estimate biodiversity.

Helen Wearing

Helen J. Wearing, Associate Professor
Theoretical biology and disease ecology; using mathematical and statistical approaches to understand the biological processes that shape population and community dynamics, with an emphasis on host–parasite interactions.


Maggie Werner-Washburne

Margarget Werner-Washburne, Professor Emerita (working retiree)
PI, Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD); co-PI, Flybase.
Regulation of the quiescent state and exit from quiescence; fungal genomics; genome-level analysis of gene expression, compuational biology.


Ken Whitney Kenneth D. Whitney, Associate Professor
Ecological genetics of plants and plant-animal interactions. Causes and consequences of interspecific hybridization; invasion biology; effects of genetic diversity; genome size evolution. Biology of grasslands, alpine systems, deserts, and tropical forests.

Chris Witt Christopher C. Witt, Associate Professor; Curator, Division of Birds, Museum of Southwestern Biology
Avian systematics and molecular evolution; evolutionary inference using phylogenetic comparative methods; biogeography of the Neotropics; hummingbird evolution and comparative physiology; high-altitude adaptation; integrative ornithology.

Satya Witt

Satya M. Witt, Senior Lecturer
Plant population biology; matrix population modeling; conservation biology; teaching methods and curriculum development for introductory biology; interface of science and society.


Blair Wolf Blair O. Wolf, Professor
Physiological ecology, ecology of desert animals, plant–animal interactions, animal energetics and water balance. Avian biology, particularly reproductive biology and habitat selection.