Areas of Research

Cell Biology

Functional study of cells and their interactions.

Dr. Edward Bonder: Intracellular organelle motility, cellular dynamics of actin and microtubule cytoskeleton, tissue and organelle development.

Dr. Jean Pierre Etchegaray: DNA oxidations as epigenetic elements regulating cell fate identity. Transcriptional mechanisms triggering cancer initiation. Circadian rhythms and cancer-stem cells.

Dr. Nan Gao: Molecular events that control and/or disrupt mitotic cell division and epithelial polarity in mammalian development and disease.

Dr. Mary Konsolaki 


Cell Neurobiology

The study of the structure and functions of individual neurons.

Dr. Radek Dobrowolski: Molecular mechanisms leading to neuronal death as observed in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Wilma Friedman: Cellular mechanisms of cytokine and neurotrophin actions on CNS neurons and glia.

Dr. Haesun Kim: Cellular and molecular biology of myelinating glial cells: Mechanism of signal transduction involved in axon-Schwann cell interaction. Molecular mechanism of cell fate determination in the developing peripheral nervous system.

Dr. Tracy S. Tran: The Tran lab investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms of axonal guidance, dendritic morphogenesis and neural circuit formation. Our research aims to understand the molecular signaling involved in how neurons assume their diverse morphologies, the axons and dendrites, which enable the assembly of neural circuits required for complex behavior and cognitive function. The Tran lab is also interested to better understand and identify the molecular and genetic correlates of autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Ching-On Wong: Organellar biology, cell metabolism and bioenergetics in the contexts of nervous system function and neurodegenerative diseases. Major emphasis on how vesicular trafficking and inter-organellar signaling regulate and react to metabolic outputs and demands of neurons and glia.

Dr. John J.Yarotsky



Interactions and dynamics of organisms and their environment.

Dr. Daniel E. Bunker: Dr. Daniel Bunker's research focuses on global change and species composition in the Northeastern US, species traits and ecoinformatics, tree species composition and ecosystem function in tropical forests. He researches the effects of land-use change on the neotropical dung beetle communities and multiple ecosystem services as well as biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and human wellbeing.

Dr. Caroline Marie Devan

Dr. Simon J. Garnier: The research of Dr. Simon Garnier is related to various research fields, including ethology, experimental psychology, cognitive and social sciences and swarm intelligence. His main research interest is the emergence of intelligent collective behaviors in groups of social animals. Dr. Garnier examines how information is exchanged and transformed during interactions between the members of a group, and how this can lead to the emergence of "intelligent" group behaviors.

Dr. Megan McSherry Hill

Dr. Claus Holzapfel: Ecological consequences and evolutionary trajectories of interactions between plants; the mechanisms by which plants adapt to varying environments.

Dr. Caroline Maier

Dr. Gareth J. Russell: "Structural Ecology" describes how individual organisms respond to the physical (spatial) structure of their surroundings. I am interested in how this response influences population dynamics, and ultimately the abiility of a species to survive, especially in landscapes whose structure has been altered by human activity. Specific projects include looking at how to interpret behavioral and ecological relationships from movement patterns, whether more realistic movement assumptions affect the predictions of metapopulation models, and how successional processes play out across ecological boundaries. A secondary lab interest is in the deployment of technology for automated monitoring, such as tracking tags, camera traps and automated ID systems. Most work in the lab involves the analysis of large datasets such as remote sensing images and animal tracks, or simulation, and so is computational in nature. Undergraduate research opportunities: There are opportunities for undergraduates with programming skills and interests (or the aptitude and willingness to pick them up). Students from other disciplines (like computer science) are also encouraged to get in touch.

Dr. Karina Schäfer: Ecosystem ecology, global change and its effect on biogeochemical cycles in terrestrial ecosystems.

Dr. Maria L. Stanko



The patterns and processes responsible for generating biodiversity.

Dr. Phillip M. Barden: Dr. Barden works to understand patterns of extinction and evolution in eusocial insects through a multidisciplinary approach combining palaeontology, imaging, genomics, and systematics. Social insects such as ants are ecologically impactful, heavily studied, and possess a rich amber fossil record. For these reasons, Dr. Barden uses this system to test the methodological limits of extracting data from fossilized organisms, the combined utility of genetic and paleontological data, how best to quantify and assess morphological evolution, and comparative genomic approaches for understanding convergence.

Dr. Brooke Flammang: Dr. Brooke Flammang’s lab uses a multidisciplinary approach in integrating comparative anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, fluid dynamics, and biologically inspired robotic devices to investigate the ways in which organisms interact with their environment and drive the evolutionary selection of morphology and function. By combining these different specialties she directly tests the effective relationship between an organism and its environment.

Dr. Sara Ruane: The Ruane Lab seeks to simultaneously inform reptile and amphibian systematics while also answering broad, contemporary questions in evolutionary biology. Some of my current research focuses on the phylogenetics of the Malagasy pseudoxyrhophiines, which includes the use of molecular data in the form of next-generation sequencing and traditional Sanger-sequencing approaches, as well as ecological and morphological data to aid in understanding what factors promote speciation in these snakes. I am also working on a project examining undescribed diversity in the poorly known New Guinea ground snakes, Stegonotus. New and upcoming research from the Ruane Lab will include co-historical demography and genetic diversity of NJ squamates. While my interests in herpetology are broad, my lab focuses primarily on snakes, especially with respect to systematics, phylogenetics, and phylogeography. Ruane Lab website

Dr. Daphne F. Soares: Dr. Daphne Soares studies neuroecology, the synthesis of neuroethological and ecological principles to understand the evolution of neural adaptation. The goal of her research is to determine the rules for neural adaptation to extreme environments, specifically in cavefishes, by incorporating ecological and neuroethological approaches.

Dr. Angelo Soto-Centeno: I’m interested in population level processes and combine phylogeography, species distribution modeling, and fossils to solve evolutionary & demographic questions. I study recent mammal extinctions in the Caribbean, primarily in bats. I use genetic, fossil, and distribution model data to examine how recent climate change (i.e. from Pleistocene to Holocene) and anthropogenic habitat change affected populations of island bats. The combined use of these data is powerful and help us evaluate hypotheses about the evolutionary processes that shaped island bats and how they reacted to climate change and habitat change from past to present. By using this framework, I hope to improve our understanding of what happens to these bats today and better predict what may happen to them in the future. This program is question-driven and I have also applied these tools to other systems (e.g. rodents, cervids, and amphibians) in island and mainland environments. Other areas of research in my lab include questions on demography, population connectivity, community composition, and natural history of mammals of New Jersey.

Dr. Jessica Ware: Evolutionary and organismal biology, entomology, and phylogenetic methodology.  Dr. Jessica Ware is an evolutionary biologist. In her past and current research, she has focused on four main areas: systematics, behaviour, biodiversity and biogeography. Using molecular and morphological techniques she has used modern phylogenetic analyses to evaluate species, test family monophyly, assess biogeographical distributions in light of divergence time estimates and improve conservation efforts. She is secretary of the World Dragonfly Association, and past president of the SysEB section of the Entomological Society of America. Jessica is a member of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, the Society of Systematic Biology, the Entomological Society of America, and the World Dragonfly Association. Ware Lab website



Working to understand the properties and behavior of neural networks.

Dr. Dirk M. Bucher: As a neurobiologist,the main focus of Dr. Dirk Bucher's research is to understand how dynamics at different time scales, arising from ion channel and synaptic gating properties, neuromodulation, and long-term regulatory mechanisms give rise to stability and flexibility of neural activity patterns underlying behavior.

Dr. Eric S. Fortune: Dr. Eric Fortune researches the interactions between sensory and motor systems that are used to generate and control animal behavior. His laboratory uses methodologies that cross levels of biological organization from the computational consequences of transmembrane molecules to the behavior of multi-species flocks. Dr. Fortune's research includes field studies of natural behavior in Amazon basin habitats and highly-controlled behavioral studies inside the laboratory, with a variety of neurophysiological approaches including intracellular recordings of CNS neurons in behaving animals, pharmachological studies, and mathematical modeling.

Dr. Jorge P. Golowasch: The goal of Dr. Jorge Golowasch's research activities is to reach an understanding of the mechanisms that allow the nervous system to be simultaneously plastic and responsive to environmental and internal changes, and also to be stable. His research work applies to both experimental (electrophysiological and cell biological) as well as theoretical (analytical and numerical) approaches. These interests can be group in three categories: (1) Regulation of Neuronal Excitability, (2) Role of Linear, Voltage-independent Ionic Currents in Stabilizing Neuronal Activity, and (3) Capacitance Measurements in Glial Cells.

Dr. Gal Haspel: Dr. Gal Haspel researches the neurobiology of locomotion in the nematode C. elegans. His focus is at the levels from neuronal network to behavior and is working on projects that address the connectivity, activity, and recovery from injury of the locomotion network. The goals of the Haspel Lab group are 1) To nurture lab members and improve ourselves as scientists and 2) To discover principles that underlie animal locomotion by studying the neuroethology of locomotion in the nematode C. elegans.

Dr. Farzan Nadim: The focus of Dr. Farzan Nadim's research is to understand how synaptic dynamics, such as short-term depression and facilitation contribute to the generation and control of oscillatory neuronal activity. He combines computational, analytical and experimental techniques towards understanding how properties of neurons and their synaptic dynamics shape the output of oscillatory neuronal networks. In particular, Dr. Nadim studies the generation of rhythmic motor patterns in the crustacean stomatogastric nervous system (STNS).

Dr. Horacio G. Rotstein: The primary interest of Dr. Rotstein's group is the understanding of the mechanisms of generation of neuronal rhythmic oscillations in various areas of the brain (e.g., hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, prefrontal cortex, striatum, olfactory bulb) and how this results from the cooperative activity of the dynamic and biophysical properties of the participating neurons, the synaptic connectivity and the network topology. A primary focus of this research is the effects of single cell and network resonances (emergent properties resulting from the interaction between neurons/networks and oscillatory inputs) on the generation of network oscillations. They use and develop mathematical models, dynamical systems tools and numerical simulations.

Dr. Kristen E. Severi: Dr. Kristen Severi researches the neural circuits underlying locomotor behavior in the larval zebrafish. These tiny fish with transparent bodies are ideal for studying in real time how the brain and spinal cord work together to produce the everyday movements the fish needs to swim around its environment. The techniques we are interested in are multidisciplinary, including high-speed behavioral recordings and analysis, dynamic imaging of calcium activity within populations of neurons, and electrophysiology.