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Faculty

Amy Briggs, Assistant Professor of Biology[Amy]
B.A., Lawrence University, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Office: Center for the Sciences 333
Phone: 608 363-2349
Email: briggsa@beloit.edu

Amy Briggs is a molecular biologist specializing in plant pathology. She uses biochemistry, microscopy, bioinformatics, molecular biology, and genetics techniques to study the molecular mechanisms by which the plant Arabidopsis thaliana responds to bacterial and fungal infections. Outside of the classroom and laboratory, Amy is an avid science fiction reader, gardener, and seamstress. She teaches Human Biology, Microbiology, Emerging Diseases, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and Genetics.


[Marion Fass]Marion Field Fass, Professor of the Biology and faculty member in the Health and  Society Program  (www.beloit.edu/health). B.A., University of Pennsylvania; Sc.D., Johns Hopkins University

Office: Center for the Sciences 338
Phone: 608 363-2784
Email: fassm@beloit.edu   

Marion Field Fass is interested in the intersection of individual biological, public health, sustainability, and environmental factors that lead to the emergence of new diseases.  She has engaged with the interdisciplinary perspectives necessary to understand these relationships, and the opportunities to build curricula for undergraduate students that combine scientific investigations with social and cultural understanding and that motivate students to work for social justice.  Her research has focused on the measurement of community health needs and on methods of assessment of student learning.  Her courses include Human Biology, Microbiology, Emerging Diseases, Global Health, and a first-year course on Slow Food (Beloit College Magazine, Summer 2008).  She received the 2012 William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science from the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement.  


Demetrius (Micho) Gravis, Assistant Professor of Biology[Demetrius Gravis]
B.A., Western State College of Colorado, Ph.D., University of Iowa

Office: Center for the Sciences 334
Phone: 608 363-2367
Email: gravisd@beloit.edu

Demetrius (Micho) Gravis teaches courses in Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Immunology, and Microbiology and conducts research in these areas in collaboration with his students. His research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms of cell signaling (signal transduction) and gene expression in immune responses to bacterial infection and in oncogenic signaling and chemotherapy responses in cancer. He also uses the tools of molecular evolutionary biology and phylogenomics to study the evolution of cell signaling in the transition from unicellular to multicellular life and the molecular origins of animal complexity. He routinely works with students on his research projects, promotes student research opportunities on and off campus as Director of the Biomedical Research Scholars Program, and serves on the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC).


[Yaffa Grossman 2]Yaffa L. Grossman, Professor and Chair of Biology, Faculty Affiliate in Environmental Studies, B.A., Amherst College, M.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Office: Center for the Sciences 332
Phone: 608 363-2219
Email: grossman@beloit.edu

Yaffa Grossman is a physiological plant ecologist with research interests in plant carbon allocation, growth analysis, modeling, and sustainability. She is beginning to explore restoration ecology in the urban context. She has strong interests in interdisciplinary education, has chaired the Environmental Studies program at Beloit, and is the Director of Beloit College Sustainability Fellows Program.  She teaches Botany, Biometrics, Environmental Biology, and Ecology, and topics courses in physiological plant ecology, conservation biology, environmental sustainability, and environment and society.


Kathryn Johnson, Assistant Professor of Biology [Katie on bike]
B.S., Beloit College, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Office: Center for the Sciences 333
Phone: 608 363-2429
Email: johnsonkms@beloit.edu

Kathryn Johnson is a physiologist who specializes in human and animal physiology.  Her academic interests are diabetes and obesity and their effects on body function.  Her research focuses on the physiological mechanisms of novel diabetes therapies and alterations in cortisol levels in humans.  Student involvement is an essential part of her research, and she is always interesting in talking to potential student researchers.  She also is an avid sports fan, and may often be found in the gym or on the field participating or volunteering, and, of course, supporting Buccaneer athletics.  Off campus, you may find her riding and showing her horse at a local dressage farm.  She teaches Human Biology, Zoology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Neurobiology.


[Carol Mankiewicz]Carol Mankiewicz, Professor of Biology
B.S., M.S., University of California-Los Angeles, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Office: Center for the Sciences 337
Phone: 608 363-2371
Email: mankiewi@beloit.edu

Carol Mankiewicz is interested in the interactions of organisms with their physical environment. The organisms that fascinate her the most are those that have the potential to be fossilized; these organisms either have hard parts such as shells or they have some behavior such as making burrows in the sediment that can be preserved. She focuses on organisms that live in aquatic, particularly shallow-marine, systems, and studies both modern systems and their ancient counterparts preserved in the rock record. She teaches Marine Biology, Environmental Biology, and Sedimentology, and topics courses on water, estuaries, paleoclimate, soils, and the natural history of South America. 


Deanna Soper, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology[Deanna Soper]
B.S., Trine University, M.B.A., Indiana University Northwest, Ph.D., Indiana University, Post-Doc, University of Iowa

Office: Center for the Sciences 331
Phone: 608 363-2743
Email: soperdm@beloit.edu

Deanna Soper is an evolutionary biologist with a focus on the evolution of reproductive behaviors and gametogenesis in the presence of coevolving host-parasite interactions.  Sexual reproductive behaviors and method of gamete formation may impact the genetic diversity of host populations, which can be important within a coevolutionary context.  She uses the Potamopyrgus antipodarum/Microphallus host-parasite system to address questions regarding mate choice, multiple paternity, and gametogenesis.  Future research may include the integration of genetic data with behavioral analysis from the newly established Potamopyrgus antipodarum genome project in collaboration with Dr. Maurine Neiman at the University of Iowa.  Deanna teaches Evolution.


 Ken Yasukawa, Professor of Biology[Ken Yasukawa]
B.S., State University of New York-Stony Brook, M.A., Ph.D., Indiana University

Office: Center for the Sciences 335
Phone: 608 363-2314
Email: yasukawa@beloit.edu

Ken Yasukawa is a behavioral ecologist, meaning that he studies the way that an animal's behavior affects its interactions with the environment.  His research focuses on the reproductive behavior and ecology of birds, especially the Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). He is also a field biologist because he studies birds in the wild, primarily at the Newark Road Prairie, which is about 8 miles from the Beloit College campus. Many of his research projects have been conducted with students and presented at national professional meetings or published in primary biological journals. He is also interested in improving science education, from elementary school through college. He teaches Zoology, Biometrics, Population Biology, and Animal Behavior, and topics courses in animal cognition and game theory. 


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