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Department of


Curtis Loer, PhD

Professor, Biology

Curtis Loer, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1997, as the Fletcher Jones Chair in Biology. His teaching and research interests are in cell-molecular biology, particularly in the development and function of the nervous system. He is also especially interested in promoting undergraduate research, having long served in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program and on the organizing committee of USD's annual student reasearch conference "Creative Collaborations."

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PhD, University of California, San Diego, Biology
BS, Stanford University, Biological Sciences

Postdoctoral fellow, University of California, San Francisco, Biochemistry and Biophysics (laboratory of Cynthia Kenyon)

Scholarly and Creative Work

Loer is interested in the development, function and evolution of the nervous system. His lab works with a popular model organism, the 1,000-cell roundworm C. elegans, using molecular genetics to understand how genes function to regulate and pattern its simple nervous system. He is particularly interested in nerve cells that make and use the neurotransmitter serotonin, and how these cells regulate behavior in C. elegans and related free-living nematodes. The lab also studies the role of biopterin, a substance required for serotonin synthesis, and other functions outside the nervous system.

Teaching Interests

Loer teaches courses in animal development, molecular biology, techniques in molecular biology and senior seminar.