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Department of




Department Chair

Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4081

Office: SCST 434

Office Hours: Spring 2016: M-1:30-3:30pm T-9:00-11:00am W-2:00-3:00pm And by appointment

Michael Mayer, PhD, came to USD in 1994 and teaches general biological topics and more specialized courses in botany and evolutionary biology. He conducts research in plant systematics, which is essentially the study of plant diversity. It involves deciphering the evolutionary relationships among plants, and then using these patterns to infer the processes by which plants evolve, speciate, and produce new lineages. Mayer has conducted several projects involving plants of the southern California landscape, and maintains collaborations with colleagues at San Diego State University and the San Diego Natural History Museum.

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Lisa Baird

Lisa Baird, PhD

Professor, Biology
Principle Investigator, AFFIRM
(619) 260-4073

Office: Camino Hall 163A/SCST 481

Office Hours: Spring 2016: M-8:30-10:30am, Camino 163A M-2:00-3:00pm, ST 481 T- 8:30-10:30am, Camino 163A *And by appointment at either office

Lisa Baird, PhD, joined the biology faculty in 1988. In addition to teaching in the preparatory courses for biology majors, she teaches classes in plant physiology, electron microscopy and the senior seminar. Baird is a developmental plant physiologist with particular interest in plant stress responses to pathogens and insect predation and how these responses can be modulated by plant growth regulators.

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Terry H. Bird

Terry H. Bird, PhD

Associate Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4671

Office: SCST 432

Office Hours: Spring 2016: M/W- 1:30-4:00pm And by appointment

Terry Bird, PhD, joined the USD faculty in 2005. His primary teaching responsibilities include undergraduate lecture and laboratory courses in genetics and microbiology. His research is focused on elucidating the signal transduction systems used to regulate development in bacteria.

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Hugh Ellis

Hugh Ellis, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4075

Office: SCST 478

Office Hours: Spring 2016: M-F-11:00am-12pm And by appointment

Hugh Ellis, PhD, came to the Biology Department in 1980 after teaching three years at Iowa State University.  He is a physiological ecologist and teaches several ecological courses as well as two of the preparatory courses for the Biology and Marine Science majors.  His research is in the energetics of birds, looking at such topics as energy budgets, migration, and diving.  He has been a visiting research scientist at the University of Hawaii, Sydney University (Australia), and the Archbold Biological Station (Florida).  Dr. Ellis is affiliated with the Marine Science graduate program and is involved with the Center of Comparative Physiology in the Biology Department.

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Richard Gonzalez

Richard Gonzalez, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4077

Office: SCST 483

Office Hours: Spring 2016: MWF- 11:15-12:15pm MW- 2:30-3:30pm

Rick Gonzalez, PhD, joined the faculty in1992.  He teaches an upper-division “W” course in vertebrate physiology, senior seminar and introductory courses in the major.  He is a comparative animal physiologist focusing on the respiratory, acid-base, and ion regulation physiology of aquatic animals.

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Adam Haberman

Adam Haberman, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4076

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 476

Office Hours: Spring 2016: W-3:00-4:30pm Th- 10:00am-12pm F- 1:30-3:00pm And by appointment

Adam Haberman, PhD, joined the faculty in the Fall of 2013. He teaches courses in cell biology and genetics. In his research, he uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, to study the specialized cell biology of neurons. In particular, he is interested in the processes that promote the remarkable longevity of neurons compared to other types of cells.

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Valerie Hohman

Valerie Hohman, PhD

Associate Professor, Biology
(619) 260-7440

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 436

Office Hours: Spring 2016: M/W- 2-4pm Th- 11am-12pm And by appointment

Valerie Hohman, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1999 and teaches immunology, introduction to cell processes, and senior seminar.  Hohman is a comparative immunologist who is interested in the evolution of the immune system.  Her research focuses on identifying and characterizing molecules associated with secretory or mucosal immunity in the lower vertebrates.

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Curtis Loer

Curtis Loer, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4129

Office: SCST 437

Office Hours: Spring 2016: M- 3-5pm W- 8-9am Th- 10-12pm

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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Mary Sue Lowery

Mary Sue Lowery, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4078

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 482

Mary Sue Lowery, PhD, joined the biology faculty in 1990. She teaches preparatory courses for biology majors, as well as biological oceanography and interdisciplinary team-taught honors courses. Lowery is a comparative biologist with particular interest in the effect of endurance swimming on the development of muscle in juvenile marine fishes.

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Geoffrey Morse

Geoffrey Morse, PhD

Associate Professor, Biology
(619) 260-7914

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 479

Office Hours: Spring 2016: On Sabbatical

Geoffrey Morse, PhD, came to USD in 2008 and teaches general biological topics and more specialized courses in entomology and evolutionary biology.  He conducts research in insect evolution and ecology, the goal of which is to understand how ecological interactions, environmental conditions, and geographic distributions have structured their impressive diversification.  This research involves reconstructing evolutionary relationships among insect species, examining patterns and mechanisms of speciation, understanding processes that link or separate populations, and understanding the adaptations that cause ecological specialization of insect species.  Morse works on these interactions at levels that span from local California landscapes to global patterns of diversification.

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Marjorie Patrick

Marjorie Patrick, PhD

Associate Professor, Biology
(619) 260-8863

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 430

Office Hours: Spring 2016: M-10:00am-12pm, 1:30-2:30pm W-11:00am-12pm,1:30-2:30pm And by appointment

Marjorie L. Patrick joined the faculty in Fall 2003.  In the Biology Department, Dr. Patrick teaches two of the lower division biology courses that provide students a foundation in genetics, evolution, ecology and cellular processes.  Additionally she offers upper division lecture and laboratory courses exploring invertebrate physiology.  Her research field is comparative animal physiology, with an interest in osmoregulatory strategies of aquatic insect and fish species residing in chemically diverse environments.

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Greg Pregill

Greg Pregill, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4082

Office: SCST 363

Greg Pregill, PhD, joined the faculty in 1993 after a nearly life-long passion for natural history led him on research expeditions to tropical and subtropical islands around the world. Following graduate school, he received a two-year appointment as a Fellow in residence at the United States National Museum, Smithsonian Institution. He next served as curator and chair of the Department of Herpetology at the San Diego Natural History, and for a time was deputy director for Science.  Pregill continues his research on insular ecosystems and teaches related courses on biodiversity and vertebrate evolution.

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Marie Simovich

Marie Simovich, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4083

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 369

Office Hours: Spring 2016: W:8am-12pm T:12-1pm

Marie Simovich, PhD, has been at USD since 1986 and is the director of the Branchiopod Research Group. Her research is on the ecology and evolution of ephemeral pool organisms with a focus on endangered crustaceans.  She has a number of students in her lab working on grants.  She is a frequent consultant to the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a member of the Vernal Pool Multi-Species Recovery Team and is a member of the IUCN World Conservation Union Inland Water Crustacea Specialist Group.  She is also an adjunct professor at San Diego State University.

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Curt Spanis

Curt Spanis, PhD

Professor, Biology
(619) 260-4084

Office: Shiley Science and Technology 371

Office Hours: Spring 2016: M-F- 9:30-10:30am

Curt W. Spanis, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1965, serving as professor and department of Biology chair  at the College for Men and president of the Faculty Association prior to unification in 1972.  Following unification of the colleges Spanis served as department chair for two years. Spanis has taught biochemistry, cell physiology, genetics, microbiology, neurobiology, introductory biology, human biology, and exercise physiology.  He established the Pre-Med/ Health Sciences program and directed it for more than two decades. Also, he served as band director, tennis coach (both mens and womens teams) and established the USD Tennis Camp. Spanis has taught a graduate course in cell and molecular biology.

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