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Department of Biological Sciences

Biology is the scientific study of life: its diverse forms, processes, environments and systems. At Bridgewater, we prioritize hands-on biology learning in our well-equipped laboratories and through fieldwork and ecological studies in the multiple different habitats located close to campus.

Our goal is to provide undergraduates with a broad background that gives them career flexibility, and to provide graduate students with opportunities to develop skills and knowledge in more specialized areas.

Faculty
Donald J. Padgett
Professor of Biological Sciences; Department Chair
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 305
Tel:
508.531.2089
Email: dpadgett@bridgew.edu

Dr. Padgett joined BSU in the Fall of 1999. His research focuses on plant ecology and evolution particularly among aquatic and wetland vascular plants. He has conducted both laboratory and field studies to examine questions of natural hybridization, phylogenetic history, and reproductive fecundity in aquatic plant lineages, as well as broader floristic studies of species richness and composition in wetland plant communities. Dr. Padgett is currently exploring seed viability in a rare coastal plain pond species and the roles aquatic turtles may play in seed dispersal of aquatic plants.

Areas of Expertise
  • Plant Evolution and Classification
  • Plant Identification
  • Aquatic Plant Biology
Degrees

BS, Susquehanna University 1991 Biology
MS, University of New Hampshire 1993 Plant Biology
PhD, University of New Hampshire 1997 Plant Biology

Kenneth Adams
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 318
Tel:
508.531.1851
Email: k2adams@bridgew.edu

Ken Adams joined the Department of Biological Sciences at Bridgewater State University in 2013. He teaches General Biology I, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, and Molecular Basis of Neurodegeneration. Dr. Adams’ research interests lie in the molecular mechanisms that regulate cell behavior and misbehavior in disease. Current projects are focused on: (1) characterizing the cell signaling events and transcription networks underlying neuronal differentiation; (2) investigating novel mechanisms through which Bcl-2 family proteins regulate cell survival and apoptosis; and (3) examining molecular interactions and events that are linked to Alzheimer Disease pathology. These projects are pursued using mammalian cell culture as a model system alongside a variety of cellular, molecular, and biochemistry techniques. In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. Adams is chair of the Health Professions Advisory Committee, which provides support and guidance to BSU students considering and/or pursuing a career in the health professions.

Christopher Bloch
Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 307
Tel:
508.531.2087
Email: cbloch@bridgew.edu

Christopher Bloch joined the faculty of Bridgewater State University in the fall of 2006. His primary teaching responsibilities include General Biology II, Ecology, and Biometry (experimental design and statistical analysis in biological research). Dr. Bloch's research interests lie primarily at the population and community levels of ecological organization. Currently, the principal focus of his work involves the effects of natural (e.g., hurricanes) and anthropogenic (e.g., logging) disturbance events on population dynamics and community structure. Most of this work has used terrestrial snails as a model organism, but he has studied a variety of organisms, including whip spiders, rodents, and bats, in tropical and temperate systems. He also maintains an interest in the mechanisms that generate broad-scale patterns of biodiversity. He actively involves Bridgewater students in his ongoing research on the ecology of terrestrial snails in Puerto Rico as well as local projects focusing on effects of habitat loss and fragmentation.

Areas of Expertise
  • Community ecology
  • Population biology
  • Macroecology
  • Biometry
Degrees

BS, Old Dominion University 1994 Biology
MS, Old Dominion University 1997 Biology
PhD, Texas Tech University 2004 Biology

Jeffery A. Bowen
Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 315
Tel:
508.531.2098
Email: jabowen@bridgew.edu

Dr. Bowen's responsibilities include teaching introductory Biology courses and laboratories, as well as upper level courses in Microscopy and Embryology/Developmental Biology. He also develops courses specific to the goals of the upper level courses appropriate for the department's biomedical/molecular concentration. Additional contributions to the overall development of the department include a strong commitment to teaching and research in an undergraduate setting, advising undergraduate students, participating in equipment procurement and supervising original undergraduate research.

Areas of Expertise
  • Animal Science and Reproductive Physiology
  • Reproductive Physiology and Cellular Biology
  • Reproductive Physiology & Reproductive Immunology
Degrees

BS, MS, California State Polytechnic University
PhD, Texas A&M University

Michael J. Carson
Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 314
Tel:
508.531.2090
Email: mjcarson@bridgew.edu

Dr. Carson joined Bridgewater State University in 2000. His expertise is with both classical genetic analysis and molecular genetics and he teaches Genetics and Human Genetics for majors, Human Heredity, and other non-majors biology courses. Dr. Carson’s research relates to proteins that control cell division in the bacterial species, Escherichia coli. Approaches to this problem include isolation of new mutants, a technique that is very amenable to involving undergraduate students in research projects. His additional interests are in bioinformatics and the social and medical implications of genetic and molecular genetics technologies such as DNA fingerprinting, genetic testing for human disease and gene therapy. Dr. Carson spends off-hours with his family, numerous animals and loves the beaches and whales of New England.

Areas of Expertise

Genetics
Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Degrees

BS, University of Alberta 1981 Genetics
PhD, University of Washington 1987 Genetics
Post Doc, Harvard University 1987-1991 Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Kevin D. Curry
Professor of Biological Sciences, Watershed Access Lab Coordinator
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 303
Tel:
508.531.2082
Email: kcurry@bridgew.edu

Kevin Curry's love of the outdoors and countless hours spent on streams led him to a career in biology. Field Ecology has been his interest ever since his undergraduate research experience at Central College and in Yucatan working on bats. Dr. Curry's current interests in fish, aquatic insect communities, dragonflies, and biotic indicators have developed over years spent on rivers and streams. A Fulbright Award to study with Dr. Bill Freedman at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia advanced his course and research interests. A Presidential Fellowship and Rotary Teaching Award has allowed him to expand his current work on international community service on drinking water issues in Cambodia collaborating with Water for Cambodia and Pannasastra University. His recent NOAA funded Stormwater Stewardship program will engage middle school and high school students in exploring the impacts of stormwater on the habitat needs of river herring and American eels in the Mill River and Taunton River Watershed.

Areas of Expertise

Stream Ecology
Fish Biology
Aquatic Insects

Degrees

BA, Central College in Pella, Iowa 1973 Biology
MS, University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona 1975 Fisheries
PhD, Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana 1979 Aquatic Ecology

M. Caitlin Fisher-Reid
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 388
Tel:
508.531.1859
Email: mfisherreid@bridgew.edu

M. Caitlin Fisher-Reid joined the faculty of Bridgewater State University in the Fall of 2014. Her research focuses on the beginning stages of speciation, phylogenetics, and population genetics. She is particularly interested in ecological speciation, in which divergent natural selection leads to reproductive isolation within a population. Dr. Fisher-Reid is currently exploring questions related to these topics in Plethodontid salamanders, in particular the very common eastern red-backed salamander, Plethodon cinereus. She has done extensive lab and field work to examine the genetics and ecology behind the separation of the two color morphs of P. cinereus, the red and the lead morph, on Long Island, NY. She is continuing this work in the southeastern Appalachians and in the northeast, where the morphs separate on elevational gradients. Her broader goal with this research is to explore the relationship between different kinds of genetic variation (e.g., adaptive, neutral) and environmental gradients, which has implications for conservation and speciation research. Dr. Fisher-Reid has also worked on phylogenetic methods, the phylogenetic history of the genus Plethodon, and climatic-niche evolution in the salamander family Plethodontidae, to which the genus belongs. You can learn more about Dr. Fisher-Reid and her research at http://webhost.bridgew.edu/mfisherreid/ .

Merideth Krevosky
Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 316
Tel:
508.531.2097
Email: mkrevosky@bridgew.edu

Meri Krevosky joined the faculty of Bridgewater State University in the Fall of 2002. Her research interests focus on the study of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, of cancer cells. Cancer cells often acquire genetic mutations or express proteins that prevent cell death following therapeutic intervention (chemotherapy, irradiation). Therefore, the study of the mechanisms that underlie resistance to cell death may lead to the identification of novel targets for the treatment of cancer. Additional interests include the study of programmed cell death in ocular disorders to better understan d how small heat shock proteins may prevent retinal cell death in retinoblastoma, destructive endophthalmitis and age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Krevosky’s primary teaching responsibilities include Anatomy and Physiology, Animal Physiology, and Cancer Biology.  She enjoys mentoring students in cellular and molecular biology research and sharing with them the excitement of biological discovery.

Areas of Expertise
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Biology (Breast Cancer)
  • Programmed Cell Death (Apoptosis)
Degrees

BS, (Cum Laude) Saint Mary's College Notre Dame 1990-1994 Biology
PhD, Loyola University 1994-1999 Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy
Post Doc, Northwestern University 1997 Endocrinology & Molecular Medicine

Heather Marella
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 386
Tel:
508.531.1365
Email: hmarella@bridgew.edu

Heather Marella joined the Department of Biological Sciences in 2011.  Dr. Marella’s teaching responsibilities include General Biology II, Genetics, Plant Physiology and Parasitology. Dr. Marella’s research focuses on the interaction between plants (Arabidopsis thaliana and tomato) and a nematode parasite (Meloidogyne incognita).  Meloidogyne incognita is a microscopic roundworm that penetrates the root of a host plant, where it establishes a feeding site; draining the plant of nutrients and altering the structure of the root.  These devastating parasites cause an economic loss in the billions annually.  Using a combination of genetics, cell and molecular biology, Dr. Marella and her undergraduate students investigate the function of plant transporter genes in establishing and maintaining the parasitic infection. Additional projects examine the role of plant hormones and mycorrhizal fungi in the plant-parasite interaction. Students have the opportunity to present their data at local, regional and national conferences.

Degrees

BS, Wake Forest University
PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Boriana Marintcheva
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 309
Tel:
508.531.1729
Email: BMarintcheva@bridgew.edu

Boriana Marintcheva joined the Biology Department in the Fall of 2008. Currently she teaches Cell Biology, Virology and Molecular Biology courses with labs. Her research interests focus on the biology of virus-host interactions using bacteriophage T7/ Escherichia coli model system. Knowledge about the specifics of virus-host interactions in different systems has allowed the development of preventive and therapeutic measures aiming at diminishing the negative impact of viruses on human health, and using viruses for practical purposes such as biotechnology and drug delivery. While bacterial viruses are harmless to humans, they function in similar ways to animal viruses and often employ simpler molecular machinery. Historically, many aspects of viral biology were initially understood using bacteriophages and then applied to the more complex systems of animal viruses. In her research, Dr. Marintcheva uses techniques from molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry. Dr. Marintcheva is also passionate about science education, science promotion and development of pedagogical tools advancing teaching and learning.

Areas of Expertise

Cellular and Molecular Biology
Virology
Viral replication

Degrees

BS/MS, Sofia University in Sofia, Bulgaria 1988-1993 Biochemistry and Microbiology; Teaching Biology and Chemistry
PhD, University of Connecticut Health Center 1997-2002 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Postdoc, Harvard Medical School 2003-2008 Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Jennifer Mendell
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 380
Tel:
508.531.2610
Email: jennifer.mendell@bridgew.edu

Jenna Mendell joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences in 2009, where she teaches General Biology I, General Microbiology and Medical Microbiology. Jenna’s research involves analysis of the microbial community present in drinking water sources from Cambodia, and how these organisms can affect the overall health of the individuals consuming them. This work has allowed her to combine her love of microbial ecology, medical microbiology and community service and she routinely brings students to Cambodia to conduct research addressing clean water issues. Jenna is also researching the epidemiology of the pathogens Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease and Anaplasma spp, the causative agent of Anaplasmosis, in the tick vector, Ixodes scapularis and their prevalence in Plymouth County. Jenna enjoys mentoring and advising undergraduates and serves as the Honors Chair for the Department of Biological Sciences as well as the Faculty Advisor for the Biology Club and Beta, Beta, Beta, the National Biological Honor Society. In her spare time she is an avid hiker, gardener and is actively involved in dog rescue across the country, specializing in senior and hospice rescue.

Degrees

BA, Wheaton College
PhD, Cornell University

Jonathan Roling
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 311
Tel:
508.531.2488
Email: JRoling@bridgew.edu

Jonathan Roling’s teaching responsibilities include Toxicology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Winter Ecology and Marine Biology. As an environmental toxicologist, Dr. Roling’s research focuses on the molecu lar response to toxicants in the environment. Currently, one focus is on honeybees and how anthropogenic influences decrease hive health. Gene regulation changes due to pesticides or altered diet is being monitored. A separate project is evaluating the ability for environmental bacteria to gain tolerance to triclosan. He actively includes Bridgewater students in his research projects. Students are involved in exposures, RNA extractions, QPCR analysis of gene expression, and bacterial tolerance assays. Students present this data at local, regional and national conventions.

Degrees

BS, Erskine College
MS, PhD, University of Texas at El Paso

Joseph Seggio
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 313
Tel:
508.531.1496
Email: jseggio@bridgew.edu

Joseph Seggio joined the Bridgewater Department of Biological Sciences in 2010. Dr. Seggio's areas of research include understanding the connections among alcohol drinking, diabetes, and the biological clock. He teaches courses in Neuroscience and Anatomy and Physiology and he is also involved in mentoring students who are seeking to attend graduate, medical or dental school.

Areas of Expertise

Type-2 Diabetes
Circadian Rhythms
Neuroscience
Alcohol Biology

Degrees

BA, Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York 2004 Biology, History, Classical Studies
PhD, University of Maine in Orono, Maine 2009 Neuroscience

Thilina Surasinghe
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 378
Email: TSurasinghe@bridgew.edu

Thilina Surasinghe earned his PhD in Wildlife Biology and Fisheries from Clemson University, SC. Prior to joining BSU, he worked as an assistant professor (non-tenure track) in Rhodes College (Memphis, TN) and Gustavus Adolphus College (St Peter, MN). He teaches Conservation Biology, Ecology, and Comparative chordate Biology. He is a conservation biologist with academic expertise in ecology, biodiversity conservation, environmental sustainability, aquatic ecology, and vertebrate natural history. His research experience includes landscape and aquatic ecology, vertebrate ecology, GIS, environmental policy, and global biodiversity conservation. His current undergraduate research at BSU includes investigating ecology and conservation of wetland-breeding amphibians (Collaboration with Mass Audubon), natural history and habitat association of semi-aquatic reptiles, and monitoring engendered species of MA (collaboration with Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program). He engages in many international collaborative research projects on ecology and conservation of Sri Lankan Wildlife: monitoring threatened amphibians and reptiles of Sri Lanka, habitat associations and conservation status of Sri Lankan terrapins, and assessing effectiveness of Sri Lanka’s current protected area network for conservation of threatened vertebrates.

Staff
Ronald Aakjar
Staff Associate for Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 394
Tel:
508.531.1839
Email: raakjar@bridgew.edu

Ronald Aakjar began his career at Bridgewater State University in the fall of 2012 as a Staff Associate who is responsible for teaching the Introductory Biology laboratories for biology majors.  He is also the laboratory coordinator for the organismal half of the introductory biology course.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT and his Master of Science in Botany from UCONN.  His specialty is in aquatic plant biology and the study of a group of plants known as water milfoils. He has taught courses in Introductory Biology, Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Aquatic Plant Biology, and Botany.  He has a passion for horticulture and plant biology in general and, before coming to BSU, he worked as one of the lead horticulturists at a private estate in Connecticut.

Maria Armour
Staff Assistant for Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 312
Tel:
508.531.1803
Email: marmour@bridgew.edu

Maria Armour joined the Department of Biological Sciences staff in 2011. Her duties include the preparation of many Biology teaching laboratories, assisting in the management of Biology’s Natural History Vertebrate Collection, and chemical management. Maria has also been an instructor in higher education since 2004. She is an Evening Instructor for the department teaching Anatomy & Physiology Laboratories and, on occasion, Human Approach and a Topics course on the Biology of Bats. Maria’s research interests lie in mammalian functional morphology. Her earlier research, conducted at the American Museum of Natural History, focused on the morphology and phylogeny of bat wing digits. Currently, her interests have expanded into North American bat ecology and conservation. Maria is passionate about changing the public’s perception of bats and has been active in outreach; giving talks to educational groups and regional clubs and running several public Bat Walks.

Liz Chappuis
Staff Associate for Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 394
Tel:
508.531.2092
Email: echappuis@bridgew.edu
Tracie Fagan
Administrative Assistant I, Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 301
Tel:
508.531.1358
Email: tfagan@bridgew.edu
Deborah Fiore
Staff Associate, Lab Preparer for Biological Sciences
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 312
Tel:
508.531.2677
Email: Deborah.Fiore@bridgew.edu

Ms. Fiore joined the Biology department in the fall of 2008 as a Lab Instructor after ten years of research in academia and the private sector.  During her career in research, she studied the effects of growth factors on the cell cycle of regenerating liver at Brown University.  Following this work, she joined the biotech start up Cytotherapeutics, Inc. on their development of a cell encapsulated therapeutic delivery system for diabetes and pain control.  Her work on a glucose responsive cell line was awarded a patent.  The pain control device project made it to phase 1 clinical trials where it failed to demonstrate efficacy.  Her responsibilities in the department include teaching and coordinating majors’ freshman biology and non-majors’ biology laboratory programs along with Cell Biology Lab.  In collaboration with the Education department, she teaches professional development workshops for future teachers.

John Rocharz
Technical Assistant II, Green House Manager
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 378
Tel:
508.531.2261
Email: jrocharz@bridgew.edu
Department Chair
Dr.
Donald J. Padgett
Tel:
508.531.2089
Administrative Assistant
Ms.
Tracie Fagan
Tel:
508.531.1358
Chairperson of Health Professions Advisory Committee
Dr.
Kenneth Adams
Tel:
508.531.1851
Honors Program Chair
Dr.
Jennifer Mendell
Tel:
508.531.2610
Graduate Coordinator
Dr.
Kevin D. Curry
Tel:
508.531.2082

The department offers a BA or BS in Biology, a minor in biology, and a graduate program leading to a Master of Arts in Teaching (biology). We have ten teaching labs and highly sophisticated equipment to help students apply the theoretical principles they are learning. Our students also learn through activities in Bridgewater’s Biology Garden and greenhouse, in our new Watershed Access Laboratory, and in the ponds, rivers, marshes, swamps, bogs and bays in the region surrounding us. We strongly encourage undergraduate research.

Biologists have access to a broad range of careers, from researcher and educator to laboratory manager, research coordinator, environmentalist, microbiologist and a variety of clinical and medical positions.

For more information on programs see our Catalog.

Biological Sciences
Center for Science & Mathematics
Room 301
508.531.1358


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