Biology Faculty and Staff


Eric Engstrom
Visiting Assistant Professor
Bush Science Center, room 369
(407) 646-2453

B.A. Reed College 1993
Ph.D. Stanford University 2002

My research interests are in plant development and plant evolution.  Currently I am focusing upon analysis of HAIRY MERISTEM genes in the regulation of meristem function and upon the evolution of seed plant pathways of ethylene biosynthesis. 

Bobby Fokidis
Assistant Professor
Bush Science Center, room 312B
(407) 646-2452

B.S. University of Toronto,  2001
M.S. Arkansas State University,  2004
Ph.D. Arizona State University,  2010

Food security is a term we use to describe both the availability of food and the ability of an individual to access food. Food insecurity activates various endocrine systems which can impact health, and alter behaviors, such as inducing aggressive conflict over access to a limited resource. My research investigates the biological mechanisms that link an individual’s perceptions of food security, their energetic status, and their physiological and behavioral responses. Specifically the goals of my research program are to: (1) Characterize the neuroendocrine interactions between steroids and neuropeptides that integrate formation about energetic state with behavior; (2) Investigate how natural or human-induced fluctuations in food alter these neuroendocrine signals; and (3) Understand how physiological and behavioral responses to food availability have influenced the evolution of life-history traits. This novel research integrates a reductionist perspective with a broader understanding of the organism in the context of its environment, and provides a physiological basis for a topic of increasing social importance.

Eileen Gregory, PhD
Professor Emerita of Biology
Bush Science Center, room 361
(407) 646-2430

B.S. Michigan State University, 1974
M.S. University of Washington, 1976
Ph.D. University of Washington, 1979

I am trained as a microbiologist and immunologist, but my most recent research focus is on improving science education at the college and precollege levels.   My primary teaching goal is to excite students about biology while also providing the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful career.  I am always experimenting with the use of technology in the college classroom and enjoy discovering new methods for engaging students in the learning process.  After 35 years at Rollins I have retired from my full-time position but will be teaching courses each fall term through 2016.

Fiona Harper
Associate Professor
Bush Science Center, room 218C
(407) 646-2613

BSc University of Guelph, 1995
MSc Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1998
Ph.D. Dalhousie University, 2004

I am a marine evolutionary biologist. I am particularly interested in how speciation in the marine environment occurs, hybridization between species, and population genetics of marine organisms. While I am continuing to investigate hybridization between two sister species of sea stars in the Northwest Atlantic (Asterias forbesi and A. rubens), I am also collaborating on a population genetics study of the white mangrove in the Caribbean. I have also worked on hybridization and population genetics studies of blue mussels and sea urchins. The type of studies I conduct range from morphological studies of live animals, to fertilization studies between sperm and eggs in vitro, to molecular studies of the nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.

Kathryn H. Hickman
Adjunct Professor
Bush Science Center, room 187
(407) 646-2427

A.B. Rollins College, 1980
Ph.D. Emory University, 1987

My Ph.D. is in the areas of molecular and developmental biology and my research involved the isolation and characterization of muscle protein genes and their transcripts. I first came to Rollins as a student in 1976 and returned as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 1989. I have taught here since then. Because of the broad biology background I attained as an undergraduate student at Rollins and because of the diversity of courses that I have taught over the years, I have evolved into a “General Biologist” and enjoy teaching a wide range of biology courses. I particularly enjoy the challenge of trying to communicate an understanding and appreciation of science to non-science majors.

Stephen W. Klemann
Professor Emeritus of Biology
Bush Science Center, room 167
(407) 646-2290

B.A. Hanover College, 1975
M.S. Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), 1978
Ph.D. Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), 1982

My teaching and research interests lie in the converging disciplines of Developmental, Cellular and Molecular Biology. In addition to participating in the General Biology curriculum, I teach Human Reproduction and Development for general education, and Developmental Biology, Cellular Biology, Molecular Biology, and Seminar courses for our programs in Biology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.   For many years my research focused on the cloning, characterization, and engineering of genes expressed by peri-implantation stage ovine and bovine conceptuses and the uterine endometrium.  The products of these genes contribute to the communication that occurs between the conceptus and the female early in pregnancy to ensure that pregnancy is established and maintained.  More recently, I have worked in cancer cell biology examining gene expression in human breast, prostate, as well as head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.  I employ DNA microarray methods to obtain genome wide perspectives on gene expression followed by qRT-PCR methods to quantitatively assess the expression of genes of interest identified by microarrays.  This work, which integrates select Rollins undergraduates, is performed at Rollins and in collaboration with scientists at the Cancer Research Institute, M.D. Anderson-Orlando.  

Jay Pieczynski
Assistant Professor
Bush Science Center, room 363
(407) 646-2433

B.S. University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, 2004
Ph.D. University of Michigan, 2010

One of the major roles of the cytoskeleton is to act as the cellular interstate system, moving cargo efficiently over long distances.  One of the most basic scientific questions is how proteins, cargos, and even the cytoskeleton itself move, change, and respond to facilitate signal transduction.  Defects in microtubule-associated cell signaling dynamics can be directly implicated in such pathologies as cancer, neurodegenerative disease, infertility, and polycystic kidney disease.  My research involves understanding the in vivo dynamics of microtubules and microtubule motor proteins in cell signaling and behaviorUsing the model system Caenorhabditis elegans, I use a combined genetic, cellular, and organismal approach to studying these processes at physiologically relevant levels in the entire organism.  

Judy Schmalstig
Professor of Biology
Bush Science Center
(407) 646-2340

B.S. The Pennsylvania State University, 1976
M.S. Ohio State University, 1980
Ph.D. University of Dayton,1985

My research interests are in transport and communication in plants.  Currently, my lab is investigating chloroplast movement in duckweed and Arabidopsis.   We have found a green light response that interferes with blue-light induced chloroplast movement.  My past research includes sun-tracking leaf movement in peanut, leaf-closing chemicals in Mimosa, and silverleaf whitefly disorder in squash in collaboration with Dr. H. McAuslane of University of Florida. 

Veronica A. Segarra
Visiting Assistant Professor
Bush Science Center, room 118B
(407) 646 - 2645

B.S. University of Miami, 2001
Ph.D. Yale University, 2008

The contents of our cells are in constant motion, and a network of pathways known as membrane trafficking is responsible for transporting materials, such as proteins and lipids, to the final destinations where they are needed most.  Movement of these cargoes enables cells to grow, develop, and respond to a changing environment.  Membrane trafficking dysfunction can be observed in diseases like cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.  While some of these cellular transport pathways are well studied, others are poorly understood.

 My research investigates the cellular compartments and proteins responsible for trafficking certain lipid membranes and membrane-associated proteins within the cell, particularly in response to conditions of stress and starvation.  I use baker’s yeast to investigate new pathways and to identify the specific cargo molecules, like proteins, that move along them.  This involves genetic manipulation of yeast and observation of fluorescent cargo proteins trafficking throughout the cell.  

Paul T. Stephenson
Associate Professor
Bush Science Center, room 214B
(407) 646-2481

B.A.  Hartwick College, 1984
M.S. Johns Hopkins University, 1992
Ph.D. University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1998

My current research interests include investigating the regulation of hydrolytic enzyme secretion in carnivorous pitcher plants (particularly Nepenthes ventricosa), cloning and characterizing candidate enzymes, using fluorescent in situ hybridization to identify their presence in specific tissues, and Real Time PCR to assess their expression.  In 2007 I began a new research project investigating hydrolytic enzymes involved in mixotrophic metabolism of toxic, algal bloom causing dinoflagellates.  Most recently I have begun a population genetics study of White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa).  In the past I have worked on projects studying programmed cell death during floral senescence and vascular tissue differentiation.

Kathryn P. Sutherland
Associate Professor and Chair
Bush Science Center, 114A
(407) 691-1075

B.A. Wellesley College, 1994
M.S. University of Georgia, 1997
Ph.D. University of Georgia, 2003

I am a coral reef ecologist and a coral disease microbiologist.   I specialize in both field identification and laboratory investigation of coral disease. As a field biologist, I monitor reefs for change in coral cover over time and I assess coral health through quantification of coral disease prevalence.  In the laboratory I am investigating the prevalence and origin of the pathogen, the bacterium Serratia marcescens, that causes the white pox disease of the Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata. White pox disease has contributed to the decimation of this coral species in Florida,with losses averaging 87% since 1996. I am also interested in the identification of other coral disease pathogens and the mechanisms of pathogenesis of these pathogens.

Susan Walsh
Assistant Professor
Bush Science Center, 273
(407) 646-2534

B.S. Cedar Crest College, 1999
Ph.D. Duke University, 2005

My research focuses on mitochondrial trafficking in the nervous system during zebrafish development. Surprising to many students, mitochondria are not the static kidney beans typically shown in electron micrographs but rather, are dynamic organelles that form elegant networks in a cell. Their motion is dependent on signaling molecules and microtubule-binding proteins. Using transgenic zebrafish with fluorescent mitochondria allows me to watch these events in a living animal. 

Adrian Young
Visiting Assistant Professor
Bush Science Center, room 112
(407) 646-2687
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B.A.  University of California, Berkeley, 2005
Ph.D.  Harvard University, 2014

My interests are in evolutionary genetics writ large.  In my research, I look at how different forms of genetic conflict (situations in which the two sexes have divergent evolutionary interests) can affect the structure, function, and inheritance of the genome.  Specifically, I use bioinformatic approaches and genome-wide datasets for the lab mouse to test some of the predictions of population genetic models.  In my teaching, I also use the conceptual foundation that genetic conflict provides to motivate and support a broader appraisal of topics within biology.  In particular, I like to combine natural history, physiology, molecular biology and ecology together in the context of evolutionary theory to help provide a more unified perspective on the subject.



Gail Jones
Administrative Assistant
Bush Science Center, room 110
(407) 646-2494
Ana Rodriguez
Lab Manager
Bush Science Center, room 161
(407) 646-2100
Alan Chryst
Greenhouse Manager
(407) 646-2399

Work Study Students

Mary Beth Tims
Biology Lab Assistant since Fall of 2014
Marine Biology Major Arts & Sciences, Class of 2015
Rachael Munoz
Biology Lab Assistant since Fall of 2014
Biochemistry Major and Global Health Minor Arts & Sciences, Class of 2016
Rachel B. Deena
Biology Office Assistant since Fall 2014
Biology and Environmental Studies Major Arts & Sciences, Class 2017
Margaret Magaletta
Greenhouse Assistant since Fall of 2013
Biochemistry/Molecular Biology Major Arts & Sciences, Class of 2016
Eunice Llanos
Greenhouse Assistant since Fall of 2014
Environmental Studies Major/Russian Studies Minor Arts & Sciences, Class of 2016

Department of Biology
Rollins College
Bush Science Center
1000 Holt Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789
T. 407.646.2494