Our biology graduate students work closely with faculty members on research. For information about our graduate students’ research, see below.
For faculty research interests and contact information, see our faculty directory.
My name is Jj Alvarez and I am in Dr. Daberkow’s lab, we are studying how certain chemicals in a rodent’s brain will impact the rodent’s behavior in response to external stimuli, more specifically stress.
Hello, I’m Seth Barr, I’m a grad student in Dr. Spruell’s fisheries lab. My graduate research is tentatively based on a diet analysis of walleye in Lake Roosevelt, WA. Determining the impact of predation on native and nonnative species as well as a potential abundance estimate based on species prevalence in found in stomach contents.
I am investigating the role of sugar modification on colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R). This receptor is present on macrophages and provides survival and proliferation signals to these cells. I am attempting to determine if manipulation of this receptor changes the osteoclastogenic potential of the modified cells as well as whether these effects are differential between the pair of ligands, colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) and interleukin 34 (IL-34), that interact with the receptor.
Here at EWU, I am examining the bone morphology, muscle attachment points, and biomechanics of Antarcticavis capelambensis to figure out what lifestyle it would have lived. Was it a foot-propelled diver? Was it flying? Was it mostly on the ground? I will be comparing this bird to both other fossil birds and extant relatives to help figure this out. My past research includes examining a grebe-like tarsometatarsus from the late Cretaceous, examining a juvenile Bottosaurus harlani left dentary from the late Cretaceous, describing an ankylosaur tail club from Montana, and finding the pathology that affected a sea turtle from the late Cretaceous. I have also done field work in Wyoming as an intern for the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, where I was working in the Morrison Formation. I did field work in Montana where I was working in the Hell Creek Formation. Also, I have done extensive field work in New Jersey where I worked in the Hornerstown Formation.
I am a current graduate student here at Eastern, co-advised by Dr. Spruell and Dr. Magori. My research is focused on the brook stickleback and nematode that has previously been recorded to be within their hearts here at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. I will be trying to determine if there are any genetic markers within the fish that indicate susceptibility to infection.
My interests include botany, plant community assembly, seed germination, plant-pollinator interactions, and mycorrhizal fungi. I am currently developing a thesis to support our research for the Palouse Prairie Restoration Project on campus.
The evolutionary and ecological importance of predator/prey interactions has long been of interest within biology, but the unintended benefits of reciprocal coevolution remain understudied. I am investigating the interactions of an endogenously produced amphibian neurotoxin, traditionally used for predator deterrence, and its interactions in potential amphibian disease mitigation and skin microbiome community structure alteration. My project spans several disciplines including microbiology, genetics, and disease ecology. I use statistical, bioinformatic, and laboratory based methodologies to examine these interactions.
This study examines the sources and fates of nutrient loading from agriculture and urbanization within the Deep Lake watershed located in Stevens County, WA. We took water and sediment trap samples, discharge data, and YSI water quality metrics from both the tributaries and lake including the outflow. We will use these data to determine how much nutrient loading is being contributed by the tributaries, which are subject to upstream cattle grazing practices in riparian zones, or from houses situated around the lake that suffer from potentially aging and leaky septic systems. In addition, we will also determine the proportion of added nutrients that remain in the lake vs. the proportion that leaves via the outflow. These results will allow for the development of better land use practice policies for both the ranchers and residents of the lakeside community so that water quality is preserved.
My interests are in genetics and host-pathogen interactions in bacterial pathogens of humans. I am researching regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs) in the gastric pathogen, Helicobacter pylori. Using molecular and microbiology techniques to develop strains that each overexpress one of two sRNAs found in highly virulent and carcinogenic strains, I will analyze resulting effects on the total transcriptome. By identifying regulatory targets of these sRNAs, I aim to contribute to a better understanding of genetic regulation in H. pylori, with potential implications for host-pathogen interactions.
Besides my research, I am active in the community of my peers and advocate for students from underrepresented groups, with a special focus on meaningful inclusion of disabled students in research and other aspects of higher education. I am applying to doctoral programs for Fall 2024, with plans for a career in microbiology that allows me to produce impactful research, collaborate with other scientists, advance science communication, and foster the development of future students and mentees.
I have recently joined a multi-year study looking at the before and after effects of Beaver Dam Analogs (BDA) on incised head water streams in the wildfire-prone Okanogan and Methow valleys of central Washington. Many of these streams are no longer connected to their flood plains, causing high flow events to wash sediment, nutrients, and water down stream. This disconnect results in increased stream incision, lowered water tables and down stream water quality problems. Research has shown that beaver dams, and their subsequent impoundments, slow the velocity of the water. Slower water then increases water residence time and storage while allowing nutrient-rich sediment to drop from the water column and settle on the stream bed. Our research compares the hydrological effects of beaver-built dams to human-built analogs. My focus within the study uses the Before-After-Control impact design to assess the success of the BDAs by measuring changes in total phosphorus, water storage, water travel time, water quality measurements, and the organic carbon sequestered in soils and stream bottoms.
Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer of terminally differentiated B lymphocytes, also known as plasma cells. Multiple myeloma plasma cells aggregate in the bone marrow where they overstimulate the activity of osteoclasts which are cells responsible for the degradation of mineralized bone. For individuals with multiple myeloma, heightened activity of osteoclasts leads to the increased prevalence of bone pain, fragility fractures and renal dysfunction. Using molecular techniques such as RT-PCR, fluorescent microscopy, and viral modulation of gene expression, my research focuses on the cell signaling pathways that drive bone pathology in the multiple myeloma disease process. Most notably, I have been investigating the role of the Notch signaling pathway.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays varying roles dependent upon specific brain structures, i.e., motor control in the dorsal striatum or reward learning in the ventral striatum. Recording dopamine signaling in the brain can be done using a technique called Fast-Scan Cyclic Voltammetry (FSCV). This technique involves the application of a voltage at one microelectrode and the recording of a dopamine oxidation/reduction current at another microelectrode. My thesis research focuses on three specific aims, (aim 1) investigating if isoflurane can effectively be used for monitoring dopamine signaling by using FSCV microelectrodes in the rat dorsal striatum; (aim 2) using kinetic analysis to investigate how nicotine affects dopamine neurotransmission; (aim 3) establish a procedure to accurately identify FSCV electrode placement in the striatum of the rat brain.
I am a graduate research assistant in the Allen Lichen Lab. My primary research interests are landscape ecology, population genetics, and biodiversity conservation with a focus on lichens and fungi. Operating in the contexts of the landscape and the holobiont, I plan to characterize the life history and population genetic structure of lichen species in the genus Stereocaulon known from the Appalachian Mountains. This research will concentrate on Stereocaulon tennesseense, a rare species known only to occur in the Appalachian Mountains, from Tennessee to Newfoundland, and in Japan. I will be relying heavily on comparative genomics and landscape genetic analyses to complete this research. The ultimate goals of this research are to deepen our understanding of lichen life histories and population genetics in the Appalachian Mountains and to inform regional biodiversity conservation efforts.
My thesis research project is a molecular analysis of the lichen symbiosis via metagenome and custom amplicon multiplex PCR sequencing, performed on two lichen species within the same genus that deploy different reproductive modes (asexual and sexual), on numerous samples collected from various sites in western Canada. Lichens are no longer considered merely a mutualism between a fungus and a photosynthesizing partner, rather they are an amalgamation of organisms that can also include more than one fungus, yeast, and bacteria. I am investigating which symbionts are imperative to the lichen holobiont and how much genetic diversity occurs across reproductive mode and geographical distribution.
The response of riparian vegetation to the removal of Elwha and Glines Canyon dams in Olympic National Park.
My name is Emerson. I am doing research on carbon storage and uptake in riparian areas in Eastern Washington using a combination of field work and GIS. The focus area in Eastern WA is Hangman Creek and its tributaries. My service dog Barkley is always close by unless it is “day off”. His interest include rolling around in grass and snow (sometimes in something stinky) and cuddles.