The Hamilton biology faculty members are active not just as teachers but as scholars as well. Their research interests vary from cell biology, endocrinology, molecular genetics and developmental biology to electron microscopy, plant physiology and ecology.

Wei-Jen Chang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology

Areas of Expertise: molecular biology, molecular evolution, genome structures, and bioinformatics.
Wei-Jen Chang, associate professor of biology, joined the Hamilton faculty in 2006. More >>

Chang earned a bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan University and his master’s and Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo. During his postdoctoral work at Princeton University Chang studied gene evolution and genome organization in unicellular organisms. He has written or co-written several professional articles in Gene, Protist, Molecular Biology and Evolution and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

David Gapp, Ph.D., The Silas D. Childs Professor of Biology

Areas of Expertise: endocrinology of reptiles, with a focus on the action and evolution of gastrointestinal and pancreatic hormones.
David Gapp concentrates on comparative endocrinology of reptiles, with a focus on the action and evolution of gastrointestinal and pancreatic hormones. More >>

His recent identification of "diabetes" in a local population of snapping turtles may provide an interesting model to pursue the study of this serious metabolic disease that affects a significant portion of the American population.

Gapp has written and reviewed manuscripts for notable journals including The Journal of Comparative Endocrinology and Physiological Zoology, and he has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Herm Lehman, Ph.D., Professor of Biology

Areas of Expertise: neurotransmitters.
Herm Lehman's research is focused on the development and function of neurotransmitters. More >>

Neurotransmitters are molecules released by neurons and mediate communication throughout the nervous system. Thus, the proper expression and maintenance of neurotransmitter levels is a critical, yet largely unknown, aspect of the metabolism of the neuron.

More about Herman Lehman >>

Michael McCormick, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Associate Professor of Biology

Areas of Expertise: environmental geomicrobiology, specifically cell/mineral interactions and environmental contaminants; solid-state respiration by metal respiring bacteria; and molecular methods in microbial ecology.
Mike McCormick is a member of the Biology Department with a shared teaching commitment in the Geosciences Department. He came to Hamilton after completed a Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowship in environmental engineering at the University of Michigan. More >>

McCormick's current research focuses on electron transfer processes between metal respiring bacteria and metal oxides, the transformation of environmental contaminants by biogenic minerals, the microbial diversity of naturally occurring redox interfaces and the development of microbial fuel cells as a novel energy source.

McCormick has published in the journals Environmental Science and Technology and Water Research. McCormick’s research has been supported by grants from the ACS Petroleum Research Fund, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). In 2007 McCormick was awarded a research grant by DOE to examine the role of biogenic Fe(II) minerals in treating uranium contamination and by NSF to characterize the microbial diversity of a novel cold seep community recently discovered off the Antarctic Peninsula.

More about Mike McCormick >>

Sue Ann Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Biology

Areas of Expertise: embryogenesis, morphogenesis, histology, functional morphology, and pedagogy related to learning to think dynamically about microscopic form.
Professor Miller has presented her science and approaches to education in Asia, Europe, Latin America and all over North America. More >>

At Hamilton she investigates influence of cell division and cell death on shaping early vertebrate embryos. Her published work can be found in Developmental Biology, Development, Developmental Dynamics, The Anatomical Record, the Journal of Experimental Zoology, The New Anatomist, and Anatomical Sciences Education.

Miller was coauthor and illustrator of a book as an undergraduate and has subsequently published research with her own undergraduate collaborators. Extensive world travel enriches her broad view of biology that she shares with students.

More about Sue Ann Miller >>

William Pfitsch, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology

Areas of Expertise: the biology, ecology, physiological ecology and physiology of plants; community, ecosystem, and invasive plant ecologies; habitat restoration; tropical and alpine ecologies, and biology teaching.
Pfitsch earned his Ph.D. in botany at the University of Washington. He researches how plants meet the challenges of living in potentially stressful conditions. More >>

In recent years, he has focused his research on the limitations of different plants in their natural habitats, specifically examining physiological and morphological differences of asters in the forest and open fields. Currently, Pfitsch focuses on plant interactions with other organisms (specifically symbiotic fungi and bacteria) that help them meet those challenges. 

His research has been supported by funds such as the Emerson Grant for Collaborative Research, and Howard Hughes Research. Currently, Pfitsch is working on a collaborative project with the Hamilton College Leonard C. Ferguson Professor of Biology Ernest Williams, The Nature Conservancy, and the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation on a project which has received funding from the National Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy.

A member of the Environmental Studies Advisory Committee at Hamilton College, Pfitsch has published extensively. His articles were published in journals including Ecology and Oecologia, and he wrote a chapter for Tropical Alpine Environments: Plant Form and Function (Cambridge University Press).

More about William Pfitsch >>

Andrea Townsend, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

Andrea Townsend earned her A.B. in biology from Bowdoin College and Ph.D. in ecology at Cornell University, and she conducted post-doctoral research at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Smithsonian Institution. More >>

She was previously an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis.  Townsend's research is focused on understanding how land-use changes affect the behavior, health and populations of wild birds. In her recent work, she has examined how urbanization promotes transmission of West Nile virus and food-borne pathogens in crows, using satellite telemetry to examine how they might transport these zoonotic diseases along their migratory pathways. Townsend looks forward to working with her Hamilton students to track wild animals and understand how they are responding to our changing world.

More about Andrea Townsend >>

Ken Bart, M.A., Director of Microscopy and Imaging Facility, Lecturer in Biology

Areas of Expertise: electron, light and confocul microscopy and X-ray microanalysis.
Bart is an electron microscopist who was trained in phycology/microbiology at SUNY at Binghamton. His research interests are diverse and include pathogenic fungal control, microbial biofilm development and recently the microscopic analysis of Antarctic ice cores. More >>

His research interests are diverse and include pathogenic fungal control, microbial biofilm development and recently the microscopic analysis of Antarctic ice cores. Bart's research has been supported by a National Science Foundation-ILI grant and has been published in journals such as the Journal of Cell Biology, Microscopy Research Techniques, Fungal Genetics and Biology.

More about Kenneth Bart >>

Pat Reynolds, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Professor of Biology

Areas of Expertise: marine invertebrate biology, particularly the evolution of Mollusca.
Reynolds received his B.Sc. from University College, Galway, Ireland, and his Ph.D. from the University of Victoria, Canada. More >>

A National Science Foundation grantee, Reynolds is an expert on marine invertebrate biology, particularly the evolution of Mollusca -- the phylum that includes snails, clams and squid. He has worked with biology student research assistants on cruises and at marine field stations along both coasts of North America and in Antarctica.

His recent publications have appeared in Advances in Marine Biology, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, and in Molecular systematics and phylogeography of mollusks (Smithsonian Institution Press). He is also the editor of Invertebrate Biology, an international journal of the American Microscopical Society. Reynolds has been a visiting scientist at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Caribo Cay, Belize, the National Museum of Natural History, and the Natural History Museum in London.

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Ernest Williams, Jr., Ph.D., The William R. Kenan Professor of Biology

Areas of Expertise: field ecology, butterfly population biology, and data analysis.
Through field work in New York, Wyoming and Mexico, and in collaboration with Hamilton students, Ernest Williams studies the population biology, chemical ecology, and conservation of butterflies. More >>

His most recent book is The Nature Handbook: A Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors, which is a field guide to patterns in nature and was released in 2005 by Oxford University Press.  He is also co-author of The Stokes Butterfly Book, published by Little, Brown and Co., and editor and co-author of A Marsh for all Seasons, published locally by the Utica Marsh Council.

His recent publications have appeared in Journal of Insect Conservation, Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, the Journal of Animal Ecology, Resoration Ecology, The Journal of Biogeography, and American Butterflies.

Williams currently works with Associate Professor of Biology Bill Pfitsch on habitat restoration and management in the Rome Sand Plains of central New York.

More about Ernest H. Williams, Jr. >>