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Biology and Wildlife Faculty

Photo of Brian Barnes

Brian Barnes (Professor of Zoophysiology and Institute Director)

311A IRV 1


Ph.D. - University of Washington

Research Interests: Environmental physiology; adaptation of animals to environments; physiology of hibernation; physiological and endocrinological reproductive mechanisms of mammals.

Affiliations: B&W, IAB, TFS

Photo of Andrea Bersamin

Andrea Bersamin (Associate Professor)

228 AHRB


Ph.D. - University of California, Davis

Research Interests: Role of nutrition and physical activity in the development and prevention of chronic diseases; epidemiology; prevention science; determinants of dietary and physical activity patterns; development and evaluation of theory-based interventions; minority health, particularly indigenous populations

Affiliations: B&W, CANHR, IAB

Photo of Greg Breed

Greg Breed (Associate Professor)

401 IRV 1


Ph.D. - Dalhousie University

Research Interests: Quantitative ecology, specializing in animal movement and behaviour.

Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Syndonia Bret-Harte

Syndonia (Donie) Bret-Harte (Professor)

122 AHRB


Ph.D. - Stanford University

Affiliations: B&W, BNZ-LTER, IAB, TFS

Photo of Todd Brinkman

Todd Brinkman (Associate Professor)

323B Murie Building


Ph.D. - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Interests: Human-wildlife interactions

Affiliations: B&W, BNZ-LTER, EPSCoR, IAB, RAP

Photo of Abel Bult-Ito

Abel Bult-Ito (Professor of Neurobiology and Neurophysiology)

113F Murie Building


Ph.D. - Wesleyan University

Research Interests: My research program currently focuses on the neural regulation of compulsive-like behaviors in mice. These traits represent key adaptations to the extreme environments in Alaska. Mouse strains are employed that were bidirectionally selected for compulsive-like nest-building behavior. Selection resulted in a 40-fold difference between the big and small nest-builders in the amount of cotton used for a nest. The big nest builders also show compulsive-like digging behavior and represent a unique animal model of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that shows strong face, predictive, and construct validity for OCD. An important goal of the research program is to identify causal relationships between the behavioral and neuroanatomical differences among the selected strains employing behavioral, neuroanatomical, (neuro-) physiological, pharmacological, and molecular approaches. Another major goal is to develop new drugs for the treatment of OCD that are more effective in reducing symptoms, work much more quickly, and have fewer side effects than current medications. We have already identified one potential new drug for the treatment of OCD, i.e., desformylflustrabromine (dFBr), a positive allosteric modulator of the alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. We are currently in the process of obtaining a patent for dFBr to treat OCD in humans and OCD-like behaviors in pets and livestock.

Affiliations: B&W, INBRE

Photo of Jack Chen

Jack Chen (Associate Professor of Virology; Deputy Director, Alaska State Virology Lab)

223B Murie Building


Ph.D. - Osaka University

Research Interests: Virus-host cell interaction, emerging viral pathogens

Affiliations: B&W, IAB, INBRE

Photo of Robert Coker

Robert Coker (Professor)

323D Murie Building


Ph.D. Exercise Physiology - University of Mississippi

Research Interests: My primary research focus is directed at the mitigation of metabolic stress in clinical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, sarcopenia and alcohol abuse. I also have an interest in maximizing physiological resilience during extreme physical and environmental scenarios.

As a Co-Owner or Managing Partner, I have over a decade of experience in innovation leading to commercialization for three separate companies. My current company, Essential Blends, LLC has led the state of Alaska in non-dilutive funding from the National Institutes of Health. Working to diversify the Alaskan economy, this work provides numerous opportunities for students interested in scientific entrepreneurship.

Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Shawn Crimmins

Shawn Crimmins (Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology; Assistant Leader, AKCFWRU)

209A IRV 1


PhD - University of Montana

Research Interests: Large mammal ecology, carnivore and furbearer ecology, predator-prey dynamics, monitoring design, quantitative ecology.

Affiliations: AKCFWRU, B&W, IAB

Photo of Pat Doak

Pat Doak (Associate Professor of Biology)

415B IRV 1


Ph.D. - Cornell University

Research Interests: Spatial population dynamics; insect-plant interactions.

Affiliations: B&W, BNZ-LTER, Greenhouse, IAB

Photo of Devin Drown

Devin Drown (Assistant Professor)

224 WRRB


Research Interests: My research focuses on understanding coevolutionary interactions, particularly host-symbiont interactions. The overall goal of my research is to develop a mechanistic understanding by which abiotic and biotic forces drive the direction and rate of evolution of coevolutionary interactions. My lab uses a combination of molecular analysis in both field and laboratory settings and mathematical modeling.

Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Eugenie Euskirchen

Eugenie Euskirchen (Associate Professor)

402 IRV 1


Ph.D. - Michigan Technological University

Research Interests: Ecosystem dynamics of carbon, water and energy in taiga and tundra ecosystems.


Photo of Jeffrey Falke

Jeffrey (Jeff) Falke (Assistant Professor of Fisheries; Unit Leader, AKCFWRU)

210A IRV 1


PhD - Colorado State University

Research Interests: Ecology and conservation of freshwater fishes; Spatial ecology, connectivity, and fragmentation in stream ecosystems; Impacts of introduced species on native fish assemblages; Early life history and ecology of fishes; Life history diversity and evolution in salmonids

Affiliations: AKCFWRU, B&W, IAB

Photo of Tamara Harms

Tamara Harms (Associate Professor)

120 AHRB


Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Falk Huettmann

Falk Huettmann (Professor of Wildlife Ecology)

419 IRV 1


Ph.D. - ACWERN/University of New Brunswick (Canada)

Research Interests: Wildlife Ecology, Seabirds, Predictive GIS Modeling, Web-based Wildlife Databases and Metadata, Spatial Aspects of Population Viability Analysis (PVA), Future Landscape Scenarios of Wildlife Habitat, Landscape Ecology, Russian Far East, Tropical Ecology, Conservation Steady State Economy.

Affiliations: B&W, EWHALE, IAB

Photo of Steffi Ickert-Bond

Steffi Ickert-Bond (Professor of Botany, Herbarium Curator, UA Museum of the North)



Ph.D. - Arizona State University

Research Interests: Molecular systematics, phylogeny, biogeography and morphological evolution in vascular plants; revisionary and floristic work.

Affiliations: B&W, Greenhouse, IAB, UAMN

Photo of Jeremy Jones

Jeremy (Jay) Jones (Professor of Biology)

154 AHRB


Ph.D. - Arizona State University

Research Interests: Structure and function of stream ecosystems.

Affiliations: B&W, BNZ-LTER, IAB

Photo of Anja Kade

Anja Kade (Instructor of Biology)

113B Murie Building


Ph.D. - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Interests: Apart from my passion for research-based scientific teaching, my research interests include the interactions of vegetation types and soils in arctic tundra and their associated carbon fluxes.

Affiliations: B&W

Photo of Knut Kielland

Knut Kielland (Professor)

406 IRV 1


Ph.D. - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Interests: Biogeochemistry, plant physiological ecology, herbivory, predator-prey interactions.

Affiliations: B&W, BNZ-LTER, IAB

Photo of Denise Kind

Denise Kind (Instructor; Biology and Wildlife Laboratory Coordinator)

223C Murie Building


Ph.D. - University of California, Irvine

Affiliations: B&W

Photo of Alexander Kitaysky

Alexander (Sasha) Kitaysky (Professor of Integrative Physiology)

413 IRV 1


Ph.D. - University of California, Irvine

Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Don Larson

Don Larson (Instructor of Biology)

113D Murie Building


PhD - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Interests: As an ecophysiologist, I focus on how animals and their parasites cope with environmental changes. I am interested in how parasites overwinter and how changes in host physiology influence parasite overwintering strategies. How warmer winters may change life history traits such as host selection, reproductive rates, habitat selection, or species range is unknown. To understand how climate change will alter parasite communities, the overwintering physiology and ecology of parasites need to be better understood. To do this, I use two animal models for my work: the wood frog Lithobates sylvaticus and the causative agent of Swimmer’s Itch in Alaska, Trichobilharzia alaskensis. I examine how wood frogs survive winter through freeze-tolerance and how adaptations for freeze-tolerance effect parasites. I also examine how parasites within snails effect host survival in the winter and the minimum temperatures required for asexual reproduction and release of T. alaskensis from snails.

Affiliations: B&W

Photo of Mary Beth Leigh

Mary Beth Leigh (Professor of Microbiology)

228 WRRB


Ph.D. - University of Oklahoma

Research Interests: Molecular microbial ecology, bioremediation, plant-microbe interactions, stable isotope probing

Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Mark Lindberg

Mark Lindberg (Professor of Biology)

411 IRV 1


Ph.D. - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Interests: Waterfowl biology; upland game birds; mark-recapture theory; sampling design.

Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Christa Mulder

Christa Mulder (Professor of Plant Ecology)

412 IRV 1


Ph.D. - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Interests:

  1. Impacts of climate change on phenology of plants and herbivores
  2. Science education and outreach: resilience of Alaska communities to climate change
  3. Invasive plant species in Alaska

Affiliations: B&W, BNZ-LTER, IAB

Photo of Mario Muscarella

Mario Muscarella (Assistant Professor of Microbiology)

Ph.D. - Indiana University

Research Interests: I am broadly interested in the role of microorganisms in the environment and how environmental changes alter the structure and function of microbial communities. My research addresses questions related to the responses of microbial populations, communities, and ecosystems to changes in their environment. Specifically, I ask questions related to how the supply and diversity of resources alters the composition and function of communities, and how the traits and species interactions link structure and function. To answer these questions, I use a mixture of field, lab, bioinformatics, and theoretical approaches.

Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Diane O'Brien

Diane O'Brien (Professor)

230 AHRB


Ph.D. - Princeton University

Research Interests: Nutritional Physiology of insects; Stable isotope ecology, Understanding patterns of stable isotope variation among biological compounds

Affiliations: B&W, CANHR, IAB

Photo of Kristin O'Brien

Kristin O'Brien (Professor of Biology and Wildlife)

323E Murie Building


Ph.D. - University of Maine

Research Interests: Mitochondrial biology; oxidative and nitrosative stress; adaptation to cold temperature

Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Link Olson

Link Olson (Professor of Systematic Biology, Curator of Mammals)

016 Museum


Ph.D. - University of Chicago

Research Interests: Systematics, phylogenetics, and evolutionary biology of mammals; biogeography; molecular evolution.

Affiliations: B&W, IAB, UAMN

Photo of Andrej Podlutsky

Andrej Podlutsky (Associate Professor of Molecular Biology)



Research Interests: My primary research projects are centered around questions related to genome stability and DNA repair processes. Keywords: DNA repair, biology of aging, biology of cancer, hibernation and DNA stability

Affiliations: IAB

Photo of Roger Ruess

Roger Ruess (Professor of Ecosystem Ecology)

414 IRV 1


Ph.D. - University of North Dakota

Research Interests: I am interested in regional consequences of changing climate-disturbance interactions for the resilience of Alaska's boreal forest.

Affiliations: B&W, BNZ-LTER, Greenhouse, IAB

Photo of Derek Sikes

Derek Sikes (Professor of Entomology, Curator of Insects)



Ph.D. - University of Connecticut

Research Interests: Taxonomy, morphological and molecular based phylogenetics, conservation, and faunistics of Insects, especially Coleoptera.

Affiliations: B&W, IAB, UAMN

Photo of Naoki Takebayashi

Naoki Takebayashi (Associate Professor of Biology)

226 WRRB


Ph.D. - Indiana University

Research Interests: Theoretical population genetics; evolutionary biology; molecular evolution; plant reproductive biology; computational biology.

Affiliations: B&W, Greenhouse, IAB, INBRE

Photo of Diane Wagner

Diane Wagner (Associate Professor of Biology, B&W Department Chair)

163 AHRB


Ph.D. - Princeton University

Research Interests: Herbivory; insect-plant-soil interactions; mutualism; and evolutionary ecology.

Affiliations: B&W, Greenhouse, IAB

Photo of Donald Walker

Donald (Skip) Walker (Professor of Biology)

262 AHRB


Ph.D. - University of Colorado at Boulder

Research Interests: Environmental biology; disturbance and recovery of arctic ecosystems; global tundra ecosystems; hierarchical geographical information systems; landscape ecology; landscape response to climate change; quantitative ecology methods.

Affiliations: AGC, B&W, IAB, TFS

Photo of Cory Williams

Cory Williams (Assistant Professor of Biology)

323C Murie Building


Ph.D. - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Interests: Wildlife Physiology, chronobiology, environmental endocrinology.

Affiliations: B&W, IAB

Photo of Kevin Winker

Kevin Winker (Professor; Curator of Birds)

038 Museum


Ph.D. - University of Minnesota

Research Interests: Avian evolution, population genetics, and systematics; ecology, evolution, and behavior.

Affiliations: B&W, Core Lab, IAB, UAMN

Photo of Mark Wipfli

Mark Wipfli (Professor of Freshwater Ecology; Assistant Leader, AKCFWRU)

138 AHRB


Ph.D. - Michigan State University

Research Interests: Freshwater Foodwebs, Marine-Derived Nutrients in Riverine Ecosystems, Trophic Relationships, Riparian-Stream Interactions

Affiliations: AKCFWRU, B&W, IAB

Photo of Diana Wolf

Diana Wolf (Associate Professor of Biology)

240 WRRB


Ph.D. - Indiana University

Research Interests: Plant evolutionary genetics. How the genetic basis of traits shapes their evolution, and how natural selection acts on genes.

Affiliations: B&W, Greenhouse, IAB


University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of Biology and Wildlife ©2010-20

101 Murie      907.474.7671

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