Students work on a biology project in one of Pearson Hall's new teaching labs
Students study human physiology in one of Pearson's new teaching labs
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Pearson Hall
You can support biology with gifts of money, wisdom, or opportunity. Your financial gifts can be designated for student scholarships, travel and research, or for named professors and facilities.
Unrestricted gifts help support areas of greatest need in our programs. We also encourage campus visits by alumni for departmental seminars or classroom visits that inform our students about your professional experiences and career paths. We greatly appreciate your support!
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Letter from the Chair
Thomas Crist
Greetings Alumni and Friends!
Now in my fourth year as chair, I am continually reminded of the great work and accomplishments of our faculty, students and staff. This past year has been whirlwind of activity, marked by the opening of newly renovated spaces, new faculty hires, and retirements.
This summer we completed the first phase of the Pearson Hall renovation, which has transformed the front of the building. Our new teaching labs provide flexible, collaborative learning environments, and the open study spaces are now routinely full of students. Although it has been challenging for us to navigate numerous moves of teaching and research spaces over the past two years, our work has paid off in creating a vibrant atmosphere for interaction and collaboration.
As the fall semester draws to close, we are celebrating the career of Dr. David Pennock, Professor of Biology, who is retiring this month after 30 years of dedication to teaching, research and administration. For the past several years, David has provided outstanding leadership as Director of the Mallory-Wilson Center for Healthcare Education, and as Director of the University Honors Program.
We welcomed two new Assistant Professors in biology this academic year. Dr. Meixia Zhao focuses on plant genomics and bioinformatics of maize and soybeans, and Dr. Jonathan Bauer studies plant-microbe interactions in agricultural and restored ecosystems. Dr. Bauer has a joint appointment with the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability. Currently, we are conducting another faculty search with expertise in the neurobiology of disease.
We welcome alumni back to campus for seminars, class visits, career events, or just informal conversation. Let us know when you are in the area. We would love to hear about your careers and professional accomplishments.
I wish you the all the best in the holiday season and in the New Year!
Tom Crist
Professor and Chair
Pearson Hall Atrium
The Pearson Hall Atrium
Pearson Hall Renovation
The first phase of the Pearson Hall renovation is now complete, and includes most of the teaching labs, collaborative spaces, and 20% of the research labs. Construction on the second phase is now well underway and will continue in two stages until the entire building renovation is completed in summer 2020.
Already, the transformation of Pearson will be striking to visitors, especially to those who will recall the narrow hallways lined with students. These corridors have been replaced by bright, open areas that serve as student study spaces and provide opportunities for interaction.
The "Web of Life" mural by Charley Harper was successfully relocated intact to create a focal point between the front study and the atrium, which was formerly an outdoor courtyard.
There are several donor opportunities for named spaces or facilities. Please contact Tom Crist, Chair of Biology, or Evan Lichtenstein, CAS Senior Director of Development.
Spotlight on New Biology Faculty
Rob Baker Tereza Jezkova Jonathan Bauer Meixia Zhao
In the past two years, we have hired four new assistant professors in biology.  
  • Rob Baker (left, above) is a plant evolutionary developmental biologist who studies the genetic and developmental basis of the diverse plant morphologies exhibited by Brassica rapa (cabbages, turnips, bok choy).
  • Tereza Jezkova is a global change biologist interested in the genetic basis of evolutionary change underlying shifts in ecological niches and geographic ranges of vertebrates and other organisms.  
  • Jonathan Bauer is a plant ecologist studying plant interactions with soil microorganisms and their roles in agricultural and restoration ecology.
  • Meixia Zhao studies comparative and functional genomics of crop plants, including soybeans and maize.  
All four are up and running in their teaching and research, and already have several students involved in their research labs, which will be newly renovated by Fall 2019.
Biology in the News
Ashley Walters, a Ph.D student, was awarded as a Presidential Management Fellows finalist, which leads to an appointment as a scientist with a federal agency. She a group of Presidential Fellow finalists who were selected from over 6,000 applicants.
Rachel Pilla, a Ph.D. student, was first author on a publication that was highlighted in Eos Earth & Space Science News. The study documented long-term decreases in the water clarity of lakes in the Pocono Mountains.
Michael Mahon, a Ph.D. student, was a 2018 recipient of a College of Arts and Science Graduate Teaching Award.  His faculty nominators notes his leadership, teaching effectiveness, and his commitment to student learning.
Kayla Cartwright, a biology major, received a Provost’s Student Academic Achievement Award, which was given to 12 students for their significant contributions to departments and divisions. 
Greta Burkart received the Miami Regionals Alumni Masters Award. Dr. Burkart was mentored by David Berg and María González during her Miami bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, then went on to earn a Ph.D. at Utah State University and became an aquatic ecologist at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Nik Money, Professor of Biology, Rick Lee, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, and Clara do Amaral ’14 PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology at Mount Saint Joseph University, were featured guests on Science Friday hosted by Ira Flatow, which was recorded with a live audience in Hall Auditorium.
Michael Vanni, Professor of Biology, is the first ecologist at Miami University to be named Fellow of the Ecological Society of America for his contributions in aquatic ecology.
Nancy Solomon, Professor of Biology, was named Executive Editor of North America for the international journal, Animal Behaviour. In 2014, she was named Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, and was the first ABS Fellow at Miami.
Yoshi Tomoyasu, Associate Professor of Biology, was highlighted in a Miami News story on the origin of insect wings, following a publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences with Ph.D. graduate David Linz
Rob Baker, Assistant Professor of Biology, was featured in a Miami News story on his research with Brassica crop plants involving the use of new LED lighting in the Belk Greenhouse.
The Roger Wilson Lecture in Botany was given by Jianguo Wu, dean’s distinguished professor of sustainability science at Arizona State University. His talk was entitled “Linking biodiversity, ecosystem function, ecosystem services, and sustainability.” Dr. Wu was an M.S. ‘87 and Ph.D. ’91 graduate of the Department of Botany at Miami University.
The Ethel Belk Lecture in Botany featured Pamela Diggle, Professor at the University of Connecticut and past president of the Botanical Society of America, who spoke on the “Botany of Thanksgiving,” and botanical characteristics of the many plants that are traditionally part of the Thanksgiving table.
The Hefner Lecture was presented by Dr. Lee Dugatkin, Professor and University Scholar at the University of Louisville, based on his book, How to Tame a Fox and Build a Dog.
College of Arts and Science at Miami University
212 Pearson Hall 
Oxford, OH 45056 
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