The Department of Biology is now offering pre-advisement and permit request for the Fall 2013 semester for all upper level course (BIOL 2XXX, 3XXX, etc.). To request a permit please see(Brown Hall room 306).

*NOTE that beginning Fall 2011, the Biological Sciences Department will no longer accept any AP credits for BIOL 1110/11, BIOL 1120/21, or BIOL 1130/31 (Biology for Science Majors I, II, and III) . We will accept AP credits for BIOL 1010/11 and BIOL 1020/21 (Biology for Non-majors I and II).

Congratulation to Dr. Tim McDowell, recipient of the Fulbright Award to Ecuador.

Congratulations to Diwaker Tripathi, recipient of the 2011 ETSU Graduate Studies Outstanding Thesis Award.

Congratulations to Dr. Chris Liu, recipient of the 2011
College of Arts and Sciences Awards Research Award

Congratulations to Dr. Fred Alsop for being chosen to receive the Z. Cartter Patten Award. This award is presented by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation to an individuals who have shown many years of effective and valuable service to the cause of conservation in TN, including natural resource management, environmental protection and enhancement, public education, public service, or political support.

March 2011
At this year’s Appalachian Student Research Forum, ETSU’s College of Arts and  Sciences had a total of 53 participants. Of that total, 22 students were from the Department of Biological Sciences. Students from our department received a total of five awards, winning 1 st and 2 nd place in both the Undergraduate and Graduate levels for their posters and presentations.

Congratulations to our winners!

Appalachian Research Forum Awards - 
Undergraduate Students
Natural Sciences and Math -
First Place:  Haley Stinnett, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Jim Stewart, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Second Place:  Anthony Lundy, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Karl Joplin, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Graduate Students -
Natural Sciences and Math -
Group A: First Place: Nkongo Binda, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Dhirendra Kumar , Dept. of Biological Sciences
Group B: First Place
, Ashley Wagner, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Darrel Moore, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Second Place: Amukta Mayakoti, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Dhirendra Kumar
, Dept. of Biological Sciences

May 2010
A recent publication, ‘Leaf margin analysis: A new equation from humid to mesic forests in China,’ co-authored by Dr. Chris Liu in PALAIOS, one of the main journals in the field of Geology and Paleontology, has been nominated by both editors, Drs. Stephen T. Hasiotis and Edith L. Taylor from the University of Kansas, as the monthly featured article to open access in BioOne website for maximum exposure. The article can be found at .

April 2010
Appalachian Research Forum Awards
Division I – Undergraduates
Natural Sciences & Mathematics
First Place, Group B:   Ashley Wagner, ETSU
aculty Sponsor:  Dr. Darrell Moore, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Second Place, Group B:  Whitney Ross, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Rebecca Pyles, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Pattern of Skeletal Development in an Oviparous Snake
Division II – Graduate Students, 1-2 Years
First Place:  Joannes Yuh, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Dhirendra Kumar, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Second Place:  Nagababu Chinnam, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Zulfiqar Ahmad, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Differential inhibition of Escherichia coli ATP synthase by dietary bioflavonoids
Division III – Graduate Students, more than 2 Years
Third Place: Andrea Edge, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Darrell Moore, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Truly bird-pollinated? Evidence for bee-pollination in Campsis radicans (Bignoniaceae)
Oral Presentations
Graduate Students
Second Place, Group ADiwaker Tripathi, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Dhirendra Kumar, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Second Place, Group BJunior Tayou, ETSU
Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Zulfiqar Ahmad, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Requirement ofDELSEED-motif of Escherichia coli ATP synthase in peptide binding

April 2010
Emily Hardgrave received second place in the Frank G. Brooks Award for Excellence in Student Research from the Tri-Beta Biological Sciences Honorary Society at the recent meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists Meeting in Ashville, NC, 2010


Awards received from the Appalachian Student Research Forum 2010

Ashley Wagner received a 1st place award in Division I (undergraduate students) in Natural Science and Mathematics

Andrea Edge received a 3 rd place award in Division III (graduate students more than 2 years)

March 2010
Dr. Karl Joplin is an article in Johnson City Press' Space: Home and Garden Volume 1, 2010 (pages 16 and 17)  titled "Patience: The way of the Bonsai".

January 2010
Dr. Istvan Karsai, Biological Sciences, participated in the 10th European Conference of Artificial Life in Budapest, Hungary. He led a workshop with T. Schmickl entitled “Agent connectivity: The role of cooperation in the regulation of the behavior of animals and robots” and presented two papers. He was also invited to be an editor of a special issue of the conference proceedings entitled Darwin Meets von Neumann, which will be published by Springer in 2010.

After the conference, Karsai visited with Dr. George Kampis, former chairholder of the ETSU Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric and Science, at the Institute of Advanced Studies Collegiums Budapest, where they collaborated on an FP7 EU Dynanets project, “Computing Real-World Phenomena with Dynamically Changing Complex Networks.”

November 2009
Kevin Hamed, assistant professor of biology at Virginia Highlands Community College, has been named the 2009 Virginia Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.The award was presented to Hamed on Thursday, Nov. 19, during a luncheon at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. Hamed joined the VHCC faculty in 2003 after eight years as Nature Center Manager at Bristol’s Steele Creek Park. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Tennessee Technological University and East Tennessee State University, respectively, and was awarded a 2009 Virginia Community College Chancellor’s Faculty Fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee. As a doctoral student, he is continuing his extensive research on Appalachian salamanders.

September 27-30, 2009
The AASP (Palynological Society) 42nd Annual Meeting was held at the Meadowview Convention Center and the Gray Fossil Site and hosted by Dr. Michael Zavada. The meeting was a great success. The schedule and pictures are available for viewing.

July 2009
Dr. Istvan Karsai ,
Biological Sciences, was invited to give a science seminar by the Department of Life Sciences at the University of West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. The title of his talk was “Self-organization in wasp societies: How can simple minds produce adaptive patterns?”

June 2009
The School of Graduate Studies has named the recipients of its annual graduate student research grant awards. One of the winner is: Lok Raj Pokhrel; Johnson City and Jhapa, Nepal; Biology; Mapping the skin patterns of two sympatric populations of ambystomatid salamanders, Ambystoma maculatum and A. opacum from Tennessee; Advisor: Dr. Istvan Karsai.

April 2009
Len Robertson received Kiwanian of the Year by the Metropolitan Kwanis of Johnson City.

April 2009
Congratulations to the students and their mentors
Award winners at 2009 Appalachian Research Forum
Ms. Wenzong Li, mentored by Dr. Zulfiqar Ahmad won the first place in Natural Sciences & Mathematics for Undergraduates category for her presentation “ IDENTIFICATION OF PHOSPHATE BINDING IN ESCHERICHIA COLI ATP SYNTHASE.”
Mr. Byron Van Nest, mentored by Dr. Darrell Moore won the first place in “Natural Sciences & Mathematics” for Graduate Students (1-2 yrs) category for his presentation titled “SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?' INDIVIDUAL DECISION MAKING IN THE HONEY BEE ( APIS MELLIFERA) FORAGER OPTIMIZES GROUP FORAGING EFFORTS.”
Mr. Diwaker Tripathi, mentored by Dr. Dhirendra Kumar, won the second place in “Natural Sciences & Mathematics” for Graduate Students (1-2 yrs) category for his presentation titled, “ROLE OF SALICYLIC ACID BINDING PROTEIN 2 IN SYSTEMIC ACQUIRED RESISTANCE INDUCED BY ACIBENZOLAR- S-METHYL.”
Ms Jala Daniel, mentored by Dr. Cecilia McIntosh, won the second place in “Natural Sciences & Mathematics” for Graduate Students (2+ yrs) category for her presentation titled, “DETERMINING PUTATIVE SECONDARY PRODUCT GLUCOSYLTRANSFERASE EXPRESSION DURING CITRUS PARADISI GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT.”

February 2009
Andrew Runciman (computer science major) and Istvan Karsai (assoc. prof. at the Department of Biology) were invited to participate in the international conference titled MATHMOD 2009 in Vienna, Austria. The study entitled "The Effectiveness of the 'Common Stomach' in the Regulation of Behavior of the Swarm" by Istvan Karsai and Andrew Runciman was presented in the symposium "Modeling of the Swarm" on February 11 by Mr. Runciman and published as a peer reviewed paper in the Proceedings MATHMOD 09 Vienna Full Papers CD Volume: 851-857. Participation was supported by the Dept. of Biological Sciences and honors College.

February 2009
This Thursday (Feb. 12) marks the “Darwin Day Bicentennial” observance at the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site.
The day centers on the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth in 1809, and involves a worldwide celebration of science and humanity highlighting the evolutionist’s life and discoveries. The Fossil Museum’s plans include an invitation for the public to “take a walk in his shoes” with several videos, lectures and activities.
On Thursday and continuing through Saturday, a popular video series on the topic of evolution will be shown in the Eastman Credit Union Multi-Media Classroom. Informational handouts concerning Darwin and his work will be available for those interested in natural selection, the scientific process and the legacy left by Darwin.
“Darwin Day” concludes with a “visit” from the noted scientist who will make an appearance at 4 p.m. Thursday to present personal observations and reflections on the period during which he formulated his theory of natural selection. And much has been learned about the mechanics of the theory during the 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.”
ETSU professor Dr. Lev Yampolsky will serve as a modern interpreter for Darwin, expanding on his theories to encompass modern breakthroughs in genetics that help explain the complex process of evolution by natural selection.

On Saturday, museum visitors can join in the festivities of “Darwin Day” with videos, activities and two free public talks. At 2 p.m., ETSU professor of biological sciences Dr. Foster Levy will address the role of disease in Southern Appalachian Trees and Forests. And, at 3 p.m., “Darwin” will “revisit” the museum to speak to visitors and guests.
Please view this link for the making of Darwin:
Making of Darwin

October 22-26, 2008:

With an invitation from the Department of Science & Technology (DST) of the Indian Government, Dr. Chris Liu attended a brainstorming session on “Out-Of-India Biotic Dispersal” in New Delhi, India on October 22-23, 2008. The discussion session, sponsored by DST and organized by the Indian Institute of Technology at Roorkee, was held at the Indian National Science Academy (INSA). Twenty-one talks, all focusing on “Out-of-India hypothesis” from evidence of fossils, geochemistry, and molecular systematics, were made. Dr. Liu gave a talk on Lagerstroemia (crepe myrtle) pollen evidence for the hypothesis. The session finished with a panel discussion on the possibility of international collaborations to further test the “Out-of-India” hypothesis. 

After the meeting in New Delhi, Dr. Liu had 3-day visit to the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow, about 300 miles southeast of New Delhi. This is the only institute exclusively on research of fossil plants in the world. Besides meeting with many paleobotanists there, Dr. Liu was also invited for a research seminar on his research about the late Neogene flora from the Gray Fossil Site of northeast Tennessee.

September 2008
Drs. Istvan Karsai
and Lev Yampolsky, Biological Sciences, participated in the Society for Mathematical Biology Conference in Toronto, Canada, accompanied by two undergraduate students – Brandy Warner and Laura Catron, both members of the National Science Foundation-funded Talent Expansion in Quantitative Biology Program. They gave three presentations: “Teaching math to biologists and biology to mathematicians: When needed and as much as needed,” co-authored by Yampolsky; Karsai; Catron; Warner; Dr. Edith Seier, Mathematics; and Dr. Karl Joplin, Biological Sciences; “The importance of simulation in freshman education,” co-authored by Karsai, students McKayla Johnson and Tashauna Gilliam, and Dr. George Kampis of Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary, who served as chairholder of ETSU’s Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excel­lence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric and Science in the spring 2007 semester; and “Game theory of female guarding:  The role of female choice” by Yam­polsky and University of Rochester, N.Y., graduate students Tracie Ivy, Mahul Chakraborty, Daniel Scantlebury and Jing Zhu.

September 2, 2008
Chris Liu gave an oral presentation on the “Evolution of Neogene climates in China” at the annual meeting of NECLIME ( Neogene Climate Evolution in Eurasia ) in the Steinmann-Institute of Geology, University of Bonn, Germany.

August 30 – September 5, 2008

With support from his NSF-CAREER grant, Chris Liu attended the 12 th International Palynological Congress jointed with the 8 th International Organisation of Palaeobotany Conference at the University of Bonn (Germany). He presented his work on one of his new fossil fruits uncovered from the Gray Fossil Site. The title of the presentation was “Sinomenium macrocarpum sp. nov. (Menispermaceae) from the late Neogene of Gray, northeast Tennessee, U.S.A.”

July 2008
Zulfiqar Ahmad, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry attended and presented his work on "Molecular modulation of Escherichia coli ATP synthase: role of charge in the catalytic sites" in FASEB SRC (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Summer Research Conference ) at Saxtons River, Vermont from July 20-25, 2008.

June 2008
Istvan Karsai had extensive international collaboration in several areas:
He was an invited researcher for collaborative research on modeling and simulation of complex ecological systems in parallel distributed environments in the framework of the European Union international collaboration project QosCosGrid (EC FP6 STREP), June 9-29 2008. Institute of Advanced Studies, Collegium Budapest, Hungary (
An invited advisor for the Multi Agent Evolving Ecosystem Project, a collaborative international research project at Aitia Inc. (
An invited participant of the International Workshop on Cognitive Robotics,2008 June 26. Organized by the Department of Philosophy of Science at Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary. (

JUNE 2008 - JUNE 2013:
 • Paleobotanist receives NSF CAREER grant to study the Gray Fossil Site

 • , an ETSU assistant professor of Paleobotany in the Department of Biological Sciences, has received a $421,657 grant from the National Science Foundation – Early Faculty Career Development Program (NSF CAREER) to study the fossil plants from the Gray Fossil Site and initiate new educational programs for the next five years.

 • The research will center on the continuous excavation at the Gray Fossil Site, determination of the plant fossils uncovered, reconstruction of their climate conditions, and evolution of forests in southern Appalachian. The Gray Fossil Site fortunately represents a critical geological time (around 7 million years ago), when the global climate transitionally changed from the greenhouse (hot) world to the icehouse situation. It therefore represents a more appropriate analogue for a possible future anthropogenic greenhouse climate than any interglacial stage during the ice age. Plant fossils from Gray will help us understand what the mechanism of climatic change was and how the nature responded during this critical period of time. The educational programs mainly based at the ETSU and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum will bring the excitement of paleontology to college students, K-12 students and teachers, and the public in a region of the country in need of direct exposure to the basis and value of sound historical science. Furthermore, a field-oriented study-abroad 3-week summer course, ‘ Fossil Resources of China,’ will be started in summer 2009.

January 17-20, 2008:
Dr. Istvan Karsai gives lecture at international workshop.

 • Dr. Istvan Karsai was invited to give a plenary lecture titled "Cooperation and Conflict in Insect Societies: Why and How Organization Happens" at an international workshop entitled "Conflict and Cooperation in Animal Societies".  The workshop was hosted at the Debrecen University, Hungary, in the framework of Integrating Cooperation Research across Europe (INCORE).  There were participants from 10 countries present.

October 5, 2007:
Dr. Dhirendra Kumar’s research published in Science

 • A new research discovery published the Oct. 5, issue of Science, “Methyl salicylate is a critical mobile signal for plant systemic acquired resistance” is co-authored by Dr. Dhirendra Kumar, Department of Biological Sciences, ETSU.  This research describes the discovery of a disease resistance signal molecule, methyl salicylate (MeSA) which is produced at the site of pathogen infection from where it moves not only to the other parts of the infected plant but also to neighboring healthy plants. This research is outcome of earlier discovery in 2003 and 2005 made by Dr. Kumar and his colleagues and published in Proceeding of National Academy of Sciences which identified and characterized a protein, SABP2 which converts methyl salicylate to salicylic acid.

 • For more than five decades, plant scientists have been searching for a mobile signal which transmits the signal from the infected to non infected healthy parts of the plant to induce systemic acquired resistance (SAR). A successful SAR response readies the plants for any future attack by elevating the resistance status of the plant.

 • A Plant under attack by herbivores sends out SOS signal for help by emitting a variety of volatile chemicals including methyl salicylate. These chemical compounds attract the predators of herbivores.

 • This and earlier research indicate that methyl salicylate may be one of the global signals used by plants for communications  within the plant, plant to plant and also plant to insects. These studies will help scientists to develop crops which show more resistance to disease and pests which cause great damage to economically important crops.

September 25, 2007:  
The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) selected 24 doctoral students and 10 master’s-level and undergraduate students to receive $3,000 fellowships. Among those honored is East Tennessee State University sophomore Tazley Hotz. Hotz is mentored by Dr. Dhirendra Kumar.

 • The fellowship allows recipients to devote their time during the summer to research projects. In addition, $500 was awarded to the student’s faculty mentor for lab supplies, and the student received free membership in ASPB for the coming year plus travel grant assistance to attend the 2008 ASPB conference.

 • Hotz, of New Johnsonville, received the award for her project entitled “Salicylic Acid-Methyl Transferase Required for Plant Innate Immunity.”

 • Visit for further information.

September 10-18, 2007:
Michael Zavada
presented a paper at the American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologist (AASP) meeting in Panama City, Panama.  Mohamed Zobaa, a post graduate working in M. Zavada's laboratory, presented a poster at the American Association of Petroleum geologists, Lexington, KY on the palynology of the Gray Fossil Site, Miocene.

July 18-20, 2007:
The Departments of Biological Sciences and Mathematics at ETSU along with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will sponsor a Quantitative Biology Curriculum Planning Workshop to be held at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City.  This workshop will bring together mathematics and biology educators who have developed or wish to develop quantitative biology curricula. The major goals of the conference are to:
• Identify successful models that introduce applications of and connections with biology into the undergraduate mathematics and computer science curriculum.
• Identify successful models that integrate quantitative methods into biology introductory and upper level courses
• Identify resources and materials that support quantitative biology
• Stimulate creation and revision of new materials that integrate mathematics and biology
• Initiate and foster a collaborative learning community  

July 10-13, 2007:
(Chris) Yusheng Liu will attend the 1st International Palaeobiogeography Symposium in Paris, France. He will present a paper “Out-of-India dispersal hypothesis: evidence from plant fossils Lagerstroemia (Lythraceae)”.

July 2007
Cecilia McIntosh will be taking students to Phytochemical Society of North America.

June 28, 2007: 
Mohammed Zobaa
, a post M.S. student working on the pollen analysis of the Miocene Gray Fossil Site was accepted to a Ph.D. program for Fall 2007 at the University of Missouri-Rolla.  He will continue to work on the Gray Fossil Site material.

June 1-2, 2007
Dr Karl H Joplin attended a Mathematical Biology Institute workshop at Columbus OH. The workshop was Over the Fence: Mathematicians and Biologists Talk About Bridging the Curricular Divide. Support was provided by the by HHMI Symbiosis Grant # 52005872.

May 24 – August 20, 2007:
(Chris) Yusheng Liu will be staying at Harvard University Herbaria as Mercer and Putnam Research Fellow working on the fossil fruits/seeds from the Gray Fossil Site.

May 11, 2007:
(Chris) Yusheng Liu has been awarded a grant ($15,000.00) from the National Geographic Society on "Systematics of fossil plants from a unique late Tertiary flora in Gray, northeast Tennessee and their biogeographic significance."

May 9, 2007:
Thomas C. Jones became the proud father of a new son, Guthrie Thomas Mains Jones.  Guthrie weighed in a 7 lbs. 5 oz., and was 21 inches long.

April 12, 2007
Istvan Karsai , G. Kampis and M Khambaty have received a Student-Faculty Collaborative Grant $650. “Modeling ecological fragmentation”

March 15, 2007
Dr Karl H Joplin , PD of the Grant, and ETSU is the host Institution for a  $50,000 Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant awarded to a consortium of 30 institutes to hold two annual workshops. The project is Quantitative Biology: Curricular and Institutional Transormation at the Math/Biology Interface. The first meeting will be held at ETSU 18-20 July 2007 at the Carnegie Conference Center.  Support provided by the HHMI Mini-Workshop Grant # 52006025

March 11-16, 2007
Dr. Karl H Joplin and Justin Peyton attended the Sable System Respirometry Course in Las Vegas NV. This workshop was used to learn the theoretical and practical aspects of the Sable Microrespiratory System that we are using to examine the developmentally unique pupal respiratory cycles in the flesh fly, Sarcophaga crassipalpis  Travel funds were provided by HHMI Symbiosis Grant # 52005872.

January 15, 2007:
Dr. Karl H Joplin took over as Program Director for a $1.7M Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant was awarded to the PIs of the Biological Sciences and Mathematics departments at ETSU. The 4 year grant titled, SYMBIOSIS: An Introductory Integrated Mathematics and Biology Curriculum for the 21st Century, will develop and implement a 3 semester course that will integrate Biology, Statistics, Calculus and Discrete Math at the freshman majors course level. The PIs are Math; Jeff Knisely, Edith Seier, Michael Helfgott and the Biology PIs are Karl H. Joplin, Darrell Moore and Istvan Karsai. Grant #52005872.

September 1, 2006:
Cecilia McIntosh : Awarded grant from National Science Foundation for research on “Flavonoid Glucosyltransferase Clones from Citrus paradisi: Function, Metabolic Impact, and Structural Characterization  ($289,000, 3 years)

August 16, 2006
Cecilia McIntosh : Appointed Dean of ETSU’s School of Graduate Studies

August 15, 2006-07
Istvan Karsai serves as an ETSU International Ambassador.

August 15, 2006-08:
Istvan Karsai serve on the Tenure and Promotion Committee of the College of Arts and Science for 2 years.

August 15, 2006 – January 15, 2007
Istvan Karsai , PI and Program Director received a grant from HHMI (#52005872): “Symbiosis: An Introductory Integrated Mathematics and Biology Curriculum for the 21st Century”. $1,700,000 for 4 years. (Co-PIs: K. Joplin; D. Moore; J. Knisley; E Seier; M. Helfgott, partners H. Miller and A. Godbole).

August 2006
Dr. Karl H Joplin ’s graduate student, Amy Robertson, successfully completed her graduate work for a MS degree. Her thesis title was : The Isolation and Characterization of the Microflora in the Alimentary Canal of Gromphadorhina portentosa Based on rDNA Sequences.

July 1, 2006-07
Istvan Karsai nominated “Basler Fellow” and has received the Basler Fellowship. He is working closely together with George Kampis, Basler Chair of Excellence, during the Spring semester of 2007.

July 1, 2006
Michael S. Zavada began his position as chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences.  Dr. Zavada came to ETSU from Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island.