Department of Biology, West Chester University Print

The main office for the Department of Biology is located in Room 175 on the first floor of Schmucker Science North. If you have questions, you may contact us at: 610-436-2538

Chair: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  | Assistant Chair:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Graduate Coordinator:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  | Secondary Education:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Secretary:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Department of Biology, 730 South Church Street, West Chester University, West Chester, PA, 19383. 

Faculty Position Available: Functional Animal Morphologist Print
MorphologistTenure track ASSISTANT PROFESSOR position in Functional Animal Morphology available August 2018.  Earned doctorate in Zoology, Biology or related discipline required; research focused on basic or applied animal morphology.  Research and/or teaching experience utilizing one or more current or emerging computational technologies including but not limited to structural bioinformatics, 3-D imaging and simulations, biomedical engineering, geometric morphometrics, quantitative functional morphology, or mathematical modeling is highly desirable.  The successful applicant must be qualified to teach an undergraduate course in Human Anatomy and Physiology, undergraduate laboratories in Zoology and General Biology, a graduate level Research Techniques course, and to develop an undergraduate or graduate course in their area of expertise. Candidate is expected to establish an active, externally funded research program involving graduate and/or undergraduate students.
Finalists must successfully complete an interview process that includes a research seminar and teaching demonstration. 
To apply, upload a letter of application, statements of teaching and research philosophies, curriculum vitae, and all unofficial university transcripts to http://agency.governmentjobs.com/wcupa/default.cfm. Have three evaluators send a letter of reference by email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or by mail to Dr. Frank Fish, 750 S. Church St., Department of Biology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA 19383. Review of completed applications begins on September 5, 2017 and continues until position is filled. For more details and full ad visit the website above or contact Dr. Frank Fish at the email above. 
The filling of this position is contingent upon available funding. All offers of employment are subject to and contingent upon satisfactory completion of all pre-employment criminal background checks. Developing and sustaining a diverse faculty and staff advances WCU's educational mission and strategic Plan for Excellence. West Chester University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
Tropical Ecology of Puerto Rico Print

Puerto Rico


Nine Biology majors spent their 2017 Spring Break exploring the island of Puerto Rico in Dr. Jessica Schedlbauer's Tropical Ecology of Puerto Rico class.  

Students visited and learned about tropical rainforests, dry forests, and coastal ecosystems, and they also met with local conservation ecologists to learn about methods used to protect and restore degraded ecosystems.  

The class visited the University of Puerto Rico, Utuado and learned from both students and faculty about agroforestry systems, as well as sustainable agriculture on the island.

Biology Highlights 2017 Print
Dr. Oné Pagán presented an invited seminar entitled "Behavioral assessment of planarian brain regeneration: Cocaine and nicotine as pharmacological tools" to the Department of Biology of Eastern University, St. Davids, PA. on April 12, 2017.
Biology undergraduate student Alaina Bertoline and Dr. Jessica Schedlbauer presented a poster entitled 'Ecological integrity of edge and interior environments at West Chester University's Gordon Natural Area' at the Pennsylvania Academy of Science Annual Meeting, held at King's College, Wilkes-Barre, PA on April 1, 2017.
Dr. John M. Pisciotta received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for $14,950 to to develop a Wind-Actuated Vibrating Electrochemical (WAVE) Digester (EPA Grant SU836778). The objective of this research project is to electrochemically treat wastes while storing renewable forms of energy.
Dr. Frank Fish received a grant from the National Science Foundation for $37,153 for “Collaborative Research: Scaling of unsteady locomotor performance and maneuverability” (IOS-1656676). This grant is to collaborate with Dr. Jeremy Goldbogen of the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University and Dr. Jean Potvin of St. Louis University to study the turning performance of large whales. Dr. Fish also received a grant from the Office of Naval Research for $300,000 for “Investigating sea lion locomotion as the basis for shape changing UUVs” (N00014-17-1-2312). This grant is to collaborate with Dr. Megan Leftwich of George Washington University and Drs. James Tangorra and Harry Kwatny of Drexel University to examine the movements of sea lions as the basis of constructing a biorobotic sea lion.
Dr. Teresa Donze-Reiner published the following article: Donze-Reiner, T., Palmer, N., Scully, E., Heng-Moss, T., Bradshaw, J., Twigg, P., Amundsen, K., Sattler, S., Sarath, G. 2017. Transcriptional analysis of defense mechanisms in upland tetraploid switchgrass to greenbugs. BMC Plant Biology, 17(1), p. 46.
Dr. Josh Auld published the following article: Grossenbacher, D. L., Y. Brandvain, J. R. Auld, M. Burd, P.-O. Cheptou, J. K. Conner, A. G. Grant, S. M. Hovick, J. R. Pannell, A. Pauw, T. Petanidou, A. M. Randle, R. Rubio de Casas, J. Vamosi, A. Winn, B. Igic, J. W. Busch, S. Kalisz & E. E. Goldberg. 2017. Self-compatibility is overrepresented on islands.  New Phytologist _:_-_. 
Dr. Frank Fish presented the following papers at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, New Orleans, LA, January 3-7, 2017: (1) "Tail Stands in dolphins: Experimental measurement of force generation using Bubble DPIV" with Dr. Terrie Williams of the University of California Santa Cruz and Dr. Timothy Wei of the University of Nebraska; (2) "Chordwise flexibility of bottlenose dolphin flukes during static exercise" with Dr. Terrie Williams; and (3) "How smooth is a dolphin" with Dylan Wainwright and Dr. George Lauder of Harvard, Dr. Terrie Williams, and Dr. Judy St. Leger of Sea World. 
Dr. Frank Fish, biology graduate student Kelsey Tennett, and Dr. Daniel Costa of University of California Santa Cruz presented "Terrestrial locomotion of a massive amphibious mammal: Constraints of northern elephant seals on land" at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, New Orleans, LA, January 3-7, 2017.
Dr. Frank Fish, biology graduate student William Gough, Gregory Lewis and Dr. Hilary Bart-Smith of the University of Virginia presented "Physical properties and anisotropy in the central tissue layer of cetacean tail flukes" at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, New Orleans, LA, January 3-7, 2017. 
Dr. Frank Fish, biology graduate students Danielle Adams, William Gough and Kelsey Tennett, and biology undergraduate student Erin Gallagher presented "Passive spanwise flexibility of harbor porpoise flukes: Equivalence of dorsal and ventral flexion" at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, New Orleans, LA, January 3-7, 2017.

Cool Previous Biology Highlights (2016)

Neuroscience Journal Club-Spring 2017 Print


New BioFaculty: Fall 2016 Print
mareshWe welcome Dr. Jennifer Maresh as a new assistant professor in the Department of Biology. She received her B.S. in Biology from West Chester University in 2003, her Master's in Coastal Environmental Management in 2005 from Duke University, and her Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of California - Santa Cruz (UCSC) in 2014.
Dr. Maresh's background is with swim behaviors and mechanics as they relate to foraging in marine mammals and her research has included work with wild bottlenose dolphins, North Atlantic right whales, Weddell seals and northern elephant seals. As a postdoctoral researcher at UCSC her research focused on animal bioenergetics which is an understanding of how energy flows through living systems from ingestion of prey up through the building of an animal and its offspring. She is interested in the decisions animals make while foraging and the energetic costs and pay-offs of those decisions under both natural and 'disturbed' conditions, as a way of understanding how resilient they might be to a rapidly changing environment.
Dr. Maresh is excited to return to her alma mater where she will continue her bioenergetics work with marine mammals. She would like to develop an additional research program directed at understanding the role of terrestrial mesopredators in both disturbed and intact ecosystems from a bioenergetics perspective. She looks forward to working with students to develop independent research projects in her lab, and to teaching Physiology and other biology classes at West Chester University.

The Department of Biology also welcomes Dr. Eric Sweet as a new assistant professor. Dr. Sweet received his B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech in 2002 and his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2011.
Dr. Sweet is a neuroscientist and electrophysiologist interested in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. As a postdoctoral fellow at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, his research focused on the role mutations in the Parkinson’s disease associated gene encoding LRRK2 play in learning and memory. He also worked on identifying new molecular factors that influence learning and memory. He is excited to join the WCU community and will continue to investigate the role that genetic and environmental factors play in the substantial non-motor deficits experienced by those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Sweet is looking forward to working with students while they learn and perform research in the fields of neuroscience, cell biology, and neurodegenerative diseases. 
2016 Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium Print

sigma xi 2016

Student research conducted by Undergraduate Student Brett Pugliese, Graduate Student Jon Klein, and Undergraduate Student Dina Torjman was presented at the 27th Annual Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium held at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, April 15th 2016.  Student research presented at the Symposium was conducted in collaboration with Biology faculty members Dr. Erin Gestl and Dr. Greg Turner.

2016 JEB Calendar Print
The 2016 Journal of Experimental Biology Calendar included the above image that was derived from the following article published by WCU Biology graduate student William Gough and Dr. Frank Fish: Gough, W. T., Farina, S. C. and Fish, F. E. 2015. Aquatic burst locomotion by hydroplaning and running in common eiders (Somateria mollissima). Journal of Experimental Biology 218: 1632-1638.
Can you identify these Birds? Print
Have you ever seen a bird and wondered what kind it was or what it was doing? Did you know there are ~30 species to identify on campus alone? Do you already enjoy birding and are looking to meet like-minded people?  If so, come join the fledging West Chester University Student Birding Club!  Any experience level welcome!

Birds are one of the most diverse, strikingly beautiful, and highly visible groups of animals.  Learning to identify birds by sight and sound can provide years of free entertainment.  Whether or not you can tell an American Crow from a Fish Crow, a Northern Flicker from a Pileated Woodpecker, or a House Sparrow from a Song Sparrow, come and join us! 


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