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

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

Faculty Position Available: Molecular Biologist Print
Tenure-track ASSISTANT PROFESSOR position in Molecular Biology available August 2018. Earned doctorate in Molecular Biology or related discipline is required; research and teaching interest in some aspect of bioinformatics is preferred. The successful applicant must be qualified to teach courses in Molecular Genetics, Cell & Molecular Biology, Introduction to Recombinant DNA Technology, and laboratories in introductory biology. The applicant may also be required to develop upper division special topics courses or graduate courses in the applicants specific area of expertise. The selected candidate is expected to establish an active, externally funded research program involving undergraduate and/or graduate students.
Applicants must successfully complete the interview process including a teaching demonstration and a research seminar to be considered for this position. To apply, upload a cover letter, one copy of all university transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable during the application process; if offered the position, official transcripts are required), teaching philosophy, research statement and a curriculum vitae to the online application system at http://agency.governmentjobs.com/wcupa/default.cfm
Letters of recommendation (3) need to be sent directly from the evaluators either to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or by mail to Dr. One R. Pagan, 750 S. Church St., Department of Biology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA 19383. Please indicate Molecular Biology search in the Subject line. For more details, please contact Dr. Pagan at the email above. Review of completed applications begins on August 2, 2017 and continues until the position is filled.
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 background and consumer reporting checks. Developing and sustaining a diverse faculty and staff advances WCUs educational mission and strategic Plan for Excellence. West Chester University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, minorities, United States Armed Forces 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. Frank Fish published an article “Swimming kinematics of mobuliform rays: Oscillatory winged propulsion by large pelagic batoids” in the Marine Technology Society Journal (2017; 51:35-47), which was co-authored with Drs. Haibo Dong, Joe Zhu, and Hilary Bart-Smith from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Frank Fish presented an invited talk “Mechanics and hydrodynamics of acrobatics and aquabatics by whales and dolphins” in the mini-symposium “Flying fish and Diving Birds” at the American Physical Society 64th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics in Denver, Colorado on November 20, 2017.
Dr. Oné Pagán published to following: O.R. Pagán (2017) Planaria: an animal model that integrates development, regeneration and pharmacology. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 61: 519 - 529.

Dr. Frank Fish presented a talk “How smooth is a dolphin? Ridged texture and hydrodynamics from skin molds on live animals” at the Biennial Meeting of the Society of Marine Mammalogy in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, October 22-27, 2017. In addition, Dr. Fish was a co-author with biology graduate student William Gough on the presentation “Morphology and physical properties of the sub-dermal fibrous layers in odontocete tail flukes” at the Biennial Meeting of the Society of Marine Mammalogy.

Dr. Frank Fish was a co-author on a presentation “How do blue whale maneuver?” that was presented at the 6th International Bio-logging Science Symposium. Lake Constance, Germany, September 25-29. 2017.

Dr. Frank Fish was a consultant for the exhibit “ Whales Beneath the Surface” on the biology of cetaceans that is currently on display at the at the British Natural History Museum, in London, England.
Dr. Teresa Donze-Reiner presented an invited seminar at Villanova University entitled "Insights into plant defense mechanisms in switchgrass against greenbug aphids" (September 2017).
Dr. Teresa Donze-Reiner was awarded a 2017 Research in Mathematics and the Sciences (RIMS) Award in the amount of $5676.
Dr. Frank Fish co-authored an article “On rules for aquatic locomotion” in the journal Physical Review Fluids, volume 2: 083102 (2017). The paper was co-authored with Medhi Saadat, Valentina Di Santo, and George Lauder from Harvard University and Hossein Haj-Hariri from the University of South Carolina.
Dr. Jessica Schedlbauer and former WCU graduate student Nicole Havrilchak published the following: Havrilchak, N.A. and J.L. Schedlbauer. In press. Plant physiological changes along an encroachment gradient: an assessment of U.S. Mid-Atlantic serpentine barrens. Journal of Plant Ecology  https://doi.org/10.1093/jpe/rtx040
Dr. Frank Fish presented an invited paper "Kinematics and hydrodynamics of mobuliform swimming: Oscillatory winged propulsion by large pelagic batoids" at the Marine Technical Society Tech Surge: Fish Swimming Research and Bio-inspiration for Marine Design event in Norfolk, VA, July 19-21, 2017.
Dr. John Pisciotta published the following article: Pisciotta JM, P. Scholl, J. Shuman, V. Shualev and DJ Sullivan. 2017. Quantitative characterization of hemozoin in Plasmodium berghei and vivax. Int. J. Parasitol: Drugs and Drug Resistance. Apr 7(1):110-119.

Dr. John Pisciotta and recent WCU graduates Enzo Kerr, Nick Galambos and Peter Hornbach led a Mushroom Cultivation Workshop at WCU on May 5th. This workshop was supported by a $3,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protections environmental education program (EE-160135).
Dr. Jen Maresh received a Faculty Professional Development Grant from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education for $4995 for her project "Determining the energy value of deep-sea forage fishes to apex marine predators". Information from this study will be used to develop predictive bioenergetics and foraging models for elephant seals and other large-bodied marine animals.
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)

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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