Faculty and Staff

Department Chair

Li, Lei

Contact Information
Office Location: FH 406
Phone: (501)916-6527
leili@ualr.edu

Research Interests
Using zebrafish models, we investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of sensory integration and the consequences of combination of cross-modal sensory stimulation (e.g., via the visual and olfactory systems) and endogenous hormone circulation and neural transmission (e.g., those mediated by gonadotropin-releasing hormone or dopamine) in modulation of animal behaviors (e.g., sexual mating, drug addiction). We also study the neural and physiological bases of the biological clocks in
modulation of visual system functions, such as retinal signal transduction and behavioral visual sensitivity.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 4311 – Neurobiology
BIOL 5300 – Visual Science


Faculty

Ali, Nawab
Professor
Molecular Biology, Biotechnology

Contact Information
Office Location: ETAS 329G
Phone: (501) 916-6518
nali@ualr.edu

Research Interests
My research interests encompass interdisciplinary areas of biochemistry, biotechnology, and cell and molecular biology. Major focus is on understanding receptor mediated signal transduction, as well as intracellular signaling mechanisms mediated by  G-proteins and their receptors, second messengers such as  inositol polyphosphates, protein kinases, and phosphatases. Emphasis is placed on subcellular compartmentalization, vesicular membrane trafficking, protein-protein interactions, and cellular regulation of apoptosis. My laboratory is also interested in bioinformatics and proteomics approaches in understanding evolutionary and phylogenetic adaptations of genes in higher life forms relative to lower organisms. Biomedical engineering interests include development and characterization of novel nanomaterials for biomedical applications. We are also interested in NASA-related research on counter measure approaches to biological effects of microgravity.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 2401 – Microbiology
BIOL 4190 – Senior Biology Seminar
ASCI 7399 – Signal Transduction and Regulation of Cell Function


Baltosser, William H.
Professor
Biostatistics, Molecular Systematics, Ecology

Contact Information
Office Location: SCLB 373
Phone: (501) 916-6518
whbaltosser@ualr.edu

Research Interests
My research fits into three broad categories: (1) Evolutionary Ecology, (2) Phylogenetics, and (3) Conservation Biology. Within each discipline my approach is both field and laboratory based. I am skilled in statistical analysis and this too is an area of interest. I have over 50 publications since my first in 1975, which collectively reflect my diverse background in that these publications have dealt with birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, Lepidoptera, and biostatistics. Support of my research comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. National Park Service, AR Game and Fish Commission, AR Natural Heritage Commission, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (SARE).

Primary Teaching
BIOL 3103/3303 – Principles of Ecology
BIOL 3399 – Computational Biology
BIOL 4190 – Senior Seminar
BIOL 4399/5399 – Conservation Biology
BIOL 4411/5411 – Ornithology
BIOL 4415/5415 – Biometry
BIOL 7410 – Phylogenetic Analysis


Bush, John M.
Professor
Cell and Molecular Biology, Clinical Biology

Contact Information
Office Location: SCLB 381
Phone: (501) 916-6520
jmbush@ualr.edu

Research Interests
My lab is focused onto using the simple eukaryotic organism Dictyostelium discoideum (DictyBase Home) to answer key questions in Cell and Molecular Biology. Interested in vesicle targeting, protein sorting, osmoregulation, biomaterials, and my highest focus is on RAB GTPase function in axenic growth and development biology.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 4401/5401 – Cell Biology
BIOS 4417/5417 – Molecular Biology
BIOL 4499/5499 – Bacteriology
BIOL 4499/5499 – Virology


Grace, Stephen C.
Associate Professor
Plant Biochemistry, Plant Physiology

Contact Information
Office Location: SCLB 377
Phone: (501) 916-6522
scgrace@ualr.edu

Research Interests
I am a plant physiologist specializing in plant biochemistry and metabolism with the aim of improving both the nutritional value and stress tolerance of crops. My research interests include: metabolomics and metabolic regulation in plants, identification and characterization of high value plant natural products, oxidative stress, antioxidants, and oxidant signaling mechanisms, physiological ecology of plant secondary metabolism, and bioenergetic scaling and plant productivity. I am also Director of the UA Little Rock Campus Garden. This is an ongoing project to establish a working campus garden to promote training in urban agriculture for teaching, research, and public service.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 2402 – Botany
BIOL 4419/5419 – Plant Physiology
BIOL 4499/5499 – Metabolomics
BIOL 4399 – Plants, Food, and People


He, Qingfang
Professor
Molecular Genetics, Biotechnology

Contact Information
Office Location: FH 403
Phone: (501) 916-6523
qfhe@ualr.edu

Research Interests
The major research emphases of our laboratory have been studying the molecular mechanisms by which cyanobacteria acclimate to high light (HL) stress and engineering cyanobacteria for the production of plant secondary metabolites. We are particularly interested in the function and regulation of a family of four HL-inducible polypeptides (HLIP) in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. HLIPs are required for cyanobacterial to survive the exposure to HL, which causes oxidative stress, redox disturbance and other stresses that result in reduction in photosynthesis and the cell viability. These research activities elucidate HL-stress signaling pathways and reveal the molecular machineries that cells exploit for stress responses. We are also highly interested in using cyanobacteria and other microalgae as bioreactors for the production of plant secondary metabolites, biofuel, and valuable proteins. This is so far a field at its very early stage of development, however, its prospect in research and industry is foreseeable as microalgae systems offer potential advantages (e.g. tolerance to high salinity, ease to tailor genetically and grow in low cost media) over many current existing systems. We are exploring the potential of cyanobacteria as a “cell factory” to produce phenylpropanoids and unsaturated fatty acids. We also use the cyanobacterial cells as a complex “experiment station” to study the functions of these compounds in stress defense and cell survival.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 4413/5413 – Immunology
ASCI 7385 – Concepts in Genetic Analysis
ASCI 7387 – Genomics


Hearnsberger, Scott
Instructor
Anatomy and Physiology

Contact Information
Office Location: FH 314
Phone: (501) 916-6524
smhearnsberg@ualr.edu

Research Interests
I have worked under a NASA grant, examining bone resorption and vascular reactivity using hindlimb suspension models, simulating a microgravity environment. Studies included examining the effects of dietary phytoestrogens on vascular reactivity and the rates of bone resorption.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 1411 – Human Anatomy & Physiology I
BIOL 1412 – Human Anatomy & Physiology II
BIOL 1433 – Essentials of Human Anatomy & Physiology


Khodakovskaya, Mariya 
Professor
Plant Biology, Molecular Technology

Contact Information
Office Location: ETAS 353B
Phone: (501)916-6525
mvkhodakovsk@ualr.edu

Research Interests
We are working on the development of innovative approaches for the enhancement of plant productivity and plant tolerance to environmental stress using advanced methods of genetic engineering, molecular biology, and nanotechnology. An important part of our work is understanding the molecular mechanisms of the positive effects of nanomaterials in crops. To clarify the basis for enhancement of plant productivity and stress tolerance caused by the application of nanomaterials, we are investigating the effects of nanomaterials on total plant transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 4427/5427 – Tissue Engineering
BIOL 4399/5399 – Biochemistry of Biological Molecules
ASCI 7386 – Recombinant DNA Methods and Applications


Landers, Joshua
Visiting Instructor
Anatomy and Physiology, Clinical Biology

Contact Information
jblanders@ualr.edu

Research Interests
The hormetic effects at a molecular level of blood flow restriction (BFR) exercise in regard to cognitive longevity (e.g. brain derived neurotrophic factor) in human subjects. The fibrinolytic effects of BFR (e.g. tissue plasminogen activator) in patients suffering from deep vein thrombosis.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 1411 – Human Anatomy & Physiology I
BIOL 1412 – Human Anatomy & Physiology II
BIOL 1433 – Essentials of Human Anatomy & Physiology
BIOL 4422 – Human Physiology


Leacock, Stefanie
Instructor
Genetics, Developmental Biology

Contact Information
Office Location: FH 409
Phone: (501)916-6526
swleacock@ualr.edu

Research Interests
My research areas have included C. elegans germline development and zebrafish as a cancer model system. I now integrate research using model organisms such as C. elegans, planaria, and sea urchin into lab courses for students. I am also interested in biology education, including undergraduate research projects using online databases and promoting student access to course materials by developing open access resources using LibreTexts.org.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 1401 – Science of Biology
BIOL 1402 – Biological Concepts I
BIOL 3300 – Genetics
BIOL 3400 – Developmental Biology


Sikes, Robert S.
Professor
Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology

Contact Information
Office Location: FH 414
Phone: (501)916-6528
rssikes@ualr.edu

Research Interests
My primary area of scholarship now is in ethical and appropriate use of wild vertebrates in animal research. My empirical work to date has involved diverse wild vertebrates both in captivity and in the field. This experience focused my interest on the mismatch between regulatory and ethical considerations for domesticated animals as compared to their wild counterparts. I am working toward an appropriate framework for oversight and use of wild animals in research and education through a collaborative approach between researchers, regulatory agencies, accrediting bodies, and funding sources.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 4305 – Animal Behavior
BIOL 4310 – Evolution
BIOL 2403 – Zoology


Stapleton, Carl R.
Associate Professor
Environmental Health, Effect/Impact Analysis

Contact Information
Office Location: FH 406C
Phone: (501)916-6529
crstapleton@ualr.edu

Research Interests
The research is focused on the interrelationships between human and natural
ecosystems. Sources and transport mechanisms of environmental contaminants within
watersheds and their toxicological effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem biota are
critical for development of sustainable land use planning policies and both protective
and restoration ecology initiatives. Watersheds offer an excellent unit of analysis for
determining the impact of human activities on natural resources and their ultimate
sustainability. A research plan is being developed for investigating the relationship of
existing and projected watershed land uses in the Little Maumelle River watershed in
western Pulaski County, Arkansas. Using baseline data collected over the past three
years, an intensive monitoring program will be implemented to establish trends for
temperature and pH in the mainstem and selected tributaries in the Little Maumelle
River. Effects of these changes will be monitored through measurement of population
diversity and enzyme responses in Daphnids and Ostracods. Other select physical and
chemical water quality data will also be collected.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 1400 – Evolutionary & Environmental Biology
BIOL 4315/5315 – Toxicology
BIOL 3399 – Environment & Restoration Ecology
BIOL 4314/5314 – Soil Biology
BIOL 4499/5499 – Epidemiology of Diseases
BIOL 4499/5499 – Environmental Sampling & Impact Analysis
BIOL 4499/5499 – Environmental & Natural Resources Planning
ENHS 2320 – Introduction to Environmental Health Sciences
ENHS 3350 – Principles of Air Pollution
ENHS 3340 – Introduction to Water Resources Management


Tang, Fusheng
Associate Professor
Molecular Biology of Aging

Contact Information
Office Location: SCLB 385
Phone: (501)916-6530
fxtang@ualr.edu

Research Interests
The target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1) is an essential enzyme complex for cell growth. However, a subset of TORC1 negatively regulates lifespan extension. Using the model organism budding yeast, we found that a two-fold up-regulation of a lipid transporter Osh6 significantly extends the replicative lifespan, a measure of rounds of cell division. Intriguingly, this longevity manipulation down-regulates TORC1 but does not harm cell growth, suggesting a specific repression of the pro-aging subset of TORC1. We are exploring the underlying mechanisms for such repression with a combination of biochemical, cell biological, genetical, and genomics approaches. Since human homologs of Osh6 and mTORC1 are involved in the development of cancer and other age-dependent diseases, elucidation of the anti-aging mechanisms triggered by Osh6 would provide insights to practices aimed at extending the lifespan of stem cells as well as the health span of humans.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 2401 – Microbiology
BIOL 3300 – Genetics
BIOL 4418/5418 – Biotechnology
BIOL 4499/5499 – Genomics


Wang, Hong Li
Associate Professor
Plant Molecular Biology

Contact Information
Office Location: FH 411
Phone: (501)916-6531
hxwang@ualr.edu

Research Interests
Improvement of crop yield and nutritional quality has always been my research goal. High yield and high nutritional quality super crops need to possess the following attributes: (1) have extraordinary capacity of assimilation (i.e. photosynthesis, mineral element absorption and nitrogen fixation); (2) preferentially transport and accumulate assimilates to economically significant organs; (3) should be highly capable to adapt their structures and developmental processes in response to environmental stresses; (4) be highly resistant to diseases (viruses, bacteria and fungi) and insects. Therefore, my lab and I are undertaking research to understand the physiological, cellular and molecular bases of these processes, and as well as their underlying controlling and regulatory mechanisms via interdisciplinary approaches: Plant Physiology, Plant Cell and Molecular Biology, Genomics, and Plant Development and Nutrition.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 1401 – Science of Biology
BIOL 4426/5426 – Plant and Human Nutrition


Woolbright, Scott
Assistant Professor
Ecology, Evolutionary Biology

Contact Information
Office Location: SCLB 383
Phone: (501)916-6532
sawoolbright@ualr.edu

Research Interests
While trained as a geneticist, I’m an ecologist at heart. We use genetic and genomic tools to study the ecological and evolutionary consequences of long-term environmental change. Our research is primarily focused on highly replicated “natural experiments” that arise when species colonize new areas or are left behind during climate-driven range shifts. Study sites include numerous inland ponds in the Bahamas that have subterranean connections to the sea and that support subsets of the near-shore reef communities. We also study relict desert and prairie communities on rocky slopes on the Ozark Plateau, and relict riparian forests in isolated sky island mountain ranges of Nevada. Each of these systems are the products of changes in time and space that are difficult to replicate in traditional laboratory or experimental garden settings. As such, they provide clues as to how species and communities respond to long-term change in ways that could help us to better predict the consequences of ongoing and future change. Our research has been supported by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission with whom we hope to continue working toward the preservation of relict glades and other unique communities in our state. We also work in coordination with the Bahamas National Trust and the Gerace Research Centre on San Salvador Island, Bahamas.

Primary Teaching
BIOL 1400 – Evolutionary and Environmental Biology
BIOL 3103/3303 – Principles of Ecology
BIOL 4412/5412 – Plant Ecology
BIOL 4399/5399 – Conservation Biology
BIOL 4399/5399 – Climate Change Ecology and Evolution
BIOL 4399/5399 – Ecological Genetics


Adjunct Faculty

Allen, William
Professor
Human Anatomy

Contact Information
wallenmd@gmail.com


Clark, David
Professor
Zoology

Contact Information
dwclark@ualr.edu


Emeritus Professors

Lanza, Janet (retired 2016)
Professor
Evolutionary Ecology, Plant-Animal Interactions

Contact Information
jxlanza@ualr.edu


Winter, Jim (retired 2018)
Professor
Aquatic Ecology

Contact Information
jdwinter@ualr.edu


Staff

Elder, Bob
Senior Teaching Assistant and Laboratory Manager

Contact Information
Office Location: FH 401
Phone: (501)916-6521
blelder@ualr.edu

 


To be named
Administrative Specialist

Contact Information
Office Location: FH 406
Phone: (501)916-6527
xxxxx@ualr.edu