Publications and achievements submitted by our faculty, staff, and students.

Faculty Joe Szewczak Biological Sciences

Dr. Joe Szewczak, Biological Sciences Dept., was recently featured in the October issue of the California Educator Magazine The article discusses the "Real Bat Man", as Dr. Szewczak teaches, among other courses, Biology of Chiroptera, which is the study of bats. Dr. Szewczak has studied many bat species, looking at migration patterns, social communication, endangered species, and how to reduce fatalities caused by energy-producing wind turbines. He and his colleagues recently completed a two-year trial that provided high-intensity ultrasound emitted from turbines can steer bats away from death.

Submitted: November 10, 2015

Faculty Brian Tissot Biological Sciences

Brian Tissot was an invited speaker at a conference sponsored by the European Association of Surfing Doctors; a group of surfers that are also medical doctors and health practitioners. Held near Biarittz in the beautiful Basque region of southern France he was tasked with the question: Why Should Surfers Care about Ocean Conservation?

Submitted: October 28, 2015

  Kathryn Hedges, Bruce O'Gara, Wayne Knight Biological Sciences

Alumni Kathryn Hedges started her own business which focuses on laser-cutting jewelry, holiday decor, and souvenirs. She is using skills from Wayne Knight's graphic design classes and credits her thesis advisor, Bruce O'Gara, with instilling an entrepreneurial mindset. She is currently crowdfunding a Kiva Zip loan to get a studio, hire staff, and manage inventory. You can join her community of supporters at or purchase her items at

Submitted: July 28, 2015

Student Carsten Charlesworth and Kyle Herout Biological Sciences

Two HSU students recently won first place in their category at the 40th Annual West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Carsten Charlesworth and Kyle Herout took first in the Cell Biology category for their presentation on the Paternal Effect Genes of C. Elegans. Their adviser on the project was Biological Sciences Professor Jakob Varkey.

Submitted: May 29, 2015

Student Sara Downey Biological Sciences

Last week a CSU team made public comments in support of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Bridges program. Former HSU Biology Major/CIRM Bridges Scholar, Sara Downey’s presence at last week’s meeting was electric because most everyone in the room knew she’s on a team developing an embryonic stem cell-derived product as a treatment for type 1 diabetes. After four years on the job, Sara has transformed from a fresh biological sciences graduate with academic research experience into a biotech professional comfortable talking about Six Sigma, cGMPs, regulatory affairs, biotech business cycles, & process engineering. The CIRM board has extended the program for one year.

Submitted: November 3, 2014

Faculty Jianmin Zhong, Andre H. Kurlovs, Jinze Li and Du Cheng Biological Sciences

Biological sciences faculty member Jianmin Zhong and students recently published a paper in the scientific journal PLOS ONE examining Rickettsia, antibiotics and ticks. Andre H. Kurlovs, Jinze Li and Du Cheng were co-authors. The paper is titled "Ixodes pacificus Ticks Maintain Embryogenesis and Egg Hatching after Antibiotic Treatment of Rickettsia Endosymbiont."

Submitted: August 26, 2014

Faculty Bruce O'Gara Biological Sciences

Bruce A. O'Gara, Professor of Zoology and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, was recently profiled in the Member Spotlight section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) website. Read the full text here: "…":….

The AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the prestigious scientific journal, Science. The profile entitled "Bruce O’Gara teaches his students how to find an answer" details how Prof. O'Gara works with students in his research laboratory to provide practical training to help them advance in their scientific careers. Featured in the profile is the research of senior Cellular and Molecular Biology major Araik Sinanyan on the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and its effects on the regeneration of lost body parts of an annelid worm. Also featured in the profile are quotes from HSU graduate Michael Smeaton, who attributes his experiences in O'Gara's laboratory as being an important factor in giving him the confidence to earn a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins and perform postdoctoral work at Cal-Tech and Stanford.

Submitted: May 9, 2014

Student Reggie Blackwell Biological Sciences

Reggie Blackwell ('14) has landed an NSF Graduate Fellowship to pursue a PhD at Scripps Institute beginning in fall 2014. His project is titled "Invasions within Humboldt Bay California by cryptic species of bryozoans (watersipora spp.) spatial and temporal dominance by three clades."

Submitted: May 7, 2014

Student Cheryl Bondi, Dr. Sharyn Marks Biological Sciences

Cheryl Bondi, former HSU Biology grad student (Advisor, Dr. Sharyn Marks, HSU Zoology) just won the Best Student Paper recently won an award for her thesis research in the 2013 volume of Copeia. The paper is titled "Differences in flow regime influence the seasonal migrations, body size, and body condition of Western Pond Turtles (Actinemys marmorata) that inhabit perennial and intermittent riverine sites in northern California." Copeia 2013:142-153.

Submitted: April 9, 2014

Alumni Nathalia Holt Biological Sciences

Nathalia Holt ('02, Biological Sciences) has written a book that tells the personal stories of two men whose HIV infections were cured in distinct yet essentially related ways, revealing the imminent promise of a cure for HIV. "Cured: How the Berlin Patients Defeated HIV and Forever Changed Medical Science," is forthcoming from Penguin in February. Holt is an award-winning research scientist specializing in HIV biology. Her research has led to major developments in the HIV gene therapy field. After receiving a Bachelor's degree from HSU, she trained at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard University, the University of Southern California and Tulane University. She lives with her husband and their daughter in Boston, Massachusetts.

Submitted: January 16, 2014

Student Georgia Kaufman Biological Sciences

Georgia Kaufman, a Cellular & Molecular Biology major (adviser Professor Jacob Varkey) has been awarded the 2013 Jack and Maureen Yarnall Scholarship for a Student Athlete majoring in the Biological Sciences. Georgia is a junior and a member of the HSU Crew Team.

Submitted: November 20, 2013

Faculty Professor Terry Henkel Biological Sciences

Professor Terry Henkel was one of several authors who contributed to a paper in the Oct. 18 issue of "Science" titled "Hyperdominance in the Amazonian tree flora," a massive meta-analysis of tree distribution patterns over tropical South America based on data from 1,430 plots across the entire region. Terry contributed data from a number of these plots from the Guianas region, which were unique to the dataset in exhibiting the highest levels of single species dominance and lowest overall woody plant alpha-diversity.

Submitted: October 18, 2013

Staff Michael Kauffman Biological Sciences

Michael Kauffman, of HSU's Redwood Science Project, has published _Conifers of the Pacific Slope_, a contemporary field guide for identifying Pacific Slope conifers. The book includes color plates for identifying 65 species, photos, maps and destinations for finding conifers in the field. In 2012, Kauffmann published _Conifer Country_, a natural history and hiking guide to the biodiversity of the region—as seen through the eyes of conifers.

Submitted: September 12, 2013

Student Leslie Scopes Anderson Biological Sciences

HSU graduate student Leslie Scopes Anderson and Ken Burton have just completed a bird guide entitled "Common Birds of Northwest California – Humboldt, Del Notre & Trinity Counties." Over a year in production, the book is 176 pages and contains over 500 photos, (most by Leslie) as well as habitat charts and informative text about the birds. The guide is published by Redwood Region Audubon Society and will soon be available in local book stores.

Submitted: April 22, 2013

Student Leslie Scopes Anderson Biological Sciences

Graduate student Leslie Anderson recorded a first-ever sighting of a rare Red-bellied Woodpecker in the state of Nevada. It is also the second western-most sighting in the US of the bird, bested only by one in Idaho in 2003. Leslie noticed the woodpecker in June near the historic Bressman cabin at Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge and documented it with high-quality photographs. The first-sighting was later confirmed by local bird expert Ken Burton and the Nevada Bird Records Committee. An article about the find will appear in the April-May issue of Western Birds.

Submitted: April 22, 2013

Student Rachael Olliff Biological Sciences

Biology graduate student Rachael Olliff recently received a 2013 conservation grant from the Sequoia Park Zoo of Eureka. Olliff will use the grant to monitor the relationship between the native but seldom-studied dune silver bee and flowering plants on the North Spit of Humboldt Bay and publish informational pamphlets.

Submitted: April 12, 2013

Faculty Christine Cass Biological Sciences

Oceanography faculty member Christine Cass recently received a 2013-14 California Sea Grant Focus Award. Cass will spend 18 months studying seasonal changes in the fat and protein content of zooplankton in northern California and southern Oregon. California Sea Grant is funded by the National Sea Grant College Program, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Submitted: April 8, 2013

Student John M. Mola, Rachael L. Olliff, Christopher M. Steenbock Biological Sciences

Biology graduate students John Mola and Rachael Olliff and Botany/Biology-Ecology undergraduate student Christopher Steenbock received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship on March 29th.

Submitted: April 1, 2013

Faculty Amy Sprowles Biological Sciences

Biological sciences professor Amy Sprowles recently won an elevator pitch contest summarizing her research on stem cells. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine's Elevator Pitch Challenge asked scientific researchers to explain what they do, why it’s important and why the public should care in 30 seconds or less. Sprowles and her students are studying how cancer genes may turn on stem cell like properties in normal adult cells. Their research is supported by CIRM's Bridges to Stem Cell Research Awards program. You can see the speeches on YouTube at #SciencePitch.

Submitted: March 27, 2013

Student Bethany Baibak Biological Sciences

Bethany Baibak (MSc, Biological Sciences) has been named a 2013 California Sea Grant State Fellows. Since 2010, Baibak has held positions as a wildlife biologist at the National Council on Air and Stream Improvement in Arcata and as a wildlife technician at Stanislaus National Forest. As a state fellow, Baibak will work closely with California Department of Parks and Recreation's division chief to develop strategies and policies that protect coastal parks from sea level rise and other climate impacts.

Submitted: February 4, 2013