Biological Sciences

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Biological Sciences

The Department of Biological Sciences offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Biological Sciences and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biological Sciences, Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry, and Microbiology. The BS degrees in Biological Sciences have four concentrations:  Biomedical Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 7-12 Life Science Secondary Certificate, and 7-12 Science Secondary Certification.  The Department of Biological Sciences also offers several Fast Track programs:  BS Biology to MS Biology, BS Biology to MS Bioinformatics, BS Biology with Biomedical Science Concentration to MBA. BS Biology with Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Concentration to MBA, BS Microbiology to MBA

Advising and Placement

All majors in the Department of Biological Sciences must be advised prior to registration. See CORE for advising.


Dr. Bruce Cushing

Doctoral Advisors


Dr. Elizabeth J. Walsh   

Biology 218; 915.747.5421  

Dr. Charles T. Spencer  

Bioscience 5.148; 915.747.8776

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology                 

Dr. Elizabeth J. Walsh   

Biology 218; 915.747.5421  

Master's Advisor                              

Dr. Jerry Johnson            

Biology 205; 915.747.6984  


Renato Aguilera
Contact Information:; 915-747-6852
Education: BS, University of Texas at El Paso; MS, University of Texas at El Paso; Ph D, University of California at Berkeley; POSTD, University of California at Berkeley
Research Interests: Cancer Research, Immunology, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, see homepage for details.

Stephen Aley
Contact Information:; 915-747-8813
Education: BS, California Institute of Technology; Post-Bac Watson Fellowship, John Curtin School for Medical Research; Ph D, The Rockefeller University
Research Interests: Human parasitic protists, Proteomics and Genomics. STEM Education and pedagogy

Igor Almeida
Contact Information:; 915-747-6086
Education: Pharm B, Universidade Regional do Nordeste (currently UEPb); MS, Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM),Federal University of Sao Paulo (UNIFESP); Ph D, Escola Paulista de Medicina-EPM (currently UNIFESP); Post-Doctoral, University of Dundee

Marc Cox
Contact Information:; 915-747-5429
Education: BS, University of Missouri; MSPH, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; Ph D, Tulane University; Postdoctoral Fellowship NRSA (NIH/NIDDK), Mayo Clinic

Bruce Cushing
Contact Information:; 915-747-5844
Education: Ph D, Michigan State University
Research Interests: Organizational Effects of Early Social Environment, Social Support on resilience and addiction, Transgenerational Epigenetic Regulation of Social Behavior, Multifactoral regulation of high levels of prosocial behavior, Neural Mechanism underlying Cultural Differences in Social Behavior

Siddhartha Das
Contact Information:; 915-747-6896
Education: BS, University of Calcutta; MS, University of Calcutta; Ph D, University of Calcutta; Post-doctoral researcher, University of Pittsburgh; Post-doctoral researcher, University of California at San Diego (UCSD)
Research Interests: Cellular and molecular biology of lipids of parasitic and cancer cells. Designing and developing drugs targeting lipid metabolic pathways against Giardia.

Joanne Ellzey
Contact Information:; 915-747-6880
Education: BA, Randolph-Macon Woman's College; MA, University of North Carolina; Ph D, The University of Texas at Austin

Paul Goldstein
Contact Information:; 915-747-6999
Education: Ph D, York University
Research Interests: See "Statement of Research" above

Eli Greenbaum
Contact Information:; 915-747-5553
Education: High School Diploma, City Honors High School; BS, Binghamton University; MS, University of Louisiana at Monroe; Ph D, University of Kansas

Kyung-An Han
Contact Information:; 915-747-8950
Education: BS, Yonsei University; Ph D, State University of New York at Buffalo Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Research Interests: Research interest: Neuromodulatory mechanisms underlying behavioral plasticity and reproduction<br><br>Overarching goals: The molecular, cellular and neural mechanisms that monoamines regulate behavioral plasticity, motivation, attention, inhibitory control and reproduction.<br><br>a. Natural stimuli-induced learning/memory processes: aversive and appetitive olfactory conditioning (classical conditioning), aversive and appetitive visual conditioning (classical conditioning), conditioned courtship (operant conditioning)<br><br>b. Alcohol-induced behavioral adaptation: behavioral disinhibition (cognitive and motor impulsivity), behavioral sensitization, initial sensitivity and tolerance to the sedative effect<br><br>c. Response inhibition and impulsivity<br><br>d. Courtship and copulation behaviors <br><br>e. Ovulation/egg laying

Jerry Johnson
Contact Information:; 915-747-6984
Education: BS, Fort Hays Kansas State Univeristy; MS, the University of Texas at El Paso; Ph D, Texas A&M University
Research Interests: Vertebrate Zoology, Evolutionary Theory, Herpetology, Biogeography, Ecology, Conservation of Natural Respources.

Michael Kenney
Contact Information:; 915-747-7540
Education: Ph D, Michigan State University

Robert Kirken
Contact Information:; 915-747-5536
Education: BA, Olivet College; Ph D, Wright State University; Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute

Carl Lieb
Contact Information:; 915-747-6987
Education: BS, Texas A&M University; MS, Texas A&M University; Ph D, University of California at Los Angeles
Research Interests: Herpetology, Conservation Biology, Biodiversity Informatics, Chihuahuan Desert Biodiversity

Vanessa Lougheed
Contact Information:; 915-747-6887
Education: BS, McMaster University; Ph D, McMaster University
Research Interests: aquatic ecosystem ecology, ecology of extreme environments in the Chihuahuan Desert and the Arctic

William Mackay
Contact Information:; 915-747-6991
Education: BA, California State University, Fullerton; MA, California State University, Fullerton; Ph D, University of California, Riverside; Postdoctoral Fellow, New Mexico State University

Markus Peterson
Contact Information:; 915-747-5354
Education: BS, University of Idaho; DVM, Washington State University; MS, Texas A&M University; Ph D, Texas A&M University
Research Interests: conservation, environmental policy, environmental management, wildlife disease, wildlife ecology, upland birds, wildlife management

Craig Tweedie
Contact Information:; 915-747-8448
Education: BS, The University of Queensland; BSc Honors, The University of Queensland; Ph D, The University of Queensland; Postdoc, Michigan State University
Research Interests: plant ecology, geographic information systems, remote sensing, cyberinfrastructure, minority education, arctic science, desert ecology, biogeochemical cycling, sensors, sensor networks, environmental observatories

Elizabeth Walsh
Contact Information:; 915-747-5421
Education: BS, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Ph D, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Jianying Zhang
Contact Information:; 915-747-6995
Education: MD, Zhengzhou University School of medicine (Former Henan Medical University); MPH, Xi'an Jiaotong University School of Medicine (Former Xi'an Medical University); Ph D, Xia'men University; POSTD, The Scripps Research Institute
Research Interests: cancer biomarker development, cancer immunology, cancer epidemiology, cancer biology

Associate Professor

Giulio Francia
Contact Information:; 915-747-8025
Education: BS, University of Bristol; Ph D, ICRF/Kings College London

Kristine Garza
Contact Information:; 915-747-8027
Education: BS, St. Mary's University; Ph D, University of Virginia

Kyle Johnson
Contact Information:; 915-747-6889
Education: BS, University of Washington; Ph D, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Research Interests: Virology, positive-strand RNA viruses, RNA replication, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, mitochondria, mitochondrial dynamics, RNA secondary structure, vaccine development, vector development

Arshad Khan
Contact Information:; 915-747-8436
Education: BS, University of California at Riverside; MS, University of California at Riverside; Ph D, University of California at Riverside
Research Interests: systems neuroscience, functional neuroanatomy, signal transduction, feeding control systems, glucosensing networks, diabetes, obesity, hypothalamic function, excitatory amino acid neurotransmission, neurochemistry, history of neuroscience, neuroinformatics, computer vision

Manuel Llano
Contact Information:; 915-747-6885
Education: MD, Universidad de La Habana; MS, Universidad de La Habana; Ph D, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Rosa Maldonado
Contact Information:; 915-747-6891
Education: BS, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Facultad de Ciencias; Ph D, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Biophysics Carlos Chagas Filho; Wellcome Trust International Research Fellow, University of Dundee
Research Interests: Vaccine development for Chagas disease (CD) and cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), to validate a immune-chemotherapy approach to cure chronic CD, Detection of Chagas Disease and identification of the vector triatomine specie in El Paso region/TX , Discovery and characterization of Biomarker to diagnostic and treatment follow up of leishmaniasis, Community Engagement, educating the community on Chagas disease and leishmaniasis; to aid in the establisment of a new protocol oto treat Chagas diseasis with Bennidazole that couses less side effects and and ionduduuce parasitologicla cure in patients (Clinical trial, ongoing NIH-U!)

Luis Martinez
Contact Information:; 915-747-6537
Education: Ph D, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Jennie McLaren
Contact Information:; 915-747-8903
Education: BS, University of Regina; MS, University of Toronto; Ph D, The University of British Columbia
Research Interests: The research in Dr. McLaren's lab bridges the fields of community and ecosystem ecology, focusing on the effects of changing plant communities on ecosystem functioning. Ecosystems worldwide are gaining and losing species and changes in plant identity, likely influencing a number of ecosystem properties. Her research examines effects on variables such as plant species abundance, litter decomposition, and nutrient cycling. Much of her research is conducted in northern ecosystems, including alpine tundra and boreal forest in Northern Canada (Kluane Lake Research Station, Yukon Territory) and arctic tundra in Alaska (Utqiagvik, Nome and Toolik Lake, Alaska).

UTEP Miner
Contact Information:; 915-747-5973
Education: BS, The University of Texas at El Paso; MS, The University of Texas at El Paso; Ph D, The University of Texas at El Paso
Research Interests: These are likely related to your Expertise Keywords but can also expand on other interests you may have. <br><br>Examples:<br>Student Success, Pedagogies of the 21st Century, Technology Education, Service Learning, Social Justice, Literacy for Underrepresented Groups, Social Mobility, ...

Manuel Miranda-Arango
Contact Information:; 915-747-6645
Education: BS, Biology School, at the National University of Mexico (UNAM); MS, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Ph D, National University of Mexico (UNAM)

Michael Moody
Contact Information:; 915-747-5087
Education: BA, University of Redlands; BS, University of Arizona; MS, Washington State University; Ph D, University of Connecticut
Research Interests: Plant Evolution, Plant Systematics, Plant Invasion, Molecular Ecology, Population Genomics, Phylogeography, Australian flora, Chihuahuan Desert Flora

Hugues Ouellet
Contact Information:; 915-747-6607
Education: BS, Laval University; Ph D, Laval University
Research Interests: Role of cholesterol and nitrogen metabolism for infection and persistence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, hemeproteins, oxidoreductases

Adam Perry
Contact Information:; 915-747-8927
Education: Ph D, University of Illinois

German Rosas-Acosta
Contact Information:; 915-747-5122
Education: BS, Universidad de los Andes; MS, New York University - NYU Medical Center - Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences; Ph D, New York University - NYU Medical Center - Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences
Research Interests: Virology, influenza, SUMO, Interactions established between viruses and the cellular SUMOylation system, mechanisms regulating global cellular SUMOylation

Charles Spencer
Contact Information:; 915-747-8776
Education: BA, Washington University in St. Louis; Ph D, Saint Louis University
Research Interests: Immune response to zoonotic, emerging and neglected diseases

Charlotte Vines
Contact Information:; 915-747-8127
Education: Ph D, Harvard University
Research Interests: G protein-coupled receptors, Chemokines, Cell signaling, T cells, Immune responses, Molecular biology.

Assistant Professor

Anthony Darrouzet-Nardi
Contact Information:; 915-747-6994
Education: BA, University of California, Berkeley; Ph D, University of Colorado
Research Interests: biogeochemistry, plant physiological ecology, global change biology, soil ecology, nitrogen cycling, scientific visualization

Alexander Friedman
Contact Information:;
Education: Ph D, Bar-Ilan University

Michael Harvey
Contact Information:; 915-747-6999

Camilo Khatchikian
Contact Information:; 915-747-8640
Education: Ph D, Clark University

Philip Lavretsky
Contact Information:; 915-747-6424
Education: BA, University of California-Davis; Ph D, Wright State University

Vicente Mata-Silva
Contact Information:; 915-747-5959
Education: Ph D, The University of Texas at El Paso
Research Interests: Herpetology, Ecology, Conservation, Natural History, Biogeography, Evolution

Thomas McCabe
Contact Information:; 915-747-6986
Education: Ph D, University of Northern Colorado

Travis Moschak
Contact Information:;
Education: Ph D, Oregon Health & Science University

Jeffrey Olimpo
Contact Information:; 915-747-6923
Education: BS, Ursinus College; MA, University of Maryland; MS, University of Maryland; Ph D, University of Maryland
Research Interests: Cognitive and affective outcomes associated with student engagement in Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs), Undergraduate teaching assistants' development of pedagogical content knowledge and teaching self-efficacy, Quantitative reasoning in the biological sciences

Anita Quintana
Contact Information:; 915-747-8988
Education: BS, New Mexico State University; Ph D, University of New Mexico
Research Interests: genetics, developmental biology

Kelly Ramirez
Contact Information:;
Education: BS, Washington State University; Ph D, University of Colorado

Sourav Roy
Contact Information:; 915-747-8757
Education: BS, University of Calcutta; MS, University of Kalyani; PG Diploma in Information Technology and Management, All India Management Association; MS, Indiana University Bloomington; Ph D, University of California Riverside
Research Interests: Gene regulation, infectious diseases, cancer research, bioinformatics, genetics, genomics.

Jianjun Sun
Contact Information:; 915-747-8905
Education: BS, China Agriculture University; MS, China Agriculture University; Ph D, Medical College of Wisconsin; Postdoctoral fellowship, Harvard Medical School
Research Interests: My research focuses on how bacterial pathogens cause human diseases. I am particularly interested in understanding the roles of bacterial toxins and other virulent factors in bacterial pathogenesis, and using them as model systems to understand fundamental processes of biological sciences including protein-membrane interaction, protein pore formation and membrane translocation. Current research projects: 1. Mycobacterium tuberculosis ESX-1 secreted proteins 2. Structure and function of the anthrax toxin receptors

Sangeeta Tiwari
Contact Information:; 915-747-6889
Education: MS, Guru Nanah Dev University; Ph D, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Research Assistant Professor

Colin Bill
Contact Information:; 915-747-5589
Education: Ph D, Aston University

Marguerite Mauritz
Contact Information:;
Education: Ph D, San Diego State University

Georgialina Rodriguez
Contact Information:; 915-747-8147

Biological Sciences

Biosciences Building, Room 2.112 
Phone: 915.747.5844