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Haverford College
Department of Biology


Robert Fairman,
Professor of Biology and
Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Support

The Fairman lab is interested in understanding the mechanism of large-scale protein polymerization. Protein misfolding can lead to polymerization and we are interested in how polyglutamine repeats can induce such misfolding leading to aggregation and disease. We are also interested in applying protein design to create polymers for use in biomaterials.

Katherine Heston,
Instructor of Biology

Rachel Hoang,
Associate Professor of Biology and Chair

In the Hoang lab we are interested in understanding how cells change shape and move to physically mould an embryo into its final shape and form. We are also interested in how these mechanisms evolve and change to produce the morphological differences you see between different embryos. To study these questions we work with the model system, Drosophila melanogaster and other insects.

Karl Johnson,
Professor of Biology

In the Johnson research group we are exploring paradigms for how nanoscale structures and molecular machines are assembled and regulated by living systems. Using creativity and imagination, we are "bending the rules" to design and build novel "green" nano-architectures with enhanced functionalities, such as energy-transducing connectors and environmental sensors.


Philip Meneely,
Professor of Biology

Philip Meneely has been working with C. elegans for more than 25 years, beginning when he was a graduate student. He currently works on genes affecting meiosis. He teaches genetics, molecular biology, and bioinformatics.

Iruka Okeke,
Professor of Biology

The Okeke lab studies interactions between Escherichia coli bacteria and their eukaryotic hosts. In particular, we study in the molecular basis for exceptional colonizing ability of some bacterial strains. We are also interested in the genetic basis for antimicrobial resistance.


Judy Owen

Judith Owen,
Elizabeth Ufford Green Professor of Natural Sciences, Professor of Biology


Jonathan Wilson,
Assistant Professor of Biology

The Wilson lab investigates the coevolution of plants and the environment over the last 475 million years. We employ mathematical models, chemical analysis of fossils, comparative anatomy, and experimental plant physiology to reanimate extinct plants, focusing on examples with unusual anatomy, development, or growth forms. These insights shed light on past (and future) climate change, the evolutionary trajectory of plant adaptations, and ecosystem responses to mass extinctions.

Michael Grider,
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

The Grider lab is exploring how the nervous system grows and responds to injury. The ability to regenerate axons is highly dependent on the environment at, and distal to, the injury site. Using multiple model organisms, we are investigating the molecular mechanisms of axonal growth and regeneration, including the functions of extracellular matrix molecules and growth factors.


Justine Melo,
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

The Melo lab is interested in how invading pathogens and environmental hazards are detected by animal systems. Using the nematode C. elegans to identify & characterize animal defense networks, we have found that surveillance processes exist that monitor many core cellular activities to protect their fidelity when compromised by external insults. We are studying the mechanisms of sensation and defense that animals use to better understand how all animals strive to survive in a dangerous world.


Brian DeHaven,
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

The DeHaven lab studies the genetics of poxvirus virulence genes. Specifically, we are interested in differences between in vaccinia virus, a generalist, and ectromelia virus, a mouse specific pathogen. Small mutations in these genes can have a significant effect on well they function in different hosts.

Mel Santer ,
Emeritus Professor of Biology

  • Visiting Faculty

    • Radika Bhaskar


    • Administrative support:
            Lisabeth Lieberman 610-896-4204
            Vickie Algieri 610-896-1187
            Allison Carpenter 610-896-1212
    • Research Assistants:
             Nicole Cunninghman
             Jennifer Hofmann
             Bashkim Kokona
    • Joanne Brown, Purchasing
    • Tim Chaya, Lab Support
    • George Neusch, Instrument Specialist
    • Dora Wong, Science Librarian
    • Phone Numbers:
             Academic Year 610-896-1187
             Summer Time 610-896-1212
    • Fax Number: 610-896-4963

    Contact Information

    Rachel Hoang, Chair
    Department of Biology
    370 Lancaster Ave.
    Haverford, PA 19041