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Instructor, General Biology and Human Anatomy and Physiology
MA, Teaching, Southern Oregon University, 2011; MS, Biology, California State University, Long Beach, 1999; BS, Ecology and Evolution, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1993
Jason Bennett is a full-time instructor in the Biology Program. He teaches the general biology sequence for non-majors, as well as human anatomy and physiology laboratories. His greatest interest is increasing biological literacy of undergraduates at SOU. Prior to his teaching career, he was a professional biologist working with various research groups and universities throughout the western states and Hawaii. These research projects focused on rare or endangered species including Hawaiian forest birds, northern spotted owls, least Bell’s vireos, California gnatcatchers, and other species. His M.S. research focused on home range and habitat use of great horned owls in southern California. Other work history includes acting lab manager for the marine research group PISCO at Oregon State University, and the assistant data manager for the National Park Service, Inventory and Monitoring Division.
Office: SC 381
PhD, Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology, Tufts University, 2018; BS, Biological Sciences, Ohio University, 2008
Dr. LaBonty is a cell and developmental biologist and geneticist who has used a variety of model organisms to study the genetic basis of diseases. Her research uses the invertebrate organism C. elegans to identify genetic interactions that play a role in the proper function of the primary cilia, a tiny cellular structure essential for sensing behaviors in C. elegans. She uses gene editing techniques to study how gene disruptions alter the structure and function of ciliated sensory neurons and behaviors linked to these neurons. While Dr. LaBonty’s work is currently focused on understanding genes involved in sensory neuron function in C. elegans, she has also spent time studying skeletal development and diseases in zebrafish, and cellular pattern formation in the eyes of fruit flies. Dr. LaBonty joined the Biology Department in 2021 and teaches courses in principles of biology, cell biology, and microbiology. Read full bio
Office: SC 363
PhD, Biological Sciences, Concentration in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2012; BA, Biology, Earlham College, 2004
Dr. Mager is an interdisciplinary wildlife ecologist focused on the management and conservation of mammals, and teaches in both the Biology and Environmental Science and Policy departments. Much of her research has focused on caribou ecology, including how historical population dynamics and landscape features shape the genetic diversity and connectivity of caribou herds. Recognizing the important knowledge and values that people have for wildlife, she also incorporates historical and ethnographic approaches into her research. Beyond caribou, she loves to work with students in a diversity of ecosystems using field methods such as small mammal trapping and camera trapping. Ultimately, she is motivated to contribute to ecosystem stewardship that enables wildlife populations to adapt to change and benefit human well-being.
Office: SC 068
Michael S. Parker
Biology Program Chair, Professor
PhD, Ecology, University of California, Davis (Emphasis in Limnology and Aquatic Ecology), 1992; MS, Biological Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Emphasis in Aquatic Biology), 1985; BS, Biology, Southern Oregon State College (Emphasis in Vertebrate Biology and Natural History), 1981
Dr. Parker is an aquatic ecologist with a passion for conservation and environmental education who has been with the Biology Department since 1994. His research addresses aquatic food webs with emphases on the role of disturbance in their structure and function, the impacts and management of invasive species, and the ecology and conservation of all aquatic species and the environments that sustain them. He is actively engaged in research in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, including a long-term study of the federally-listed Oregon spotted frog, and recently led a large-scale survey of the reptiles and amphibians of the Monument involving SOU herpetology students and a team of citizen scientists. Dr. Parker can be found teaching in both the classroom and lab, but is most passionate about taking students into the field in courses such as herpetology, fish and fisheries, freshwater ecology, and vertebrate natural history. Read full bio
Office: SC 386
PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2015; BA, Biology, Reed College, 2005
Dr. Robart is an integrative biologist whose research examines the behavioral and physiological mechanisms that animals use to respond to their environment. Most of Dr. Robart’s research focuses on understanding how environmental factors influence the timing of life history stages, such as reproduction, and the amount of resources devoted to key life events. Her research has mainly utilized fish and birds, but she has experience working with diverse taxonomic groups. While much of her research is conducted in the lab, Dr. Robart is excited to establish a field-based research program on local freshwater fish. Dr. Robart joined the Biology Department in 2020 and teaches courses in principles of biology, animal behavior, and evolution.
Office: SC 384
Dr. Stewart is an evolutionary biologist who studies mechanisms of genomic evolution. His research program combines classical genetics, molecular biology, and bioinformatic techniques to study causes and consequences of major chromosome rearrangements. His primary research at SOU uses multiple fruit fly species to investigate how differing chromosome forms can manipulate meiosis to ensure its inheritance in the next generation. In addition, Dr. Stewart has multiple projects investigating the impacts of human recreation on the evolutionary patterns of lake bacteria. Dr. Stewart joined the Biology Department in 2022 and teaches courses in genetics and molecular biology.
Office: SC 364
PhD, Biology, Arizona State University, 2022; BS, Biological Sciences, Clemson University, 2015
Jacob Youngblood is an environmental physiologist who studies the impacts of climate change on insects. His research centers on how environmental variables, such as temperature, influence the survival, growth, and metabolism of insect pests such as grasshoppers. A key goal of this research is to understand how physiological traits scale up to influence population dynamics. His research at SOU focuses on the effects of climate change on montane grasshoppers, which occur across a 1000-meter elevation gradient in the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion, and western grape leafhoppers, which are major pests of wine grapes in the Rogue Valley. Additionally, he is a biology education researcher who studies how to make biology education more inclusive. Outside of biology and education, Dr. Youngblood enjoys being outside, playing disc golf, and visiting national parks. Please click here to view his Google Scholar page.
Office: SC 383
James M. Bower
Mark W. Buktenica, National Park Service
Carolina Becker Livi
Stewart W. Janes
James M. Bower
Office: SC 216
Office: SC 172
Office: SC 057
SOU Biology Program
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
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