Click here to return to Messiah College's homepage
Biological Sciences

Faculty Research

Ted Davis

Edward B. Davis is mainly known for his publications on religious dimensions of the scientific revolution, especially those on Robert Boyle, whose works he has edited (with Michael Hunter). He has also written several articles and reviews on the history of religion and science in America, including a study of modern Jonah stories that was featured on a radio program produced by the British Broadcasting Company. With support from the National Science Foundation and the John M. Templeton Foundation, he is currently writing a book about the religious beliefs of prominent American scientists from the 1920s.



Gary Emberger

My research interest is the distribution and diversity of fungi that grow on wood. Functioning as parasites or saprophytes, these fungi are integral components of forest ecosystems. They are important to human society in a variety of ways in that people eat them, photograph them, screen them as sources of medicinal and industrial compounds, and study them as pathogens of commercially important forest tree species. My goals include developing a web site identification guide to these fungi as well as gathering information on their distribution, host associations, and species diversity.



Jeff Erikson

Water quality monitoring: How healthy are the streams in south-central Pennsylvania? What metrics and indices can be developed to determine the health of these streams?

Toxicology: How can Chironomidae larvae be used to assess pollution in local impaired streams?

Limestone streams: What type of biological community structure do healthy limestone streams have?



David Foster

My present projects include investigations to decrease growing time of native forest herbs by manipulating environmental conditions to achieve multiple cycles of growth and dormancy in one calendar year. Others have looked at optimal host diameter for twining vines that need to select small enough hosts to place them near to the well-lit forest canopy, but not onto supports that are shed annually, such as the rachii of compound leaves or pedicels of simple leaves. I also enjoy researching vegetative predictors of amphibian diversity in vernal pond breeding sites.



John Harms

I have long been intrigued by the genetics controlling metastasis, the spread of cancer. What enables a tumor cell to travel to a distant site in the body, and once it is in this radically different organ environment, proliferate into another lesion? My lab is currently working to understand genes controlling the aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer. In particular, how do small hormones, called gastrin and CCK, cause pancreatic cancer to grow? How effectively can we fight pancreatic cancer by blocking the tumor’s production of these hormones?



Erik Lindquist

Results from some of my studies in behavioral ecology and natural history on the Panamanian golden frog have encouraged me to delve into issues surrounding aposematic coloration in these amphibians. As a concerned biologist, I have become active in endangered species conservation and population recovery by organizing and co-directing Proyecto Rana Dorada ( a multi-institutional species survival initiative for the endangered Panamanian golden frog, Atelopus zeteki.

Also I have been studying biodiversity modeling and community ecology in woodland vernal pools of South Central Pannsylvania. Recently I have been studying species of tropcial canopy amphibians that have survived the Bd fungal pathogen in Panama. Next month, a study will be published by Dr. Michael Freake of Lee University and I, found that persistent pesticides are being introduced into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park park through the food chain.



Larry Mylin

I am interested in how cellular immunity can be used to control and/or prevent cancer. Relevant questions include: How do CD8+ T lymphocytes (Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes, CTL) recognize cancer cells? What factors can interfere with this recognition? How easily can mutation of a given CD8+ epitope target (or the sequences surrounding it) prevent recognition? Do factors related to the characteristics of individual epitope targets influence the types of protective mutations that will preferentially lead to escape? What factors influence the ability to immunize against “weaker” epitope targets?



Michael Shin

My lab focuses on molecular genetic research in the plant model system Arabidopsisthaliana, a mustard weed. Arabidopsis is an ideal system to do genetic research in because it possesses a number of ideal characteristics and an impressive array of available resources, including the completed sequence of its genome. Two ongoing projects in my lab use molecular genetic approaches to study (1) the response of plants to metal ions (which has potential applications in phytoremediation) and (2) sugar sensing and signaling. If you are interested in either project and would like to find out more information, please feel free to drop by my office (J251) and chat or contact me at: