Dr. Irma Santoro
Interim Dean, School of Science and Mathematics
Associate Professor of Biology
Biology Education Program Coordinator
Office Location: Dobbs 212
Degrees: B.S., John Carroll University; Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine
Genetics, Cell Biology and Physiology, Immunobiology, Biochemistry, General Biology I & II, Environmental Cancer Seminar
“Biology is all around us, and students need to understand that their interactions can have an ecological impact.”
Getting Students Excited about Science
Dr. Irma Santoro wants her students to understand the world around them—that science is not just a subject in a textbook.
“I guide students to be able to have intelligent conversations about science and not be intimidated or scared to do so; it’s a part of our everyday lives,” she said. “If I can excite anybody about science or have students ask and want to ask questions, that’s exciting to me.”
Small Classes Create Better Understanding
Recently coming to Reinhardt from a larger institution, Santoro already sees the difference that it makes for students to be in smaller class sizes.
“The small class sizes give me the opportunity to let students work in groups, instead of me standing up and lecturing all the time,” explained Santoro. “Students are able to work with different personalities and work ethics, and activities can often be much more relevant when they work with their peers.”
Interested in All Sciences
As a molecular geneticist, Santoro enjoys understanding how genes work and how genes get fixed; she has done research in the field for more than 12 years. She is interested, though, in science all across the board.
“I started out as a human geneticist, then I moved to mice, and then to yeast,” said Santoro. “I have moved down the evolutionary species; it gives me a broad background. I can cross over the different fields of science, and that’s what I can bring into the classroom.”
Paying It Forward
Like many undergraduates, she changed her major several times during college before she discovered her passion for biology. It was working in a biology lab that turned her to the field.
“I was a pre-vet major and then a pre-med major,” explained Santoro. “It was then that I started working in a lab a few hours a week and realized that biology was my real passion. My undergrad experience opened my eyes to see that there is so much you can do with a biology degree. I want to pay that forward to my students.”
Dr. Zachary Felix
Associate Professor of Biology & Biology Program Coordinator
Office Location: Dobbs 208
Degrees: A.A.S., State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill; B.S., State University of New York-College of Environmental Science and Forestry; M.S., Marshall University; Ph.D., Alabama A & M University
"Biology is a part of our everyday life; we are biology.”
Students Participate in Relevant Activities
In Dr. Zachary Felix’s class, you won’t just do X-Y-Z and follow steps one through three in the book. He has his students participate in relevant activities that bring home the message of "biology is a part of our everyday life."
“I want students to get hands-on with biology,” said Felix. “Students will not be constantly behind a book; I want them experiencing things outside or doing experiments in the lab or conducting independent research.” Students in Felix’s classes have completed independent research projects on topics such as salamander microhabitats, bird behavior, and hemlock woolly adelgids. Completing these projects help students improve important skills like writing, literature research, and oral communication. Each year his General Zoology students participate in a bioblitz, during which they help to document the considerable diversity of animals in and around Waleska, Georgia.
Bringing Expertise and Excitement Into the Classroom
As a researcher in the field of zoology, Felix has conducted research all over the world—from China to Aruba to Japan to Alabama. He brings that expertise and excitement into the classroom, and he hopes to give students the knowledge to take into their chosen careers.
“Biology is so exciting to me,” Felix said. “I am going to have students who may one day be businessmen and women, educators, lawyers, doctors, and in occupations other than biology. I don’t have any allusion that they are going to use the knowledge from the classroom every day, but if they are aware that biology is interesting and worthwhile, then that’s a big part of it for me.”
Driven by Curiosity
Dr. Felix continues to satisfy his sense of curiosity through an active research program. Currently he is involved with a collaborative investigation of the evolution of a group of lungless salamanders using morphometric and molecular techniques. He is completing a systematic survey of land snails on RU’s campus and, along with the help of an RU student, is compiling a systematic list of land snails for the state of Georgia. He has plans to begin an ecological study of a local population of northern pine snakes (Pituophis m. melanoleucus) during the summer of 2012.
Web Sites of Interest:
Dr. Danielle Satre
Associate Professor of Biology
Office Location: Dobbs 226
BIO 120- Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology
BIO 221- Human Anatomy and Phyiology I Lab
BIO 223- Human Anatomy and Physiology II Lab
BIO 260- Introductory Microbiology
BIO 261- Introductory Microbiology Lab
BIO 460- Behavioral Endocrinology
Degrees: B.S., M.S., Ph.D., University of Louisville
Dr. Aliya Donnell Davenport
Assistant Professor of Biology
Office Location: Dobbs 203
BIO 120 – Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology
BIO 122 – Introduction to Organismal Biology
BIO 302 – Introduction to Plant Biology
BIO 312 – Vascular Plant Taxonomy
BIO 360 – Principles of Ecology
My speciality within biology is plant taxonomy and systematics. Taxonomy deals with the naming, identification and classifying of organisms, while systematics deals with the evolutionary relationships of organisms. Both fields are essential for the study and conservation of Earth’s biodiversity. How can we know how to conserve organisms if we don’t know how to identify them? I am a specialist in the Mallow family (Malvaceae), but am beginning to explore research opportunities with other groups of plants. I am also the curator of the Reinhardt herbarium (museum of dried, pressed plant specimens).
Aliya A. Donnell, Harvey E. Ballard, Jr. & Philip D. Cantino. A phenetic analysis of the Bakeridesia integerrima complex (Malvaceae). September 2015. Brittonia 67(3): 250-271.
Cátia Takeuchi, Aliya A. Donnell & Aluisio J. Fernandes, Jr. Callianthe montana, a New Combination for Abutilon montanum (Malvaceae – Malvoideae), a rediscovered species endemic to the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. September 2014. Phytotaxa 177(5): 298-300.
Aliya A. Donnell. A systematic revision of Bakeridesia Hochr. Ph.D dissertation. Dept. of Environmental and Plant Biology, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. March 2013.
Aliya A. Donnell, Harvey E. Ballard, Jr. & Philip D. Cantino. Callianthe (Malvaceae): A New Genus of Neotropical Malveae. 2012. Systematic Botany 37(3): 712-722.
Preventing Plug Stunting. Aliya A. Donnell, John M. Dole, and Brian E. Whipker. Greenhouse Grower Magazine. September 2010.
Aliya A. Donnell, 2006. Effect of Plug Flat on Plant Growth and Prevention of Post-Transplant Stunting. M.S. Thesis. Dept. of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Doctor of Philosophy, Environmental and Plant Biology (Plant Systematics), 2012
Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Master of Science, Horticultural Science (Floriculture Production), 2006
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
Bachelor of Science (Summa Cum Laude), Agriculture (Ornamental Horticulture), 2003
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, Florida