Photos of graphs and pipettors

Prospective Graduate Students

Our Master of Science in Integrative Biology (MSIB) program launched in Fall 2012. If you have an interest in doing your thesis project in my lab after reading about my research, please contact me.

Undergraduate Research Experience

I'm always looking for motivated students who are interested in plants, genomics, or anything in between. Research takes time - you will be expected to spend 3 hours working in lab for every research credit-hour. While doing research in a biology lab is valuable for your résumé, doing it at the expense of your GPA is counterproductive. You should only sign up for research credit if you are very comfortably keeping a GPA above 3.0 and also feel you have plenty of additional time to sacrifice in the name of science.

Students who have no prior research experience are urged to try it out for a while on a volunteer basis before committing to it as graded credit. I prefer students begin in my lab with a semester of Directed Methods (Biol 3110) to learn the basic techniques we use (rearing the study organism, RNA and DNA isolation, PCR, gel electrophoresis, cloning, DNA sequencing, etc.). At that point, students can have a better idea whether research is for them and, if so, which project in my lab interests them the most. If students wish to continue a more rigorous research project, Directed Studies (Biol 4400) requires a written research proposal, focused research on that particular question, and a presentation of results at the end of the semester at the Student Research Symposium.

  • Current MSIB Graduate Students

    Brandy Riekert



  • Current Undergraduate Lab Members (through Fall 2015)
    • Keith Blankenship
    • Kendall Cooper
    • Josh Henderson
    • Cory Peay
    • Turner Stapleton

    Photo of students working in fieldPhoto of group of students in fieldPhoto of group of students in field

    (ABOVE) Brandy, Cory, and Turner at Cuscuta harperi field sites.

  • Former Undergraduate Lab Members
    • Guissela Arita-Fajardo
    • Alejandra Garcia
    • Elise Santorella
    • Allyson Spillers
    • Khwala Abdulgader
    • Aqsa Adnan
    • Gaius Augustus
    • Tamara Bowen
    • Josh Butler
    • Agustin Garcia-Ochoa
    • Colleen Meffert
    • Sid Patel
    • Victoria Simmons


    (ABOVE) Gaius Augustus collecting DNA material from Cuscuta rostrata at Brasstown Bald (Summer 2012).

    Photo of Spring 2013 Lab Members (L to R) Victoria Simmons, Gaius Augustus, Dr. McNeal, Tamara Bowen

    (ABOVE) Spring 2013 Lab Members (L to R) Victoria Simmons, Gaius Augustus, Dr. McNeal, Tamara Bowen.

    Photo of Cuscuta rostrata field site in autumn landscape

    (ABOVE) View from a Cuscuta rostrata field site in autumn.

    Photo of Sid Patel collecting seedlings for RNA isolation

    (ABOVE) Sid Patel collecting seedlings for RNA isolation.