Faculty Highlight Featuring Chris Kodani
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Huntington Beach, California. It’s a suburb of Los Angeles. My parent’s house was 2 miles from the beach, and less than 1 mile from the Santa Ana River.
How did you decide to become a Biologist? I got interested in science early on. I can remember being in 3rd grade, and really liking science in school. In our house (way back before cable TV came to our neighborhood), we used to watch a lot of PBS, which had some very interesting science shows. Jacques Cousteau was a really famous marine biologist at that time, and I enjoyed watching his shows, and I wanted to be like him when I grew up. I went fishing at our local pier a lot. Unfortunately, I was scared of swimming as a kid, so when I went to college, I took a couple of swimming classes, hoping that I could become SCUBA certified and then do a marine biology quarter. That never worked out, but I’m a much better swimmer now, because my wife forces me to go on beach vacations!
What are some current research projects you are working on? Well, remember how I wanted to be a famous marine biologist, but it never worked out? When I moved to Georgia to become a professor at Clayton State, there were LOTS of streams around, and I just had to go find some fish to catch. That got me thinking that maybe I could do stream research, and I found a volunteer group called “Georgia Adopt-A-Stream”. They are such a great group of people, and they’re all about stream monitoring. I got interested in how the surrounding landscape affects the macroinvertebrates living in the streams, and that’s been my major research interest ever since. In order to map some watersheds, I had to learn how to work some geographical information systems software (GIS), and have really enjoyed using a computer and satellite imagery to measure the impervious surfaces around streams. I’ve been able to use those same skills to help Dr. Diane Day to map out some box turtles, which is really nice because when I was a kid my first pet was a box turtle.
Describe some of your recent accomplishments and/or awards and the significance of your accomplishments to the community. I was awarded the 2018 Innovation Award by Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, for my research on macroinvertebrate communities. The same group bestowed the 2014 Legacy Trainer Award upon me, which is given for 10 years training certified volunteers. This was neat because most of the people that I trained were students in my Ecology class right here at CSU.
What advice would you offer to students pursuing a degree in Biology at CSU? You need to love every class that you take, because you never know when you’ll need that knowledge in the future. Our best students do well in everything, and then they go on to some great careers. You should also be sure to find a good internship or do a research project in a biological subject that interests you, as these can help you to find that great career.
What are your hobbies and/or interests? I already mentioned my love of fishing, but I also like to go hiking. Model trains have been a life-long hobby of mine. I also love to travel with my family, and we particularly love theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios. I enjoy cooking, and exploring new restaurants to find new foods to cook.
Some Organisms and Ecosystems Studied by CSU Biology Faculty
Piedmont Riparian Ecosystem
Jere A. Boudell, Ph.D.
Position: Professor of Biology Office: LDSC 135G Phone: (678) 466-4772 E-mail: JereBoudell@clayton.edu Website: www.clayton.edu/faculty/jboudell Research Interest(s): As a riparian plant ecologist, I study the impacts of urbanization and climate change on riparian (riverine) restoration outcomes and the role of seed germination in plant community dynamics. I'm also a technologist and am interested in bridging the gap between the world of technology and ecology through mobile app development.
Stephen C. Burnett, Ph.D.
Position: Professor of Biology Office: LDSC 135D Phone: (678) 466-4774 E-mail: StephenBurnett@clayton.edu Website: www.clayton.edu/faculty/sburnett Research Interest(s): Dr. Burnett is interested in many aspects of animal behavior, particularly communication between individuals. His primary studies are on bat echolocation, but he has also worked with students on other mammals, birds, and insects.
Diane E. Day, Ph.D.
Position: Senior Lecturer in Biology Office: LDSC 135M Phone: (678) 466-4794 E-mail: DianeDay@clayton.edu Website: www.clayton.edu/faculty/dday2 Research Interest(s): Dr. Day is currently studying the population demographics of Eastern box turtles, Terrapene carolina, in Fayetteville, Georgia. This is a mark recapture study looking at population size, sex ratio, age structure, habitat selection, and home range movement. Due to the invasion of the non-native species of armadillos destroying the nests, much time in the summer is spent locating nesting females and protecting the nests. Some turtles have radio transmitters attached to their shells and radio telemetry is used to track their movements throughout the 307 acre nature preserve. DNA analysis is being run to look at relatedness within the population.
Indhira De La Rosa, Ph.d.
Position: Assistant Professor of Biology Office: LDSC 135A Phone: (678) 466-4772 E-mail: IndhiraDeLaRosa@clayton.edu @clayton.edu Research Interest(s): Molecular Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Immunology, and Anatomy/Physiology
Michelle A. Furlong, Ph.D.
Position: Assistant Dean of Arts & Sciences; Professor of Biology Office: T-211C Clayton Hall Phone: (678) 466-4778 E-mail: MichelleFurlong@clayton.edu Website: www.clayton.edu/faculty/mfurlong Research Interest(s): Microbial ecology, pedagogy and instructional biology related to course-embedded research
Stephen Klusza, Ph.D.
Position: Lecturer of Biology PhD Florida State University (2011) Office: LDSC 135 Phone: (678) 466-4700 E-mail StephenKluszka@clayton.edu
Christopher H. Kodani, Ph.D.
Position: Associate Professor of Biology Office: LDSC 135A Phone: (678) 466-4782 E-mail: ChristopherKodani@clayton.edu Website: www.clayton.edu/faculty/ckodani Research Interest(s): Dr. Kodani’s research interests include ecology and natural history, and although his past projects have centered on terrestrial mammals, his research interests are expanding to include aquatic ecosystems. In the early 1990’s, he studied the home range and diet of the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) in the chaparral-covered hills of Southern California. This involved both radio-tracking, and scatology. Moving to Illinois, in the late 1990’s, he studied the effects of soil nitrogen and meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) herbivory on the plant biomass of a restored tallgrass prairie. Since joining Clayton State University's Department of Natural Sciences in 2001, Dr. Kodani has become interested in stream ecology. He is a volunteer stream monitor and trainer for Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, and in 2014 was awarded the Legacy Trainer Award.
Renee E. McFarlane, M.S.
Position: Senior Lecturer in Biology Office: LDSC 135B Phone: (678) 466-4790 E-mail: ReneeMcFarlane@clayton.edu Website: www.clayton.edu/faculty/rmcfarla Research Interest(s): As a medical microbiologist, my main area of research is Biofilms. Problems arise in the medical field trying to treat biofilms in cystic fibrosis patients and indwelling medical devices such as catheters. For the past two years, most of my research studies focused on the control of biofilm formation. Currently, my research focus is studying the effects of quorum sensing inhibitors (chemically and naturally) on biofilm forming bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Paul D. Melvin III, Ph.D.
Position: Interim Department Chair of Biology; Associate Professor of Biology Office: LDSC 135C Phone: (678) 466-4789 E-mail: PaulMelvin@clayton.edu Website: www.clayton.edu/faculty/pmelvin Research Interest(s): Environmental estrogens, endocrine disruptors, and tropical littorinid periwinkle ecology
Barbara E. Musolf, Ph.D.
Position: Associate Professor of Biology Office: LDSC 135H Phone: (678) 466-4797 E-mail: Barbara Musolf@clayton.edu Website: www.clayton.edu/faculty/bmusolf Research Interest(s): I am interested in neurobiological systems and behaviors. Currently I mentor students who study oviposition and mating behavior in Callosobruchus maculatus. I also mentor students who study social behavior in the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkiii. As a former Montessori teacher, I have retained an interest in how humans learn and so I now study and try to implement more effective pedagogical techniques in the classroom.
Wadner Normil, M.D.
Position: Lecturer of Biology M.D. Latin American School of Medicine (2006) Office: LDSC 135 Phone: (678) 466-4700 E-mail: WadnerNormil@clayton.edu
Miguel L. Reyes, Ph.D.
Position: Assistant Professor of Biology Office: LDSC 135A Phone: (678) 466-4787 E-mail: MiguelReyes@clayton.edu Website: Research Interest(s): I am an evolutionary biologist with a keen interest in stress and physiological trade-offs. My previous research involved dietary deprivation and development in threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), and interactions between beneficial symbionts and phenotypic plasticity in pea aphids (Aciyrthosiphon pisum) exposed to heat shock and fungal pathogens. Currently I am interested in studying the impact of heat-shock on metabolic rates and methane release in discoid roaches (Blaberus discoidalis), Madagascar roaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa) and house crickets (Acheta domesticus).
Ann M. Showalter, Ph.D.
Position: Assistant Professor of Biology Office: LDSC 135K Phone: (678) 466-4771 E-mail: AnnShowalter@clayton.edu Website: www.annshowalter.com Research Interest(s): Aquatic Community Ecology, Ecological Stoichiometry, Dragonflies and Damselflies, Predator-Prey Interactions, Nutrient Cycling
Position: Administrative Assistant Office: LDSC 135 Phone: (678) 466-4770
Position: Laboratory Technician Office: LAB 116D Phone: (678) 466-4799 E-mail: AmberHightower@clayton.edu
Boey Kheem Tan, Ph.D.
Position: Biology Lab Manager & Safety Officer Office: LAB 116E Phone: (678) 466-4856 E-mail: BoeyTan@clayton.edu
Helen Brown, Ph.D.
Position: Professor Emerita of Biology
Rebecca Halyard, Ph.D.
Position: Professor Emerita of Biology
O.C. Lam, Ph.D.
Position: Professor Emeritus of Biology
Miriam P. Perry, Ph.D.
Position: Professor Emerita of Biology