Research projects in the Department of Biology

Explore Department of Biology research opportunities for undergraduates below and/or review the mentor’s research through the faculty profile pages. Students are welcome to independently pursue research opportunities outside of the Department of Biology, including opportunities with other University departments or programs, as well as outside of the University with an off-campus research group or other institutions. Current professors, graduate teaching assistants and other undergraduates already involved in research would be a great resource for finding a project.

Aerial shot of Castle Lake with snow covered Mount Shasta in the distance.

Sudeep Chandra

The Aquatic Ecosystems Analysis Laboratory (AEAL) is a broadly based freshwater research lab with projects on local, regional and global waterways. Particular research projects involve understanding the effects of climate on freshwater ecosystems and the organisms that live within them.

Orange and black fuzzy caterpillar on a leaf.

Lee Dyer

Work in the chemical ecology and tropical diversity laboratory focuses on direct and indirect trophic interactions in complex biotic communities with emphases on global change. The research includes field and laboratory work, as well as research with specimens in the Museum of Natural History at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Photo of a lizard sitting on top of a woman's hand outdoors.

Chris Feldman

The Feldman lab is interested in a broad array of evolutionary, ecological, and conservation topics, primarily in reptiles and amphibians, ranging from simple questions of diet differences between sympatric lizards, to patterns of molecular evolution in specific snake proteins.

Close up photo of an orange spotted butterfly perched on a green leaf.

Matt Forister

The Forister lab works in the areas of specialization, diversification, and plant-insect ecology.

Close up photograph of a mouse.

Jennifer Hoy

The Hoy lab seeks to identify the neural circuit basis of prey-capture behavior in the mouse as part of the broader goal to understand how vision guides action in the mammalian brain. 

Microscope image of axons.

Tom Kidd

The Kidd lab is use fruit fly genetics to study how axons navigate long distances to their targets during the development of the nervous system.

Colorful scan of neurons

Jung Kim

By combining powerful Drosophila genetics with cellular, physiological, and behavioral analyses, the Kim lab tries to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neurological and mental disorders.

Bumblebee on a purple flower

Anne Leonard

The Leonard Lab focuses on the evolutionary ecology of communication in plant-pollinator and sexual selection contexts. Using primarily bees, questions explore signal complexity (is it color or scent that will be most attractive to a forager), nutritional ecology (which flower will have the better meal) and the actual mechanics of pollination.

A green gecko hangs out on a branch in a zoomed in photo of the gecko.

Mike Logan

We are ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and physiologists. We use laboratory and field experiments to study the responses of organisms to rapid environmental change.

Cropped diagram of olfactory impacts on behavior.

Dennis Mathew

The Mathew lab is working to understand how a circuit of neurons translates olfactory input into behavioral output? Thus, laying the foundation for understanding how information is processed by neurons to result in a behavior. 

Tree swallow perched on a twig.

Jenny Ouyang

The Ouyang lab uses natural and laboratory experiments to test how, and at what rate, hormonally regulated traits enable organismal adaptation to changing environments.

Microscopic image of neurons, colored green yellow and orange.

Simon Pieraut

The goal of our research is to decipher the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying inhibitory neural plasticity. For complete information please visit the lab website.

Chickadee perched on snowy pine tree branch.

Vladimir Pravosudov

Research in my lab broadly focuses on Animal Behavior and Behavioral Ecology with special emphasis on animal cognition.

Photo of a black and white monkey sitting in a tropical tree.

Elizabeth Pringle

The Pringle lab focuses on the evolutionary ecology of multispecies mutualisms. 

Tropical caterpillar on a green leaf stem.

Lora Richards

Our lab focuses on a wide range of chemically mediated ecological interactions.  We are particularly interested in the role of plant chemistry in structuring diverse ecological communities.

Bright green caterpillar on a leaf.

Angela Smilanich

The Smilanich lab focuses on the ecology and evolution of diet breadth via physiological studies of multitrophic interactions between plants, herbivores, and natural enemies.

Image of a population of Caenorhabditis elegans taken through a stereomicroscope.

Alexander van der Linden

Our research uses the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans coupled to genetic, molecular and genomic tools to understand how animals sense and translate environmental and internal signals to influence behavior, metabolism, sleep and aging. 

Black and yellow striped frog.

Jamie Voyles

The Voyles Lab takes a “One Health” perspective, recognizing that human, plant, animal and ecosystem health are inextricably connected. Our research is focused on amphibian chytridiomycosis and white-nose syndrome in bats. Both are diseases that have emerged recently and are causing dramatic declines in North America and around the world.