The faculty and students in the Biology Department are world-class researchers and scholars. We love to share and celebrate their accomplishments.


Kathleen L. Foster, Assistant Professor of Biology Kathleen L. Foster

Dr. Kathleen L. Foster and her collaborator from Purdue University Fort Wayne have just been awarded an NSF-Simons Pilot Project Program Grant from the NSF-Simons Center for Quantitative Biology at Northwestern University. This grant is to support their work on the mathematical relationship between morphology and biomechanics through development in geckos. Only two of these grants are awarded every year, a prestigious honor in a highly competitive field.

Congratulations, Dr. Foster!


Ashley Kalinski Curren, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology Ashley Kalinski Curren, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

Under Dr. Kalinski Curren’s mentorship, undergraduate student Rachel Williamson recently received a Sigma XI Grant in Aid of Research for her work on “Impact of macrophages on axon regeneration in Sarm1 knockout mice”. This is a highly competitive honors research grant distributed with 774 applications, and Rachel was one of only 21 undergraduates selected.  

Congratulations Dr. Kalinski Curren and Rachel Williamson.


Phil Smaldino, Assistant Professor of Cell BiologyPhil Smaldino, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology

Students in Dr. Phil Smaldino’s lab are doing cutting edge research. Siara Sandwith, Meredith Sharlow, Antonio Chambers, Michael Reisinger, and Adam Richardson helped to uncover a novel role for our lab’s protein of interest, DHX36. Their discovery of DHX36’s role in facilitating the production of toxic proteins linked to ALS and dementia was recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This work was done in collaboration with the Todd Lab (U. of Michigan) and Wang Lab (U. of Virgnia). 

Read their article.


Jess Ward, Assistant Professor of Animal SciencesJess Ward, Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences

Dr. Jess Ward is equipping the next generation of researchers for success. Ally Swank, an undergraduate student in Dr. Ward’s lab, had her Honors Thesis published as a peer-reviewed paper in Science of the Total Environment. This is a testament to the excellent teaching and mentorship Dr. Ward provides at Ball State.

Access the publication information here. 


Marie Kelly-Worden, Associate Professor of Physiology-BiologyMarie Kelly-Worden, Associate Professor of Physiology-Biology 

Dr. Kelly-Worden’s laboratory continues to do outstanding research in cell biology. Their research, “Glabridin and Anti-Non-Muscle Myosin IIA Therapy Disrupts Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma Motility” was recently published in in Advances in Lung Cancer. 

Read more here. 



Rona Robinson-Hill, Assistant Professor of Science Education  Rona Robinson-Hill, Assistant Professor of Science Education

Dr. Rona Robinson-Hill has been investing in the next generation of Ball State scientists this summer.  Her “Training Future Scientists” program was a hit during Summer Learning Fun, which was part of Camp Adventure with Mrs. Stacy Allred in TC. As her last summer participating in this program, Dr. Robinson-Hill facilitated the incorporation of peer leaders to assist the teachers at the camp. These veteran campers used their love for science and camp experience to help the pre-service teachers in teaching first & second grade campers.


Group of campers from Camp Adventure



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