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BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Leah Allen Dr. Leah Allen
Email: leah.allen@montgomerycollege.edu
Phone: 240-567-5440 --- Office Room: SC 234F 

I received both my Bachelor of Science in Biology and my Doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Kentucky, where my research focused on alterations in insulin signaling in heart muscle cells. Before joining Montgomery College in the fall of 2012, I was an instructor at the College of Coastal Georgia for three years where I contributed to biology curricula and course development and directed some outreach programs for the college in addition to teaching biology courses. 

I currently teach face-to-face Anatomy and Physiology (BIOL 212 and 213) as well as general biology for non-majors (BIOL 101). Since joining MC, I have focused my time on integrating technology into Anatomy and Physiology (primarily with the use of tablet technology, i.e., iPad utilization by students to create Electronic Lab Notebooks).

 

I am the Course Coordinator for Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II (BIOL 212 and 213).

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Michael Chase Dr. Michael Chase
Email: michael.chase@montgomerycollege.edu
Phone: 240-567-4223 --- Office Room: SC 234G 


I began my faculty position in the biology department, here at Montgomery College, during the fall of 2007. Currently, I teach microbiology (BIOL 203) and Genetics (BIOL 222). Prior to this position, I taught biology, microbiology, and genetics at Marymount University, Arlington, VA, and Trinity College in Washington, D.C., as an adjunct professor. I hold a B.S. in Biology from The Citadel Military College, an M.S. in Pathobiology from The University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in Genetics from The University of Maryland at Baltimore. I did my post-doc at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of The National Institutes of Health, where I studied genes involved in cholesterol metabolism and atherosclerosis in transgenic mice. I have extensive laboratory experience in molecular and cellular biology. I often draw upon this research experience during the laboratory sessions of my courses to facilitate student comprehension of biological concepts presented during lecture. My primary interests include microbiological production of hydrogen and photosynthesis. If I can be of any assistance in your study of biology, please visit me at my office or e-mail me.

I also manage the GT-STEP grant (http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/EDU/Department4.aspx?id=67267) awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF), as the Principal Investigator. One of the primary goals of the grant is to promote student recruitment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and to increase their graduation rates.

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James CosgroveDr. James Cosgrove

Email: james.cosgrove@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-4136 --- Office Room: SC 234J

I joined the full time Biology Department faculty in 2003, although I was an adjunct faculty member at Montgomery College for many years. I started teaching Human Structure and Function I & II at the Takoma Park campus and then I taught Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II at Prince George’s Community College and at Montgomery College (Takoma Park, then Rockville). Currently, I teach Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II (BIOL 212 and 213) and Molecular Cell Biology (BIOL 230). Previously, I have taught Principles of Biology (BIOL 150) and General Biology (BIOL 101).
 

I received a Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia, then a Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Following postdoctoral research at the University of Toronto, I joined the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). I subsequently transferred to the NINDS at the NIH before joining the Department of Pathology at George Washington University School of Medicine. I then started teaching at Montgomery College. My primary interests include cell and molecular biology, developmental biology and especially neurobiology. If I can be of any assistance in your study of biology, please visit me at my office or email me.

I am the Course Coordinator for Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II (BIOL 212 and 213).

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Antonio Del Castillo-OlivaresDr. Antonio del Castillo-Olivares

Email: antonio.delcastillo-olivares@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-5406 --- Office Room: SC 234L

I am a professor in Biology Department at Montgomery College, Maryland. I am a native of Spain and received my Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Masters in Biochemistry and Bachelors in Life Sciences from the University of Málaga, Spain. I also hold a certificate degree in Pedagogy from the same institution.

For the past 20 years, I have balanced my passion for teaching with the love for scientific research. My research experience range from cancer redox systems, cancer nitrogen metabolism, cholesterol and bile acid metabolism, sex determination transcriptional factors to human immunological molecular interactions.

During my research career, I have mentored many undergraduate and graduate research students. Some of the courses that I currently teach and/or have taught include Chemistry I (lab), General Biology, Principles of Biology I, Genetics, and Scientific Research. In 2012, I created, developed and team-taught Scientific Research course at Montgomery College. Eventually, faculty from other STEM disciplines have also joined the team, providing opportunities for undergraduate students to gain research experience.

I am a Co-Principal Investigator of the GT-STEP grant (http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/EDU/Department4.aspx?id=67267) funded by National Science Foundation to increase recruitment into and graduation of students in STEM disciplines at MC.  I am also a Paul Peck Humanities Institute/Smithsonian Institution Fellow.

I love raising my children together with my wife and training horses and dogs during my “free time”.
 

I am the Course Coordinator for Principles of Biology I (BIOL 150) and an Adjunct Faculty Coordinator.

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Sara KalifaDr_ Sara Kalifa

Email: sara.kalifa@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-5096 --- Office Room: SC 234P

I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, trained in Germany. I furthered my education and did my masters in Epidemiology and Tropical Medicine from University of Berlin, Germany. I came to the States thereafter and joined the graduate program at Howard University, College of Medicine. I majored in Neuroscience and completed my PhD with the highest honor, Magna Cum Laude. 

Before joining Montgomery College in Fall 2015, I have taught at George Mason University and Howard University. At George Mason University, I created a course for senior Health Science students and was a course coordinator. I have also taught Advanced Biomedical Sciences to Graduate Premedical Students, along with faculty from Georgetown University. At Howard University, I have taught Advanced Cardiovascular Physiology to dental students for six years.

As a postdoctoral scientist in Cancer Research Laboratory at Howard University, I studied the role of PI 3-Kinase p110β in AKT signaling, cell survival, and proliferation in human prostate cancer cells. In collaboration with Dr. Gondre-Lewis, I also studied the effects of prenatal nicotine exposure and neonatal stress on hippocampal development on mice models at different age groups.

I have a passion for guiding students through their learning process, in addition to a passion for the material I present.

I enjoy hiking and traveling. I have been to almost every country in Europe and my next plan is to discover Asia!

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Vedham KarpakakunjaramDr. Vedham Karpakakunjaram

Email: vedham.karpakakunjaram@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-5480 --- Office Room: SC 234D

My Home Page

I am a professor in the Biology Department at Montgomery College. I started teaching at Montgomery College as a part-time faculty, in Summer II 2008, eventually becoming a full-time faculty in Fall 2011. Currently, I teach General Biology (BIOL 101), Principles of Biology I (BIOL 150) and Principles of Biology II (BIOL 151). Previously, I have taught upper-level Ecology course at the Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK and Principles of Biology III (BSCI 207) and Principles of Ecology (BSCI 361) at the University of Maryland, College Park.

I completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Zoology from Loyola College, University of Madras, India, followed by a Ph. D in Zoology, also from the same institution. My doctoral thesis focused on the population ecology and nutritional physiology of grasshoppers. In my postdoctoral research, I worked on evolution of reproductive monopoly in ant societies and foraging patterns in ant workers. I also had a brief stint as an entomologist in an agro-based Research and Development Institute in India. In that role, I collaborated with Natural Resources Institute, UK to develop and evaluate IPM strategies to manage common pests of eggplant.

I enjoy working with students and if you have questions related to a course or your career, feel free to drop by my office.

 

I am an Adjunct Faculty Coordinator.
 

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Evdokia Kasini Kastanou Dr. Evdokia Kastanou

Email: evdokia.kastanos@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-5478 --- Office Room: SC 244

 

I joined the Biology Department as a full-time faculty, in Spring 2017.  Prior to this, I have been teaching as an adjunct faculty in Montgomery College, University of Maryland, College Park and the Baltimore County campuses.  Currently, I teach General Biology (BIOL 101), Principles of Biology I (BIOL 150), Microbiology (BIOL 210), Principles of Genetics (BIOL 222), and Scientific Research (SCIR 297). I also hold weekly review sessions for BIOL 150 students.

I majored in Biochemistry for my undergraduate degree, while on a Fulbright scholarship, followed by a PhD in Biochemistry, both from the University of Texas at Austin. After completing my doctoral research, I received a postdoctoral fellowship to work at the National Cancer Institute, NIH. Eventually, I returned to my native Cyprus for another postdoctoral research in cancer. In 2007, I was hired as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the Department of Life and Health Sciences of the University of Nicosia. During this period, I also served as an Associate Head of Department and was eventually promoted to Associate Professorship.

Apart from cancer research, I have been involved in a project to design new technology for the rapid diagnosis and antibiogram for urinary tract infections using Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy and silver nanoparticles. Another research project I am currently interested in is the isolation and identification of bacteria from wastewater using molecular methods like PCR and sequencing.

 

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Shawn LesterProf. Shawn Lester

Email: shawn.lester@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-5127 --- Office Room: SC 234H

My Home Page 

I actually began my career here at MC as a student at the Germantown campus. I received my bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Then I returned to MC to work as the Instructional Lab Coordinator for Biology. After obtaining a master's degree in biomedical sciences from Hood College, I began to teach part-time here at MC and eventually I became a full-time faculty member. I teach Microbiology (BIOL 210) during the day and Understanding Viruses (BIOL 114) at night. I am also the course coordinator for Nutrition (BIOL 226) as a distance learning course on the web.

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Ishrat RahmanDr_ Ishrat Rahman

Email: ishrat.rahman@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-5476 --- Office Room: SC 243

Hi! My name is Ishrat Rahman and I primarily teach Principles of Biology (BIOL 150) and Microbiology (BIOL 210), in addition to being part of the faculty team that mentor undergraduate students in Scientific Research (SCIR 297) course. I completed my PhD in Microbiology from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1998. My undergraduate and Master’s degree are in Biochemistry from Dhaka University in Bangladesh. I have held postdoctoral positions at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and FDA, followed by a Staff Fellow position at the FDA, before joining Montgomery College in 2007. I have been teaching Principles of Biology (BIOL 150) at Montgomery College (Rockville campus) since Fall 2007 and Microbiology (BIOL 210) since Fall 2011. I offer weekly help sessions for BIOL 150 labs, tutor at Math-Science Center and mentor/advise GT STEP scholars.

 

To unwind, I love to paint (oil), henna on hands, sew, listen to music, read books, watch movies and travel. 

 

My office door is always open and you don’t have to be in my class to ask for help. You are welcome to get in touch with me whenever you have question, concerns, feedback, or just to chat. The best way to reach me is by email

 

Good luck to all of you and I am looking forward to getting to know you better over the semester.  Enjoy your time at Montgomery college, I certainly do!!

 

I am the Course Coordinator for Microbiology (BIOL 210).

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Victoria SchneiderProf_ Victoria Schneider

Email: victoria.schneider@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-5479 --- Office Room: SC 234K

I completed my B.S. in biology from Lycoming College and M.S. in biology from Villanova University. I joined the Biology Department at Montgomery College in Fall 2014 and currently teach Environmental Biology and Human Anatomy and Physiology. I have taught General Biology, Anatomy & Physiology and Nutrition at different schools including Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI, Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, MO, and full time at Labette Community College in Parsons, KS.

My masters’ research examined the organismal phylogenetics of a group of legless lizards endemic to southern Africa. I am very close to completing my Ph.D. (keep your fingers crossed). I did my field work in Michigan where I examined the effects of disturbances on amphibian populations.
 

I am the Course Coordinator for Environmental Biology (BIOL 105).


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Aubrey SmithDr_ Aubrey Smith

Email: aubrey.smith@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-5126 --- Office Room: SC 242

I joined the faculty of the Biology Department at Montgomery College in the fall of 2007. Prior to my appointment, I taught at Howard University’s College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health. I also worked in the private sector as a support scientist in the field of biological and chemical hazard prediction. I hold a B.S. in chemistry from York College of the City University of New York and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Howard University. My dissertation research culminated in the isolation and sequencing of the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (pepc) gene of Synechococcus PCC 7002. The pepc gene was isolated for the first time in a marine cyanobacterium; the DNA sequence was a bit surprising and may shed some light on the true nature and origins or Synechococcus PCC 7002. The results of this research project will be published shortly; I am also working on another project involving comparative sequence analysis of proteins from marine and fresh-water cyanobacteria. I currently teach Principles of Biology I (BIOL 150) and General Biology (BIOL 101). I am also the webmaster of The Tool Pigeon, a web site with links to useful bioinformatics tools for life scientists and physical scientists.
 

I am the Course Coordinator for General Biology (BIOL 101).

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K. Rebecca ThomasDr_ K_ Rebecca Thomas

Email: rebecca.thomas@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-4224 --- Office Room: SC 234E


I am the Course Coordinator for Principles of Biology II (BIOL 151).

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Gina WesleyDr_ Gina Wesley

Email: gina.wesley@montgomerycollege.edu

Phone: 240-567-5122 --- Office Room: SC 241

I earned my Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Chicago. My focus is on evolution and the fossil record. Paleontology has taken me around the world including museum trips to Europe and South Africa and fossil expeditions to Madagascar, Mongolia and Ethiopia. One of my favorite aspects of science is the international experiences involved. At Montgomery College, I teach Principles of Biology II (BIOL 151) and General Biology (BIOL 101). I try to share my enthusiasm for Science and I enjoy helping students discover how science is relevant to their lives.


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