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Ouachita Baptist University

“The best part about being a Biology major at OBU is all the amazing professors and their willingness to help you to succeed!!”  Austin Ingram, ’14

Dr. Lori Hensley

  • Associate Professor and JD Patterson Endowed Chair of Biology
  • Department Chair of the Biological Sciences

Ph: 870-245-5529

  • B.S. Bowling Green State University, Biology
  • Ph.D. University of Tennessee at Memphis, Pathology

Current Research: Research efforts in my lab focus on the molecular basis of human disease, specifically within the nervous system.   Currently, we are investigating more natural, safer treatment options for neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis as well as neural-derived cancers.  Using cellular and animal models, we are testing the ability of two classes of molecules—cannabinoids and phytoestrogens—to reduce glial activation characteristic of neuroinflammatory diseases and to induce apoptosis in neural-derived cancer cells.  Students use molecular biology techniques such as tissue culture, ELISAs, and western blots in these studies.

Dr. Jess Kelly

  • Assistant Professor

Ph: 870-245-4187

  • B.S. Stephen F. Austin State University, 1994, Biology / Chemistry
  • M.S. Stephen F. Austin State Unversity, 1995, Limnology
  • Ph.D. Baylor University, 2005, Biology

Research Interests:  Factors shaping community structure of aquatic systems; Colonization rates of forensically important insects;  Behavioral and reproductive ecology of the Arkansas darter species and of the southern brook lamprey, Ichthyomyzon gagei.

 Dr. Tim Knight

  • Dean of the JD Patterson School of Natural Sciences

Ph: 870-245-5528

  • B.S. Ouachita Baptist University, 1984, Biology
  • M.S. University of Texas at Dallas, 1986, Environmental Sciences /Aquatic Toxicology
  • Ph.D. University of Texas at Dallas, 1989, Environmental Sciences /Aquatic Toxicology

Research Interests:  Ecology, Water Quality and Wildlife Management

Current Research:

  • Deer Food Plot Management
  • Natural History of the Ouachita River
  • Water Quality on Lakes DeGray, Ouachita and Greeson

Dr. Ruth Plymale

  • Assistant Professor

Ph: 870-245-5081

  • B.S. University of Arkansas, 2000, Botany
  • Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University, 2006, Entomology

Current Research: Biofilms

 Dr. Nathan Reyna

  • Assistant Professor

Ph: 870-245-5240

  • B.S. College of the Ozarks, General Biology
  • M.S. University of Arkansas, Plant Breeding and Genetics
  • Ph.D. University of Arkansas, Cell and Molecular Biology

Current Research: My main research interests are in plant signal transduction in relation to biotic and abiotic stress.  I am interested in how plants perceive an external signal at the molecular and cellular levels and subsequently transduce that signal throughout the plant.  Research in my lab will work to characterize both a plant’s physiologic responses as well as its changes in gene expression in response to plant disease and environmental stresses.  In the past my plant model has been rice (Oryza sativa) however; at OBU I use Arabidopsis and tobacco. Mutants of both plant species can easily be obtained and analyzed over a relatively short time period.  These characteristics make both Arabidopsis and tobacco ideal to use in an array of classes from physiology to cell and molecular biology, as well as in student oriented research projects.

Dr. Jim Taylor

  • Professor

Ph: 870-245-5531

  • B.S. Louisiana Tech University, 1978, Forestry
  • M.S. University of Central Arkansas, 1989, Biology
  • Ph.D. Texas Tech University, Biology

Research Interests: Cell wall development in plants

Current Research: Influence of light on plant development, specifically, Arabidopsis.

Dr. Randall Wight

  • Professor of Psychology
  • Chair of Psychology

Ph: 870-245-5107

  • B.A. Arkansas Tech University, 1981, Psychology
  • Ph.D. Memphis State University, 1985, Experimental Psychology and Biopsychology

Research Interests: History of Neuroscience and a focus on molecular neuroscience examining ajulemic acid (a synthetic cannabinoid) and resveratrol (a phytoestrogen) as potential treatments of neurodegenerative disease. Using microglia, astrocytes, and neuroblastoma as cellular models of multiple sclerosis, the research centers on identifying the modulating effects of ajulemic acid and resveratrol in neuroinflammation, the receptors through which these modulation effects occur, and a role for ajulemic acid and resveratrol in neuroprotection. Another emerging research line is the influence of the perception of ovulation on estimates of time.