Faculty
Major in Biology

Bachelor of Science Degree • School of Arts and Sciences

Biology Faculty


The biology faculty of Utica College is noted not only for the quality of its teaching but also for the depth and breadth of its scholarship. Research conducted by faculty members involves students. These students earn research credit, gain valuable field and lab experience, and publish their research in peer-reviewed scientific journals. This student research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Geographic Society, The Alden Trust, The Community Foundation, and the New York Energy and Development Authority. Many biology professors have been honored with the college's awards for distinguished teaching, research, or both.

Note: For a listing of adjunct faculty, click here >

Members of the biology faculty and their research interests are:

Michael J. Losinger, Ph.D.


1yr Assistant Professor of BIO



Michael Losinger
Phone: (315) 792-3529
Office: 106 DePerno Hall


Biography


 I grew up in Elmira, NY and received my B.S. in Biology at Loyola University Maryland in 2012. There I became fascinated with insect behavior and physiology and worked as a research assistant in Dr. David Rivers’ lab. As an undergraduate, I studied host species preferences in the forensically important parasitoid wasp, Nasonia vitripennis, and co-authored a journal publication.

After graduation, I came into contact with Dr. Carol Miles at Binghamton University in New York and planned to continue my research on parasitoid wasps. However, that changed when I had the opportunity of listening to the vibrational courtship duets of the thornbug, Umbonia crassicornis, and was introduced to the hidden world of substrate-borne communication. This species, along with countless other insects (estimated at more than 190,000 by Cocroft & Rodriguez (2005)) use various methods of abdominal tremulation, stridulation and tapping of the substrate in order to transmit signals to one another through plant stems, leaves or soil. Compared to acoustic communication, substrate-borne vibration is extremely common among insects and it is considered a more “private” channel, often less open to exploitation by predators (although see Legendre et al. (2012) and Virant-Doberlet et al. (2011)).

This extremely understudied mode of communication is often characterized by rapid signaling divergence leading to speciation, dynamic male-female courtship and copulatory interactions, and context-dependent variation in signaling patterns. Throughout my graduate studies at Binghamton I’ve seen that vibrational communication is an excellent avenue in which to investigate the evolution of courtship and mating behavior, sexual selection and much more. I'm currently finishing my PhD at Binghamton University on the behavioral ecology and communication of thornbug treeehoppers. I'm broadly interested in communication patterns in social animals and how these patterns change as animals age and their social environment changes. More specifically, I'm interested in the evolution of male-female duetting behavior and intersexual selection involved with these duets.

Throughout graduate school at Binghamton, I worked as a graduate instructor and teaching assistant for cellular neurobiology, population biology and human anatomy & physiology. Although it diverged greatly from my research interests, I taught lecture and lab of an accelerated version human anatomy and physiology for 3 summers at Binghamton, and enjoyed it much more than I ever anticipated. I really enjoy 1-on-1 or group study/discussion sessions with students so don’t be afraid to come to office hours or email me! Although excelling in lecture and lab are obviously vital for this class, I find that the most successful students never stop asking questions and make time to meet outside of scheduled meeting times (i.e., office hours!).


Contact

Dr. Daniel Kurtz
Chair of Biology

(315) 792-3923
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(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502