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Biology Department

Ohio University Southern Biology Department provides the central learning experience for students who are interested in pursuing Pre-professional degree programs and traditional biological sciences at OU-Athens.
fishtankOhio University faculty are committed to engaging students in academic discovery and intellectual growth via the core curriculum, major and minor baccalaureate curricula, and mastery in select research topics.

OUS Biology faculty participates in interdepartmental programs including Nursing, Applied Health Technologies and Psychology.

Our mission is to engage students in scholarly pursuits that benefit their preparation for life-long learning and societal engagement.

We provide an environment where students may develop disciplinary competencies necessary for their chosen career fields. We offer opportunities for faculty-student mentoring and out-of-classroom learning and research opportunities.

students-labYou can reach the Biology Department at:
Biological Sciences
Ohio University Southern
253 Riffe Center
1804 Liberty Avenue
Ironton, OH 45638

Phone: 740.533.4560
Fax: 740.533.4570

The Biology Department is located at Ohio University Southern Campus in historic Southeastern Ohio Appalachia.



Faculty and Staff


Orianna Carter,
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Biology Department
Office: Riffe Center 253

Mike Millay,Millay_M
Associate Professor of Plant Biology
Office: Riffe Center 157


Craig Bowe
Assistant Professor, Chemistry and
Coordinator of Environmental Engineering Technology
Office: Dingus Technology Center 224
Judy Metcalf
Biological Sciences Instructor
Office: Dingus Technology Center 223


Adjunct Faculty
Dan Bentley, Biology, Adjunct Lecturer………………..………............
Brittnany Hoback, Anatomy & Physiology, Lab Instructor……
Shannon Kern, Microbiology, Lab Instructor……………….…
Jean Perry, Biology Lab and Ecological Sciences, Adjunct …
Rose Isgrigg, Biology, Adjunct Lecturer…………………………




  • Water Quality Analysis Field Studies
  • Medicinal Plant micropropagation
  • Effects of large scale agricultural herbicide on amphibian sexual development and morphology
  • Histopathological studies of laboratory grown tadpoles exposed to Atrazine


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Nearly everyone likes apples in some form or shape. In fact, the average person in the United States eats more than half their weight in apples and apple products each year.
Grafting describes a plant cloning technique in which a section of a stem with leaf buds is inserted into the stock of another tree. Since ancient times, growers have practiced this art to attach the shoot of the desired exotic fruit to a hardy root stock. In fact, this early version of a ‘GMO’ dates back 2,000 years to Mesopotamia. 

appletree_groupDuring this demonstration, students were exposed to the genetics of the apple tree and the procedures that are required to plant, cultivate and graft a frost-resistant tree. It is hoped that the zoology students will take this knowledge and appreciation of the apple and ultimately produce a stock of hardy resistance and adaptability to extreme climate shifts.  

But this research will be a slow process. It takes about seven years from grafting a tree to seeing fruit develop on it. Students, however, will benefit by having the opportunity to observe and care for the tree’s development throughout their educational experience at OUS.

Ohio University Student Enhancement Award
Our students have the opportunity to participate in multidisciplinary projects which they develop under the guidance of their mentors in the biology, chemistry and psychology departments.

This year, our students were recipients of the Ohio University Student Enhancement Award. They have been measuring alterations in cognition and mood in undergraduate students who are exposed to particulate negative ions. For this study, the co-investigators collect data, including vital signs, metabolic neurotransmitter levels and alterations in brain waves when participants are exposed to particulate air found in the classroom, outdoors and in the proximity of waterfalls.
































Field Identification
































fieldstudyThe Biology Dept. also offers popular classes in field identification. For example, Medicinal Plants of Ohio is taught in cooperation with a sustainable organic farm, Equinox Botanicals. Students learn about their historical connection to the plants of the Appalachian Plateau. A ‘sense of place’ is instilled in the inhabitants of Southern Ohio while exploring the powerful properties of medicinal plants demonstrated with regional healing remedies and ethno botany through reenacting indigenous wild crafting traditions.
































Freedom Festival
































ff2008_0210During the Freedom Festival, the biology department focused on the route of slaves through the Underground Railroad in Appalachia and depicts the fauna used for food, clothing, and protection during this harsh journey towards freedom. Students learned of the important link that was provided by the settlers of the mountains deep within Appalachia.