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Academics: School of Arts & Sciences

Department of Biology and Physical Sciences

The Department of Biology and Physical Sciences offers biology majors a solid education in contemporary biology using a personal approach. Our diverse and experienced faculty are committed to personalized instruction. We have a tradition of preparing students for professional positions or graduate programs in the following fields:

  • Medical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Dental
  • Veterinary
  • Industry
  • Environmental
  • Natural Resource Management

The Department of Biology and Physical Science fosters engaged learning and personal attention. Chowan science profressors teach both lecture and laboratory sections, a practice that is uncommon for freshman level courses at large institutions. Class sizes are small with most upper level classes having less than 20 students and some having less than 10. Biology majors can specialize their degree in the following areas: Allied Health Track, Environmental Biology Track, Chiropractic Track, and Biology Secondary Education Track.  

Chowan students learn on and off campus, connecting classroom knowledge with real world experience. Our internships provide students with opportunities to gain practical experience in professional settings. The Chowan University chapter of the Beta Beta Beta biology honor society and the Chowan University Science Club offer students additional educational, service and fellowship opportunities.

Our program of study, internship program, and opportunities for independent research, position our graduates competitively for immediate employment or graduate school.

Department of Biology - Faculty Information

Jon Dilustro

John Dilustro
Associate Provost
Associate Professor of Biology

Phone: (252) 398-6220

2009 Alpha Chi Excellence in Teaching Award!

Google Scholar

"I enjoy the small feel of Chowan. I grew up about an hour away, and it feels like home to me. It's a place where I get to know the students as freshmen in the introductory class, and then follow them through their career. Chowan is located in an area of North Carolina which is outstanding as a classroom for ecology and forest and plant biology."


  • Ph.D., Ecological Sciences, Old Dominion University
  • M.S., Biology, Old Dominion University
  • B.S., Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University

He did a post-doctoral fellowship with The Savannah River Ecology Lab at the University of Georgia. Dr. Dilustro joined Chowan University in 2005.

Courses Taught:

  • Environmental Science
  • Principles of Ecology
  • Plant Diversity
  • Senior Seminar
  • General Biology
  • Directed Research


Dilustro, J.J., B. Collins, and L. Duncan. 2006. Land use history effects in mixed pine - hardwood forests at Fort Benning. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 133: 460–467.

Collins, B., P. Minchin, J. Dilustro, and L. Duncan. 2006. Land use effects on groundlayer composition and regeneration of mixed pine hardwood forests in the Fall Line Sandhills, S.E. USA. Forest Ecology and Management 226: 181-188.

Collins, B., R. Sharitz, K. Madden, and J. Dilustro. 2006. Comparison of sandhills and mixed pine hardwood communities at Fort Benning, Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist 5:92-102

Drake, S. J. J. Dilustro, R. R. Sharitz, and B. S. Collins. 2006. Ground layer carbon and nitrogen cycling and legume nitrogen inputs in a frequently burned mixed pine forest. American Journal of Botany 93: 84-93.

Day, F.P., D. Stover, A.L. Pagel, B.A. Hungate, J.J. Dilustro, B.T. Herbert, B. Drake and C.R. Hinkle. 2006. Effects of seven years of exposure to elevated atmospheric CO2 on fine root abundance in an oak-scrub ecosystem in central Florida, USA. Global Change Biology 12: 1047–1053.

Dilustro, J.J., B. Collins, C. Crawford and L. Duncan. 2005. Moisture and soil texture effects on soil CO2 efflux components in southeastern mixed pine forests. Forest Ecology and Management. 204(1):87-97.

Duncan, L.K., J.J. Dilustro and B.S. Collins. 2004. Avian response to forest management and military training activities at Ft. Benning, GA. Georgia Journal of Science. 62(2): 95-103.

Dilustro, J.J., F.P. Day, C.R. Hinkle and B. G. Drake. 2002. Abundance, production and mortality of fine roots under elevated atmospheric CO2 in an oak-scrub ecosystem. Environmental and Experimental Botany 48(2):149-159.

Dilustro J.J., B. Collins, L. Duncan and R. Sharitz. 2002. Soil texture, land use intensity, and vegetation of Fort Benning upland forest sites. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 129(4): 289-297.

Dilustro, J.J., F. P. Day and B. G. Drake. 2001. Effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on root decomposition in a scrub oak ecosystem. Global Change Biology 7(5):581-591.

Day, F.P., E. Crawford, and J.J. Dilustro. 2001. Plant biomass change along a coastal barrier island dune chronosequence over a six-year period. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 128:197-207.

Dilustro, J. J. and F.P. Day. 1997. Aboveground biomass and net primary production along a barrier island dune chronosequence. American Midland Naturalist 137:27-38.

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Heather McGuire

Heather L. McGuire
Associate Professor of Biology
Chair, Department of Biology

Phone: (252)398-6334

2012 Excellence in Teaching Award

"I am a wildlife biologist with an interest in the conservation and management of rare or endangered animal populations. I have extensive field experience, and believe that the best classrooms and laboratories have no walls or doors."

Ph.D., Wildlife and Fisheries Science, Louisiana State University

M.A., Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of
William and Mary

B.A., Biology, University of Rochester

Courses Taught:

  • General Biology
  • Limnology
  • Marine Biology
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Biology
  • Wetlands Biology
  • Vertebrate Natural History
  • Senior Seminar
  • Directed Research


McGuire, Heather L., and Mohamed A. F. Noor. 2002. Microsatellite loci for great white herons and great blue herons (Aves, Ardeidae, Ardea herodias). Molecular Ecology Notes 2(2): 170-173.

McGuire, Heather L. 2002. Taxonomic status of the Great White Heron (Ardea herodias occidentalis): an analysis of behavioral, genetic, and morphometric evidence. Final Report. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.

Dame, J.K. and H.L. McGuire. 1994. Inventory of habitat and survey of nesting pairs of the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) within Redwood National Park. U.S. Department of the interior. Redwood National Park, Arcata, CA. 51 pp.

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Amy R. Wethington

Amy R. Wethington
Associate Professor of Biology

Phone: (252) 398-6216

Google Scholar

"I find the students here very enthusiastic and I enjoy getting to know them and helping them discover their strengths and talents. One of Chowan University's many assets is its proximity to numerous pristine freshwater and marine ecosystems that offer excellent opportunities for our students."

Ph.D., Biological Sciences,University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
M.A., Evolutionary Ecology and Behavior, Indiana University
M.S., Marine Biology, University of Charleston
B.S., Biology, College of Charleston
B.S., Biochemistry, Clemson University

Before coming to work as an Assistant Professor at Chowan University, Dr. Wethington completed a Post Doctorate at Purdue University in Indiana. She also currently serves as a Research Associate at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Courses Taught:

  • Microbiology
  • Animal Behavior
  • Invertebrate Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Directed Research
  • General Biology  


Wethington, A. R., J. Wise, and R. T. Dillon, Jr. 2009. Genetic and morphological characterization of the Physidae of South Carolina (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Basommatophora), with description of a new species. The Nautilus 124(4):282-292.

Sandland, Gregory J., Amy R. Wethington, Alice V. Foster, and Dennis J. Minchella. 2009. Effects of host genetic variation on the interaction between an aquatic snail and its locally adapted parasite. Parasitology Research 105: 553-561.

Rogers, D. Christopher and Amy R. Wethington. 2007. Physa natricina Taylor 1988, junior synonym of Physa acuta Draparnaud, 1805 (Pulmonata: Physidae). Zootaxa 1662: 45-51. >Click to View

Wethington, Amy R. and Charles Lydeard. 2007. A molecular phylogeny of Physidae (Gastropoda: Basommatophora) based on mitochondrial DNA sequences. Journal of Molluscan Studies doi: 10.1093/mollus/eym021. >Click to View

Dillon, Robert T., Jr., John D. Robinson, and Amy R. Wethington. 2007. Empirical estimates of reproductive isolation among the freshwater pulmonate snails Physa acuta, P. pomilia, and P. hendersoni. Malacologia 49(2):283-292. >Click to View

Wethington, A.R., M. Zavodna, M.K. Smith, G. Oliverira, F. Lewis, and D.J. Minchella. 2007. Population genetic structure of Biomphalaria glabrata in a schistosomiasis-endemic region in Brazil. Journal of Molluscan Studies 73:45-52. >Click to View

Dillon, R. T., and A. R. Wethington. 2006. No-choice mating experiments among six nominal taxa of the subgenus Physella (Basommatophora: Physidae). Heldia 6: 41 - 50. >Click to View

Dillon, R.T., Jr. and A.R. Wethington. 2005. The Michigan Physidae revisited: a population genetic survey. Malacologia 48(1-2): 133-142. >Click to View

Dillon, R.T., Jr., J.D. Robinson, T.P. Smith, and A.R. Wethington. 2005. No reproductive isolation between freshwater pulmonate snails Physa virgata and P. acuta. Southwestern Naturalist 50(4):415-422.

Wethington, A.R. and R. Guralnick. 2004. Are hot-spring physids distinctive lineages? A molecular systematic perspective. American Malacological Bulletin 19:135-144.

Dillon, R.T., Jr. and A. R. Wethington. 2004. No-choice mating experiments among six nominal taxa of the subgenus Physella (Basommatorphora: Physidae). Heldia 6:1-9.

Dillon, R. T., Jr., A. R. Wethington, J. M. Rhett, and T. P. Smith. 2002. Populations of the European freshwater pulmonate Physa acuta are not reproductively isolated from American Physa heterostropha or Physa integra. Invertebrate Biology 121(3): 226-234.

Wethington, A.R., E.R. Eastman, and R.T. Dillon, Jr. 2000. No premating reproductive isolation among populations of a simultaneous hermaphrodite, the freshwater snail Physa. Pages: 245-251 in Freshwater Mollusk Proceedings - Part II: Proceedings of the first Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society Symposium, March 1999. P.D. Johnson and R.S. Butler editors. Ohio Biological Society, Columbus, Ohio.

Wethington, A.R. and R.T. Dillon, Jr. 1997. Selfing, outcrossing, and mixed mating in the freshwater snail Physa heterostropha: lifetime fitness and inbreeding depression. Invertebrate Biology 116(3):192-199. >Click to View

Wethington, A.R. and R.T. Dillon, Jr. 1996. Gender choice and gender conflict in a non-reciprocally mating simultaneous hermaphrodite, the freshwater snail, Physa. Animal Behaviour 51:1107-1118. >Click to View

Dillon, R.T., Jr. and A.R. Wethington. 1995. The biogeography of sea islands: clues from the population genetics of the freshwater snail, Physa heterostropha. Systematic Biology 44:400-408. >Click to View

Dillon, R. T. Jr. and A.R. Wethington. 1994. Inheritance at five loci in the freshwater snail, Physa heterostropha. Biochemical Genetics 32(3/4):75-82.

Wethington, A.R. and R.T. Dillon, Jr. 1993. Reproductive development in the hermaphroditic freshwater snail, Physa, monitored with complementing albino lines. Proceedings of the Royal Society (London) B 252:109-114. >Click to View

Dillon, R.T. Jr. and A.R. Wethington. 1992. The inheritance of albinism in a freshwater snail, Physa heterostropha. Journal of Heredity 83(3):208-210.

Wethington, A.R. and R.T. Dillon, Jr. 1991. Sperm storage and evidence for multiple insemination in a natural population of the freshwater snail, Physa. American Malacologicial Bulletin 9:99-102.

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Garth D. Faile

Garth D. Faile
Professor of Chemistry

Phone: (252) 398-6217


"I have had a wonderful experience working with the students, faculty and staff at Chowan over the years. I take great pride in knowing I have made friends and been a part of the success of so many students that have attended Chowan."

Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Auburn University
M.S., Physical Chemistry, Auburn University
M.A., Science Education, Alabama College
B.S. in Chemistry, The University of Alabama

Dr. Faile came to work at Chowan University in 1971

Courses Taught:

  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Directed Research  


  • News Herald Citizen of the Week, 1992
  • News Herald Front Page Award, 1993
  • Murfreesboro Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds Award, 1994
  • Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, 2004
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, 2010

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Tyrell Carr

Tyrell Carr
Assistant Professor of Biology

Phone: (252) 398-6341

Google Scholar


“Many opportunities are available at Chowan University for students to engage in scholarly activities and research as they prepare for their respective careers. Chowan University is located in an environment that favors academic success and personal development. Because of these strong qualities, I am fortunate to call Chowan University home.”

Ph.D., Genetics, Iowa State University
M.S., Genetics, Iowa State University
B.S., Biology, Elizabeth City State University

Prior to coming to Chowan University, Dr. Carr completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Carr joined Chowan University in 2011 and is interested in plant stress biology and signal transduction in addition to other areas of biological and interdisciplinary research.

Courses Taught:
  • General Biology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Physiology
  • Directed Research


  • National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008 2011)
  • Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship: Gordon Research Conference on Phosphorylation & G-Protein Mediated Networks (2009)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Post-Doctoral Affairs Award for Mentoring (2009)


Klopffleisch, K., Phan, N., Augustin, K., Bayne, R.S., Booker, K.S., Botella, J.R., Carpita, N.C., Carr, T., Chen, J.G., Cooke, T.R., Frick-Cheng, A., Friedman, E.J., Fulk, B,, Hahn, M,G,, Jiang, K., Jorda, L., Kruppe, L., Liu, C., Lorek., J, McCann, M.C., Molina, A., Moriyama, E.N., Mukhtar, M.S., Mudgil, Y., Pattathil, S., Schwarz, J., Seta, S., Tan, M., Temp, U., Trusov, Y., Urano, D., Welter, B., Yang, J., Panstruga, R., Uhrig, J.F. and Jones, A.M. (2011). Arabidopsis G-protein interactome reveals connections to cell wall carbohydrates and morphogenesis. Molecular Systems Biology 7, 532.

Carr, T. and Whitham, S.A. (2007). An Emerging Model System: Arabidopsis as a Viral Host Plant. Plant Cell Monographs: Viral transport in plants, 159-183.

Yang, C., Guo, R., Jie, F., Nettleton D., Peng, J., Carr, T., Yeakley, J., Fan, J.-B. and Whitham, S.A. (2007). Spatial analysis of host gene expression in response to viral infection. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 20, 358-370.

Carr, T., Wang, Y., Huang, Z., Yeakley, J. M. Fan, J.-B. and Whitham S.A. (2006). Tobamovirus infection is independent of HSP101 mRNA induction and protein expression. Virus Research 121, 33-41.

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James "Bo" Dame

James "Bo" Dame
Assistant Professor of Biology &
Physical Sciences

Phone: (252) 398-6261

Google Scholar

“Of the many wonderful attributes of Chowan, there are three things that stand out to me. First, the small class sizes allow faculty to get to know their students and follow their growth and development. Second, the background and quality of the faculty is outstanding especially given the small size of the school. And third, Chowan’s proximity to a diverse array of natural habitats and public lands provide the opportunity for numerous real-world learning experiences.”

Ph.D., Coastal Resources Management/Coastal Ecology, East Carolina University

M.A., Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the
College of William and Mary

B.S., Geological Sciences, Lehigh University

Dr. Dame has over 10 years experience in public lands management and environmental policy. This includes positions with the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska, as a geologist in Redwood National Park, as resource manager in Biscayne National Park, as legislative fellow for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources, and as northern sites manager for the North Carolina Coastal Reserve.

Courses Taught:

  • General Physics
  • Earth Science
  • Ecological Field Techniques
  • Geographic Information Systems

Sea Grant Fellowship, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Research Grant, National Science Foundation
Research Grant, Virginia Coast Reserve Long Term Ecological Research Project
Outstanding Contribution Award, Tropical Audubon Society
Special Achievement Award, National Park Service


Christian, R.R., M.M. Brinson, J.K. Dame, G. Johnson, C.H. Peterson, and D. Baird. 2009. Ecological network analysis and their use for establishing reference domain in functional assessment of an estuary. Ecological Modeling 220:3113-3122.

Dame, J.K., and R.R. Christian. 2008. Evaluation of ecological network analysis: Validation of output. Ecological Modeling 210:327-338.

Dame, J.K., and R.R. Christian. 2007. A statistical test of network analysis: Can it detect differences in food web properties? Ecosystems 10:906-923.

Dame, J.K., and R.R. Christian. 2006. Uncertainty and the use of network analysis for ecosystem-based fisheries management. Fisheries 31(7):331-341.

Christian, R. R., J. K. Dame, G. Johnson, C. H. Peterson, and D. Baird. 2004. Monitoring and Modeling of the Neuse River Estuary, Phase 2: Functional assessment of environmental phenomena through network analysis. UNC-WRRI Report 343-E. Raleigh, NC. 93 pp.

Dame, J.K. 1995. Resource Management Plan for Biscayne National Park. U.S. Department of Interior. Biscayne National Park, Homestead, FL. 101 pp.

Dame, J.K. and H.L. McGuire. 1994. Inventory of habitat and survey of nesting pairs of the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) within Redwood National Park. U.S. Department of Interior. Redwood National Park, Arcata, CA. 51 pp.

Hobbs, C.H. and J.K. Dame. 1992. Very-high resolution, seismic-reflection profiling and other acoustic techniques with examples from Virginia. In: Geyer, R.A. (ed.), CRC Handbook of Geophysical Exploration at Sea, Hard Minerals. CRC Press. Boca Raton. Pp. 193-211.

Kimball, S.M., J.K. Dame, and C.H. Hobbs. 1991. Investigation of isolated sand shoals on the inner shelf of southern Virginia. VIMS, Gloucester Point, VA. 132 pp.

Kimball, S.M., and J.K. Dame. 1989. Geotechnical evaluation of sand resources on the inner shelf of southern Virginia. VIMS, Gloucester Point, VA. 44 pp.

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Corina Lee Wack

Corina Lee Wack
Associate Professor of Biology

Phone: (252) 398-6215

Google Scholar

“The small class size at Chowan University allows me to connect to my students. I can employ creative teaching strategies, which allow the students to engage the material better. I also enjoy the feeling of community among the faculty and students at Chowan.”

Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Duquesne University
M.S., Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology, Oklahoma State University
B.S., Biology, Slippery Rock University

Courses Taught:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Introductory Biology
  • Cell and Systems Physiology Laboratory


Advanced Certificate of University Teaching, 2011, Center for Teaching Excellence, Duquesne University

Bayer Fellowship, 2010, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Duquesne University

Best Student Poster, 2010, Division of Neurobiology, Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA

Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Award, 2010, Center for Teaching Excellence, Duquesne University

Outstanding Graduate Student, 2009, Department of Biological Sciences, Duquesne University

Phoenix Award for Outstanding Master’s Student, 2006, Graduate College/Graduate and Professional Student Government Association, Oklahoma State University


Wack, Corina L., Sarah E. DuRant, William A. Hopkins, Matthew B. Lovern, Lynne D. Houck, Pamela W. Feldhoff, Richard C. Feldhoff, and Sarah K. Woodley. In preparation. Physiological levels of corticosterone increase metabolic rate in a terrestrial salamander. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

Lovern, Matthew B., Wack, Corina L. and Angie Reisch. In preparation. Plasma and fecal steroids following a short-term stressor and long-term exposure to steroid implants in green anoles (Anolis carolinensis). Journal of Herpetology.

Wack, Corina L., Matthew B. Lovern, and Sarah K. Woodley. 2010. Transdermal delivery of corticosterone in terrestrial amphibians. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 169 (3) 269-275.

Schubert , Stephanie N., Wack, Corina L., Houck, Lynne D., Feldhoff , Pamela W., Feldhoff , Richard C., and Sarah K. Woodley. 2009. Exposure to pheromones increases plasma corticosterone concentrations in a terrestrial salamander. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 161 (2): 271-275.

Wack, Corina L., Fox, Stanley F., Hellgren, Eric C., and Matthew.B. Lovern. 2008. Effects of sex, age, and season on plasma steroids in free-ranging Texas horned lizards (Phrynosoma cornutum). General and Comparative Endocrinology, 155 (3): 589-596.

Beeching, S. C., Wack, C. L. and Ruffner, G. L. 2004. Female convict cichlids (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus) prefer to consort with same-sized males. Ethology Ecology & Evolution 16:209-126.

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