This fall, the Biology department is overjoyed to welcome five superb new faculty members to our team. Here at SU, we are always looking to improve ourselves, and we have definitely hit the jackpot this time. Assistant Professors Austin Garner, Angela Oliverio, Christopher Fernandez, and Louis James (Jamie) Lamit, and Professor of Practice Ankita Juneja are off to a strong start here at SU and we are so excited to introduce them!
Assistant Professor Austin M. Garner is a functional morphologist who has a keen interest in how animals interact with their environments. His research uses an interdisciplinary approach that combines knowledge and techniques from both physical and life sciences to study how animals attach to surfaces in variable environments. He currently works with geckos, anoles, and sea urchins to study these topics. Dr. Garner holds a Ph.D. in Integrated Bioscience and a B.S. in Biology (magna cum laude) from the University of Akron. He served as a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Villanova University from 2021 to 2022.
Assistant Professor Angela M. Oliverio focuses her research on molecular processes that underlie eco-evolutionary dynamics in microbial systems and the effects of these connections on system-level functions. Previously, Dr. Oliverio worked in the biotech sector as a computational biologist at Invitae on the data sciences team before becoming an NSF Rules of Life Postdoctoral Fellow. While working on her Ph.D. in the Fierer Lab at the University of Colorado in Boulder, she employed predictive modeling to comprehend the quantitative ecology of microbial systems and their functional characteristics.
Professor of Practice Ankita Juneja, Ph.D. is a biological engineer whose previous research focused on integrating engineering and biology in bioprocessing for sustainable production of high-value bioproducts and biofuels. She has also worked on nutrient recycling and carbon sequestration utilizing microalgae. Dr. Juneja was a lead fermentation scientist IV at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) from 2020 to 2022. She worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2016 to 2020. She has joined the Biology department as the Director of Biotechnology program.
Assistant Professor Christopher W. Fernandez studies how interactions between plants and soil microbes drive ecosystem processes in both natural and managed ecosystems. His work emphasizes how mycorrhizal fungi, which are beneficial mutualistic partners of most plant species, affect soil carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems. Before joining the Biology Department at Syracuse University, Dr. Fernandez conducted research at the University of Minnesota and Michigan State University.
Louis James Lamit
Assistant Professor Louis James (Jamie) Lamit focuses his research on the community ecology of microorganisms and plants in wetland and terrestrial habitats. His work emphasizes biogeography, plant-microbial interactions, and the significance of microorganisms in the process of planetary change. Dr. Lamit conducted research for at Michigan Technological University before joining Syracuse University, where he focused on microbial communities in peatlands, one of earth’s largest pools of soil carbon.