professor of biology
Biochemistry PRogram Director
Honors Program director
Dr. Ryan Wynne is a professor of biology, and Honors Program director at St. Thomas Aquinas College. He teaches undergraduate courses in Biochemistry, Genetics, and Neurobiology. Dr. Wynne received his B.A. in Biochemistry/Chemistry, with high honors, from East Stroudsburg University and his Ph.D. from Lehigh University. After obtaining his Ph.D., Dr. Wynne was hired as a Post-Doctoral researcher at the University of Rochester before arriving at St. Thomas Aquinas College in 2008.
INVITED TALKS, POSTERS & PRESENTATIONS
HONORS AND AWARDS
BIO/CHEM 407 BIOCHEMISTRY II
This is the second course in a two-semester sequence in the fundamentals of biochemistry. This course will provide students with a thorough understanding of the complexity of metabolism with special attention given to the control and regulation of several metabolic pathways. The class will also discuss clinical aspects of diseases such as cancer and several gastrointestinal disorders. Topics covered include glucose and glycogen metabolism, fatty acid catabolism, lipid biosynthesis, amino acid metabolism and the synthesis and degradation of nucleotides. Prerequisite: BIO/CHEM 403.
BIO/CHEM 403 BIOCHEMISTRY I
This course examines in detail the structure and function of all major biomolecules, (including proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids) as well as the regulation and organization of several metabolic pathways. Special emphasis is given to enzyme kinetics and their mechanisms, protein structure/function relationships as well as the biochemical basis for human disease. Metabolic pathways are examined from a thermodynamic and regulatory perspective. Laboratory topics include column chromatography, protein assays, western blot analysis, ELISA and enzyme kinetic assays. This course provides the linkage between the inanimate world of chemistry and the living world of biology. Prerequisites: CHEM 252 and BIO 251.
BIO 350 GENETICS
This course is a thorough examination of the basic fundamentals of genetics and their application to modern-day issues. Major topics include: structure and function of genes, Mendelian and non-mendelian genetics, cellular division pathways, prokaryotic and eukaryotic chromosomal structure and gene expression, DNA structure and replication, transcription, translation and gene/DNA mutation. Special topics include cloning and the genetic basis of disease. Laboratory topics include DNA fingerprinting, PCR, gene transformation, fruit fly genetics, and gene sequencing. Prerequisites: CHEM 172 and BIO 251.
BIO 320 NEUROBIOLOGY
This course introduces students to the the biological basis of behavior beginning with an introduction to the neuron and synapse and then building to the structure and function of various sensory systems. This course also provides students with an introduction to research in the field of neuroscience involving problems related to the form and function of the nervous system.
BIO 171/173 & BIO 172/174 GENERAL BIOLOGY I & II
General Biology I: Introduction to biological principles including biomolecules, cell structures and division, photosynthesis and the characteristics of bacteria, fungi and plants and their role in the ecosystem. Three lecture hours and one recitation hour per week. Corequisite: BIO 173.
General Biology II: Introduction to biological principles including bioenergetics, gene expression, evolution and the structure and function of the major animal groups. Three lecture hours and one recitation hour per week. Corequisite: BIO 174.
BIO/CHEM 105 DRUGS & MODERN SOCIETY
An introduction to the definition of the term drug, the different classes of drugs, and how drugs affect the body and mind. This course may help students understand the dangers of addiction as well as the harms of different drugs on the human body. The focus will be on psychoactive drugs including psychotherapeutic drugs and drugs of abuse. Topics will also include tolerance and dependence to drugs, consequences of drug use, and the treatment and prevention of substance-related disorders. For non-science majors only.
BIO 102 NUTRITIONAL BIOLOGY
An introduction to the basic concepts in the field of nutrition. This course may help students understand the dangers of obesity, malnourishment, as well as why the nutrients listed on a nutritional fact label are important to human health. Topics include the fundamentals of nutrition, nutritional and disease prevention, weight management, malnutrition, hunger, and current issues and research related to these topics. For non-science majors only.
BIO 101 HUMAN BIOLOGY
Human Biology introduces students to the concept of homeostasis of the human body as well as the basic structure and function of body systems. A detailed understanding of how different diseases affect the human body will also be reviewed. For non-science majors only.
My research focuses on understanding how hormones shape both the structure and function of the vertebrate brain. Hormones are known to play a significant role in sexual reproduction, aggression, parental care, learning and memory as well as protection of the brain against neurodegeneration. However, questions remain as to how hormones affect associative behavior.
One such associative behavior that my lab studies is known as shoaling. Shoaling behavior has been shown to both decrease the risk of predation on individual fish as well as increase the likelihood of mating for members of the shoal. Social aggregations of fish called shoals are often formed by fish with similar physical characteristics (similar color patterns, body size, fin length). The overall colorization of the body and its effects on shoal choice has only been studied in the red transgenic Glofish. In addition, the role that hormones play in shoaling has not been studied. To study shoaling behavior, my lab makes use of wild type and transgenic versions of the species of fish known as zebra fish (Danio rerio).
Hormones and Neuroprotection
My previous research focused on the role steroid hormones play in protecting the brain from degeneration. Injury to the adult mammalian and songbird brain induces the expression of aromatase, or the enzyme that synthesizes estrogens. This upregulation of aromatase occurs in glial cells around insult. My research found that local estrogen synthesis by glial aromatization limits the wave of secondary apoptotic degeneration that is characteristic of mammalian brain injury. My research also demonstrated that the injury-induced aromatase mRNA is indistinguishable from the aromatase mRNA typically found constitutively expressed in neurons of the brain.
Snekser, J.L., Wynne, R.D., & Itzkowitz, M. 2017. Endangered Species Interactions Suggest a Role for Personality in Conservation Efforts. Ethology, Ecology & Evolution. 29: 85-93.
Pinaud, R., Mello, C.V., Velho, T.A., Wynne, R.D., & Tremere, L.A. 2008. Detection of two mRNA species at single-cell resolution by double-fluorescence in-situ hybridization. Nature Protocols. 3: 1370-1379.
Pinaud, R., Terleph, T.A., Wynne, R.D., & Tremere, L.A. 2008. Neural correlates of auditory processing, learning and memory formation in songbirds. Prog Phys. 173: 270-282.
Wynne, R.D., Maas, S., & Saldanha, C.J. 2008. Molecular characterization of the injury-induced aromatase transcript in the adult zebra finch brain. Journal of Neurochemistry 105: 1613-1624.
Wynne, R.D., Walters, B.J., Bailey, D.J., & Saldanha, C.J. 2008. Inhibition of injury-induced aromatase reveals a wave of secondary degeneration in the songbird brain. Glia. 56: 97-105.
Pinaud, R., Saldanha, C.J., Wynne, R.D., Lovell, P.J., & Mello, C.V. 2007. The excitatory thalamo-"cortical" projection within the song control system of zebra finches is formed by calbindin expressing neurons. Journal of Comparative Neurology 504: 601-618.
Saldanha C.J., Rohmann K.N., Coomaralingam L., & Wynne R.D. 2005. Estrogen provision by reactive glia decreases apoptosis in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Journal of Neurobiology 64: 192-201.
- Wynne, R.D. & Saldanha, C.J. 2004. Glial aromatization decreases neural injury in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata): influence on apoptosis. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 16: 676-683.
- Hollway, T., Lluch, A.F., Matwiejczuk, A., Stahl, A., & Wynne, R.D. (2018). Measuring 11-Ketotestosterone in the Convict Cichlid Using a Non-Invasive Water Borne Extraction Protocol. Ignite: St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Art, Design, and Scholarship Exhibition.
- Wynne, R.D., Byman, J., Kim, A., Smith, E., Simmons, S., & Snekser, J.L. (2017). Plasma 11-Ketotestosterone Levels in the Biparental Convict Cichlid. Animal Behavior Society Abstract.
- Cooper, J., Finnen, M., Gill, A., Kasibante, D., Lyn, B., Stahl, A., Tello, C., & Wynne, R.D. (2017). Plasma 11-Ketotestosterone in the Female Convict Cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata). Ignite: St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Art, Design, and Scholarship Exhibition.
- Byman, J., Kim, A., Simmons, S., Smith, E., & Wynne, R. (2016). Measuring 11-Ketotestosterone Levels in the Adult Convict Cichlid in the Presence of Competition. Ignite: St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Art, Design, and Scholarship Exhibition.
- Wynne, R.D., Franco, H., & Holt, K.A. (2014). From Gene to Behavior: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Studying Green Fluorescent Protein. Animal Behavior Society Abstract
- Snekser, J.L., Wynne, R.D., & Itzkowitz, M. (2014). Endangered species Interactions Suggest a Role for Personality in Conservation Efforts. Animal Behavior Society Abstract
- Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough? Drugs and Their Modifying Effects on the Human Body. Department of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University (2017-2009)
- Oh the Places You’ll Go! A Scientist’s Journey from Student to Mentor. Faculty Research Retreat, St. Thomas Aquinas College. (2017)
- There and Back Again: A Scientist’s Journey from Student to Mentor. Daemen College. (2017)
- Cross Species Analysis of the Myosin Light Chain Protein. Faculty Research Retreat, St. Thomas Aquinas College. (2014)
- Green Farming and Sustainable Food. Panel Member, St. Thomas Aquinas College. (2014)
- The Resurrection of the Body Debate. Panel Member, St. Thomas Aquinas College. (2011)
- The Mind-Brain Debate. Department of Psychology, Dominican College. (2011)
- Adding Insult to Injury: The Interaction Between Estrogen and Brain Injury. Friends of the Library Lecture Series, St. Thomas Aquinas College. (2010)
Animal Behavior Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science
2018 Faculty Member of the Year Award, St. Thomas Aquinas College
2017 Faculty Advisor of the Year Award, St. Thomas Aquinas College
2016 Faculty Development Grant, St. Thomas Aquinas College
2015 Faculty Advisor of the Year Award, St. Thomas Aquinas College
2014 Faculty Development Grant, St. Thomas Aquinas College
2013 Faculty Member of the Year Award, St. Thomas Aquinas College
2012 Faculty Member of the Year Award, St. Thomas Aquinas College
2012 Faculty Advisor of the Year Award, St. Thomas Aquinas College
2012 Faculty Development Grant, St. Thomas Aquinas College
2010 Faculty Development Grant, St. Thomas Aquinas College