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Dr. Joel Parker

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Photo of Dr. Joel ParkerI have extremely broad interests spanning most of biology. I began my research career with an undergraduate project investigating sex determination in Drosophila. Before starting graduate school, I studied the neuropharmacology of psychoactive drugs at the Oregon Health Sciences University. My Ph.D. project focused on evolution and population genetics in social insects and my postdoctoral training in Lausanne Switzerland centered on the molecular basis of the extra-ordinary life spans of social insects. After that I was off to Southampton England where I taught statistics, evolution and animal behavior while working on a novel superoxide dismutase that I discovered in insects.

While in the UK, I also worked on aging in bumble bees and the trade-offs of immunity, lifespan and neurodegenerative diseases. I currently have an undergraduate fly/social insect lab here in Plattsburgh for both continuing my research on these topics, and to use for teaching Genetics (Bio 305), Biology of Aging (Bio 339) and Cell Biology (Bio 401). Along the way I discovered a fascination with teaching and am actively working on ways to improve and contribute to teaching methodology.


  • Ph.D.in Biology, Arizona State University
  • B.A. in Biochemistry, Robert D. Clark Honors College, University of Oregon

Teaching Areas

  • BIO305 — General Genetics with Lab
  • BIO399 — Biology of Aging
  • BIO380 — Communicating Biology
  • BIO401 — Cell Biology with Lab

Research Areas

  • Molecular and genetic basis of aging using Drosophila and social insects as model systems
  • Age related neurodegeneration using invertebrate models
  • Innovating improved ways of teaching biology

Selected Publications


  • Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award, Southampton (2008)
  • Achievements Reward for College Scientists Fellowship (1997)

Faculty Website

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