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Christopher Brandon

Location Polk Science 140
Phone 863.680.4353
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Christopher Brandon, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

I am utterly fascinated by the secrets of life that the science of biology has uncovered. I seek to inspire students through engaged teaching practices to appreciate and discover awe in the natural world, with the belief that this fascination can help propel students through the more difficult aspects of the science. Additionally, I aim to enhance students’ biological literacy by connecting biological principles with “everyday” societal contexts.”

I was raised in the suburbs of Chicago, where I first came to love biology as a young boy through bird watching. When I then learned that birds were descendants of dinosaurs, I was astonished and my fascination with biological evolution was forever cemented in my head. I was further motivated to pursue a career in biology and science education by the preeminent scientists Carl Sagan and E.O. Wilson. They had a view of life and of science that highlighted that humans were, at our core, relentlessly curious beings. They were able to communicate complicated science with infectious enthusiasm and breathtaking simplicity. I knew I had wanted to follow in their footsteps, however meagerly, and convey my enthusiasm and love of biology to students and eager minds. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in biology from the very culturally and ethnically diverse Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). I went on from NEIU to study evolutionary biology in graduate school at the University of South Carolina. I spent the next several amazing years trudging through forest ponds in the notorious Carolinian heat researching the water flea, Daphnia. My dissertation research focused on different evolutionary aspects of vision in Daphnia. I finished my degree, and now I am excited to share the knowledge and experienced I gained as a student and as a scientist with the students here at FSC.

I enjoy being with family as well as soccer, biking, running, and art.

Education

Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences, 2015
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Concentrations: Evolution, Ecology, Freshwater Biology, Invertebrate Vision

B.S., Biology magna cum laude, 2009
Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL

Publications and Exhibitions

Brandon, C.S., & J.L. Dudycha. 2014. Ecological constraints on sensory systems: Compound eye size in Daphnia is reduced by resource limitation. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, 200:749-758.

Dudycha, J.L., C.S. Brandon, & K.C. Deitz. 2012. Population genomics of resource exploitation: insights from gene expression profiles of two Daphnia ecotypes fed alternate resources. Ecology & Evolution, 2:  329-340.

Brandon, C.S., James, T., & Dudycha, J. L. (2015). Selection on incremental variation of eye size in a wild population of Daphnia. Journal of evolutionary biology, 28(11), 2112-2118.

Brandon, C.S., M. Greenwold, & J.L. Dudycha. Submitted. Ancient and recent duplications support functional diversity of Daphnia opsins.

Professional Presentations

Brandon, C.S., and J.L. Dudycha. 2014. Ecological constraints on sensory systems: Compound eye size in Daphnia is reduced by resource limitation. Society for the Study of Evolution held in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Byrd, R., A. Sims, C.S. Brandon, E. Balogh, P. Fernandes, and K. Ghoshroy. 2013. Cyanobacteria, algae and microbes used as bioindicators in water quality analysis of Pocotaligo Watershed in Sumter, SC. Proceedings of Microscopy and Microanalysis held in Indianapolis, IN.

Balogh, E., J. M. Herr, Jr., S. Ghoshroy, C. Hann, C. S. Brandon, M. Czako and L. Marton. 2013. Microscopic analysis of the structure and function of silica storing cells in Arundo donax leaves. Proceedings of Microscopy and Microanalysis held in Indianapolis, IN.

Brandon, C.S., and J.L. Dudycha. 2012. Plasticity of eye development in a freshwater crustacean, Daphnia. Ecological Society of America held in Portland, Oregon.

Brandon, C.S., and J.L. Dudycha. 2011. Differentially expressed genes between Daphnia exposed to two resource environments. Society for the Study of Evolution held in Norman, Oklahoma.

Dudycha, J.L., K.C. Dietz, and C.S. Brandon. 2011. Genome-environment interactions and divergence of resource exploitation. Gordon Research Conference in Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics, held in Biddeford, Maine.

Brandon, C.S., and J.L. Dudycha. 2010. Differentially expressed genes between Daphnia exposed to two resource environments. Southeastern Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics, held in Madison, Florida.

Brandon, C.S., and J.L. Dudycha. 2009. Genetic variation of resource exploitation in the freshwater crustacean Daphnia. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, held in Boston, Massachusetts.