Biology Department


Department Chair

Rebekah RampeyRebekah A. Rampey, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Office: Pryor-England 175
Phone: 501-279-5497

Teaching and Research Interests

Teaching and Research Interests

I obtained my Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Rice University (Houston, Texas) in 2004. In the fall of 2006, I became a Howard Hughes Participating Faculty member and collaborate with HHMI Professor Bonnie Bartel at Rice. Dr. Bartel was awarded a one million dollar grant from HHMI to develop a program integrating undergraduate classes with research. This grant supports the development of a laboratory course at HU (BIOL 371) in which students work on individual research projects in plant molecular biology. In addition, funding is provided for selected students to continue and expand these projects by working with Dr. Bartel during the summer. Our research interests focus on auxins, a class of phytohormones affecting virtually every aspect of plant development. Plants regulate auxin levels through complex interactions among de novo synthesis, degradation, influx, efflux, and conjugate synthesis and hydrolysis. A thorough knowledge of these pathways is key to understanding auxin influences on plants. We are using genetic approaches to understand the function and metabolism of auxin conjugates in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.


Bartel Lab

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Rampey, R.A., Woodward, A.W., Hobbs, B.N., Tierney, M.P., Lahner, B., Salt, D.E. and Bartel, B. An Arabidopsis basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper protein modulates metal homeostasis and auxin conjugate responsiveness. Genetics, in press.

López-Bucio, J., Hernández-Abreu, E., Sánchez-Calderón, L., Pérez-Torres, A., Rampey, R.A.,  Bartel, B., and Herrera-Estrella, L.  An auxin transport independent pathway is involved in phosphate stress-induced root architectural alterations in Arabidopsis:  Identification of BIG as a mediator of auxin in pericycle cell activation.  Plant Physiology 137:  681-691, 2005.

Rampey, R.A., LeClere, S., Kowalczyk, M., Ljung, K., Sandberg, G., and Bartel, B.  A family of  auxin-conjugate hydrolases that contribute to free indole-3-acetic acid levels during Arabidopsis germination. Plant Physiology 135:  978-988, 2004.

LeClere, S., Rampey, R.A., and Bartel, B.  IAR4, a gene required for auxin conjugate sensitivity in Arabidopsis, encodes a pyruvate dehydrogenase E1a homolog.  Plant Physiology135: 989-999, 2004.

LeClere, S., Tellez R., Rampey R.A., Matsuda S.P.T., Bartel, B. Characterization of a family of IAA-amino acid conjugate hydrolases from Arabidopsis.  Journal of  Biological Chemistry.  23:  20446-52, 2002.


John Moon

John W. Moon, Jr., Ph.D.
Office: Pryor-England 164A
Phone: 501-279-4459

Steve Moore

Steve Moore, Ph.D.
Office: Pryor-England 161B
Phone: 501-279-4066

Associate Professor

Benjamin BrunerBenjamin F. Bruner, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Office: Pryor-England 162
Phone: 501-279-4829 

Teaching and Research Interests

Teaching and Research Interests

My research interests have focused on examining the diversity that exists in patients with a variety of autoimmune diseases, but my primary focus has been centered on the study of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).  My training in the Department of Pathology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and in the Department of Clinical Immunology at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has allowed me to study both the fundamentals of cellular and molecular biology and the impact that abnormalities in those systems has on human health. 

As a result, I teach a wide variety of courses including Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIOL 249), Cell Biology (BIOL 259), Microbiology (BIOL 271), and Pathophysiology (BIOL 314) just to name a few.  I also enjoy serving as a mentor for students preparing for their Senior Seminar (BIOL 440) presentations.

More Info

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Bruner BF, Guthridge JM, Lu R, Vidal G, Kelly JA, Robertson JM, Kamen DL, Gilkeson GS, Neas BR, Reichlin M, Scofield RH, Harley JB, James JA.  Comparison of autoantibody specificities and clustering between traditional and bead-based autoantibody assays in a large, ethnically diverse collection of SLE patients and family members.  2012.  Arthritis and Rheumatism.  64(11), 3677-3686. PMID: 23112091

Lu R, Robertson JM, Bruner BF, Guthridge JM, Neas BR, Nath SK, Kelly JA, Moser Sivils KL, Chakravarty EF, Kamen DL, Gilkeson GS, Wallace DJ, Weisman MH, Scofield RH, Harley JB, James JA.  Multiple autoantibodies display association with lymphopenia, proteinuria, and cellular casts in a large, ethnically diverse SLE patient cohort.  2012.  Autoimmune Diseases. (2012) Article ID 819634, 1-11. PMID: 22988489

Bruner BF, Vista ES, Wynn DM, James JA.  Epitope specificity of anti-myeloperoxidase antibodies: Identification of human immunodominant epitopes.  2011. Clinical and Experimental Immunology.  164(3), 330-336. PMID: 21401576.

Bruner BF, Vista ES, Wynn DM, Harley JB, James JA.  Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies target sequential functional proteinase-3 epitopes in the sera of patients with Wegener’s granulomatosus. 2010.  Clinical and Experimental Immunology. 162(2), 262-270. PMID: 21077276.

Aggarwal R, Namjou B, Li S, D'Souza A, Tsao BP, Bruner BF, James JA, Scofield RH. Male only systemic lupus. 2010.  Journal of Rheumatology. 37(7), 1480-1487. PMID: 20472921.

Heinlen LD, McClain MT, Ritterhouse LL, Bruner BF, Edgerton CC, Keith MP, James JA, Harley JB.  60kD Ro and nRNP A frequently initiate human lupus autoimmunity.  2010. PLoS ONE. 5(3), e9599. PMID: 20224770.

James JA, Kim-Howard XR, Bruner BF, Jonsson MK, McClain MT, Arbuckle MR, Walker C, Dennis GJ, Merrill JT, Harley JB.  Hydroxychloroquine sulfate treatment is associated with later onset of systemic lupus erythematosus.  2007. Lupus. 16(6), 401-409. PMID: 17664230.

McClain MT, Poole BD, Bruner BF, Kaufman KM, Harley JB, James JA.  An altered immune response to Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) in pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus. 2006. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 54(1), 360-368. PMID: 16385527.

Bruner BF, Wynn DM, Reichlin M, Harley JB, James JA. Humoral antigenic targets of the ribosomal p0 lupus autoantigen are not limited to the carboxyl region.  2005.  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1051, 390-403. PMID: 16126981.

Steven Cooper

Steven M. Cooper, Ph.D.
Office: Pryor-England 172
Phone: 501-279-5281

Teaching and Research Interests

Teaching and Research Interests

My interest in the world around me began as a child, when I grew up reading National Geographic. It seems that wherever I found myself, I was picking up some rock or insect, or watching the world around me awed by the variety of living things and their interactions with the world. This fascination remained with me through high school and led me to eventually begin my higher education at Harding University where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Following graduation , I enrolled in Stephen F. Austin State University in the Biology program where I worked towards a Masters of Science in Aquatic Biology.   I have always been concerned with the effects of man on animal life and the environment.  Eventually I enrolled in University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where I received my Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Toxicology.  

My education and training have equipped me with insight, knowledge of methods, and tools that have allowed me to observe the creation to a degree I never thought possible. My interests center around how external factors in the environment affect an animals' responses to exogenous chemicals.

Many of my past professors inspired me to examine the world around me and to critically think.  They planted the seeds in me that led me to aspire to teach. Now that I am in the classroom, I hope that through the courses I teach that I might help my students curiosity to grow and inspire them to delve deeper into the study of God's handiwork.


Society of Toxicology

UAMS: Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Selected Publications

Steven Cooper, John R. Latendresse, Daniel R. Doerge, Nathan C. Twaddle, Xin Fu and K. Barry Delclos. 2006. Dietary Modulation of p-Nonylphenol–Induced Polycystic Kidneys in Male Sprague-Dawley Rats. Toxicological Sciences 2006 91(2):631-642

Nathan MillsNathan E. Mills, Ph.D. 
Office: Pryor-England 173
Phone: 501-279-4536

Teaching and Research Interests

Teaching and Research Interests 

My general research interest is in understanding how the environment affects amphibian development and growth. My research has focused on two specific questions. First, how does hypoxia affect embryonic growth and development, and in turn, how does the embryo adaptively respond to hypoxia through changes in egg capsule oxygen conductance. I currently have undergraduate students involved in this research. And second, how do pesticides interact with environmental variables, such as competition and predation, to alter the survival and growth of amphibian larvae and the timing of metamorphosis. In addition to my primary research interest, I am involved in an amphibian survey at the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge near Bald Knob, Arkansas, and I have had the privilege of collaborating with Mike Plummer on research investigating the behavioral ecology of turtles and snakes.

My teaching responsibilities at Harding University include Human Anatomy and Physiology, Ornithology, and Ecology. I am also involved in team teaching Developmental Biology.


The Ecological Society of America

Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

All About Birds

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Wrensch*, Z. C. and N.E. Mills. In Preparation. Bufo fowleri alters its attraction to light I the presence of a potential predator.

Van Dyke, J.U., M.V. Plummer, S.J. Beaupre, T.N. Lee*, and N.E. Mills. In Preparation. Metabolic rate of hatchling softshell turtles, Apalone mutica.

Plummer, M.V. and N.E. Mills. In Preparation. Growth of Spiny Softshell Turtles (Apalone spinifera).

Plummer, M.V. and N.E. Mills. In Preparation. Body temperatures of Hognose Snakes (Heterodon platirhinos).

Plummer, M.V., T.N. Lee*, and N.E. Mills. 2008. The effect of a sand substrate on the growth and condition of Apalone mutica hatchlings. Journal of Herpetology 42:550-554. (Link)

Plummer, M.V., D.G. Krementz, L.A. Powell, and N.E. Mills. 2008. Effects of habitat disturbance on survival rates of softshell turtles (Apanone spinifera) in an urban stream. Journal of Herpetology 42:555-563. (Link)

Plummer, M.V. and N.E. Mills. 2008. Structure of an urban population of softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) before and after stream degradation. In J.C. Mitchell, R.E. Jung Brown, and B. Bartholomew (eds.) Urban Herpetology. Herpetological Conservation Vol. 3. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Salt Lake City, UT. (Link)

Valls*, J.H. and N.E. Mills. 2007. Intermittent hypoxia in eggs of Ambystoma maculatum: Embryonic development and egg capsule conductance. Journal of Experimental Biology 210:2430-2435. (Link)

Lee*, T.N., M.V. Plummer, and N.E. Mills. 2007. Use of posthatching yolk and external forage to maximize early growth in Apalone mutica hatchlings. Journal of Herpetology 41:492-500. (Link)

Plummer, M.V. and N.E. Mills. 2006. Heterodon platirhinos (Eastern Hognose Snake) road crossing behavior. Herpetological Review 37:352. (Link)

Plummer, M.V., T.L. Crabill, N.E. Mills, and S.L. Allen. 2005. Body temperatures of free-ranging softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) in a small stream. Herpetological Review 36:371-375. (Link)

Mills, N.E. and R.D. Semlitsch. 2004. Competition and predation mediate the indirect effects of an insecticide on southern leopard frogs. Ecological Applications 14:1041-1054. (Link)

Mills, N.E., M.C. Barnhart, and R. Semlitsch. 2001. Effects of hypoxia on egg capsule conductance in Ambystoma (class Amphibia, order Caudata). Journal of Experimental Biology 204:3747-3753. (Link)

Relyea, R.A. and N.E. Mills. 2001. Predator-induced stress makes the pesticide carbaryl more deadly to gray treefrog tadpoles (Hyla versicolor). Proceeding of the National Academy of Science 98:2491-2496. (Link)

Plummer, M.V. and N.E. Mills. 2000. Spatial ecology and survivorship of resident and translocated hognose snakes (Heterodon platirhinos). Journal of Herpetology 34:565-575. (Link)

Mills, N.E. and M.C. Barnhart. 1999. Effects of hypoxia on embryonic development in two Ambystoma and two Rana species. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 72:179-188. (Link)

Plummer, M.V., N.E. Mills, and S.L. Allen. 1997. Activity, habitat, and movement patterns of softshell turtles (Trionyx spiniferus) in a small stream. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2:514-420. (Link)

Plummer, M.V. and N.E. Mills. 1996. Observations on trailing and mating behaviors in hognose snakes (Heterodon platirhinos). Journal of Herpetology 30:80-82. (Link)

* indicates undergraduates whose research was advised or co-advised by me.

Michael Nicodemus

Michael Nicodemus, Ph.D.
Office: Pryor-England 174
Phone: 501-279-5716

T Lee

Trixie Lee Pittman, Ph.D.
Office: Pryor-England 166A
Phone: 501-279-4508 

Ryan StorkRyan Stork, Ph.D.
Office: Pryor-England 164C
Phone: 501-279-5416

Assistant Professor

David Donley

David Donley, Ph.D., M.S.E.
Office: Pryor-England 161A
Phone: 501-279-4151 

Stacey Rodenbeck

Stacey Rodenbeck, Ph.D.   
Office: Pryor-England 164E
Phone: 501-279-4515

Patrick Ruhl

Patrick Ruhl, Ph.D.   
Office: Pryor-England 160
Phone: 501-279-5373

Donald SandersDon E. Sanders, M.Ed., M.S., MT(ASCP)
Office: Pryor-England 163
Phone: 501-279-4851

Teaching and Research Interests

Teaching and Research Interests

After a few years as a licensed medical technologist, I pursued both an M.Ed and an M.S. in biology and went on to serve as a clinical instructor in medical technology at two schools in Memphis, later moving to laboratory management. When I decided to leave lab management, my career choice still centered on the practical application of science, and for fourteen years I traveled the southeastern United States as a blood chemistry specialist for Beckman Instruments. In 1996, tired of the travel and wishing to return to the classroom, I began teaching Advanced Placement Biology at Memphis Harding Academy, eventually adding an anatomy and physiology class to the curriculum and serving as Science Division Head. In 2005, my wife, Patti, and I relocated to Searcy where I began serving as a faculty member at Harding.  Although I thoroughly enjoyed my master's work researching the reproductive potential of the cave salamander, Eurycea lucifuga, I now focus on my special interest of anatomy and physiology. I find the human body fascinating and try to help my students see the glory of God's wonderful creation through the study of anatomy and physiology.  I currently teach A&P II (Biol 253), and other classes I've taught include General Biology, Microbiology and A&P I.  Patti and I have been blessed to have our daughter, Shelley, and granddaughter May Lee here in Searcy since 2014, and we were thrilled when our son and daughter-in-law, David and Jess, moved here as well in 2018, bringing our other six grandchildren, Nash, Logan, Audra, Merritt, Miller, and Nora.  When I’m away from the classroom, those seven grandchildren can always find something for “Pop” to do, and occasionally I can also squeeze in a little recreation with fishing or playing golf.



The American Physiological Society

American Association of Anatomists

Get Body


Amber Hug

Amber Hug, M.Ed.
Office: Pryor-England 164D
Phone: 501-279-5498

 Kaitlin Uchida

Kaitlin Uchida, B.S.
Office: Pryor-England 164B
Phone: 501-279-5502  


Contact Us

Biology Department is part of the College of Sciences


Fax: 501-279-4706

Mailing address:
Harding University
Biology Department
Box 12251
Searcy, AR 72149-5615