Meet the Biology Faculty
Associate Professor Rebecca Dunn primarily addresses issues of inheritance and teaches such courses as Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics and Evolution. She is also interested in how science affects society and has taught the Dimensions of Prejudice, Taste of Science, and Issues in Biology for Women. She joined the full-time faculty of Salem College in 1996. She has served the college in many ways since she came to Salem including Co-Chairing the Quality Enhancement Plan for Salem’s re-accreditation, directing the Women in Science and Mathematics Program for ten years and has been elected twice by the faculty as Coordinating Committee Chair. Although she has no rhythm, one of her favorite current duties is as advisor to Salem College’s step team, the Ghost Ryders. She received an A.B. in biology from the University of Chicago in 1986 and a Ph.D. in genetics in the Zoology Department, from Duke University in 1994.
Associate Professor Traci Porter, Department Chair for 2010-2013, primarily addresses organismal aspects of zoology and teaches such courses as Biodiversity, Biometry and Issues in Environmental Science. Her research interests include animal behavior and reproduction, with a focus on bats and their conservation. She joined the full-time faculty of Salem College in 2002. She received a B.A. in psychology from Carleton College in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Biopsychology, with a concentration in animal behavior, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994.
Laboratory Coordinator Kathy S. Duckett specializes in clinical laboratory science. She instructs the Principles of Biology Laboratory and manages the laboratory facilities and supervises the teaching assistants and student-workers for the department. She joined Salem College in 2005. She received her B.S. in chemistry from Mars Hill College and her medical technology certification from the Bowman Gray School of Medical Technology at Wake Forest university.
Assistant Professor Dane Kuppinger is a plant ecologist with a focus on invasive exotic species and disturbances, particularly wildfires. He is also interested in environmental issues, particularly those tied to our use of coal. His courses include Introductory Biology, Environmental Issues, The Role of Coal in our Society, Ecology, Conservation Biology, and Botany. His research is on the post-fire invasion of the exotic Paulownia tomontosa, and post-disturbance vegetation dynamics. He is also the curator of Salem’s herbarium; the oldest botanical collection of plants in the United States. He joined the Salem faculty in 2010. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Emory University in 1996, an M.S. in Environmental Education from the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley College in 1999, and his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008.
Assistant Professor Laura Watts joined the Biology Department at Salem in 2012. Her primary research interest focuses on elucidating the role of the enzyme Fatty Acid Synthasein leukemia. In addition to serving as the pre-health care advisor, Dr. Watts teaches Introduction to Biology, Anatomy & Physiology I & II, Microbiology, and Immunology. She received a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelors of Science in Biology from The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center of Dallas in 2008.