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Denise is a science education researcher with a strong background in the biological sciences as well as teaching and learning. She holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from The University of Tennessee Knoxville. Denise currently uses her expertise in her position as a laboratory coordinator for general education and majors Biology courses at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Denise takes a scientific approach to her research in order to attain a better understanding of teaching and learning in the biological sciences at all grade levels. She uses her research to drive curriculum development projects for K-12 and higher education instruction. In addition to her science education research Denise conducts biological research studies both in the laboratory and field setting (e.g., biodiversity inventories and genome sequencing). Denise is passionate about sharing her fascination of science and the natural world and as a result she is involved in many public education outreach endeavors.
Nicole's love for animals and nature started at a young age during her summer vacations with her grandmother. As a teen she started volunteering at the San Antonio Zoo and realized she could never leave nature behind. For the DEEPEND project, Nicole manages the Kid's Blog and all the social media sites. Her goal is to provide the science of this project to a larger audience, specifically targeting children. She hopes to inspire the next generation of researchers and biologists. Nicole now works as a Conservation Technician at the San Antonio Zoo.
Matthew Johnston is a research scientist and scientific computer programmer at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center. Matt received his BS in information systems from Linfield College, MS in marine biology from Nova Southeastern University, and expects completion of his PhD in February of 2014 from Nova Southeastern University. His research focuses on forecasting the incursion patterns of marine invasive species, such as the lionfish, founded on the development of cellular automaton computer models which couple physical oceanographic measurements with biological traits of the invader. Matt has provided programming support for such institutions as the Guy Harvey Research Institute, Living Oceans Foundation, the IUCN, and the Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance. More information about his research can be found on his website. For the DEEPEND project, Matt will perform as the database manager and web portal developer. He will also provide ancillary programming support for the project.