Faculty /Staff



Hadow Lackner Leonardo Redborg Sanchini Sandford Tauer Leveille


Harlo Hadow


Heins-Johnson Professor of Biology, 1992 Ph.D.,1977 University of Colorado. Teaches Organismal and Ecological Biology, Human Anatomy, Comparative Chordate Anatomy, Comparative Vertebrate Embryology, Introduction to Ornithology, Organic Evolution, Entomology, Natural History of Animals.

 Dr. Hadow's research interests since graduate school have focused on evolution, behavior and ecology of vertebrates. He long ago discovered that it is just as easy -- and much more fun -- to carry out his studies in wild places. His bird studies have taken him to Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Studies involving the responses of small mammals to fire and clearcutting are on-going in northern Minnesota, and population studies of the endangered Blue-spotted Salamander continue near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. These studies often involve students, and information from them spills over into the various courses he teaches. He feels very comfortable outdoors, and likes to bring field study into his courses as much as makes sense pedagogically. 

In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Hadow serves as Campus Program Advisor for the A.C.M. Tropical Field Studies Program in Costa Rica, and the A.C.M. Wilderness Field Station. He has taught at the field station since 1980, and directed since 1986. He also curates the vertebrate collections at Coe College and is Curator of Vertebrates for Coe's Bert H. Hailey Museum. 

Tom Lackner


Instructor 2000 M.S., 1999 Northern Arizona University
Teaches Ecology, General Botany, Organic Evolution, Organismal and Ecological Biology, Introduction to Biology Laboratory

While teaching elementary school in remote parts of Australia's Northern Territory for sixteen years I traveled extensively, and often took hiking vacations in the Australian national parks. I combined vocation with avocation at one point, writing guide books to the walking tracks in Lamington National Park, a montane subtropical rainforest in SE Queensland. That led me back to college to pursue biology. My interests are in ecology, with particular emphasis on disturbance ecology, plant-animal interactions, and the influence of elevational and latitudinal gradients on plant and arthropod communities. I continue to explore the outdoors, with recent vacations in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains, Australia, the South Island of New Zealand and, every summer, Quetico Provincial Park and the BWCA. I can be found early most mornings in Bever Park, censusing the squirrel and chipmunk populations with my dog, the only extant arboreal chicken hound.

Michael Leonardo


Assistant Professor of Biology, 2003. B.A. in Biology from Knox College (1987), and a M.A. and Ph.D. in microbiology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1990, 1993), Teaches Cellular and Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Bacteriology, Cell Physiology, and Environmental Microbiology.

My current research interests include studies on the physiology of the genus Shewanella, a group of ubiquitous aquatic microorganisms; nitrate-dependent iron oxidation by iron-reducing bacteria; bioremediation; and the regulation of the fermentative alcohol dehydrogenase of E. coli. I have published recently in Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, and have manuscripts pending in the Journal of Bacteriology and the Geomicrobiology Journal, and have presented my findings at the American Society for Microbiology General meeting 2003.


Kurt Redborg


Associate Professor of Biology, 1994 Ph.D., 1979, University of Illinois. Teaches Organismal and Ecological Biology, Organic Evolution, Topics in Evolution, Experimental Human Physiology, Human Physiology, Entomology, Invertebrate Zoology. 

As many of us do at a small, liberal arts college, I wear several hats. As a generalist, I co-teach (with Harlo Hadow) Organismal and Ecological Biology and share with several members of the Department the important assignment of teaching our students a course in evolutionary theory . As a physiologist, I teach two human-oriented physiology courses (one for Biology majors, the other for those majoring in Physical Education or Nursing). The laboratory portion of the experimental physiology class stresses computer-assisted collection, manipulation, and analysis of data and plays a pivotal role in providing our students with a sound basis from which to progress to independent studies and honors projects as third and fourth year students. In this latter capacity, I am also one of the Biology Department's pre-medical advisor. Coe students usually perform above the national average on the Biology portion of the MCAT and I am happy to talk with any students about how to best prepare academically for a medical career. Finally, as a researcher interested in invertebrate behavior, I teach two organismal classes, Entomology and Invertebrate Zoology, dealing with animals without backbones. My own research centers on the ecological and evolutionary relationships between spiders and insects that attack them. My specialty is the biology of the Neuropteran family Mantispidae, whose adults, through convergent evolution, superficially resemble a preying mantis and whose larvae are predators in the egg sacs of spiders. In addition to teaching courses at Coe, I often participate in the ACM's Wilderness Field Station Program during the summer in northern Minnesota where I teach courses in animal behavior and insect biology. 

Paula Sanchini


Associate Professor of Biology, 1992 Ph.D.,1981 University of Colorado, Boulder. Teaches Environmental Analysis, Spatial Ecology, General Botany, Field Botany, Organic Evolution, Marine Biology and Ecology. 

Like other members of the Biology Department, I teach both introductory and advanced courses and see students gain confidence and direction as they progress through their selected program of study.  The Cellular and Molecular Biology course is the first course that most students take.  It investigates the lives of cells and their exchanges of materials and energy with the environment.  Course concepts are learned by attending lectures, reading textbooks, and interacting with multimedia CDs and senior tutors as students ‘learn how to learn’ in college.  The Introduction to Biology Lab is a course in experimentation, and is centered on design and statistical interpetation of data obtained through the use of common laboratory instruments.  By the end of this course, students are well on their way to designing and summarizing their own independent work.  I  also teach General Botany, a course that develops a deeper understanding of plant cells and plants as organisms.  The lab is a challenging experimental course that allows students access to some of our most sophisticated laboratory equipment as they investigate photosynthesis and environmental signalling. In the Ecology course, junior and senior students read the primary literature, lead discussions, and apply principles of physiological, population and community ecology to field and laboratory experiments. They use our most powerful computer analysis tools to interpret the results of these studies.  I teach Environmental Analysis with Dr. St. Clair, an analytical chemist.  It gives students in the Environmental Science Collateral Major a chance to develop first-rate field, laboratory and analytical skills as they participate in team research in a local setting. 

Much of my time lately has been devoted to implementing coursework and research in the new Spatial Ecology Lab.  The lab contains the newest tools in field ecology:  global positioning (GPS) receivers and geographic information system (GIS) software.  State-of-the-art global positioning receivers are available through the Columbus Project, a partnership between Coe College and nearby Rockwell Collins.   Analytical work is done in a wonderful computer suite built with the help of  a recent NSF grant. 

 I am a coordinator of the Environmental Science Collateral Major and often advise students who wish to pursue careers in ecology or environmental fields.  Working with students in summer research participation and supervising Honors’ research are the teaching assignments I enjoy most.   


Floyd Sandford


Professor of Biology, 1986 Ph.D.,1971 University of Oklahoma. Prior to Sept 2001, I taught Diversity of Life, Introduction to Environmental Studies, Organic Evolution, Animal Behavior, General Genetics, Anatomy and Physiology, and Biology of the Seashore, an off-campus course taught on Dog Island, Florida. 

As of Fall 2001, I am in phased retirement and teach only during the winter and spring terms. I consider myself a biology generalist, who finds many aspects of the biological sciences fascinating. As a consequence of this, I often head off on interest tangents and into research investigations initially outside my expertise. All 9 courses I teach are open to non-science majors, such as Diversity of Life, Biology of the Seashore, and Introduction to Environmental Studies. I enjoy the opportunity to teach and get to know the variety of students who enroll in these courses. One of the courses I enjoy teaching most is Animal Behavior, probably because this is the area in which I specialized for both my Masters and Ph.D. degrees as well as being an area encompassing my current research interests. 

I have made annual visits to Dog Island, Florida since 1986, and beginning in 1991, I began research on an interesting and unusual association between hermit crabs and a certain species of sponge, called a hermit crab sponge. Coe College, located about 1000 miles from the nearest ocean, is not the most convenient home base for marine studies, but I always enjoy my annual trips to Dog Island, to continue my research and also to clear my mind of the trivialities that tend to accompany modern lifestyles. 

For further research and personal interests, please visit my personal website

Tom Tauer


Assistant Professor of Biology 2001 Ph.D.,1996,
Teaches Cellular and Molecular Biology, Genetics, The Human Genome Techniques in Molecular Biology, and Current Topics in Molecular Biology,

Cancer Research Training Program, Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases. Omaha, Nebraska: March 1992-May 1996

Ph.D., Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Specialization in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Nebraska Medical Center. Omaha, Nebraska: May 1991-May 1996

Research Interests: (Two Listed)
Cancer Related:

Researchers have discovered that p53 is mutated in greater than 50% of all human tumors. This gene codes for the production of a protein called P53 which is a transcription factor-a protein that can bind to DNA and cause the synthesis of other gene products. P53 is an integral part of the mechanism for detection and repair of DNA damage in normal cells. If there is no functional P53 in the cell, mutations in the DNA may go undetected and ultimately lead to its transformation into a cancerous cell. For this reason P53 is known as a tumor suppressor protein and has also been referred to as the 'guardian of the genome'.

Gene therapy with p53 involves the transfer of a normal gene into cells known to have mutated p53 genes. Once inside the cell the normal gene can lead to the production of normal P53. With normal P53 present in the cancerous cell, the cell may kill itself in a process called apoptosis or it can be killed more easily with common chemotherapeutic drugs. One of the problems associated with gene therapy is the possibility of causing additional mutations in the treated cells by introducing a piece of foreign DNA. Protein therapy does not impose this additional risk.

The goal of our project is to determine if therapy with P53 protein can mimic p53 gene therapy in cells lacking functional p53 genes growing in culture. If it can, it may be feasible to use a protein therapy strategy for treating cancer and other genetic diseases instead of gene therapy. While incredible effort is underway developing and testing gene therapy strategies, relatively little effort is directed toward protein therapy strategies. Recent deaths in clinical trials involving gene therapy has caused many researchers to rethink the risks associated with this treatment strategy. Protein therapy may provide an alternative method of treatment.

Pectinaria gouldii Related:

Pectinaria gouldii, a trumpet worm, also called an ice-cream cone worm is a marine annelid. The animal constructs a cone-shaped tube made of sand grains, in which it lives. These sand grains have presumably been swallowed and the organic material adhering to them removed and digested, then the worm selects some of these grains and cements them into place at the wide end of the cone as the worm grows. Little is known of the "cement" this organism produces or its genetic makeup.

The goal of our project (a collaboration with Dr. Maria Dean in the Coe College Chemistry Department) is to isolate and characterize the components of the cement as well as identify and clone the gene(s) responsible for the cement's production.

Cindy Leveille


Biology Laboratory Preparator, 2000 B.S.,1987 Clarke College, A.A.,1985 Mount St. Clare College

Cindy is responsible for preparing the necessary materials for all of the biology department laboratory classes. She is also the main supervisor for the biology undergraduate student assistants. Prior to coming to Coe, Cindy was a laboratory manager for over 12 years in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Campbell at the University of Iowa in the department of physiology and biophysics. While working at the University, she did such molecular biology techniques as cDNA library screening, dideoxy sequencing, genomic and plasmid preparation, total and poly A RNA preparation, Northern and Southern blot preparation, and hybridization, PCR, sequence analysis, and oligonucleotide design and purification. She has also performed protein and immunological techniques including, SDS-PAGE, western hybridization, antibody production microsomal preparation and protein purification.


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Coe College 2002

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