David Richard Small Susquepedia image

David Richard, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences
Professor of Biology

The longer I teach here at Susquehanna the more I realize how good a job this is. The faculty have an enormous amount of freedom to innovate and experiment. And whether it’s taking students inside fruit flies in the lab or on a Focus Australia study program, or teaching a class on exercise in extreme environments while trekking in the Himalayas, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

I love the new science building. It’s comfortable, light and airy, and in terms of the way students work in the research labs and the way I can interact with them, it’s a huge improvement over our old facilities.

We don’t have graduate students or post-docs, but what we do have is interested, interesting students who want to do research. In my lab they design and conduct most of the experiments and many have co-authored papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

As a cell biologist, my research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. We use molecular and cellular techniques to focus on the regulation of insect egg development by the endocrine system – specifically by components of the insulin-signaling pathway in the ovaries of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Understanding the process better might lead to more environmentally sensitive and targeted ways to control more troublesome insects such as mosquitoes or tsetse flies.

In part because of their small size, it’s challenging to work with fruit flies. But it’s amazing how my students have learned to dissect the ovaries out of the females.

A lot of our students plan on going to med school or other types of very good grad schools. Spending time generating their own facts in the research lab makes them better students and, ultimately, better physicians, dentists, veterinarians or researchers in either industry or academia.

Then there are the students who pretty much say that they want my job. I tell them, "You can’t have it, but perhaps I can help you get one somewhere else."

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