Erin O’Brien


Office: Science Building, Room 120
Phone: (435) 652-7761

– Ph.D. in Biology – Ecology and Evolution
University of Illinois at Chicago, 2004
– B.A. in Biology
Bryn Mawr College, 1996

Courses Taught:
– BIOL 1610 – Principles of Biology I
– BIOL 1610A – Principles of Biology I Honors
– BIOL 1615 – Principles of Biology I Lab
– BIOL 1615A – Principles of Biology I Lab Honors
– BIOL 3110 – Scientific Writing
– BIOL 3150 – Introduction to Biometry
– BIOL 3155 – Introduction to Biometry Lab
– BIOL 4600 – Plant Physiology
– BIOL 4605 – Plant Physiology Lab
My research is in plant physiological ecology with a focus on below ground interactions. The local desert species are perfect study organisms as several engage in poorly studied behaviors including the equivalents of nepotism and establishing territories. Students work with me in my classes both in the field and in our research greenhouse here on campus. I also take on research students in plant biology. Because of my strong research background, I also co-advise students with other faculty members and physicians at our local hospital who are engaged in research.

I am also active in the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters having served as our campus representative and the biology chair. From April 2013 – April 2015 I will be the President of the Academy. In these positions, I advocate for undergraduate research and encourage participation in the state level conferences available for undergraduate research presentations.