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Erin O’Brien, PH.D.


Office: SCI 102
Phone: 435-652-7761


Ph.D. in Biology - Ecology and Evolution

  • University of Illinois at Chicago

B.A. in Biology

  • Bryn Mawr College


  • 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
  • ENVS 2000R - Field Experience: Environmental Science

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. I also assist local federal agencies with plant conservation biology research. 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 strongly believe that much of the value of a college education comes from experiences outside of a formal class setting. I try to help students be aware of these opportunities in several ways.

I serve on the board of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters since 2008 and am a Biology Councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research. In these positions, I advocate for undergraduate research and encourage participation in the state level conferences available for undergraduate research presentations.

In partnership with the local National Parks, I run the Outdoor Leadership Academy, a program dedicated to getting underrepresented youth into public lands through meaningful experiences through hiking, camping, river rafting, canyoneering, and other activities. This program includes regional high school students and college students from DSU, SUU, UNLV, the College of Southern Nevada, and Nevada State College. For more information, visit our website:​