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Watson Bartlett Professor Emerita of Biology
"My primary research interest is invertebrate cellular defense responses. Currently, I am studying the ciliated urns of peanut worms, phylum Sipuncula. The urns swim around in the body cavity of the worm and secrete mucus in response to encountering foreign invaders. The mucus forms long tails that entrap the foreign cells. My research focuses on characterizing the mucus secretions, learning more about the secretory mechanism and cloning the mucus gene.
I use fruit fly larvae for research on the effect of environmental stresses such as elevated temperature and dietary alcohols. I focus on effects of these changes on gut tissues, since anything that affects nutrient uptake by larvae will have ramifications for the entire life cycle.
Ptiliid beetles are among the smallest multicellular organisms. My research focuses on the space constraints on the reproductive system and in packing of organs."
Years at Knox: 1977 to 2016
Dr. rer. biol. hum., Human Biology, 1976, University of Ulm.
M.A., Biology, 1973, California State University.
I.T.E., 1966, Rhode Island College.
B.A., Biology, 1964, Knox College.
Organisms, contemporary biological issues, marine invertebrate biology, histology, electron microscopy.
Honors & Grants
Knox Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: Structure and Function of Gut- Associated Fixed Ciliated Urns in Sipunculan worms, 2014.
"Diatoms on Gabriola." Borden, C.A. Shale: Journal of the Gabriola Historical and Museum Society, 2010.
Review of Coral Reefs, 2009.
"The toxicities of short-chain primary alcohols and the accumulation of storage bodies in the larval fat body of Drosophila melanogaster." Co-authored with M. Martel, C. Baumgardner and B.W. Geer. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 1995.
Panel, "Careers in Science." Midstates Science and Mathematics Consortium Undergraduate Research Symposium in Biological Sciences and Psychology, University of Chicago, 2010.
"Belize Barrier Reef Field Research." Paper presented at the Integrating Study Abroad into the Undergraduate Curriculum: Transforming On-Campus Teaching and Learning Conference, Beloit, Wisconsin, November 2009.
"Mucus localization in sipunculan ciliated urns and urn secretory tails." With H.E. Buhse. Illinois State Academy of Science, 2000.
"Centrin localization in sipunculan ciliated urns." With H.E. Buhse. Illinois State Academy of Science, 2000.
"Ultrastructural characterization of the gut of Drosophila melanogaster larvae under conditions of continuous feeding and 24-hour food deprivation." With A. Brennan. Illinois State Academy of Science, 1999.
"Reproductive system of featherwing beetles (Coleoptera:Ptiliidae): a correlation of light and electron microscopy." With A. Steinert. Illinois State Academy of Science, 1999.
Campus & Community Involvement
Faculty Marshal, Knox College.
Knox College Representative, American Association of University Women.
Cellist, Knox-Galesburg Symphony.
Co-Vice President (with John Dooley, Knox Professor of Computer Science), Illinois State Academy of Science.
Advisory Panel, National Science Foundation Review for Physiology and Ethology Programs.
What Students Say
"It's hard to imagine a professor more approachable than Linda Dybas. She's equally as eager to talk about oogenesis in parthenogenetic beetles as she is to talk about post-graduation plans. She takes an extremely active role in her students' academic progress, whether that involves driving them to conferences, assisting in research projects or relating biological principles to Gary Larson cartoons. Her enthusiasm for the success of her students is contagious. My interest in research was sparked by her involvement in my projects, and I'm sure she has been-and will be-a spark for many others as well."
-Julian MacDonald, Biology and French major