Disciplinary Research

Biology Education Research


Three main areas of expertise

  I am interested in examining the practices of  teaching and learning in the biological sciences, within the discipline focus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the undergraduate level.  My research interests are geared toward metacognitive strategies, self-regulated learning and self efficacy, as well as using universal design principles to maximize accessibility and inclusion. I enjoy facilitating the use of evidence-based pedagogical approaches with faculty and graduate teaching assistants.

Conservation & Population Genetics

(Photo by Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado)

(Photo by Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado)

    My disciplinary training is in Evolutionary Genetics research.  As part of my postdoctoral training, we explored cognitive constraints to using an effective active conservation practice known as genetic rescue (Stowell et al. 2017). In my dissertation research, we analyzed the population genetics of a selfish genetic element in natural populations of Drosophila in relation to behavior (Pinzone and Dyer 2013). I continue to use the skills and knowledge I gained during my Ph.D. and postdoctoral training in order to be an effective scientist educator.

Behavioral Ecology & Evolution


Gene expression levels of drosomycin in females mated with males from the same population.

The evolution of behavior and its ecological context has long been of interest. During my Masters, I investigated geographic variation in female post-mating immune gene expression in six natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster within and between population matings (Pinzone 2010).

My dissertation focused on female mating behavior (level of polyandry) in Drosophila neotestacea, and the potential for behavior to regulate gene frequencies (as a result of differences in male sperm competitive ability with a selfish genetic element that kills Y-bearing sperm) and thus the population-level extinction risk due to a lack of males from the operational sex ratio distortion (Pinzone and Dyer 2013). I’ve observed that training in life history evolution and behavioral ecology has given a unique lens with which to frame insights from cognitive psychology into teaching and learning.