Michael Elnitsky

Dean, Zurn College of Natural and Health Sciences, Associate Professor of Biology, Pre-Health Advisor

Zurn 104

(814) 824-2346

Dr. Elnitsky's research interest is on the ecological and physiological response of ectothermic animals, particularly insects, amphibians, and reptiles, to environmental stress, with special interest in the adaptations of animals for low temperature survival. His recent projects have focused on the impacts of climate change and elevated winter temperatures on the goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis), the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), and the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis).



Ph.D. (2008) Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH
Dissertation: Tolerance and physiological response to environmental stress in Antarctic arthropods

M.S. (2004) Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH
Thesis: The effect of body size, growth, and temperature on the locomotor performance of juvenile turtles

B.S. (2002) Biology, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA
Independent project: Effect of freezing on the transmembrane [K+] distribution of the goldenrod gall fly, Eurosta solidaginis


Favorite Class in College:

During college, my favorite course was Animal Physiology. I was fascinated to understand how the physiological systems in my body function normally and, in some cases, fail to function in states of disease pathology. I also loved learning how the physiological processes operating in mammals compare to those in other organisms as diverse as insects, amphibians, and birds. Still today, this course forms the basis of my own teaching interests, as I try to convey my passion for learning and understanding physiology to the next generation of biologists, doctors, and teachers.


Courses Taught:

Bio 140 Cell Biology
Bio 144 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Bio 290 Environmental Physiology
Bio 292 Field Ecology
Bio 344 Principles of Human Physiology
Bio 354 Biology of Insects
Bio 360 Systems Physiology
Bio 494 Biology Seminar
Envs 100 Environmental Problem Solving

Select Publications:

Xi, S., Benoit, J.B., Elnitsky, M.A., Kaufmann, N., Brodsky, J.L., Zeidel, M.L., Denlinger, D.L., and Lee, R.E. 2011. Function and immuno-localization of aquapornis in the Anarctic midge Belgica antartica. Journal of INsect Physiology 57, 1096-1105.

Elnitsky, M.A., Benoit, J.B., Lopez-Martines, G., Denlinger, D.L., and Lee, R.E., Jr. 2009. Osmoregulation and salinity tolerance in the Antartic midge, Belgica Antarctica: seawater acclimation confers cross tolerance to freezing and dehydration. The Journal of Experimental Biology 212, 2864-2871.

Teets, N.M., Elnitsky, M.A., Benoit, J.B., Lopez-Martinez, G., Denlinger, D.L., and Lee, R.E., Jr. 2008. In vitro rapid cold-hardening and the role of calcium in the rapid cold-hardening response in the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 294, R1938-R1946.

Philip, B.P., Xi, S., Elnitsky, M.A., and Lee, R.E., Jr. 2008. The role of aquaporins in the freeze tolerance of the goldenrod gall fly, Eurosta solidaginis. The Journal of Experimental Biology 211, 1114-1119.

Elnitsky, M.A., Hayward, S.A.L., Rinehart, J.P., Denlinger, D.L., and Lee, R.E., Jr. 2008. Cryoprotective dehydration and the resistance to inoculative freezing in the Antarctic midge Belgica antarctica. The Journal of Experimental Biology 211, 524-530.

Rinehart, J.P., Hayward, S.A.L., Elnitsky, M.A., Sandro, L.H., Lee, R.E., Jr. and Denlinger, D.L. 2006. Continuous up-regulation of heat shock proteins in larvae, but not adults, of a polar insect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103, 14223-14227.