Department of Biology
Dr. Marilyn Abbott
Professor (Dean of the School of Sciences and Chair of Biology Dept.)
Dr. Abbott received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Purdue University and did postdoctoral research
at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University on Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She
worked for 10 years at Anheuser-Busch researching agricultural raw materials for brewing, and joined the
Lindenwood University faculty in 1997. She teaches General Biology I and Evolution. Since 2000, she has
also served as Dean of the School of Sciences.
Dr. L. Rao Ayyagari
Dr. Ayyagari has a Ph. D. in Biochemistry from Chicago’s Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. He
obtained post-doctoral experience in Cancer Biology and Yeast Genetics at University of California, Davis.
He also gained extensive research experience in DNA Replication from collaborative studies at the
Biochemistry department of Washington University in St. Louis. Currently he is interested in undergraduate
research on yeast enzymes, spider pheromones, and microbial antibiotic resistance. He teaches Cell Biology,
Genetics, Nutrition, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Concepts in Biology. His non-academic interests
are gardening of tropical plants and photography.
Dr. Rebecca Helton
Dr. Helton has previously worked as a physician (oncologist) and has been teaching Biology at
Lindenwood since 1999. She received her B.A. and B.S. at University of Missouri Kansas City, her
M.D. and residency in Internal Medicine at University of Kansas, and her fellowship in Oncology and
Hematology at University of Colorado. Her interests are in human anatomy, physiology, pathology,
parasitology and developmental biology. She has also recently received her M.F.A. in painting and
drawing from Lindenwood University, and teaches biology and fine art.
Dr. Gail Johnston
Dr. Johnston is a vertebrate zoologist with a specialty in herpetology (amphibians and reptiles). She teaches
General Biology II, Animal Biology, and Environmental Biology. She has a B.S. degree in Wildlife and
Fisheries and an M.S. degree in Zoology from Mississippi State University and she received her Ph.D. in
Zoology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She has taught at the college level for 20 years, the
last 6 years at Lindenwood University. She has also managed field stations for St. Louis University and the
University of Pittsburgh. She is currently interested in conducting research projects with undergraduates,
particularly focusing on the natural areas at the Daniel Boone campus.
Dr. John Cawly
Dr. Cawly earned his B.S. and M.S. in Biology from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and his
Ph.D. from University of Missouri, Columbia in Plant Pathology and Microbiology. He specializes in the
study of plant viruses, and teaches Microbiology and introductory biology for non-majors. He is also a part
of the Daniel Boone Home Glade Restoration project, providing undergraduate research opportunities.
Dr. John Crawford
Dr. Crawford has a background in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology and teaches
Ecology, Field Biology and Anatomy & Physiology. He received his B.S. degree in Biology from the
University of Illinois, his M.S. degree in Biology from Illinois State University, and his Ph.D. in
Biology from the University of Missouri. His interests are in the ecology and conservation of
amphibians and reptiles (specifically the rapid decline of amphibians worldwide) and he currently has
undergraduate research opportunities investigating various aspects of amphibian ecology.
Dr. C. Greg Anderson
Dr. Anderson earned his B.S. in Biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Ph.D. in
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After receiving his
bachelor’s degree he worked as a Research Assistant in the Division of Mammals at the National
Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution before attending graduate school. He has
been teaching for almost 20 years at the university level and teaches a wide variety of courses from
General Biology to Anatomy and Physiology to Ecology. His research interests include mammals
(primarily otters and other carnivores) and riparian habitat restoration.
Dr. Chad Welsh
Dr. Welsh has a background in Bacterial Infectious Diseases and the human immune system. He
received his B.S. in Biology and his M.S in Biology with an emphasis in Microbiology from Middle
Tennessee State University and his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of
Louisville School of Medicine. He brings over 10 years of clinical research and teaching experience to
Lindenwood University. Currently, Dr. Welsh is comparing the interactions between Mycobacterium species
and either human cell or protozoan hosts. Dr. Welsh will be teaching Microbiology, General Biology,
and General Education courses.