Lake Lincoln, Arkansas

Meet the members of the DuRant Lab!


Sarah DuRant, PhD; 479-575-6364

I completed my Master's in 2006 and PhD in 2011 at Virginia Tech, then spent two years as a post doc at Tufts University. For 3.5 years I was faculty at Oklahoma State before joining the Dept. of Biological Sciences at University of Arkansas. My research focuses on animal responses to environmental stimuli, with particular focus on parental effects, disease ecology, and environmental temperature.

Ashley Love, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow,;

Ashley completed her undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech and her PhD at Oklahoma State University. Ashley's research focuses on the importance of behavior in shaping individual and offspring immune responses. Ashley recently received an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work with Dr. Sarah Knutie at UConn.


View Ashley's website here


Will Kirkpatrick

PhD student;

Will is a fervent Tennesee Vol's fan.  His work focuses on temperature's role in shaping avian breeding behavior. Using a nest box system in Eastern Bluebird he's studying how  temperature variability shapes parental care behaviors.

View Will's website here

Weston Perrine

MS student;

Weston completed his undergraduate degree at University of Nebraska. Weston's research investigates the importance of diet in shaping individual responses to disease (e.g., recovery time, disease severity). He uses a laboratory canary-MG host-pathogen system.

Savannah Sepaul

Honors Undergraduate Researcher

Savannah is pursuing her Honors thesis research project. She is analyzing tropical bird nest samples for possible antibacterial properties.  Savannah will be attending medical school after she graduates in Spring 2021.

Angel Campos-Melara

Undergraduate Researcher

Angel is studying the effects of infection on social interactions, particularly how uninfected birds shift their behavior in response to uninfected individuals. Angel recently earned an Undergraduate Research grant to support her research.

Coleen Weist

Honors Undergraduate Researcher

Emma is a senior Biology major and Medical Humanities minor who has worked in the lab since Fall 2018. She is working on her Honors Thesis with Ashley Love investigating the relationship between maternal infection and antibody investment to offspring. Emma was awarded an Honors Research Grant and will defend her thesis in the spring of 2021.

Ashley Morris

Honors Undergraduate Researcher

Ashley is an Honor's student working on her thesis with Ashley Love. She is investigating the relationship between diet macronutrient content and its effect on disease outcomes.

Past Lab Members

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Chris Goodchild, PhD

PhD student;

Chris graduated from Oklahoma University, then completed an MS at the University of New England and a PhD at Oklahoma State University. Chris’ research investigated the physiological effects of sublethal crude oil exposure in an avian model system to establish mechanistic links between subcellular indicators and ecologically relevant effects (e.g., whole-animal fitness, population-level endpoints). Chris was a postdoc in Kendra Sewall's lab at Virginia Tech and is now an Assistant Professor at University of Central Oklahoma.

Visit Chris' website here

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Wayne Hawkins

Undergraduate Researcher

Wayne developed NestIQ, a program that uses machine learning to identify avian on- and off-bouts in thermal datasets collected from avian nests. You can download the program at His manuscript is currently in review. Wayne is now pursuing a graduate careeer at U Michigan.


Audra Metz

Freshman Research Scholar

Audra was a Freshman Research Scholar in the lab. She investigated the effects of crude oil ingestion on courtship and pair bond maintenance behaviors in zebra finches.  Audra won Best Presentation at the Freshmen Research Scholar Symposium.


Anna Smith

Wentz fellow and Freshman Research Scholar

Anna is a Physiology major who started working in the lab her first semester on campus. She's been involved with numerous projects, won a Best Presentation award at the Karen L Smith Undergraduate Research Symposia, presented at the Animal Behavior meeting in Toronto, Canada, and received a Wentz Research Scholarship.  Anna is currently exploring behavioral and immunological changes in social birds exposed to sick conspecifics. She's now in PT school.

Jeff Krall

Goldwater and Niblack Fellow

Jeff started working in the lab as a Freshmen. Jeff explored the bioenergetic consequences of exposure to crude oil using a bird model organism. Jeff has received several Best Presentation awards at local and national meetings. Jeff is also the recipient of the prestigious National Goldwater Fellowship and a Niblack Scholarship. Jeff is a grad student at Colorado St. University.

Kevin Grisham

Undergraduate Researcher

Kevin has been a jack-of-all-trades in the lab and has worked with birds, snakes and snails. Kevin completed an independent research project investigating the behavioral effects of exposure to waste water treatment facility effluent in snails. Kevin was recently accepted into Veterinary School at Oklahoma State University. He will be sorely missed!

Aimee Nash

Undergraduate Researcher

Amy was with the lab for three years and became an expert at DNA extraction, analyzing behavioral videos, caring for birds, and performing lab assays. Aimee's primary focus is on the changes in the gut microbiome associated with shifts in macronutrient intake. 

Lauren Schmidt

Wentz Fellow

Lauren worked on her Honor's Thesis with Chris Goodchild investigating whether personality predicts behavioral and morphological responses to predators in snails.  Lauren was the recipient of a Wentz Research Grant!

Tori Kingdom

Wentz Fellow

Tori was a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major working with Ashley Love to explore innate immune responses and hormonal changes in zebra finches exposed to sick neighbors. Tori was the recipient of a Wentz Research Grant

Past Summer Undergraduate Researchers

Anna Smith


Anna worked with the DuRant lab for a year as a Freshman Research Scholar.  She stayed with us for the summer to continue her research on the behavioral effects of an immune challenge in birds as an NSF REU student. 


Maria Arciniega


Maria, an undergraduate at Pomona College in Claremont CA, worked as an NSF REU student with me at Tufts University in the summer of 2013.  Project title: Does disrupted negative feedback account for the negative effects of chronic stress.

Mimi Tran


Mimi worked as an NSF REU student with me at Tufts University in the summer of 2012, while she was an undergraduate student at Univ. of Texas, Austin. After graduating, Mimi attended Vet school at the University of Wisconsin.  Project title: Does life history stage affect the energetic costs of stress?

Current Collaborators

Jen Grindstaff, Oklahoma State University

William Hopkins, Virginia Tech

Michael Romero, Tufts University

Gary Hepp, Auburn University

Ignacio Moore, Virginia Tech

Dana Hawley, Virginia Tech

Kristen Navara, Univ of Georgia

JD Willson, Univ of Arkansas

Amanda Carter, University of Tennessee

Carolyn Bauer, Swarthmore University

Christine Lattin, Louisiana State University

Noha Youssef, Oklahoma State University

Shawn Wilder, Oklahoma State University

Erica Lutter, Oklahoma State University

Ryan Paitz, Illinois State University

Jessica Hite, University of Wisconsin

Brett DeGregorio, University of Arkansas

© 2013 by  DuRant.  created with

These materials are not endorsed, approved, or provided by or on behalf of the University of Arkansas

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