Brian C. Yowler

Professor of Biology
All FacultyBiology

Contact Information
Phone: 724-458-3791

Brian C. Yowler


  • Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Penn State University
  • B.S. Biology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Areas of Research
My main research focus is using bioinformatics to study the genes and genomes of Drosophila and parasitoid wasps. Through a large, collaborative effort with the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP), my students are currently using computer-based bioinformatics tools to evaluate the sequence, organization, and evolution of genes expressed in the venom of wasps. 


  • Genetics
  • Virology
  • General Biology Laboratory
  • Life Science (Lecture and Laboratory)
  • Cell Biology Laboratory
  • Senior Seminar

Although I first became interested in studying biology as an outdoorsman, my desire grew over the years to understand biology at a deeper, cellular level. As a graduate student, my research focused on bacterial toxins, like botulism, that could be used as biological weapons. This led to further collaborations with U.S. military and pharmaceutical company labs. I’ve developed an interest not only in how cells function but in how viruses and other toxins cause disease. 

What is the most important piece of advice you give students to help them succeed?
The most important advice that I give my students is to recognize that there is not necessarily a conflict between science and faith. If we believe that God is both the author of scripture and the creator of nature then there should be no conflict. In the classroom, we work to integrate science and faith by exploring the latest scientific evidence, unafraid of what it has to tell us, because it ultimately gives us a greater appreciation and understanding of the awesomeness of God. 

Selected Publications

  • "The GEP: Crowd-Sourcing Big Data Analysis with Undergraduates," Trends in Genetics, 2017
  • "Use of surface plasmon resonance to characterize binding of botulinum type A toxin-haemagglutinin complex to gangliosides," The Botulinum Journal, 2008
  • "Disruption of lipid rafts enhances activity of botulinum neurotoxin serotype A," Toxicon, 2006
  • "Glycosphingolipids-Sweets for botulinum neurotoxin," Glycoconjugate Journal, 2004
  • "Kinetic analysis of the interaction of Botulinum neurotoxin with ganglioside GT1b," Biochemistry, 2004
  • "Oxidation and base-catalyzed elimination of the saccharide portion of GSLs having very different polarities," Journal of Lipid Research, 2001