Department Chair & Professor
Olin Hall 101
Ph.D., Cellular Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, University of Texas Medical Branch
M.S., Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University
B.S., Marine Biology, Texas A&M University
Erich Stabenau is a comparative physiologist who is interested in the function of animal cells, organs, and organ systems when faced with various environmental challenges. His research has utilized lower vertebrates including sea turtles, snakes, and frogs, and higher level vertebrates including various rodent species. His research program at Bradley has involved 10 graduate students and over 75 undergraduate students. Dr. Stabenau received the First Year Faculty Award (1996) and the Caterpillar New Faculty Achievement Awards for Teaching (1999) and Scholarship (1999).
Dr. Stabenau’s teaching includes courses for biology students (BIO 150, BIO 250, BIO 260, BIO 381, BIO 525, BIO 575 (Medical Physiology)), service load courses for graduate nurse anesthetists (BIO 525, BIO 526, and BIO 527), and general education courses (BIO 101, BIO 300).
Dr. Stabenau’s research laboratory currently investigates the roles of contaminant exposure, either environmental in the case of pyrene or induced as in the case of cocaine. We initiated a study at Bradley University in 1999 to investigate the effects of pyrene exposure on leopard frogs after identifying high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Illinois River sediment. His group examined the effect of the agent on muscle contraction (including assessment of mitochondrial function) and skin permeability (including investigating potential alterations of Na+ reabsorption across the epithelial tissue). His second focus is how cocaine/hypoxic exposure affects neural tissue (cell volume, mitochondrial function, neurotrophic factor production) and body temperature regulation in juvenile rats. This project is related to the exceptional increase in juvenile cocaine use as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In addition to these projects, the laboratory is examining the cell volume regulation in frog and rodent hepatocytes. Thus, the laboratory uses molecular, biochemical and physiological techniques to examine the mechanisms and functional significance of hypoxia in animals, and investigate the physiology of membrane transport of ions, water and gases in erythrocytes and gas exchange organs.
Dr. Stabenau has been the chair of the Biology Department since 2005. In addition, he served as the OTEFD Director for Research Development from 2001-2007. Dr. Stabenau was co-director of the Criterion 6 assessment committee during the 2009-2010 NCA accreditation visit, and has served on numerous other department and university committees.