Denise Dearing

Dr. Denise Dearing is a Professor of Biology and Associate Dean of Research in the College of Science. Her research focuses on understanding the nutritional ecology of herbivorous vertebrates and the factors driving pathogen prevalence in small mammals.

Dr. Dearing received her BS (1985) from Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, Eastern Connecticut State University. She completed a MS degree (1988) at the University of Vermont and escaped the frigid New England winters by studying diet selection in herbivorous lizards in the Caribbean. Her Ph.D. (U.U. 1995) focused on understanding the disparate feeding behaviors of pikas in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Dr. Dearing conducted postdoctoral research as a Fulbright scholar (1996) on marsupials in Australia and later as an NSF fellow at the University of Wisconsin (1996-1998) where she began studying woodrats. Her varied research interests have earned her colorful terms of endearment such as “Lizard Lady”, “Pika Princess” and “Woodrat Woman”. She has authored nearly 100 scientific papers and her work has been profiled in a variety of venues including Science Now, David Attenborough’s “Life of Mammals” and 3-2-1 Contact (a science program for children).

Dr. Dearing is dedicated to training the next generations of scientists. She has taught several undergraduate and graduates courses at the U, including Mammalogy, Field Ecology and Boot Camp. She has been recognized for her teaching efforts with a Distinguished Teaching Award (2008) and Student’s Choice Award (2001). More than 100 undergraduates have conducted research projects with her team and several of them have authored scientific publications. She has mentored more than 20 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and was honored with the Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor Award (2009). She has participated in two NSF GK-12 projects that place graduate students into secondary schools.

In addition to working, she enjoys spending time with her family, usually cooking ethnic foods with or watching her boys play soccer. She enjoys the outdoors, particularly while cycling or running. Dr. Dearing’s favorite shoes are her Italian-crafted red road Sidis.