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I am a developmental neurobiologist, and I have a long-standing interest in the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the hormonal regulation of neuronal plasticity, particularly in the context of neuropeptide signaling and the control of insect behavior. My current research is focused on factors controlling neuronal remodeling, a process involving the extensive pruning of nerve cell connections followed by the formation of new ones. I am also investigating the regulation of peptide hormone expression by steroids, and the control of neuropeptide secretion.
I am currently Chair of the Department of Biology at OU, and I am serving a year as Chair of the Faculty Senate. My courses have included Cell Biology and Cell/Molecular Neurobiology, and I am currently leading efforts to update our introductory biology courses and engage all biology majors in research as sophomores as a formal part of the curriculum.
Mature neurons display major changes in structure and function during learning, puberty, and seasonal reproduction, and following injury and neurodegenerative disease. The mechanisms underlying these adaptive changes are poorly understood.
My lab is investigating the genetic and molecular pathways controlling neuronal remodeling during insect metamorphosis. Our goal is to understand when and how mature neurons respond to insulin, steroids, and other cues to reactivate and execute growth processes that are usually seen only in the embryo.
Drawing upon my teaching experiences and the opportunities presented as a department chair, I have been leading curriculum redesign efforts for the past two years. These initiatives started with work to redesign our largest introductory biology lecture and lab courses (BIOL 1114/1121), which are taken by >1200 students each year. In addition, we introduced a sophomore-level course called Cornerstone, with the goal of engaging students in research early within the regular undergraduate curriculum. I formed a Biology Curriculum Task Force, consisting of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and advising staff, which has proposed additional actions, such as a set of defined learning objectives for the biology major that were adopted by the faculty in spring 2014. Through these efforts, I am working to promote transformational changes in undergraduate biology education at OU.
Principles of Cell Biology (BIOL/PBIO/MBIO 3113)
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (BIOL 4223/5223)
Introductory Zoology Lab (BIOL 1121 - Coordinator)
2007 Kinney-Sugg Outstanding Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
Project Director (Co-PI), Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) training grant 2012-15
5 Ph.D. students (1 current student) and 50 undergraduate research assistants sponsored 2001-present
Current members of the Hewes lab
Insulin regulation of neuronal growth
SHEP regulation of neuronal remodeling
If you are interested in learning more about research in the Hewes lab, you can contact us here. This form will send an email to Randy Hewes.
This is us, drop by sometime.