Dr. Matt Close


Associate Professor
Office: 174 Center for the Sciences
Lab: 166 Center for the Sciences
Box 6931, Radford University
Radford, VA 24142
Tel: (540) 831-6290
E-mail: mclose2@radford.edu




Courses Taught

BIOL 105: Biology for Health Sciences
BIOL 160: Introductory Seminar in Biology
BIOL 322: Human Anatomy and Physiology
BIOL 350: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
BIOL 405: Histology
BIOL 410/411: Human Anatomy and Physiology for Science Majors
BIOL 460: Advanced Seminar in Biology
BIOL 481: Appalachian Herpetology



I am broadly interested in the functional, evolutionary and ecological anatomy of vertebrate animals. I use a variety of techniques ranging from behavioral and kinematic analyses, gross and micro-dissection and histology to approach  multiple levels of organization (from cells to whole organisms).



My research has specifically focused on the form and function of extensible soft tissues in snakes and the prey that they ingest. Snakes must swallow prey whole, and many of the major existing groups of snakes are capable of ingesting relatively large prey (macrostomy). I am interested in the aspects of snake anatomy that make this phenomenon possible, the ecological significance of it, and how it has evolved over time.



Students interested in conducting research in my lab, whether it is working on snake behavior and anatomy or simply learning anatomical techniques to answer similar interesting questions of their own, are encouraged to contact me.




In addition to anatomy research, I also have spent several years studying and teaching biodiversity in the Appalachian Bioregion. Some of my research has involved conducting herpetofaunal inventories and measuring amphibian and reptile population densities at Radford University’s Selu Conservancy.




I designed a field course called Appalachian Herpetology that explores biodiversity by comparing herpetofaunal diversity between different provinces of the Appalachian Bioregion based on geography, forest structure and land use patterns.

Students doing independent research or course-based research walk away with knowledge of natural history, species identification skills and field techniques.