Dr. Sara O'Brien

Assistant Professor, Scholar-Citizen Director 2017-18
Office: 175 Center for the Sciences
Lab: 166 Center for the Sciences
Box 6931, Radford University
Radford, VA 24142-6939, U.S.A.
Tel:(540) 831-6431
E-mail: sobrien3@radford.edu


Courses Taught:

  • BIOL 160 - Introductory Seminar in Biology
  • BIOL 322 - Human Anatomy & Physiology for Pre-Nursing Majors
  • BIOL 410/411 - Human Anatomy & Physiology for Science Majors I & II
  • BIOL 477 - Neuroscience
  • BIOL 491 - Directed Study & Research: Peer TAs for Anatomy & Physiology 
  • BIOL 491 - Directed Study & Research:  Topics in Ecological Physiology


Scientific Areas of Interest:

physiology, endocrinology, neuroscience, reproduction, ecology, evolution, sustainability, toxicology, and conservation

Research Interests:

Broadly, my research could be characterized as how organisms react to a dynamic environment; meaning, how does an organism's physiological processes allow it to react to environmental changes, both natural (seasonal changes, food abundance changes, social changes, etc.) and non-natural (global warming, pollutants, human disturbance, etc.).   I usually work with a variety of vertebrates including birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals. I am specifically focused on the mechanisms of reproduction and what factors influence an organism’s reproductive physiology.

Undergraduate Research: 

I welcome working with undergraduates on novel research projects. Students should contact me to determine if I have an opening in my lab and if there is room to work on an established research project or develop one of their own. To be successful in my lab a student will need to have a strong work ethic, fine attention to detail, the ability to work odd hours (including weekends and early mornings when needed), the ability to do field work (including in inclement weather), a positive attitude and a sense of humor.