Confluence is a series of interviews with biological scientists about their lives, inspiration and view of the world through their work.


Like many universities, a large percentage of the biology majors at Florida International University are pre–medical students. As a department we are committed to training them to the heights of their abilities.

In our biology department however we have identified a need for undergraduates to be exposed to sub–disciplines in biology which they may not have seen during their K–12 years.

Confluence is a seminar series whose explicit aim is to introduce undergraduates to the lives and work of researchers in the field of biology. We aim not only to introduce students to the latest scientific questions being addressed in the field, but more importantly to talk about when, in the lives of these great men and women, did they decide to pursue the troubling questions of how this world works.

The seminar speakers talk of their work, what inspired them to pursue this work, and how they view a better mankind because of the questions they are trying to answer. Our guests give an hour–long seminar discussing their research to a largely undergraduate audience. Afterward, they give an interview where they talk more deeply on their life and their work. The QBIC program is proud to present these interviews for your viewing pleasure.



Bryan M. Dewsbury - PhD in Biology from FIU, currently Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Rhode Island with a focus on Biology Education. Bryan was Head TA for the QBIC program, and coupled research on teaching with his PhD research on the ecology of primary producer community structure in seagrass ecosystems, and their value in ecosystem services.


Ian M. Jones - PhD candidate in Plant Ecology lab (PI: Dr. Suzanne Koptur). Ian was the second QBIC head TA, teaching General Bio lab and journal club. Ian's dissertation focus is habitat effects on extrafloral nectar production and tritrophic interactions (plant/herbivore/ants/other arthropods).


Adam Rosenblatt - PhD candidate in Biology in the Marine Community Ecology and Behavioral Ecology Lab (PI: Mike Heithaus). Adam teaches Journal Club to the QBIC freshmen, a class where students are introduced to reading and understanding scientific literature. Adam's dissertation looks at the keystone effects of the American Alligator on the Everglades ecosystem.


Marcy was a lecturer in Biology, teaching QBIC General Biology lecture and Developmental Biology. Marcy received her PhD in Biology in the lab of Dr. Lidia Kos at FIU. Marcy is currently the Associate Chair of the Biology Department at FIU.


Elmo Lugo - Elmo is the Producer and Editor of the video program and currently works as a Video Producer Coordinator University Technology Services center at FIU. Elmo has a lot of experience in both broadcast and print media, more recently working as an Advisor for Program 4 in the Latin Music, USA documentary series produced by WGBH and the BBC in 2009; vast experience as a radio broadcaster, including SiriusXM; and even as a music reporter for El Nuevo Herald in Miami.

Graphics Editor

Hanna Hussein - Hanna is a QBIC Scholar (Class of 2014). Hanna is a photographer and graphics designer. She is the owner of H2P Photography. Hanna is a Biology major (premed) who plans on becoming an oncologist one day.


Javier is a Biology major who plans on pursuing a career as a pediatrician specializing in the GI tract. Gregory is a singer/songwriter that writes and performs regularly in several bands, most often as the lead guitarist. He is currently attending FIU as a Music Major and lives to move people through the music he helps create. Currently, you can find him performing in the Miami scene in his two bands Homebody and OTOO.

Adam Rosenblatt with Dr. Tyrone Hayes

Dr. Tyrone Hayes is a Professor of Biology in the Department of Integrative Biology at University of California Berkeley. Dr. Hayes- work focuses on the role of environmental factors on the growth and development of amphibians.

Adam Rosenblatt with Dr. Mike Heithaus

Dr. Heithaus is the Director of the School of Environment, Arts and Society at Florida International University. His research looks at the ecosystem effects of charismatic megafauna in Shark Bay, Australia and Everglades National Park, Florida.

Dr. Marcia Kravec with Dr. Shaun Brothers

Dr. Shaun Brothers is a research scientist at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the University of Miami. Dr. Brothers' research focuses G Protein neuropharmacology to better understand addictions such as alcoholism and autism.

Dr. Marcia Kravec with Dr. M. William Lensch

Dr. Lensch is an instructor in pediatrics from Harvard Medical School and the faculty director of education at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. His research centers on the genetic origins of blood using human pluripotent stem cells.

Adam Rosenblatt with Dr. Mireya Mayor

Dr. Mayor is a National Geographic Explorer who is interested in conservation issues in the developing world. A former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, she discusses the challenges she faced through her career, and the remarkable experiences she has experienced along the way.

Dr. Marcia Kravec with Dr. Meg Lowman

Dr. Lowman is the director of the North Carolina Museum of Science and Natural History. She has spent many years working in the canopies in different parts of the world. Follow her world at

Ian Jones with Dr. Ken Feeley

Dr. Ken Feeley is a tropical ecologist whose work has helped to document climate change in the high-elevation tropical forests of south America. With a dual appointment at Florida International University and Fairchild Tropical Garden, he is one of the founding faculty members of the International Center for Tropical Botany at FIU.

Bryan Dewsbury with Dr. Diandra Leslie-Pelecky

Dr. Leslie-Pelecky's research in magnetic nanomaterials was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. She developed fundamental understanding of magnetic materials as well as applications of nanomaterials to medical diagnosis and treatment processes such as magnetic resonance imaging and chemotherapy.

Dr. Marcia Kravec with Dr. Jorge Peña

Dr. Jorge Peña is a native of Colombia, and an internationally renowned Tropical Fruit Crops Entomologist and Professor at the University of Florida's Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida. He is also a very talented painter, and now that he has retired, pursues that passion nearly full-time, saving a little time for his academic publishing and service.

Dr. Enrique Villamor with Dr. Andrea Bertozzi

Dr. Andrea Bertozzi is an Applied Mathematician and Professor at UCLA. Her seminar for our Confluence series was entitled "Swarming by Nature and by Design", featuring the natural world in all its mathematically modeled beauty; she also gave another seminar entitled "Mathematics of Crime" as a Sigma Xi distinguished lecturer at FIU.