...where life and science meet

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 candidate in Biology in the Seagrass Ecosystems Research Lab (PI: Dr. James W. Fourqurean). Bryan is the Head TA for the QBIC program and hopes to embark on an academic career that focuses on teaching and research through undergraduate student development. Bryan-s dissertation looks at the ecology of primary producer community structure, and the possible use of this

Head TA
Ian M. Jones – Head TA for the QBIC Program, Ian is an evolutionary ecologist with expertise in Insect/Plant interactions. His dissertation focuses on factors that influence the production of extrafloral nectar and the myriad consequences of this in tritrophic interactions (hostplants, herbivores, and others such as predators and parasitoids).

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 K. Lowenstein PhD RD LDN– Marcy is a lecturer in Biology and teaches QBIC General Biology lecture and Developmental Biology. Marcy received her PhD in Biology in the lab of Dr. Lidia Kos at FIU. Marcy-s research focused on the genetic interaction of 3 genes crucial in early embryonic development of neural crest cells and resultant neurocristopathies when development is aberrant.

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.

Dr. Enrique Villamor – Co-director of the QBIC Program, and Professor of Mathematics at FIU. A pure mathematician, Enrique oversees the integration of Calculus, Statistics, and higher math into the coursework and research experience of the QBIC scholars.

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 Ballester (left) and Gregory -Aaron- Barreto (right) - Javier is a QBIC Scholar (Class of 2014) and Gregory is a student in the FIU Frost School of Music. 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.

Episode I
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.

Episode II
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.

Episode III
Dr. Marcy Lowenstein 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.

Episode IV
Dr. Marcy Lowenstein 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.

Episode V
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.

Episode VI
Dr. Marcy Lowenstein 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

Episode VI
Dr. Bryan M. 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.

Supported with funds from the National Institutes of Health