Dr. Ernest Steele, Jr.

Associate Professor of Biology
Office Location: 
Spencer Hall G13
(443) 885-4083

Ph.D. Genetics & Molecular Biology, Emory University, 1999
B.S. Biology, Emory College, 1990


Ph.D. Genetics & Molecular Biology, Emory University, 1999
B.S. Biology, Emory College, 1990

Research Interests:

  • Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Gene Expression and Regulation
  • Vision Neuroscience
  • Stroke
  • Science Education

Current Research:

Dr. Steele's collective past biomedical research spans a wide gamut of topics including: the development and application of molecular screening methods for rapid identification of novel genetic mutations resulting in galactosemia in humans, the molecular genetics of ocular lens proteins and mutations in the genes encoding them that result in loss of vision due to cataract formation, the molecular expression and physiological function and inter-connectivity of retinal neurons and glia in both healthy and stressed or diseased retina, microscopic imaging and quantification of the intracellular calcium dynamics of the presynaptic terminals of intact isolated vertebrate retinal photoreceptors, and the consequences of stroke on retinal expression, structure, and function. Dr. Steele's research has been published in top tier peer-reviewed journals, and continuous and current citations by researchers beyond his immediate collaborators in the fields of study confirm the significant contributions of his work to their respective fields of scientific inquiry.

After a successful period of active contribution to biomedical research, Dr. Steele has now shifted his focus to the preparation of the next generation of diverse STEM talent. To this end, he serves as author and PI of the NSF-funded Strategies for Transforming Access to Research and Scholarship-1 (STARS-1) Program (https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1154218&HistoricalAwards=false) and co-author and co-PI on the NSF-funded science education research grant entitled "Impacts of the Concept Mapping Strategy in Introductory Biology Courses on Learning and Retention of Underrepresented STEM Students" (https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1623215&HistoricalAwards=false). These synergistic projects have the shared goals of: 1) informing our present understanding of aspects of learning and student development that contribute to success of underrepresented students in STEM-related disciplines, in the classroom and beyond; and 2) increasing the quality and capacity of STEM-related pipelines for underrepresented students to increase the overall diversity and quality of STEM-related graduate and professional programs and workforces.

Courses Taught:

  • BIOL 303, Genetics
  • BIOL 498 Senior Internship
  • BIOL 499 Senior Teaching/Tutorial Assistantship

Selected Publications:

  • Ford GD, Ford BD, Steele EC Jr., Gates A, Hood D, Matthews MA, Mirza S, Macleish PR. Analysis of transcriptional profiles and functional clustering of global cerebellar gene expression in PCD3J mice. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008; 377:556-61. Epub 2008 Oct 16.
  • Steele EC Jr., Guo Q, Namura S. Filamentous middle cerebral artery occlusion  (fMCAO) induces retinal ischemia in mice. Stroke 2008;39:2099-104. Epub 2008 Apr 24. http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/STROKEAHA.107.504357?ijkey=5elJHe81rRrD2Sx&keytype=ref
  • Xiao H, Chen X, and Steele EC Jr. Abundant L-type calcium channel Cav1.3 (α1D) subunit mRNA is detected in rod photoreceptors of the mouse retina via in situ hybridization. Mol. Vis. 2007;13:764-771. http://www.molvis.org/molvis/v13/a83/
  • Steele EC Jr., Chen X, Iuvone PM, MacLeish PR. Imaging of Ca2+ dynamics within the presynaptic terminals of salamander rod photoreceptors. J Neurophysiol. 2005;94:4544-53. Epub 2005 Aug 17. http://jn.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/94/6/4544.
  • Steele EC Jr., Wang JH, Lo WK, Saperstein DA, Li XL, and Church RL. Lim2To3 transgenic mice establish a causative relationship between the mutation identified in the Lim2 gene and cataractogenesis in the To3 mouse mutant, Mol. Vis. 2000;6:85-94. http://www.molvis.org/molvis/v6/a12/.
  • Steele EC Jr., Lyon MF, Favor J, Guillot PV, Boyd Y, and Church RL. A mutation in the connexin 50 (Cx50) gene is a candidate for the No2 mouse cataract, Curr. Eye Res. 1998; 17:883-889.
  • Elsas LJ, Langley S, Steele EC Jr., Evinger J, Fridovich-Keil JL, Brown A, Singh R, Fernhoff P, Hjelm LN, and Dembure PP. Galactosemia: A strategy to identify new biochemical phenotypes and molecular genotypes, Am. J. Hum. Genet. 1995;56:630-639.