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by merriman last modified Sep 28, 2020 12:18 PM
Contributors: ledwell

Dana K. Merriman Ph.D. 

Formerly Dana K. Vaughan

AxleTech Intl Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Squirrel Colony Director 
Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin 


Office: Halsey 249   
Phone: (920) 424-3076  
 Dana Merriman

I have returned to teaching in Fall 2020 on a half-time load which includes advising ca. 200 PreHealth students.  I'm also serving as CAPP Liaison for three Bio 105 adjuncts at regional high schools. 

As always, the very best way to contact me is via email.  


I joined the faculty at UW-Oshkosh in September 1998 as a member of the Department of Biology


Over the years, I have taught a number of courses for the Department and for the College of Letters & Science, including freshman English Composition (WBIS) and a Quest II University Studies Program course.  In 2017, I co-taught a new doctoral course (with Dr. Kurtz) for the College of Nursing's accelerated Nurse Anesthetist degree program. 


I have developed 4 new undergraduate courses for the campus (Neurobiology, Healthcare Orientation, Right & Wrong of Healthcare Science, and Biology of Gender; the latter is cross-listed with Women & Gender Studies). I have also contributed substantial leadership for several new degree programs (the Neuroscience Minor, Healthcare Emphases in four departments, and the Environmental Health major). I designed and for its first six years directed the Radiologic Science major, which went live in Fall 2012. 

I play a major role in campus-wide academic advising of students interested in healthcare-related careers, including the keynote address at Health Science Titan Preview  

each fall.  

My lab's research in the ground squirrel visual system has been funded by WiSys, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Foundation Fighting Blindness.  Our work is conducted in collaboration with scientists at major research institutions across the nation. See my most recent publications here.

My 13-lined ground squirrel captive breeding colony is a unique national resource.  Here is a partial list of publications deriving from the colony (link).   

My research assistants (mostly undergraduates) have presented their research at regional and national venues, including the annual meetings of the Chicago Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology.   In January 2013, we hosted the Hibernation 2.0 meeting that drew participants from the US and Canada.


Sept 2020: The journal Nature reviews our work on stem cells from non-traditional animal models.  


A few of my interests

PrettyChatNFCalret.jpg    DifferentAgedLittersCombined

Ground squirrel visual system (retinas with 85% cones that undergo seasonal remodeling) and ground squirrel reproductive biology (in captivity, unrelated mothers co-raise different-aged young successfully... so is this truly an "asocial" sciurid species?)

Link to 13LGS genome resource within MCW's Rat Genome Database


  LabAnimalCover2012.jpg    CellCoverDec2017  Smaller_OuEtAl2018CellVol173cover 



The colony's journal covers, so far: 

  • Lab Animal November 2012 
  • Cell May 3, 2018... profiled in Science (link) and by NIH (link)
  • Current Biology September 2019

Human hibernation?  Washington Post article (link)  


Stress Physiology; it's no joke for the "Stone Age body in the Space Age"


"Wildling" rodent models.   The microbiome is a cornerstone of the "Square of Control" that I teach my students.  Here is a fascinating article of microbiome-immune system interaction and its importance to improving translational research. 





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by merriman last modified Sep 28, 2020 12:18 PM
Contributors: ledwell