eric thomas

Eric Thomas

Assoc. Professor
Room 242
Biological Sciences Center
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PhD, Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, 1991

MA, Biology, University of California, Riverside, 1987

BS, Biology, University of California, Riverside, 1984

Teaching Interests

I wanted to be a biologist almost as long as I can remember. Biology attracted me because I could see it all around me, I could touch nature and living organisms, I could care for and learn about pets. As an adult, I learned that biology was connected to me, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and medically. 

As an instructor, I work to instill that same curiosity and interest in my students. I want to help them "find biology" in their everyday lives and in the world around them. In class and in the lab, I attempt to bring home a certain relevance to everything the students do and learn, to help them connect the material in class to their own past and their own future. Besides presenting and discussing modern theories and upcoming technologies in class, I want to challenge students to search around them for evidence that these details and activities are already integrated into their lives in one way or another, for example, how does an understanding of physiology help us when we visit a doctor, or care for a sick relative or friend?
I also want to help them develop critical thinking skills and an enthusiasm for science; it is not just an academic pursuit, it is a tool that students can apply to make their lives brighter and more exciting. Some classes and some subjects can be dry or boring to study. I want to bring life, a sense of stimulation, even some entertainment to this content; students don't have to feel burdened when they are asked to learn challenging or difficult material.

Research Focus

Reproduction of amphibians and fishes
Comparative & behavioral endocrinology
Chemical communication (pheromonal signaling)
Comparative physiology
Biology of the skin
Computer-based physiological instrumentation