Gila Monsters
Field Site

Team DeNardo

Dale DeNardo

Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences
Chair, Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-4501
Email denardo@asu.edu


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1994. Department of Integrative Biology.
Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, 1988. Zoological Medicine track.
Bachelor of Science (with highest honors), Zoology, University of California, Davis, 1984.

Research Projects

I am actively involved in all studies conducted in the lab. Most projects are headed up by a graduate student (or sometimes an undergrad), with my role focusing on project development and technical challenges. A short summary of each project can be found at the end of the text in the Research directory and more detailed project descriptions can be found by clicking on the project leader's picture in the Team DeNardo directory.

Mentoring Philosophy

Graduate students

Graduate students in my lab are expected to take the lead role in an independent project that uses a physiological approach to understanding the interrelationship between the organism and its environment. Choice of projects may be relatively open to the student or guided by available funding. Even in the latter case, students are expected to develop their own hypotheses, predictions, and experimentation. Students should not resemble ducklings that imprint on their mentor expecting minute by minute guidance through their graduate life. Contrarily, students should not have to function in isolation. As a mentor, I bridge these extremes, encouraging self-motivation, critical assessment, and cautious confidence. All students incur roadblocks, either mental or technical, and my role is to help students overcome these. The successful student, when challenged, will assess the problem, develop one or more possible corrective steps, and then present these options to me in a clear and concise manner.

Clearly, the degree to which students are expected to function independently in thought and action is dependent on their tenure as a graduate student. I work closely with new graduate students, providing close guidance through the development of their ideas and experiments. With time, the student acquires the skills and confidence to begin assuming the leadership role in their project, relying on me to help in the development of new ideas and modifications to existing studies. As their education continues, they further develop their talents to the point where I shift from the advisory role to the role of a colleague. There is no set timeline for each of these progressive steps, as students have different backgrounds at the onset and adapt and develop at different paces.

While each student's project is unique, all projects within the lab share common threads.  As such, students are expected to understand the scientific rationale and, to some extent, the methodologies of all lab projects. Additionally, students should be willing to assist other students when the need arises. It is only with such collaborative interest does one gain a full prospective of the field and the methods by which science is conducted.

Undergraduate students

Undergraduates are a vital component of the lab. Their investment into the lab and my expectations of them vary greatly. Undergraduate student can work as little as several or as many as 40 hours per week in the lab depending on the agreement we have settled upon. Students are expected to be both mature and responsible, and, as such, live up to their agreed upon commitment and responsibilities. Students that work only limited hours work closely with a graduate student and provide support to existing projects. Students that invest a greater amount of time into the lab are expected to conduct their own independent project that closely aligns with an existing project. That is, they do not have the burden of conducting an experiment vital to the success of the project as a whole, but their projects provide valuable ancillary contributions. Undergraduate researchers are not given projects with established methodologies, but rather are expected to, with considerable guidance, experience all facets of research including conceptual design, experiment developmental, data collection, data analysis, and presentation of results. For undergraduate projects, providing the student experience with each of these steps is more important than the end result. With that said, however, a high proportion of undergraduates in my lab author a peer-reviewed paper.

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