Alexis Nagengasta

Alexis A. Nagengast, PhD

  • Chair of Biochemistry
  • Professor
  • Health Professions Advisor
Media Expertise:
  • Health Sciences
  • Science & Environment

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Genetics (2003)
    Case Western Reserve University (OH)
  • MA, Biochemistry (1996)
    University of Delaware (DE)

About Me

My teaching philosophy centers on encouraging students to ask questions. Curiosity is the essence of science. I try to create an "open classroom," a comfortable and engaging environment that promotes class participation and hands-on learning. I believe that a dynamic and open interaction between teacher and students facilitates the best method of learning. 

Including students in lectures encourages them to frequently ask questions. I also incorporate case studies and real-world applications of the material into all levels of my teaching.

Research Interests

Using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, I involve many undergraduate students in my research on how alternative splicing affects lipid metabolism in an effort to better understand gene regulation mechanisms related to obesity. I am also interested in the effect of diet and supplements on lifespan and fitness in both male and female fruit flies. Additionally, I collaborate on a project to identify regulatory genes involved in sexual dimorphism in the jumping stick Stiphra sp.


  • Leung, W., Morris, R.W., Nagengast, A.A., Azarewicz, J., Carr, T.J., Chichearo, N., Colgan, M., Donegan, M., Gardner, B., Kolba, N., Krumm, J.L., Lytle, S., MacMillian, L., Miller, M., Montgomery, A., Moretti, A., Offenbacker, B., Polen, M., Toth, J., Woytanowski, J., & Elgin, S.C.R., et al. (2015). Drosophila Muller F elements maintain a distinct set of genomic properties over 40 million years of evolution. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics5(5), 719–740.
  • Krumm, J.L., Nagengast, A.A., Moretti, A., Colgan, M., Fisher, K.E., Hy, K.L., Castellante, R.M., & Poslusny, M. (2014). Summer research program on a shoestring budget: Increasing participation in undergraduate research. PURM3(2), 1–10.
  • Gingras, R.M., Warren, M.E., Nagengast, A.A., & DiAngelo J.R. (2014). The control of lipid metabolism by mRNA splicing in Drosophila. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications443(2), 672–676.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Genetics Society of America (GSA), Genomics Education Partnership (GEP)


  • Primarily Undergraduate Institution Representative on the North American Drosophila Board (2014–2017)
  • Braude Award for Research with Undergraduates, Maryland Section of the American Chemical Society (2013)
  • Chair of the Genetics Society of America Victoria Finnerty Undergraduate Travel Award Committee (Fly Meeting)



  • Widener Faculty Publish Article in Journal of Solution Chemistry

    The Journal of Solution Chemistry recently published an article, titled "Volumetric and Acoustic Properties of Trans-Resveratrol in Ethanol", by Professors Ismail Kul and Alexis Nagengast, Associate Professor Krishna Bhat, and alumna Julianne Azarewicz '13.

    The article states that several thermodynamic parameters for trans-resveratrol have been experimentally determined or calculated at different temperatures. The capability of trans-resveratrol to have strong solute–solvent interactions and weak solute–solute interactions in ethanol solution has been demonstrated using density and speed of sound data. Furthermore, its ability to have structure breaking tendencies and the absence of caging effects are shown. The results of this investigation are consistent with molecular model images generated using Spartan 04 modeling.

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