Alexis Nagengasta

Alexis A. Nagengast, PhD

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

Programs I Teach


  • 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)


In the Media