Dr. David Hollis grew up in Fresno, California in the San Joaquin Valley. He attended college at California State University, Fresno and received his bachelor's degree in Zoology followed by a master's degree in biology. His master's research, which focused on amphibian vocalization, yielded him the university's Outstanding Thesis Award. He then moved to Indiana and earned his Ph.D. in biology (2002) from the University of Notre Dame, where his research focus shifted to molecular neurobiology. Dr. Hollis then became a postdoctoral scientist at Oregon State University where he worked on brain gene expression in urodele amphibians in response to pheromones. He then took a subsequent postdoctoral position at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the Great Lakes WATER Institute. There, he initiated his research on the molecular mechanisms of brain regeneration in adult fish. Afterwards, he became an assistant professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona where he taught neurobiology, endocrinology, and physiology. He then joined the Furman University Biology Department in 2008 and expanded his research focus to the molecular mechanisms of brain repair and development in both fish and amphibians. Dr. Hollis is currently a member of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), the Society for Comparative and Integrative Biology (SICB), the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH), and the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB). 

Name Title Description


Seminar in Biology

Presentations of current topics in biology by students, faculty, and visiting scientists. Emphasis is on effective oral communication and critical examination of scientific information and ideas.


Foundations of Biology

Introduction to the unifying concepts of biology. Topics include: cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, evolution, and the diversity of life. Laboratories emphasize an investigative approach. Designed for science majors.


Animal Physiology

Comparative and environmental animal physiology. Organ systems studied in invertebrate and vertebrate organisms, with emphasis on physiological adaptation. Laboratory topics include metabolism, respiration, osmoregulation, stress physiology.


Human Physiology

Molecular and cellular biology in first several sessions, followed by survey of the functions of the various organ systems in the human body. Laboratory involves studies of humans, using computerized data acquisition systems.



Structure, function and interactions of neurons and supportive cells of the nervous system. Analysis of simple neuronal circuits and neuronal alterations in development, memory and neurological disorders. Laboratories include the study of nervous system cells utilizing a variety of methods, some of which involve the use of model organisms.


Current Topics in Neuroscience

Year long capstone course for neuroscience majors that will provide students with knowledge of current research practice and implications. Discussions of seminal or innovative research papers in a seminar format, and of individual research experiences in the context of progress in the field as a whole.

As adults, anamniotic vertebrates (fish and amphibians) maintain a tremendous capacity to regenerate their central nervous systems. Our lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms that govern this ability; an ability which is severely limited in mammals. Further, because many of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in post-embryonic neurogenesis are similar to those in embryonic nervous system development, our lab is also interested in early brain development. Our lab is focused on genes that code for proteins with known roles in synapse development, stem cell proliferation, and the facilitation of axonal outgrowth. Specifically, our lab is investigating the roles of the small molecule GTPase, Rem2, and the membrane-associated lipid phosphate phosphatase, Prg-1, in brain repair and development. We use the rainbow trout and the bullfrog as model systems in the hope of gaining insight into the discrepancies between vertebrates with regard to adult neurogenesis.

*Denotes undergraduate coauthor

  • DeRocher MM, Armaly* FA, Lepore* CJ, Hollis DM. 2014. Rem2 in the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana): Patterns of expression within the central nervous system and brain expression at different ontogenetic stages. Gene. 540 (1): 37-45.
  • Hollis DM, Sawa* Y, Wagoner* A, Rawlings JS, Goetz FW. 2012. Isolation and molecular characterization of Rem2 isoforms in the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): Tissue and central nervous system expression. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part B: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. 161 (2): 93-101.
  • Palmer CA, Hollis DM, Watts RA, Houck LD, McCall M, Gregg R, Feldhoff P, Feldhoff R, and Arnold SJ. 2007. Plethodontid Modulating Factor, a hypervariable salamander courtship pheromone in the three-finger protein superfamily. FEBS Journal. 274: 2300-2310.
  • Hollis DM, Coddington EJ, and Moore FL. 2006. Neuroanatomical distribution of cannabinoid receptor gene expression in the brain of the rough-skinned newt, Taricha granulosa. Brain, Behavior and Evolution. 67 (3): 135-149.
  • Hollis DM, Chu J, Walthers EA, Heppner* BL, Searcy BT, and Moore FL. 2005. Neuroanatomical distribution of vasotocin and mesotocin in two urodele amphibians (Plethodon shermani and Taricha granulosa) based on in situ hybridization histochemistry. Brain Research. 1035 (1): 1-12.
  • Hollis DM and Boyd SK. 2005. Distribution of GABA-like immunoreactive cell bodies in the brains of two amphibians, Rana catesbeiana and Xenopus laevis. Brain, Behavior and Evolution. 65 (2): 127-142.
  • Hollis DM, Goetz FW, Roberts SB, and Boyd SK. 2004. Acute neurosteroid modulation and subunit isolation of the GABAA receptor in the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. Journal of Molecular Endocrinology. 32: 921-934.
  • Hollis DM and Boyd SK. 2003. Characterization of the GABAA receptor in the brain of the adult male bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. Brain Research. 992 (1): 69-7.
University of Notre Dame
Cal. State Univ., Fresno
Cal. State Univ., Fresno

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