David Hollis

Professor of Biology

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Dr. David Hollis grew up in the San Joaquin Valley in Fresno, California. He received his Bachelors’ degree in Zoology, as well as his Masters’ degree in Biology, from California State University, Fresno. His Masters work focused on female mating call discrimination in amphibians. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, where his research focused on the molecular characterization of the GABAA receptor, and its modulation by neurosteroids, in the amphibian brain. He then took a position as a postdoctoral scientist at Oregon State University where his worked focused on pheromone regulation of brain gene expression in salamanders. A second postdoctoral position at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Great Lakes WATER Institute led him to focus his research on the brain repair capabilities of adult fish. After his post-doctoral work, he became an Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania State University–Altoona, where he taught neurobiology, endocrinology, and physiology. He joined Furman University’s Biology Department in 2008 and has continued his focus on the molecular mechanisms that govern the cell proliferative and regenerative capabilities of the brain of adult fish, as well as amphibians. Dr. Hollis is currently a member of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN), and the Society for Comparative and Integrative Biology (SICB).


  • Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
  • M.A., Cal. State Univ., Fresno
  • B.A., Cal. State Univ., Fresno


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, we are also interested in early brain development. Our lab is focused on the expression of genes that code for proteins with known roles in brain cell proliferation and neurogenesis. We use the rainbow trout and the bullfrog as model systems to examine these genes as these species maintain relatively high cell proliferation rates in their central nervous systems. Our lab also uses the mummichog as a model for brain repair in the hope of gaining insight into the discrepancies that exist between adult vertebrates with regard to the brain regenerative process.


  • *Denotes undergraduate coauthor
    • Bisese*, EC, Ciuba* CM, Davidson* AL, Kaushik* A, Mullen* SM, Barth JL, Hazard ES, Wilson RC, Hardiman G and Hollis DM. 2019. The acute transcriptome response of the midbrain/diencephalon to injury in the adult mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus). Molecular Brain, 12(1):119. doi.org/10.1186/s13041-019-0542-4.
    • Downs* AG, Scholles* KR, and Hollis DM. 2016. Localization of rem2 in the central nervous system of the adult rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy. 78: 87-95.
    • 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.