Dana Merriman - Biology
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Dana K. Merriman Ph.D. (formerly Dana K. Vaughan)

AxleTech Intl Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Squirrel Colony Director
Radiologic Science Program Director
Campus PreHealth Professions Adviser
Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin

Office: Halsey 249
Phone: (920) 424-3076

The very best way to contact me is via email.

To make an appointment with me:

  • Students must come to my office door (Halsey 249) and sign up for a time slot on a sheet posted there.
  • Out-of-town guests may email me instead.
  • Certain times of year, no appointments are available.


joined the faculty at UW-Oshkosh in September 1998 as a member of the Department of Biology.

Over the years, I have taught a number of courses for the Department and for the College of Letters & Science, including freshman English Composition (WBIS) and a Quest II University Studies Program course.  In 2017, I co-taught a new doctoral course (with Dr. Kurtz) for the College of Nursing‘s accelerated Nurse Anesthetist degree program.

I have developed 4 new undergraduate courses for the campus (Neurobiology, Healthcare Orientation, Right & Wrong of Healthcare Science, and Biology of Gender; the latter is cross-listed with Women & Gender Studies). I have also contributed substantial leadership for several new degree programs (the Neuroscience Minor, Healthcare Emphases in four departments, and the Environmental Health major). I designed and now direct the Radiologic Science major which went live in Fall 2012.

I play a major role in campus-wide academic advising of students interested in healthcare-related careers, including the keynote address at Health Science Titan Preview.each fall.

My lab’s research in the ground squirrel visual system has been funded by WiSys, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Foundation Fighting Blindness.  Our work is conducted in collaboration with scientists at major research institutions across the nation. See my most recent publications here.

My 13-lined ground squirrel captive breeding colony is a unique national resource.  Here is a partial list of publications deriving from the colony (link).My research assistants (mostly undergraduates) have presented their research at regional and national venues, including the annual meetings of the Chicago Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology.   In January 2013, we hosted the Hibernation 2.0 meeting that drew participants from the US and Canada.


A few of my interests


Ground squirrel retina, here by confocal microscopy


LabAnimalCover2012.jpg       CellCoverDec2017


The squirrel colony’s journal covers, so far: Lab Animal 2012, Cell Reports 2017… the latter article was profiled in the New York Times (link), National Geographic (link), and elsewhere.



Stress Physiology; it’s no joke for the “Stone Age body in the Space Age