Photo of Amy L. Denton

Amy L. Denton

Professor, Biology

Contact Information


Dr. Amy Denton joined the CI faculty from the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she was an assistant professor in the Department of Biology and Wildlife. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton, her Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Washington, and spent two years at the University of California Riverside as the recipient of an NSF/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Evolution.

Amy's research uses population-level sampling, DNA sequencing, and the analytical tools of statistical population genetics to understand how physical factors have influenced the evolution, genetic diversity and distribution of extant plant populations. Her interest in plant molecular evolution has provided her the opportunity to conduct field work in the pacific northwest, Tibet, Yunnan, southern Mexico, and Alaska's north slope.

Following her B.A, Amy worked as a molecular biology research technician for seven years before returning to graduate school, and was involved in a variety of projects including gene regulation in adenoviruses, signal transduction in bovine brain, and human brain tumor gene expression. She has also done consulting work for several municipal and state resource protection agencies. At CI, Amy is working to develop the biology and MS Biotechnology programs and would like to teach and involve students in a variety of research experiences involving ecology, evolution, molecular and biology. She believes students benefit most from exposure to, and participation in, all aspects of biological research, from the field, to the lab bench to the database. Amy is also interested in the relationship between science and public policy and hopes to help CI graduates develop the resources and confidence to evaluate critically the facts behind policy disputes on scientific matters and make informed decisions as citizens.

Representative Courses Taught

  • BIOL 303 Evolutionary Biology
  • BIOL 311 Plant Biology
  • BIOL 345 Science & Public Policy (cross listed with POLS 345)
  • UNIV 391 US Travel Study Experience: Climate Change in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • UNIV 391 US Travel Study Experience: Science & Public Policy in Yellowstone National Park



Plant systematics, phylogenetics, biogeography, and molecular evolution