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Faculty, Jessica Hua

Meet Jessica Hua, biological sciences

By Alexis Herder

When seeking a place to teach, Jessica Hua looked for the freedom to conduct research that interested her. She found that at Binghamton University.

“What I love about Harpur College is the opportunities,” she said. “The main thing is that they are very supportive of research and give me the opportunity to be successful.”

After completing her postdoctoral work at the University of Pittsburgh, Hua looked for jobs and was drawn to Binghamton University.

“Harpur College wants you to succeed at what you love to do, which is incredible,” she said. “I did not get that impression at a lot of other places.”

The new assistant professor of biological sciences teaches lab classes that have to do with ecology and evolution. Her current lab topics include community ecotoxicology, evotoxicology, disease ecology and phenotypic plasticity.

Before her job at Binghamton though, the Texas native began her studies in pre-med at Southwestern University.

“I was pre-med up until my senior year in college,” Hua said. “In college I played basketball and it was all I was worried about.”

Hua’s college adviser encouraged her to do a research internship at the University of Pittsburgh.

“I went ahead with the internship and it completely changed my perspective and I went on to get my PhD from the University of Pittsburgh,” she said.

Research quickly became her passion. Hua said that she loves the aspect of research that is challenging and different. 

“In class you memorize, yet in research every single day is different,” she said. “You have to think on the fly. You have to apply the things you actually learn in school — and I fell in love with that.”

Hua said she enjoys learning the biology of how things interact and how humans influence natural systems. To do this research, Hua is continuously outside and working with nature.

“I never liked being outside before research; now it’s incredible,” Hua said. “I am understanding how anthropogenic chemicals influence aquatic systems and employ a multidisciplinary approach that combines concepts and tools from ecology, evolution and toxicology.”

Toward this goal, her lab section within Harpur College works with a wide diversity of organisms including amphibians, zooplankton, amphipods, isopods, snails and insects.

“My lab consists of eight undergraduates and they are fantastic,” she said. “I run my lab like a team. People jump in and help out and it is rewarding when I see everyone grasp the experiment and help each other.”

Hua’s lab is broken up into teams and one important category is communication. Communicating research, Hua said, will help her spread her findings and achieve her goals.

“If you can’t communicate your research, who cares?” she said. “So my lab is broken up into the research and then team outreach, (in which we) communicate the research in a way to get people to care.”

Hua said she is appreciative of the students in her lab and enjoys working with them.

“Harpur students are just so intelligent,” she said. “There is a student in my lab that is focusing on experimenting with artistic mediums and how they can communicate science better than sitting and reading an article. Communicating science beyond paper! In more accessible ways!”

One of Hua’s research articles about pesticides and how it negatively affects parasites was recently published in the Journal of Parasitology.

“Here at Harpur College, I love that research is growing and extending,” she said.

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Last Updated: 11/30/17