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Faculty and Staff

Annette Golonka, Ph.D.

Title: Professor of Biology
Department: Math, Science, Nursing, and Public Health
USC Lancaster
Phone: 803-313-7019
Fax: 803-313-7106
Office: Bradley 211
Office Hours: Vary from semester to semester.  Open door policy.  Email or Call as well.
LinkedIn: My LinkedIn profile
Resources: Curriculum Vitae
Annette Golonka, Associate Professor of Biology


Annette Golonka is an Associate Professor of Biology at USC Lancaster. She earned her PhD at Duke University and her Bachelor's of Science Degree at the University of California Irvine. She focuses much of her time on teaching majors' courses and advising students in biology and pre-health fields (pre-dental, pre-vet, pre-medical school, pre-physician assistant).

Annette Golonka likes to teach by interactive lecturing, asking students questions as she lectures, getting them involved in the lecture, and making them part of the learning process. In the beginning students may be hesitant about answering questions, especially in the larger classes, but during the semester they learn that she enjoys the interaction and sometimes gets sidetracked by the questions students ask about biology in the news. She tries to make the classroom a place students enjoy being and learning about biology. Her teaching style is driven not only by a need to teach students about biological concepts and how to apply these concepts, but also by a desire to understand her students, to learn from them, and to become a better educator in the process. She wants her students to view her as both a mentor and a source of biological knowledge.

Golonka teaches the following courses at USC Lancaster:
BIOL 101 - Biological Principles I (Biology majors course)
BIOL 302/302L - Cell & Molecular Biology lecture and lab (Biology majors course)
BIOL 303 - Fundamental Genetics (Biology majors course)
BIOL 250/250L - Microbiology (non majors course, nursing course, pre-health, pre-pharmacy)

Associate Professor of Biology, USC Lancaster, Aug 2014 - present
Assistant Professor of Biology, USC Lancaster, Aug 2006 - 2014
Microbiology Lab Administrator / Instructor, Duke University, Aug 2003 - July 2006
Teaching Assistant, Duke University, Sept 2000 - Dec 2002
Aide, Duke University, June - July 2002
Teaching Assistant, Duke University, Sept 1996 - May 1997
Assistant I, University of California, Irvine (UCI), June 1994 - Aug 1996

Scholarships, Grants, and Honors

  • USC Lancaster
    - PI on a SC STEPS to STEM Student Research Internship with Dr. Bettie Obi Johnson as Co-PI, spring 2014, with Sophomore Nigel Wolfram
    - Faculty/Staff Research and Productive Scholarship, 2014
    - PI on a Magellan Scholar Award with Dr. Bettie Obi Johnson as Co-PI, Spring 2013, with sophomore Austin Blackwell.
    - Co-PI on a Magellan Scholar Award with Dr. Bettie Obi Johnson as PI, Spring 2011, with Sophomore Jonathan Freeman
    - Mini Faculty/Staff Research and Productive Scholarship, USC Lancaster, 2010-2011.
    - Association for Biological Laboratory Education (ABLE) tuition waiver, June 2007, for ABLE Conference at University of Kentucky.
    - Mini Research and Productive Scholarship, USC Lancaster, 2007.
    - Co-PI on "Continuous Renewal of Undergraduate Education Grant via an Interdisciplinary, Inquiry Based Laboratory", NSF #0633648.
  • Duke University
    - Center for Instructional Technology Jump Start Grant with Dr. Xinnian Dong, Spring 2005. Funds to develop an instructional website focusing on genomics and its usage in microbiology.
    - Catherine Keever Award. Supplies for research at MLBS, June 2000-2001.
    - Mountain Lake Biological Station, University of Virginia Gift Grant. Support for room and board. June 2000.
    - Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid, June 1997. Funds to conduct research at MLBS.
    - NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, June 1997 - 2000.
  • University of California, Irvine
    - Honorable Mention NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Awards, June 1996.
    - NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), June 1995 - Aug 1995
    - Golden Key National Honor Society, 1994 - present.
    - National Science Scholars Program, 1992-1995.
    - Deans Honor List (11 quarters), 1993-1995.
    - Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union Scholarship, 1992-1993.
    - Garden Grove Association of American University Women Scholarship, 1992-1993.
    - Italian Catholic Federation Scholarship, 1992-1993.


Golonka's research focuses on local plant species, such as _Silene caroliniana_ and _Gelsemium sempervirens_. The work she does tends to be microbial oriented. Her current focus is around the diversity of nectar-inhabiting microorganisms in these plant species as well as the volatile organic compounds produced by these plant species in collaborative research with USCL's analytical chemist, Dr. Bettie Obi Johnson.  Together they have worked with a number of USCL students to study the biochemistry of floral scent along with some molecular work.  Other areas Golonka is interested in include microbial ecology, diversity, and evolution as well as population and community dynamics of plants, the interaction of microbes with plants and pollinators, yeast evolution and ecology, the evolution of gender in plants, and pollination biology.  


Duke University, Department of Biology, Aug 1996 – Dec 2002, PhD in Botany, Certificate in Ecology, Certificate in Teaching College Biology

University of California, Irvine, Aug 1992 – June 1996, BS in Biology, _Cum Laude_, Specialization in Ecology

Curriculum Vitae [pdf]


Scholarly Publications and Presentations (* indicates USC Lancaster undergrad student)

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

Golonka, A. M., B. Obi Johnson, J. Freeman*, and D. W. Hinson*. 2014. Impact of nectarivorous yeasts on _Silene caroliniana's_ scent. The Eastern Biologist. 3: 1-26. (pdf)

Golonka, A. M. and R. Vilgalys. 2013. Nectar inhabiting yeasts in Virginian populations of _Silene latifolia_ (Caryophyllaceae) and coflowering species. The American Midland Naturalist. 169: 235-258. (pdf available upon request)

Golonka, A. M., A. K. Sakai, and S. G. Weller. 2005. Wind pollination, sexual dimorphism, and changes in floral traits of _Schiedea_ (Caryophyllaceae). American Journal of Botany. 92: 1492-1502.

Weller, S. G., A. K. Sakai, A. E. Rankin, A. Golonka, B. Kutcher, and K. E. Ashby. 1998. Dioecy and the evolution of pollination systems in _Schiedea_ and _Alsinidendron_ (Caryophyllaceae: Alsinoideae) in the Hawaiian Islands. American Journal of Botany. 85:1377-1388.