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College of Arts and Sciences

College of Arts and Sciences

Nora Demers

Nora DemersAssociate Professor
Comparative Immunology and Interdisciplinary Studies
Phone: (239) 590-7211
Office: WH 218


  • Ph.D. Zoology, Oregon State University M.S. Zoology, Oregon State University
  • B.S. Life Sciences University of Missouri-Rolla


I believe that the most important part of teaching is helping the process of learning occur. I consider my role as a "guide on the side" rather than the "sage on the stage". That said, I am enthusiastic and helpful in class and out of class. Stop by my office anytime I am there!

Current/Active Courses


I have two long-term habitat restoration projects that are powered by service-learning efforts, both of which have research components.

One is Gophers@Barefoot, which is a simulated burn project that has been ongoing since 2010. The equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars of service-learning hours have been directed to this effort. We are restoring habitat by manually removing ragweed and pruning and raking sea grapes. As a result, the habitat is rebounding with more native grasses, the preferred forage for Gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus). Students are conducting research related to this by examining forage preference using observation in the field, and examination of scat.

The second is the San Carlos Park/Mulloch Creek Restoration Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to restore, maintain and beautify the drainage system in San Carlos Park, Lee County, FL. The community was build during the 1960's, an era of "ditch and drain" developments. Research related to this is to try to decipher the sources and fates of the nitrogen in the drainage canals.

The challenges are the same for both projects and include competing interests, logistics, and payoffs.

I have numerous mentored Biology and Environmental Studies students here at FGCU. Their independent projects ranged from microbial diversity to sea turtle nesting sites, ADHD, L.A.S.I.K. surgery, incidence and study of violence in rape cases, and animal models for Muscular Dystrophy research.

I also enjoy fostering and mentoring independent research for highly motivated students.

Previous scholarly activities: My graduate research focused on the effects of acute stress on innate immunity. We proposed that as a result of the fight or flight response an organism would have increases in plasma proteins that would help them identify and destroy foreign and damaged materials. We found increases in the concentrations of 4 plasma proteins within 10 minutes of an acute handling stressor. The concentration of two of these proteins had returned to the original level by 20 minutes after the initiation of stress. One of the identified proteins is complement component C3 which helps identify and destroy bacteria and viruses.

Selected Publications/Scholarly work/etc.

  • Gunnels, C.W. IV, Bovard, B.D., Buzasi, D., Cassani, M.K., Douglass, J. Everham, E, Hartley, A. Herman, J. Mujtaba, M. Muller, J. Nelson, K., Nicolas, A. Southard, L. Thomas, S. and Demers, N.E. (2015) Engaging Students in Ethical Considerations of the Scientific Process Using a Simulated Funding Panel. Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly 36:1:12-18
  • Demers, N.E. (2012) Genomes and their Evolution- another Example of Gene Duplication and Divergence In: Laboratory Activities for General Biology I third edition, bluedoor publishing.
  • Demers, N.E. Challenges of competing interests, logistics, and payoffs in two different restoration projects in southwest Florida.(National Council on Ecosystem Restoration, NCER, Coral Springs, FL, April, 2016)
  • Demers, N.E. The Gopher Tortoise, habitat and restoration Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife Lecture series (Sanibel, FL Feb, 2016)

Nora Demers home page