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Brianne Walters Brianne Walters, Interim Director
(B.A. and M.Sc. Life Sciences, Indiana State University)Brianne Walters is the Interim Director for the Indiana State University Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation. She has worked for the ISU Bat Center since its inception in 2005. She received her BS and Master’s degrees from Indiana State University. Her master’s thesis focused on the foraging behavior of Eastern red bats near the Indianapolis International Airport. She coordinates and conducts field work for some contracts, and also coordinates research and contract projects for personnel that are member of the ISU Bat Center. She organizes the Center’s outreach events, including the annual Indiana Bat Festival which is aimed at educating the general public about bats and draws around 1000 people annually.
Dr. Diana K. Hews Dr. Diana K. Hews, Principle Investigator, Emeritus Professor of Biology (Ph.D. Zoology, University of Texas at Austin; M.Sc. Zoology, Oregon State University; B.A., Pomona College).
Dr. Hews’ research interests are at the intersection of mechanisms and adaptation. Her research programs focus on steroid hormones, especially glucocorticoids and testosterone. She examines how behavior and signaling traits are affected by steroid hormones, and tradeoffs with other phenotypic traits including immune function and many performance traits. Her lab uses a combination of laboratory and field approaches. With collaborators, her work also involves phylogenetic comparative methods and transcriptomic approaches to brain-behavior interactions. Most work examines lizards; a new direction involves the health physiology of several North American bat species. She is the Principle Investigator of a major award from the Missouri Department of Conservation. This multi-year project, in collaboration with Dr. Joy O’Keefe at UIUC, will study the health and population effects of habitat management on the endangered Indiana Bat, Myotis sodalis and other members of this bat community in northeastern Missouri. Dr. Hews is the recipient of the ISU Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research & Creativity Award and an elected Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society. She has served on numerous grant panels for the National Science Foundation, as an Associate Editor for Animal Behaviour, and currently is an Associate Editor for Physiological and Biochemical Zoology (University of Chicago Press), and an elected member of the Board of Governors for the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Dr. Hews is currently in a phased retirement period, teaching half-time but engaged in research full time!
Dr. Joy M. O’Keefe Dr. Joy M. O’Keefe, Immediate Past Director
Dr. O’Keefe served as the Bat Center Director from 2011-2020, and attained tenure and promotion at Indiana State University in the Dept. of Biology. As Director she obtained over $2.2 million dollars in grants and contracts. She and her graduate students worked in southeastern United States and in the Midwest. Currently she is an Assistant Professor and Wildlife Extension Specialist, in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. O’Keefe is a subcontractee on the Missouri Department of Conservation contract currently awarded to Dr. Hews at ISU. Dr. O’Keefe can be reached at or
Dr. John M. Whitaker Dr. John M. Whitaker, Jr., Director Emeritus
John O. Whitaker, Jr. obtained his BS and PhD (1962) degrees at Cornell University. He spent his entire professional career at Indiana State University and directed the ISU Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation from 2005 until his retirement in 2012. He has studied the mammals of Indiana for over 50 years, with particular emphasis on their ectoparasites, food habits, and bat biology. He is author of The Audubon Field Guide to Mammals, Mammals of the Eastern United States (with W. J. Hamilton, Jr.), Mammals of Indiana (with R. E. Mumford), Ectoparasites of Mammals of Indiana, Mammals of the Northeastern United States, Field Guide to Mammals of Indiana, several chapters in books, and over 350 scientific papers. He coauthored “Bats of Indiana,” the first in a series of state bat books for the general public produced by the ISU Bat Center. He still is active writing manuscripts.
Joey Weber Research Associate: Joey Weber (M.Sc., Indiana State University, 2015)
Joey Weber is a research associate at the ISU Bat Center. He has worked on a variety of projects since 2012, including monitoring the federally endangered Indiana bat in central Indiana, surveying for the Virginia big-eared bats in North Carolina, and monitoring populations of the federally endangered gray bat in Asheville, NC. His Master’s degree from ISU focused on the Virginia big-eared bat (an endangered subspecies of the Townsend’s big-eared bat), which occurs in only 4 southeastern states. Little is known about the spring time ecology of the Virginia big-eared bat, especially about the small North Carolina population, ~400 bats total. A winter population was discovered on Grandfather Mountain back in the early 1980s, but until Joey studied these bats, we had no idea where they went during the spring/summer. During his M.Sc. project, he discovered the first known maternity roost for this species in NC – a cave that hosts about 360 bats in summer. Photo Gallery on Joey’s thesis work