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Associate Professor

Department: Science & Health

Office: HR 213

Phone Extension: 2123



Ph.D., Biology, University of Kentucky, 2005

Dissertation: Characterization of pollutant response in teleosts with varying degrees of pollutant sensitivity.


M.S., Biology, Tennessee Technological University, 2000

Thesis: Evaluation of brook trout restoration efforts in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park


B.S., Biology, Eastern Kentucky University, 1998

Courses offered: 

  • Bio 100: Introductory Biology for Non-Majors
  • Bio 201: Introductory Biology for Majors
  • Bio 217: Environmental Science
  • Bio 221: Ecology
  • Bio 293: Aquatic and Wetland Biology
  • Bio 352: Physiology

Selected/Recent Publications: 

Adams, Ben M. and Ben F. Brammell. Disruption of chemical alarm cue response following atrazine exposure in longear sunfish (Lepomis megalottis).  In Review.

Sena, Kenton L., Ben F. Brammell, and S. Ray Smith.   2016.  Converting hayfield to switchgrass increases small mammal relative abundance.  Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science 77(1-2):11-18. Abstract 

Brammell, Ben F., David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge, Adria A. Elskus.  2013.  Lack of CYP1A responsiveness in species inhabiting chronically contaminated habitats: two varieties of resistance?  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C 52:2317-2322. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F. and Shawn M. Banks.  2011.  Notes on the Crayfish of Blackburn Fork Watershed, Jackson and  Putnam County, Tennessee.  Journal of the TN Academy of Science 86:105-107. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F. and A.W. Wigginton.  2010.  Differential gene expression in zebrafish (Danio rerio) following exposure to gaseous diffusion plant effluent and effluent receiving stream water.  American Journal of Environmental Sciences 6 (3): 286-294. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F., David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge, Adria A. Elskus.  2010.  Differential sensitivity of CYP1Ato 3,3’,4’,4 – tetrachlorobiphenyl and benzo(a)pyrene in two Lepomis species.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C 152:42-50. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F., Scott J. McLain, James T. Oris, David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge and Adria A. Elskus.  2010.  CYP1A Expression in Caged Rainbow Trout Discriminates Among Sites with Various Degrees of Polychlorinated Biphenyl Contamination.  Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 58:772-782. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F., Ian T. Struewing, David M. Klarer, Scott G. Lynn.  2009.  An Evaluation of the Ichthyofauna of Old Woman Creek Estuary, a Unique Aquatic Resource.  Journal of Freshwater Ecology 24:521-527. Abstract

Selected Recent Presentations: 

Ben F. Brammell, Sumathi Sankaran-Walters, Kayceline Deguzman, Chi Jing Leow, and Michael C. McGrann. 2018.  Use of eDNA in a wilderness setting to detect multiple species of conservation interest.  SEKI Science Symposium, Nov. 14-15, 2018, Three Rivers, CA.  Poster.

Bell, Florene G., Angie F. Flores, Kenton L. Sena, Thomas Maigret, Chi Jing Leow and Ben F. Brammell.  2018.  Use of eDNA to detect multiple salamander species in eastern Kentucky streams.  104th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 2-3, 2018, Bowling Green, KY.  Poster.

Guivas, Ramon A. Kyle T. Laufenburger and Ben F. Brammell.  2018.  Evaluation of biomass and filtration method on  eDNA detection of fantail darters (Etheostoma flabellare).  104th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 2-3, 2018, Bowling Green, KY.  Poster.

Leow, Chi Jing, Michael C. McGrann, Sumathi Sankaran-Walters, Christopher C. Pauley, Ronald B. Sams, Cierla V. McGuire, Malinda A. Stull, and Ben F. Brammell.  2018.  Use of eDNA to detect salmonids and amphibian species in high elevation habitats in the Sierra Nevada in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, CA.  104th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 2-3, 2018, Bowling Green, KY.  Poster.

Nesselroade, Andrew W., Sams, Ronnie B., Cierla V. McGuire, Malinda A. Stull and Ben F. Brammell.  2018.  Seasonal fluctuations in salamander eDNA in central KY streams.  Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, March 19, 2018, Lexington, KY.  Poster.

Nesselroade, Andrew W., David J. Eisenhour, Brooke A. Washburn, Lynn V. Eisenhour, Harold A. Brabon and Ben F. Brammell.  2017.  Detection of Percopsis omiscomaycus (trout perch) using eDNA in eastern Kentucky streams. 103rd Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 3-4, 2017, Murray, KY.  Poster.

Bain, Ashton M., Robert L. Washburn, Ben F. Brammell, and Malinda A. Stull.  2016.  Sequencing cytochrome b from tissue and swab collected DNA from central Kentucky salamander species.  102nd Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 4-5, 2016, Louisville, KY.  Poster.

Current research/scholarship: 

Much of my previous research focused on the impact of contaminants on aquatic organisms, particularly the development of resistance in chronically exposed populations.  While toxicity mechanisms do fascinate me I am an ecologist at heart.  My current research, conducted in colaboration with Dr. Stull and others, focuses on utilizing DNA fragments released by aquatic organisms to establish their presence and abundance in aquatic systems.  By targeting specific sequences of mitochondrial genes we are able to distinguish species based on the DNA they leave behind, enabling us to find the proverbial “needle in a haystack,” organisms that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to detect.  The utilization of molecular techniques (RT PCR, sequencing, bioinformatics) to efficiently answer ecological questions has great appeal to me. 

We recently completed projects using this technique to detect both hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) and local darter species.  Current projects include examining temporal fluctuations in eDNA of multiple salamander species and correlations with life history in central KY streams, conducting caging studies to examine eDNA detection limits, and examining the impact of various environmental parameters on eDNA release and persistence.     

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