Bill Hopkins


Dr. Hopkins is a Professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech.  He is also the Director of the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech (The Fralin Life Science Institute).  He holds additional Adjunct Professor appointments with the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology and the College of Pharmacy’s Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program where he is also a member of the UGA Graduate Faculty.

Dr. Hopkins’ research focuses on physiological ecology and wildlife ecotoxicology, addressing pressing questions in both basic and applied science. To date, he has published more than 165 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on subjects pertaining to environmental stressors, pollution, and the physiological ecology of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and bats.  His work is heavily cited in the scientific literature and he frequently provides input on important environmental issues to the media (e.g., 60 minutes, NPR, etc.) and to decision makers in Richmond, VA and Washington D.C.

Sydney Hope

Ph.D. Student

Sydney is a Ph.D. student in the Hopkins lab, a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program, and an ICTAS Doctoral Scholar at Virginia Tech. Her general research interests include animal behavior and physiology and how they are affected by changes to the environment at all stages in life.

For her dissertation, Sydney is studying wood ducks to investigate how clutch size affects incubation temperature parameters and female incubation behavior, and how differences in incubation temperature affect duckling behavior that is critical to early survival.

Brian Case

Masters Student

Brian is a Masters student in the Hopkins Lab.  His research interests broadly encompass the impacts of climate change, invasion, disease, and human development on the viability of natural systems and wildlife populations, especially herpetofauna.

For his thesis, Brian is continuing the lab’s efforts to better understand the physiology, behavior, and reproductive histories of Appalachia’s Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), including examination of how regional land-use change and habitat quality may be linked to deleterious impacts upon the species’ health.

Molly Thompson

Masters Student

In June 2013, Molly started a Masters program in the Hopkins Lab.  For her thesis, she studied snapping turtles to investigate how agricultural land use and mercury pollution affect turtle embryonic development and offspring phenotype.

Molly’s research interests include: maternal effects, environmental toxicology, physiology of amphibians and reptiles, and conservation biology. She is actively involved in herpetological conservation work at Yosemite National Park.

Jesse Fallon

Ph.D. Student

Jesse Fallon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Penn State, a Master of Science degree from West Virginia University, and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Jesse has clinical and field experience with an array of bird species.

While Jesse’s research interests exist under the umbrella of conservation medicine, his current research focuses on the physiologic impact of hydrocarbon exposure on birds. By combining animal health expertise and sound ecological principles, Jesse aims to approach research questions with ecosystem health as a foundation.

John Hallagan

Research Associate

John is a full-time research associate in the Hopkins Lab. He has broad field and lab experience, having worked on a variety of research projects ranging from songbirds and waterfowl to turtles and hellbenders.

John’s diverse skillset keeps the Hopkins Lab running. Recently, he was instrumental in opening the new aviary research facility at Virginia Tech.

Alex Grimaudo

Undergraduate Technician

Alex is a junior at Virginia Tech majoring in Wildlife Conservation. He has worked in the Hopkins Lab on a behavioral study of wood ducks and on a reproductive study of hellbenders. He plans to continue working in the lab until graduation.

Alex is interested in disease ecology and environmental toxicology.

Matt Lacey

Undergraduate Technician

Matt Lacey is a junior at Virginia Tech majoring in Wildlife Conservation and minoring in Environmental Policy and Planning. He has worked in the Hopkins Lab on the hellbender study and participated in a 3-week study abroad to Ecuador.

Matt’s broad interests include environmental policy, land management and climate change.

John Connock

Undergraduate Technician

John is currently a junior majoring in wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech.  During his time working in the Hopkins Lab, he has worked primarily on a behavioral study of wood ducks and assisted with the ongoing hellbender research.

John’s research interests include herpetology, wetland ecology, and environmental toxicology.

Levi Helm

Undergraduate Researcher

Levi is a third-year student at the University of Virginia, majoring in Environmental Science and Anthropology with an interest in ecology. He began working in the Hopkins lab in the Summer of 2016.

Over the summer he contributed to the Hellbender research project by assisting with deploying hellbender nest boxes, and performing routine box maintenance. He also worked with the Virginia Tech Mass Spectrometry Incubator in developing a procedure to simultaneously extract the lipids, metabolites, and proteins from Hellbender serum.