Sandi Connelly

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

OfficeGOS 1266
Phone(585) 475-5602

Mailing Address

Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences
85 Lomb Memorial Drive, Gos 1266
Rochester, New York 14623

Dr. Sandra J. Connelly joined RIT as a lecturer in 2007 and became an assistant professor in 2009.  She earned her BS in biology/forensic science at Juniata College, MS in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Buffalo, and Ph.D. in zoology from Miami University of Ohio.

Every semester Connelly teaches foundational biology lectures in the traditional, flipped, and onlin formats, engaging up to 450 students with diverse interests from all colleges at RIT, freshmen through seniors. Bringing her research into the classroom, Connelly also offers a course entitled "€œMolecular Ecology", co-instructed with Dr. Andre' Hudson, and she teaches "Evolutionary Biology" with the core evolution team. She is designing a course entitled "€œForensic Ecology" with Criminal Justice faculty for students interested in applying their knowledge of criminology and environment to a €œreal-world€ scenario that will be offered in the coming semesters. 

Connelly advises undergraduates, including deaf and hard-of-hearing students, who spearhead their own research projects investigating climate change. She collaborates with faculty and students in the Department of Chemistry, studying the solar protective potential of vitamin D in invertebrates, and with faculty at the University of Buffalo, studying genomic evolution in invertebrates and the genetic diversity of coral reefs. Connelly is also working on National Science Foundation grant with faculty from Sustainability and the School of Life Sciences studying the effects of Fullerene life cycle constituents on freshwater ecosystems.

Connelly has a zeal for scholarship and teaching. She has led and participated in numerous field expeditions from Alaska and Canada to Antarctica as part of National Science Foundation teaching and research expeditions. She also advises dissemination of her students’ scholarship through peer-reviewed articles and national presentations. In recognition of her passion for teaching, Connelly was awarded the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost'€™s Award for Outstanding Teaching 2011, an award that recognizes assistant faculty with less than three years teaching at RIT.  Connelly states, "The inquisitive nature of RIT students drives an infinite loop --€“ faculty want to work harder because the students want to advance their educational endeavors every year, making the faculty want to improve, etc.! We have truly unique students with unlimited potential -- making the sky the starting point, not the limit, for RIT faculty."€

Research Interests

  • Effect of solar UV radiation on freshwater systems
  • Repair and damage avoidance mechanisms in UV-induced DNA damage
  • Changes in stress-protein production in Daphnia exposed to UV radiation
  • Positive effects of pharmaceuticals in freshwater systems
  • Ecotoxicology of Fullerene 

Selected Publications

  1. Connelly, S.J., Walling, K. Wilbert, S.A., Catlin, D.M., Monaghan, C.E., Hlynchuk, S., Meehl, P.G., Resch, L.N., Carrera, J.V., Bowles, S.M., Clark, M.D., Tan, L.T., Cody, J.A. UV-stressed Daphnia pulex Increase Fitness Through Uptake of Vitamin D3. In Review
  2. Poland, DM, JM Mansfield, AR Hannes, CL Fairbank Lewis, TL Shearer, SJ Connelly, NL Kirk, and MA Coffroth. 2013. Variation in Symbiodinium communities in juvenile Briarieum asbestinum (Cnidarian: Octocorallia) over temporal and spatial scales. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 476: 23-37.
  3. Rose, KC, CE Williamson, JM Fischer, SJ Connelly, M Olson, AJ Tucker, DA Noe. 2012. The role of ultraviolet radiation and fish in regulating the vertical distribution of Daphnia. Limnology and Oceanography. 57(6): 1867-1876. 
  4. Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change, 2nd Edition. 2011. Editor: S. George Philander. Contributed articles by SJ Connelly: Antarctic Circumpolar Current; Antarctic Ice Sheets; Drift Ice; and Ice Albedo Feedback.
  5. Tucker, AJ, CE Williamson, KC Rose, JT Oris, SJ Connelly, MH Olson, and DL Mitchell. 2010. Ultraviolet radiation affects invasibility of lake ecosystems by warm-water fish. Ecology. 91(3)882-890.
  6. Connelly, SJ, RE Moeller, G Sanchez, and DL Mitchell. 2009. Temperature effects on survival and DNA repair in four freshwater cladoceran Daphnia species exposed to UV radiation. Photochem. Photobiol. 85: 144-152.
  7. Connelly, SJ, EA Wolynick, KL Dieter, CE Williamson, and KL Jellison. 2007. Impact of zooplankton grazing on the excystation, viability, or infectivity of the protozoan pathogens Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 73: 7277-7282.
  8. Connelly, SJ, EA Wolynick, CE Williamson, and KL Jellison. 2007. Artificial UV-B and solar radiation reduce in vitro infectivity of the human pathogen Cryptosporidium parvum. Environ. Sci. Technol. 41: 7101-7106.