Faculty/Staff Directory

Janet Vigna

Photo of Janet Vigna


Professor of Biology, Integrated Science Program Coordinator

Office Address
2200E Kindschi Hall of Science

Office Phone

Areas of Expertise
Science Education, General Biology, Genetics

Courses Taught at GVSU

BIO 104 Biology for the 21st Century
BIO 205 Genetics (Integrated Science Major)
SCI 495 Integrated Science Capstone

Research Interests

1.  As the Academic Coordinator for the Integrated Science Program, I have a passion for training and mentoring K–12 science teachers in effective pedagogical strategies, curriculum planning and learning theory development.  I am also invested in effective teaching and curriculum development for Nonmajors' Biology courses.  I am an author of Biology for a Changing World, a text created in collaboration with Scientific American that integrates current, journalistic stories with biology content to increase student interest in relevant life science.  I am also actively involved in initiatives related to the success of students in the first year of college, and the development of curriculum with pedagogical strategies to address the challenges of the first-year experience.

2.  I have an ongoing research project involving the Environmental Effects of the Biological Pesticide, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis on North American Frog Larvae.  Most chemical insecticides are neurotoxins that interfere with normal nervous system function.  While neurotoxins are marketed for the control of insect populations, any organism with a nervous system may be adversely affected.  As pervasive use of these chemicals continues, and issues of pesticide runoff and ground water contamination are illuminated, there is mounting concern for the effects these chemicals are having on humans and natural communities.  One alternative to traditional insecticide application is the use of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti).  Bti is a toxin-producing bacterium naturally found in soil.  Upon ingestion, Bti toxin kills specific orders of insects by causing a disruption in the ion balance in the membranes of midgut cells.  While Bti has been deemed "nontoxic" for selected fish and mammalian wildlife, enough studies have not been performed on sensitive amphibian populations.  Using frogs as a sensitive indicator species, we are studying the direct and community effects of Bti toxin on larval development, behavior and survivorship. 


Ph.D. Microbiology - The University of Iowa
B.S. Microbiology - The University of Michigan

Select Publications

Vigna, J., Tontonoz, M. and Shuster, M. (2018). Biology for a Changing World with Physiology. 3rd edition, New York City.

Vigna, J. (2017). Biology for the 21st Century Lab Manual.  Hayden-McNeil, Plymouth, MI.

Mattox, S. Herrington, D. and Vigna, J. (2016) Grand Valley State University - Integration of Earth Science Content across Science Teacher Preparation Courses. Science Education Resource Center. 

Vigna, J. (2016) Equipping and Motivating Students to Succeed in Previously Failed Gateway Courses. Conference Proceedings Position Paper.  (2016) Process Education Conference. Allendale, MI.

Vigna, J. and Shuster, M. (2015). Biology for a Changing World with Physiology. 2nd edition, New York City: W.H. Freeman / Scientific American.  Textbook.

Vigna, J. (2015) Using Mystery Tubes to Teach the Nature of Non-Science.   The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 77 No. 7, September 2015; (pp. 549-552)

Vigna, J., Harleton, M., Powers, K., and Woller-Skar, M.M. (2014) The effects of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) on frog larvae behavior and development are influenced by interspecies competition.  Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (In Revision).

Shuster, M. and Vigna, J. (2012). Biology for a Changing World with Core Physiology.  1st edition, New York City: W.H. Freeman / Scientific American.

Vigna, J. (2012). “Managing Multi-Section Mayhem: Creating Effective Instructional Communities in Multi- Section Courses” Conference Proceedings. ScholarWorks@GVSU

Vigna, J., Cymbola, J. S., DenUyl, J. L. (2011). In K. McMahon (Ed.), Curriculum Development as Professional Development:  A Model for Adjunct and Graduate Student Instructors Teaching Multi-Section Lab courses (vol. 32, pp. 400-401). Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching:  Proceedings of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education. www.ableweb.org

Vigna, J. (2011). In K. McMahon (Ed.), Flatheads Pursue Diversity:  Beyond the Phases of Meiosis (vol. 32). Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching:  Proceedings of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education. www.ableweb.org

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