Deborah Breiter, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry
Dean, College of Science, Math and Nursing
B.A., Chemistry and French, Grinnell College
Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Postdoctoral Associate, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis

Phone: 815-226-4076
Fax: 815-394-5166
E-mail: DBreiter@rockford.edu

Deborah Breiter is the Gordon H. and Violet J. Bartels Professor of Chemistry. She teaches a wide variety of major and non-major courses within the biological and chemical fields along with teaching in the first-year program. Breiter is a native of LaCrosse, Wis. and received a bachelor of arts degree from Grinnell College (Grinnell, Iowa) majoring in both chemistry and French. She was fortunate to spend her junior year spring semester in Rennes, France. She holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and did post-doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis Medical School. During both her graduate and post-doctoral careers, she held National Research Service Awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 
After her postdoctoral studies, she started her teaching career with a one-year visiting assistant professorship at Reed College (Portland, Ore.) where she taught structural biochemistry and a non-majors general chemistry course. She continued her teaching career at Rockford University in the fall of 1996. She has taught a wide variety of courses at Rockford University, from chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry and immunology to first-year seminar. She has enjoyed teaching a number of team-taught courses, one such course concerning the Human Genome project led to a number of keynote speaker positions at conferences. Breiter was the coordinator of first-year advising from the fall of 1998 to 2005, working with a specially trained team of faculty to ensure the academic success of first year students. She also coordinated the First-Year Seminar program from 2006-2015. She is a member of the American Chemistry Society (ACS), the American Crystallographic Association (ACA), the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society). Deborah has had the great honor to be awarded both the Advisor of the Year Award in 1999 and the Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership Award in 2002. 
James Marshall, Ph.D.
Department Chair, Associate Professor of Biology
B.A., B.S. Texas Christian University
Ph.D., Ohio State

Phone: 815-226-4188
E-mail: JMarshall@rockford.edu 

Dr. Marshall teaches evolution, ecology, animal behavior, conservation biology, marine science, geology, ornithology, and plant biology. His primary research interests are the ecology and population biology of passerine birds. He is also program director of the Rockford Writer's Guild, director of the Honors in Liberal Arts and Sciences program, and a board member of the Severson Dells Nature Center. 

Sean Beckmann, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology
B.S., Biology, Stetson University
Ph.D, Biology, University of Miami 

Phone: 815-226-4133
E-mail: Sbeckmann@rockford.edu

Sean Beckmann joined the department of Chemical and Biological Sciences in 2011 as Assistant Professor of Biology. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Stetson University (DeLand, FL). In the following years he received training in a number of areas of biological research, as well as veterinary medicine, before beginning graduate school. He holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Miami with focuses in molecular ecology, evolutionary biology, and population genetics. While in graduate school he taught a number of laboratory courses as well as a lecture in ecology.

Following graduate school he joined the faculty of Rockford University where he teaches a number of major courses in both organismal and cellular/molecular biology, as well as non-major and interdisciplinary courses. His courses include: Principles of Biology, Cell Physiology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Vertebrate Physiology, and Mammalogy. He also co-teaches the Introduction to Research class for Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biology majors. In addition to teaching Sean serves as a member of the first year advising team, which mentors incoming first year students, and is also the faculty advisor for Alpha Helix, the student science club on campus. He is a member of the National Association for Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP), Sigma Xi, Beta Beta Beta, the American Society of Mammalogists, and the Ecological Society of America.

His research interests focus on the intersection of molecular biology, evolution, and ecology. Students are currently working with him to study the effects of controlled burns and prairie restoration on the species and genetic diversity of small mammals. Other research areas include the impact of urbanization on migration and gene flow in small mammals, as well as the phylogeography of a number of species.

Matthew Bork, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
B.S., UW-Stevens Point 
Ph.D., Purdue University   

Phone: 815-226-4170
E-mail: MBork@rockford.edu

Dr. Matthew Bork joined the CBS department after finishing his Ph.D. at Purdue University. He studied inorganic chemistry with a focus on photochemistry. A native of Winneconne, Wisconsin, he completed his undergraduate work just up I-39 at UW-Stevens Point with a major in chemistry and a minor in mathematics. Matthew is teaching advanced inorganic chemistry and general chemistry, and looks forward to teaching spectroscopy and perhaps introducing a new photochemistry course based on current applications. His research will focus on the photophysical properties of porphyrin based metallic complexes. 
William J. Doria, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
B.S., Lynchburg College
M.S., Vanderbilt University
Ph.D., Middle Tennessee State University

E-mail: WDoria@rockford.edu

Dr. William J. Doria completed undergraduate work at Lynchburg College, a small liberal-arts college in Virginia, before moving on to graduate work at Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University.  Before joining Rockford, he was Associate Professor of Chemistry at University of the Ozarks, another small liberal-arts school, this time in Arkansas.  There he primarily taught courses in General, Physical, Inorganic, and Forensic Chemistry.  

Troy Skwor, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Ph.D., Medical Sciences, Texas A&M University College of Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellow, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, CA

Phone: 815-226-4173
E-mail: Tskwor@rockford.edu

Dr. Troy Skwor is a native midwesterner from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He joined Rockford University CBS Department in Fall 2011 and teaches a variety of courses including Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (BIOL 230), Microbiology (BIOL 308), Genetics (BIOL 333), Immunology (BIOL 358), Virology (BIOL 360), Molecular Biology, Oncology, Molecular Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis, and Principles of Biology lab (BIOL 150). 

His research primarily focuses on bacteria associated with human diseases. One aspect of his research is analyzing the prevalence of antibiotic resistance from bacterial populations within the Rock River and the effect of different human and agricultural contaminants on resistant levels. These studies utilize microbial and molecular techniques identifying molecular genes associated with antibiotic resistance and furthermore determine if these bacteria can potentially cause human disease. Another research area of Dr. Skwor's lab is developing alternative treatments to combat multiple drug resistant bacterial populations and cancer using visible light with different photosensitizers, also known as photodynamic therapy.  

Additional information


Gidget Tay, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
B.S., Chemistry, University of California, San Diego
Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of California, Irvine

Phone: 815-394-5095
E-mail:  GTay@rockford.edu

Dr. Gidget Tay is originally from California, born and raised. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a minor in Dance from the University of California, San Diego. She obtained a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, specializing in total synthetic chemistry from the University of California, Irvine. While in graduate school, she helped develop the general chemistry laboratory course and taught a variety of chemistry laboratory and lecture courses.

Dr. Tay joined Rockford University’s CBS Department in Fall 2015 and teaches primarily organic chemistry (Chem 205 and 206). Her research mainly focuses on methodology development to synthesize chiral 1,3-amino alcohols. She also dabbles in an interdisciplinary project, creating educational videos that explain chemistry concepts using dancers.


Christine Griesbach
CBS Lab Supervisor

Phone: 815-394-5165
E-mail: CGriesbach@rockford.edu