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Hernandez-Rodriguez, Yainitza (PhD)

Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Office: WH 0248
Phone: 239-590-1264

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Project Coordinator for the National Science Foundation Project Language-Rich Inquiry Science with English Language Learners through Biotechnology (LISELL-B); 2014-2017
PhD in Fungal Biology, University of Georgia, Athens
BS in Microbiology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez


Areas of interest include fungal cell biology, cytoskeletal interactions (with a focus on the septin cytoskeleton), genetics, science writing, active learning, curriculum development, and middle and high school STEM/STEAM education.

Research and Teaching Interests

My passion for education, curriculum development and programs that ensure student success is what drives my interests and research. In lab, we conduct research in the model system Aspergillus nidulans and the invasive pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. This research is geared to engage and provide students the necessary academic and higher-order scientific skills to prepare them for their professional endeavors. Students are encouraged to advance their research, share their findings in scientific conferences and prepare manuscripts for scientific peer-reviewed publications. Specifically, our lab focuses in several research topics:
  • Implementing plant essential oils as therapeutically treatments against fungal pathogens.
  • Understanding cytoskeleton interactions in fungi.
  • Understanding septin cytoskeleton roles in endocytosis and polarity in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans.
  • Isolating fungi from farms in South West Florida and developing farming practices that counteracts the growing resistance of pathogenic fungi to medical treatment as a result of farming practices. (Azole Resistance)

Courses Offered

PCB3063C – Genetics
PCB3023C – Cell Biology
ISC 3120C – Scientific Process


  • Allexsaht-Snider, M., Buxton, C. A., Rodríguez, Y. H., Cardozo-Gaibisso, L., Cohen, A., & Lu, Z. (2017). Crosscutting findings and recommendations for research and practice in teaching science with emergent bilingual learners. Supporting K-12 English Language Learners in Science: Putting Research into Teaching Practice, 211-242.
  • Buxton, C. A., Allexsaht-Snider, M., Rodríguez, Y. H., Aghasaleh, R., Cardozo-Gaibisso, L., & Kirmaci, M. (2017). A design-based model of teacher professional learning in the LISELL-B project. Science teacher preparation in content-based second language acquisition (pp. 215-234) Springer.
  • Buxton, C., & Allexsaht-Snider, M. (2016). Supporting K-12 english language learners in science: Putting research into teaching practice Taylor & Francis.
  • Hernández-Rodríguez, Y., Masuo, S., Johnson, D., Orlando, R., Smith, A., Couto-Rodriguez, M., & Momany, M. (2014). Distinct septin heteropolymers co-exist during multicellular development in the filamentous fungus aspergillus nidulans. PloS One, 9(3), e92819.
  • Hernández-Rodríguez, Y., & Momany, M. (2012). Posttranslational modifications and assembly of septin heteropolymers and higher-order structures.Current Opinion in Microbiology, 15(6), 660-668.
  • Hernández-Rodríguez, Y., Hastings, S., & Momany, M. (2012). The septin AspB in aspergillus nidulans forms bars and filaments and plays roles in growth emergence and conidiation. Eukaryotic Cell, 11(3), 311-323.
  • Deak, E., Nelson, M., Hernández-Rodríguez, Y., Gade, L., Baddley, J., Momany, M., & Balajee, S. A. (2011). Aspergillus terreus accessory conidia are multinucleated, hyperpolarizing structures that display differential dectin staining and can induce heightened inflammatory responses in a pulmonary model of aspergillosis. Virulence, 2(3), 200-207.
  • Lindsey, R., Cowden, S., Hernández-Rodríguez, Y., & Momany, M. (2010). Septins AspA and AspC are important for normal development and limit the emergence of new growth foci in the multicellular fungus aspergillus nidulans. Eukaryotic Cell, 9(1), 155-163.
  • Momany, M., & Hernández-Rodríguez, Y. (2009). Aspergillosis and polar growth. Aspergillus Fumigatus and Aspergillosis (pp. 143-148) American Society of Microbiology.

Grants & Awards

  • Scholarship-Research Venture Capital Fund (Grant), Florida Gulf Coast University - 2019
  • LISELL-B Project Recognition by the President's White House Initiative as a "Bright Spot in Hispanic Education", University of Georgia - 2015
  • Genetics Society of America, Travel Award – 2013
  • Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship, Travel Award – 2012
  • Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Georgia - 2011
  • Teaching Portfolio Award, University of Georgia - 2011
  • Dissertation Completion Award, University of Georgia - 2011
  • Graduate Student Assistantship, University of Georgia – 2009 & 2010
  • Robert Watkins Fellowship from the American Society of Microbiology, University of Georgia -2006-2009
  • Howard Hughes Travel Award – 2009
  • American Society of Microbiology, Travel Award, – 2007 & 2008
  • Genetics Society of America, Travel Award – 2007
  • Plant Biology Department (Palfrey), Travel Award – 2007
  • Graduate Recruitment Opportunities Assistantship, University of Georgia - 2004-2006
  • Minority access to research careers (MARC), University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez – 2003-2004