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 Sciences 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.

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George Brooks

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. George Brooks is an evolutionary ecologist using theory to address global challenges in conservation. As a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech, he’s investigating filial cannibalism in hellbenders and global patterns of life-history evolution across vertebrates. Additional research topics to date include global amphibian diversity and flatwoods salamander recovery.


Brian Case

Ph.D. Student

Brian is a PhD 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.

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Elizabeth Davis

Undergraduate Researcher

Elizabeth is an undergraduate student majoring in the Geosciences with a focus on Geobiology and a minor in Biology. After undergraduate, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in marine biology. She joined the Hopkins lab in the winter of 2021 and has since assisted on various projects studying the eastern hellbender salamander.

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Holly Funkhouser

M.S. Student

Holly joined the Hopkins lab as a master’s student in August of 2021 with an interest in studying how global change factors like deforestation and climate change affect vulnerable species. To reach her research goals, Holly is studying how these global changes may negatively impact eastern hellbender reproduction. Holly received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary in 2019 with a double major in Biology and Environmental Science & Policy. While at William & Mary, Holly studied diamondback terrapin conservation. After undergrad, Holly worked as an environmental educator at Echo Hill Outdoor School in Maryland. She then went on to work for a conservation crew in Louisiana that focused on hurricane environmental restoration and prescribed burning.

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Abby Gill

Undergraduate Research Technician

Abby is an undergraduate student majoring in biology. After graduating, she hopes to obtain her doctorate degree in veterinary medicine on the small animal and wildlife conservation track. She joined the Hopkins Lab in the fall of 2023, and is part of the team caring for hellbender eggs and hatchlings in the captive rearing system.

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Megan Roberts

Undergraduate Research Technician

Megan is an undergraduate student majoring in Wildlife Conservation. She joined the Hopkins lab in the fall of 2023 and has assisted on a project studying how dissolved oxygen levels affect eastern hellbender salamander eggs and larvae. She has also worked as a volunteer on a project that focused on camera trapping the elusive least weasel with Dr. Kevin Hamed. Her main interests are anthropogenic effects on mammals/birds/herps and human-wildlife conflict.

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Katey Slack

M.S. Student

Katey joined the Hopkins lab as a MS student in the summer 2020. She completed her undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University where she studied Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science and received a minor in Geospatial and Remote Sensing Technology. Katey is interested in the physiological mechanisms that aid in the survival of herpetofauna species and how they respond to anthropogenic factors like climate change. Her research is focused on the red blood cell mobilization associated with the fight-or-flight response in the Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) and how it is influenced by pathogens, season, environmental quality, and behavior.


Luke Wess

Undergraduate Research Technician

Luke is an undergraduate student majoring in Wildlife Conservation. After graduation, he aspires to captain an independent fishing charter. His current areas of interest are the study of herpetofauna species, specifically salamanders, as well as sustainable fishing practices. He joined Hopkins Lab in the fall of 2023 and has since been involved with assisting in various areas of the Eastern Hellbender Project. His primary assistance has involved fieldwork, including locating nests, sampling eggs, and maintaining eggs in the captive rearing system.