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Gina Semprebon, PhD

Professor of Biology; Director, Center for Excellence for Women in STEM

BA, MEd, American International College; MT Certification, American Society of Clinical Pathologists; MS, PhD, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Gina M. Semprebon, PhD, is professor and founding director of the Center of Excellence for Women in STEM. In addition to her leadership role at Bay Path, Dr. Semprebon organizes and administers programs in science for young women, including science enrichment outreach programs for girls in underserved school districts.

Specializing in palaeoecology—the study of prehistoric life forms and their interaction with their environments, Semprebon received her doctorate in biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She holds master’s degrees in education and biology from American International College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, respectively. In 1987, Semprebon joined Bay Path as an assistant professor in the departments of education and science and mathematics. She was appointed to professor and chair of the department of science and mathematics in 2002. Prior to her tenure at Bay Path, she served as an instructor in the departments of medical laboratory technology at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA, and at Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, MA.

Internationally recognized for her paleoecology research, Semprebon co-developed the low magnification stereomicrowear technique—a novel method of examining microscopic scars on dental enamel caused by food substances. Her new methodology, which requires a light stereomicroscope, enables scientists to reconstruct the diets of extinct animals and study the roles of modern animals in regards to food preference and survival requirements. This tactic allows Semprebon and other researchers to reconstruct ancient ecosystems by tracking morphological changes in mammals, focusing specifically on their dietary shifts and ability to move independently from one location to another. By examining these morphological changes in mammals in regards to their dietary habits and changes in habitat, Semprebon can investigate the global trends in vegetation and climate as well as the extinction patterns during considerable periods of time.

She has authored numerous papers, which have appeared in several scientific publications, including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Palaeobiology, and Journal of Human Evolution. In addition to her scientific research, Semprebon has served as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Archaeological Science, and Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, among many others. She is affiliated with the Paleontological Research Institute, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Society for the Study of Mammalian Evolution.

Semprebon currently serves as the principal investigator for two National Science Foundation grants for her research on revealing the origins of Aramis hominids as well as for the initial appeal and retention of Bay Path undergraduates to pursue an education in biology, biotechnology, or forensic science.