Grace, Michael

Senior Associate Dean and Professor
Science, College of

Educational Background

B.S. - Georgia Institute of Technology - Applied Biology
M.S. - Emory University School of Medicine - Neuroscience
Ph.D. - Emory University School of Medicine - Neuroscience
Post-Doc - NSF Science & Technology Center for Biological
                Timing, and the University of Virginia

Professional Experience

Dr. Grace serves as Associate Dean of Florida Tech's College of Science and Professor of Biological Sciences.  He trained in experimental neuroscience, animal behavior, cell biology, genetics and biochemistry, and served as a National Institutes of Health Fellow.  He was Research Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Virginia before moving to Florida Tech as an Assstant Professor of Biological Sciences.  Dr. Grace has also served as a Visiting Scientist with the Air Force Research Laboratories Hardened Materials Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Research Associate at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, and a Visiting Professor of Veterinary Neuroscience at St. Mathews University.

Dr. Grace's research has been featured on National Geographic Television, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, CNN, Discovery Canada, ABC News, on National Public Radio, and in National Geographic magazine.  Dr. Grace hosts the monthly Space Coast Science Cafe in collaboration with the Brevard Zoo.

He is a strong proponent of both academic education and public outreach. As such, he frequently provides topical lectures to school groups and public audiences at zoos, science centers and natural areas.  He frequently lectures to parents and K-12 students on science and experimental biology, and provides support to schools and counties engaged in Science Fair.  He also judges Science Fair from the local through international level.

Additional Duties

Senior Associate Dean, College of Science

Professor of Biological Sciences

Director, High Resolution Microscopy & Advanced Imaging Center

       The High Resolution Microscopy and Advanced Imaging Center supports light microscopic, transmission electron microscopic, scanning electron microscopic, and scanning probe atomic force microscopic analysis of natural and artificial materials. The center provides an array of high resolution microscopic equipment for multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary science and engineering research and development; high-quality training of graduate and undergraduate students in materials analysis techniques; publication-quality images of natural and artificial materials and sophisticated image analysis techniques; support staff for training and instrument maintenance; a platform for public outreach through invited demonstrations; and Web-based tutorial and interactive instruction.

Current Research

Dr. Grace's lab focuses on sensory neuroscience, neural mechanisms of animal behavior, and biomedical engineering.  One major research area is the infrared imaging systems of pit vipers and pythons.  These fascinating snakes have the best infrared imaging systems on Earth, natural or artificial.  We are working to understand infrared imaging in snakes from the molecular level through whole animal behavior.  Approaches are varied - from biochemistry and microscopy to molecular biology to operant conditioning.

The lab also studies the development of vision in elopomorph fishes (tarpon, bonefish and their relatives) and marine turtles.  We discovered that the eyes of tarpon (the "silver king") and other fish change in dramatic ways as individuals mature and move hrough new and different habitats, change prey type and experience new predatory pressures.  One of the most amazing recent discoveries is that tarpon begin life with only a single type of photoreceptor cell, but add a total of 5 more over the course of life, giving them what is apparently the best color vision of any animal species ever studied.  Similar studies are well under way in green sea turtles and loggerhead sea turtles, and well as in some threatened and endangered terrestrial tortoise species.

Selected Publications

Roper, S.D. and Grace, M.S. (2012) Infrared Sensory Organs. In Cell Physiology Sourcebook, 4th edition, ed. N. Sperelakis, Academic Press, San Diego. Pp. 699-704.

Zhu, J., Zhang, D., Lin, J. and Grace, M.S. (2012, epub) Aesthetascs in Lysmata Shrimp: Sexual Dimorphism and Relationship with Social Environments. Marine Biology. DOI 10.1007/s00227-011-1831-3.

Taylor, S.M., Loew, E., and Grace, M.S. (2011) A Rod-Dominated Visual System in Leptocephalus Larvae of Elopomorph Fishes (Elopomorpha:Teleostei). Environmental Biology of Fishes. DOI 10.1007/s10641-011-9871-6.

Sajjadi, A., Mitra, K. and Grace, M.S. (2011) Ablation of subsurface tumors using an ultra-short pulse laser. Optics and Lasers in Engineering 49(3):451-456.

Taylor, S.M., Loew, E., and Grace, M.S. (2011) Developmental shifts in functional morphology of the retina in Atlantic tarpon, Megalops atlanticus (Elopomorpha: Teleostei) between four ecologically distinct life-history stages. Visual Neuroscience 28:309-323

Van Dyke, J.U. and Grace, M.S. (2010) The Role of Thermal Contrast in Infrared-Based Predatory Targeting Behavior by the Copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix. Animal Behaviour 79:993-999.

Grace, M.S. and Matsushita, A. (2007) Neural Correlates of Complex Behavior: Vision and Infrared Imaging in Boas and Pythons. In Biology of the Boas, Pythons and Related Taxa. R.L. Henderson, R. Powell, eds., Eagle Mountain, UT

Pal, G., Dutta, A., Mitra, K., Grace, M., Amat, A., Romanczk, T., Wu, X., Chakrabarti, K., and Anders, J., Gorman, E., Waynant, R.W., Tata, D. (2007) Effect of low intensity laser interaction with a human skin fibroblast cells using fiber-optic nano-probes. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology. 86:252-261

Safer A.B., Grace, M.S. and Kemeny, G.J., 2007 Mid-Infrared Transmission and Reflection Microspectroscopy: Analysis of a Novel Biological Imaging System, the Snake Infrared-Imaging Pit Organ. Molecular Spectroscopy: The Application Notebook 16-18.

Safer A.B., Grace, M.S. and Kemeny, G.J. (2007) Mid-Infrared Transmission and Reflection Microspectroscopy: Analysis of a Novel Biological Imaging System, the Snake Infrared-Imaging Pit Organ. Pike Technologies Spectroscopic Creativity.

Taylor, S., & Grace, M. (2006) Development of retinal architecture in the elopomorph species Megalops atlanticus, Elops saurus, and Albula vulpes (Elopomorpha: Teleostei), Contributions in Marine Sciences, 37, 1-29.

Grace, M.S. and A. Matsushita (2006) Neural Correlates of Complex Behavior: Vision and Infrared Imaging in Boas and Pythons. In Biology of the Boas, Pythons and Related Taxa, ed. R.W. Henderson and G. Schuett.

Basu, S., G. Pal, K. Mitra and M.S. Grace (2005) Analysis of Short Pulse Radiation Transport through Tissues for Tumor Detection. Proceedings of IMECE 2005.

Taylor, S.M. and M.S. Grace (2005) Devleopment of Retinal Architecture in the Elopomorph species Megalops atlanticus, Elops saurus and Albula vulpes (Elopomorpha: Teleostei). Contributions in Marine Science.

Safer, A.J. and M.S. Grace (2004) Infrared imaging in vipers: differential responses of crotaline and viperine snakes to paired thermal targets. Behavioural Brain Research 154(1):55-61.

Grace, M.S. (2003) predatory trageting in snakes and wols: behavioral correlates of multi-modal imaging. Proceedings AAZV/ARAV 2003.

Doyle, S.E., M.S. Grace, W. McIvor and M. Menaker (2002) Circadian rhythms of dopamine in mouse retina: the role of melatonin. Vision Research 19:593-601.

Gorbunov, V.V., J. Fuchigami, M. Stone, M.S. Grace and V.V. Tsukruk (2002) Biological Thermal Detection: Micromechanical and Microthermal Properties of Snake Infrared Receptor Organs.

B and S.D. Roper (2001) Infrared Sensory Organs. In Cell Physiology: a Source Book, 3rd. edition, N. Sperelakis (Ed.). Academic Press, San Diego.

Grace, M.S., O.M. Woodward (2001) Altered visual experience and acute visual deprivation affect predatory targeting by infrared-imaging Boid snakes. Brain Research 919:250-258.

Herzog, E.D., M.S. Grace, J. Williamson, J. Harrer and G.D. Block (2000) The role of Clock in developmental expression of neuropeptides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Journal of Comparative Neurology 424:86-98.

B, A. Chiba and M. Menaker (1999) Melatonin is neither sufficient nor required for rhythmic photoreceptor outer segment disk shedding in mice. Visual Neuroscience 16:909-918.