Brian Doyle


Associate Professor of Biology


Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology

Educational Background

  • Postdoc, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago (2008-2010)
  • Ph.D., Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago (2008)
  • B.S., Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2002)


Associate Professor

My career at Alma began in


My expertise:

1. Mid-Michigan medicinal plants. Over the past several years we have been collecting plants from the Alma College Ecological Station and building a library of plant extracts for biological and chemical analysis. Many of these plants have been used in Native American traditional medicine to treat a wide range of ailments, and some of them are sources of modern pharmaceutical drugs. We have been exploring the pharmacological effects of these plants related to inflammatory diseases, cancer, metabolic disorders, DNA damage, and others using molecular and cell-based assays.

2. Biosensors for medicinal plant research. In collaboration with the Mechanical Engineering Department at Bradley University, Peoria, IL, we are developing a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) biosensor for detecting biological activity in medicinal plants. We have also been using a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) that operates on a similar principle to detect the interaction between plant extracts and drug target proteins.

3. Medical ethnobotany in the Amazon. Over the last several years we have been documenting the traditional medicine of a Kichwa community in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The community of San Jose de Payamino, like other vulnerable indigenous communities in the Amazon, depends on plants as its primary and often only source of medicine. As acculturation leads to loss of medicinal plant knowledge with successive generations, it is important that this knowledge is documented so that the community may continue to benefit from these time-honored remedies. In addition, documentation of ethnomedical data is the first step in the scientific investigation of traditional medicines, which may lead to the discovery of new pharmaceuticals or botanical drugs that may benefit people beyond the region where the plants are used traditionally.

Signature course(s):

Medical Botany; Medical Ethnobotany of the Amazon; Plants, People and the War on Drugs

Recent publications:

Beckmann JD, Schultz B, Doyle BJ. 2022. Evaluation of Phenol Sulfotransferase (SULT1A1) Ligand Binding Order. International Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics 2022,10(2): 9 – 23. DOI: 10.13189/ijbb.2022.100201

Beckmann JD, Chodavarapu S, Doyle BJ. Evaluation of a conserved tryptophanyl residue in donor substrate binding and catalysis by a phenol sulfotransferase (SULT1A1). Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 2020, 695.

Doyle BJ, Fernández DM, King HV, Svobodny GS, Brewer JM, Huffman C, Asiala CM, Patiño JL, Comunidad San José de Payamino. Medicina de Payamino: Una Guía de Plantas Medicinales de la Comunidad Kichwa San José de Payamino, Orellana, Ecuador. United Nations Development Program. Quito, Ecuador. 2019.

Ali EE, Elmakki MO, Gavette ML, Doyle BJ, Timpe SJ. Protein binding characteristics of the principal green tea catechins: a QCM study comparing crude extract to pure EGCG. Biochemistry Research International 2019,

Doyle BJ, Lawal TO, Locklear TD, Hernandez L, Perez AL, Patel U, Patel S, Mahady GB. Isolation and identification of three new chromones from the leaves of Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr. (Myrtaceae) with cytotoxic, estrogenic and antiestrogenic effects. Pharmaceutical Biology 2018, 56(1):235-244.

Anderson LR, May DS, Berkompas CJ, Doyle BJ. Toxicity of Mid-Michigan Plant Extracts in the Brine Shrimp Lethality Assay and the Effect of Assay Methodology on Sensitivity. BIOS 2018, 89(2):45-51.

Locklear TD, Doyle BJ, Perez AL, Wicks SM, Mahady GB. Menopause in Latin America: Symptoms, attitudes, treatments and future directions in Costa Rica. Maturitas 2017, 104:84-89.

Doyle BJ, Asiala CM, Fernández DM. Relative Importance and Knowledge Distribution of Medicinal Plants in a Kichwa Community in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Ethnobiology Letters 2017, 8(1):1-14.

Xicola RM, Bontu S, Doyle BJ, Rawson J, Garre P, Lee E, de la Hoya M, Bessa X, Clofent J, Bujanda L, Balaguer F, Castellví-Bel S, Alenda C, Jover R, Ruiz-Ponte C, Syngal S, Andreu M, Carracedo A, Castells A, Newcomb PA, Lindor N, Potter JD, Baron JA, Ellis NA, Caldes T, Llor X. Association of a let-7 miRNA binding region of TGFBR1 with hereditary mismatch repair proficient colorectal cancer (MSS HNPCC). Carcinogenesis 2016, 37(8):751-758.

Doyle BJ, Svobodny GS, Batallas R, Fernández D. Medical Ethnobotany of the Amazonian Kichwa Community of San José de Payamino, Ecuador: An Undergraduate-Level Field Course. Acta Horticulturae 2014, 1030:103-108.

Thourson SB, Marsh CA, Doyle BJ, Timpe SJ. Quartz crystal microbalance study of bovine serum albumin adsorption onto self-assembled monolayer-functionalized gold with subsequent ligand binding. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 2013, 111:707-712.