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Brent Opell

Professor of Biological Sciences
2103 Derring Hall (MC 0406)
926 West Campus Dr.
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Major Field of Interest

Spider Systematics and Evolution


  1. Adhesive mechanisms of spider prey capture threads from orb-webs
  2. Molecular and morphological systematics of spiders
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences (formerly Department of Biology), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1978 - 1984; Associate Professor, 1984 - 1989; Professor 1989 - 2023.
  • PhD., Biology, 1978, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Thesis Title: Revision of the Genera and Tropical American Species of the Spider Family Uloboridae. Major Advisor: Herbert W. Levi.
  • M.S., Zoology, 1974, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois. Thesis Title: A Taxonomic Revision of the North American Hahniidae (Arachnida: Araneae). Major Advisor: Joseph A. Beatty.
  • B. A. (Magna Cum Laude), Botany/Zoology, 1971, Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Virginia Tech Certificate of Teaching Excellence: 1986, 2005, 2014.
  • Department of Biological Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award: 1994, 2013.
  • CIDER Teacher of the Week, 2015.
  • William E. Wine Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2015.