Dr. Zinna is an entomologist by training but a dabbler in many other fields such as evolutionary biology, physiology, bioinformatics, data science, ecology, and invertebrate zoology. Raised in Lexington, South Carolina, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Winthrop University. After graduation, he worked as an imaging technician for the Medical University of South Carolina, before completing his Ph.D. in Entomology from Washington State University. For his dissertation, Dr. Zinna studied the evolution of insect weaponry in rhinoceros beetles. After his Ph.D., he spent two years as a Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow at the University of Arizona studying how mosquitoes respond to Zika virus.
Since arriving at Mars Hill, Dr. Zinna has worked on a wide variety of different research projects, and is always looking for motivated students who are interested in any aspect of invertebrate zoology. Some of these projects include studying the distribution of canine heartworm in Western North Carolina, collecting data on stream health through the use of aquatic insects, studying distribution patterns of tardigrades and other microscopic invertebrates, and investigating the impact of microplastics on mosquitoes. If you’re interested in studying insects, tardigrades, or other invertebrates, reach out to Dr. Zinna!
In addition to his research on campus, Dr. Zinna works closely with Mars Hill’s Esports program and leads the Data Analytics minor. Outside of campus, Dr. Zinna enjoys rock climbing, skateboarding, and playing a wide range of video and board games.