News and Highlights

What’s happening around the Biology Department?

  • Two Biology students presented their research at the 100th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in August 2015 in Baltimore, MD. With Dr. John Styrsky, Anna Ledin ’16 presented a poster entitled “A help or a hindrance? Consequences of the exploitation of ant-acacia mutualisms by orb-weaver spiders.” With Drs. John and Jennifer Styrsky, Bonnie Roderique ’15 presented a poster entitled “Hatching asynchrony in Passerine birds: a consequence of conspicuous egg coloration?”
  • The Lynchburg College Ramsey-Freer Herbarium is a collaborator in an NSF-funded project to digitize plant-based natural history collections in the southeastern United States, a hotspot for plant biodiversity. Dr. Nancy Cowden, curator of the Ramsey-Freer herbarium, is leading the effort to scan images of our Virginia specimens (dried, pressed plants with associated collection information) and uploading that information, via a southeastern United States collaborative resident at Appalachian State University, so that anyone in the world with internet access can study our specimens for various research purposes.
  • In collaboration with Dr. Eva Collakova of Virginia Tech, Dr. Erin Friedman presented a poster entitled “The effects of VAL1 mutation in Arabidopsis development” at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists in July 2015 in Minneapolis, MN.
  • The Biology and Biomedical Sciences Departments enthusiastically welcome new Associate Professor Dr. Jurgen Ziesmann. Dr. Ziesmann joined us summer 2015 and will contribute to teaching our A&P coursework in addition to mentoring undergraduate research projects. Dr. Ziesmann is particularly interested in sensory systems of animals and has studied olfactory physiology in mammals, insects, and worms.
  • Congratulations to graduating seniors Liz Hall ’15 and Whitney Sharpf ’15 who have been accepted into the Master of Forensic Science program at Syracuse University for the fall of 2015.
  • Congratulations also to graduating senior Alex Cash ’15 who will begin her Master of Science Education degree at the University of Virginia this fall, and Tracy Estelus ’15 who will begin her Master of Science Education degree right here at LC this fall.
  • Three cheers for Brian Rogers ’15 who tied for first place in the School of Sciences for his oral presentation, “What’s really going on? How does HER2 siRNA influence breast cancer cell survival?” at the annual LC Student Scholar Showcase.
  • Dr. Takashi Maie presented a talk titled “Effects of contaminated water due to mining activities on the vertebrae in fishes: material testing and functional morphology as assessment tools for environmental risks” at the annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in West Palm Beach, Florida this January.
  • Over the 2014 summer, Tracy Estelus ’15 interned with the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in Washington D.C. creating and distributing scientific newsletters, publishing teaching resources on the EcoEd Digital Library, and creating infographics and promotional handouts. ESA also sent Tracy to the Society’s annual scientific meeting in Sacramento where she presented at the Science Pipes and EcoEd Digital Library Workshops and interacted with SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education Diversity and Sustainability) students.
  • The Biology and Biomedical Sciences Departments enthusiastically welcome new Assistant Professor Dr. Takashi Maie. Dr. Maie joined us fall 2014 and will coordinate our A&P efforts as well as teach comparative vertebrate anatomy and physiology. Dr. Maie studies biomechanics using fishes as model organisms.
  • We also welcome Leah Stevens, MS and Jennifer Styrsky, PhD as regular part-time faculty this fall. Ms. Stevens teaches introductory biology labs and A&P labs. Dr. Jennifer Styrsky is affiliated with the Department of Environmental Science, but will be teaching introductory biology labs and ecology for the Biology Department.
  • We bid a fond farewell to Dr. George Schuppin who accepted a position as Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at Wingate University, NC. Dr. Schuppin coordinated our A&P offerings and also taught for the new Doctor of Physical Therapy program at LC. He will be missed by faculty and students alike.
  • Anna Ledin ’16 and Daniel Clement ’14 worked with Dr. John Styrsky in Panama for five weeks in July and August 2014 on a project investigating two species of orb-weaver spiders that inhabit ant-defended acacias in the rainforest understory. Both Anna and Daniel conducted independent projects on aspects of the ecology of these spiders.
  • Dr. Erin Friedman presented a poster titled A new effector for G beta: using Arabidopsis as a heterotrimeric G protein signaling model and helped coordinate education outreach events as a member of the education committee at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists this summer in Portland, OR (July 12-16, 2014).
  • Congratulations to Ashley Mock ’14 for winning first place in the poster session of the 2014 LC Student Scholar Showcase for her poster, ‘An Observation of the Dear Enemy Effect in Male Betta Fish (Betta splenderis)’. Congratulations also to Desiree Laughlin ’14 for tying for first place in the oral presentation competition for her talk, ‘Forced Apoptosis in the Breast Cancer Cell Line SK-BR-3 using the Inhibitors PD173955 and UO126’.
  • Dr. Allison Jablonski attended the Cancer Cell Signaling Symposium at the University of Virginia October 16 and 17, 2013.