News and Highlights

What's happening around the Biology Department?

  • 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.
  • The Biology and Biomedical Sciences Departments enthusiastically welcomes two new assistant professors joining us Fall 2013. Dr. Erin Friedman studies cell signaling and protein-protein interactions in plants. She is teaching introductory biology and A&P labs this year and will be offering an upper-level course in cell signalling in the future. Dr. Robin Jones studies developmental reproductive biology. She is teaching A&P this year and will be offering an upper-level course in developmental biology in the future.
  • Assistant Professor Dr. Rie Sasaki will be joining the biology faculty at Columbia College in Missouri starting this fall. Also leaving is Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Tate Holbrook, who has accepted a tenure-track position in the biology department at College of Coastal Georgia. We thank you both for your numerous contributions and hard work here at LC and wish you great success in your future endeavors!
  • Dr. Kari Benson with colleague Dr. Robert Suter (Vassar College) published a paper titled, "Reflections on the tapetum lucidum and eyeshine in lycosid spiders" in 2013 in Journal of Arachnology 41:43-52.
  • Loriann Garcia '10 and Dr. John Styrsky published a paper titled, "An orb weaver spider eludes acacia ants by hiding in plain sight" in 2013 in Ecological Entomology 28:230-237.
  • Congratulations to Andrew Myers '13 for tying for 2nd place in the Student Scholar Showcase poster competition for his poster, 'How do ant species vary in the mutualistic relationships with aphids?' Congratulations also to Mallory Stewart '13 for tying for 1st place in the oral presentation competition for her talk, 'In Vitro Effects of Lindane on RAW 264.7 Macrophage Inflammatory Responses'.
  • Biology and biomedical science majors Stephanie DeRonde, Kelley Duerbeck, Tara Einhorn, Alexandra Einstman, Avery Eriksson, Stephanie Fedrigo, Hannah Hawkins, Andrew Myers, Kristina Robertson, Diana Spangler, Jennifer Steele, and Mallory Stewart presented each presented their independent research projects or internship projects at the 2013 Student Scholar Showcase.
  • Graduates James McDaniel '12 and DeAnne Moore '12, and Drs. Nancy Cowden and Priscilla Gannicott (Chemistry) presented a talk titled, "Does the polyploidy derivative smell just as sweet: Rosa carolina and R. palustris" at Botany 2012, the Botanical Society of America Annual Conference in Columbus, OH.
  • Dr. John Styrsky and graduate Loriann Garcia '10 presented a poster titled, "A myrmecophilic orb-weaver spider avoids plant-defending acacia ants behaviorally by sitting very still" at the 2012 annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Knoxville, Tenn.Ryan Fisher
  • Ryan Fisher '12 (right) completed a summer internship at Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., a natural resources consultant company in Northern Virginia. Ryan helped with wetlands delineation and maintenance, macroinvertebrate surveys, compliance, and archeological surveys.
  • Drs. Kari Benson and Allison Jablonski attended the 4-VA Biology Conference at James Madison University in July. The 4-VA is a consortium of four universities in Virginia that partner to realize Virginia’s goals for education. For this particular conference, partner institutions met to discuss course redesign strategies to encourage retention of biology students.
  • Dr. Tate Holbrook presented a poster titled, "How does colony size affect task organization in the ant Pogonomyrmex californicus?" at the 2012 annual meeting of the Animal Behavior Society of America in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Dr. John Styrsky was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in May 2012. Dr. Styrsky is on sabbatical this fall working on a new project studying interactions between ants, aphids, and caterpillars that occur on the plant ironweed. Tara Einhorn '13 and Andrew Myers '13 are assisting with the field work and completing their own independent projects.
  • James McDaniel '12James McDaniel '12 (right) is in the PhD program in botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was awarded an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, one of six give across the entire UMW system. He was also awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship by the National Science Foundation. Starting September 1, 2013, he will receive $30,000/year in monthly increments over the next three years. As a graduate student in Ken Cameron's lab, he is in the process of collecting preliminary data on the orchid genus Porroglossum, which encompasses 48 species. These neotropical orchids are fascinating because the plants have an active labellum that, when stimulated by an insect, snaps shut. This mechanism allows Porroglossum to entrap insects as a means of ensuring that pollination occurs. Ultimately, James plans to construct a fully resolved phylogeny for the entire genus using molecular data, and then use it as a tool to address ecological and evolutionary questions.
  • Dr. Kari Benson returns from sabbatical for the 2012 fall semester. She has been busy studying eye structure and vision in Lycosid and Pisaurid spiders in collaboration with Robert Souter of Vassar College. They presented a poster titled, “Reflections on the tapetum lucidum and eyshine in Lycosid spiders” at the annual meeting of American Arachnological Society in July in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
  • Kaitlin MarvinDr. John Styrsky and graduate Kaitlin Marvin '10 (right) presented a poster titled, "Ant-acacia-inhabiting Eustala spiders (Aranaeidae) potentially employ chemical camouflage to avoid ant aggression" at the 2011 annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Austin, Texas.
  • Dr. Nancy Cowden presented a talk titled, "We talk to the bees: Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens pollination biology insights" at the annual meeting (Botany 2011) of the Botanical Society of America in St. Louis, Mo. The work describing variation in floral fragrance and pollinator visits among yellow lady-slipper orchids was co-authored by LC chemistry professor Dr. Priscilla Gannicott.