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Congratulations to Assistant Professor of Biology Kimberly Pause Tucker on the publication of her research into the identification of bacterial viruses in the environment. The research, entitled “Diversity of environmental single-stranded DNA phages revealed by PCR amplification of the partial major capsid protein,” was done in collaboration with scientists in Florida and France. It sheds light on the presence of and diversity of bacterial viruses called phages in the environment. Dr. Pause Tucker is also the Director of the Center for Environmental Sustainability here at Stevenson University. You can find the article here: http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ismej201443a.html.

BBB, the Biological Honor Society, is again sponsoring the Power Down Challenge from March 3-7, 2014, to help students become aware of how much energy is used on campus. The Power Down Challenge is a competition between each of the dorms to see which one can cut back and save the most energy that week.

Each room from the dorm building that has the highest energy reduction will be entered into a drawing to win $10 gift cards for everyone in their room! Help us by spreading the word to all your friends who live in the dorms! The winners will be announced at GreenFest on April 4th from 12:00pm to 2:00pm.

Senior biology major, Christopher Snyder has accepted a position of Research Scholar at The Neuroscience Research Institute at SUNY Old Westbury, Old Westbury, New York.  This is a full-time position in the laboratory of Dr. George B. Stefano, where Chris completed an internship during the summer of 2013. Congratulations Chris and Good Luck!


Due to the winter weather the SOS was forced to move the Fall Poster Session to the next semester but that didn’t hinder the event one bit. The students who had completed a Research or Internship Capstone or had conducted research with a faculty member in the summer or fall presented a poster of their work. All were in agreement that the students did a marvelous job in their research. Congratulations to all!

  After a whirlwind winter break, the department of biological sciences is happy to welcome back all of its students and faculty for the spring semester! Classes start on Monday, January 13th and we’re excited to get back into the labs and classrooms. We’re looking forward to a busy spring. Be sure to check back here for news about what is going on in the department!

        Dr. Sydella Blatch, Assistant Professor of Biology, wrote the most read online article of 2013 for ASBMB Today, a publication by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/201401/OpenChannels/TopArticles/). Her article, titled “Great achievements in science and technology in ancient Africa” was published in February 2013 and has since been downloaded and read more than any other article published in 2013. It has also created chatter on Twitter from many students who have used it in their science classes. Read the article here – http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/asbmbtoday_article.aspx?id=32437. Congratulations, Dr. Blatch!


              Alec Marschke has been volunteering with the Maryland Zoo since 2009 when he started as part of their “Junior Zoo Crew”.  He has continued on and is now one of their most versatile adult volunteers with a lifetime total as of this month of almost 1,200 hours of service!  He works with tortoises and turtles, insects (including the Madagascar hissing cockroach!), Panamanian golden frogs, screech owls, and snakes.

          This year, Alec was selected as “Adult Volunteer of the Year” by Maryland Zoo staff from a large pool of adult volunteers.  In order to be in the running for this honor, volunteers need to have completed 300 service hours in the year.  “Alec was very special in his situation and was up against very tough competition by more senior volunteers…  He assists with our interpretation program covering areas like our Polar Bears and Maryland Wilderness.  He also travels all around the state with our Zoo Mobile program making presentations and handling our Embassy collection of animals to school children, libraries, and other facilities.  He assists with our Penguin Wild Encounter and is currently on our volunteer cabinet in a leadership position… With all these tasks, time served, great attitude, and consistency he was able to earn the award for 2013.” – Allison Schwartz, Volunteer Manager, Maryland Zoo.

             What does this stellar volunteer have planned for his future?  Alec is majoring in Biology here at SU because he hopes to pursue a career in research.  He is also interested in “conservation through captivity”, in other words, using zoos and aquariums to assist in conservation efforts for imperiled species.

We would also like to introduce one of our newest members to the department and the School of Sciences , Dr. Samuel G. Obae. As part of the department, Dr. Obae will teach Biology 113 and Biology 114 and mentor students in research on plant secondary metabolites and conservation biology. His research will also focus on the “production of valuable plant compounds using plant tissue cultures and manipulation of culture conditions in order to increase their production”. After asking, Dr. Obae what he likes best about SU so far he replied, “Everyone has been very welcoming and the students are very professional and respective.” Make sure you stop by and introduce yourself and make him feel welcome to the SOS and to his new Stevenson family.

We would like to introduce one of our newest members to the department and the School of Sciences, Dr. Mark D. Norris. As part of the department, Dr. Norris will teach Biology 115 and Biology 213 and mentor students in research on the subject of terrestrial plant and ecosystem level analysis. His research will also include investigating the “patterns and processes of so-called novel ecosystems in order to ultimately help the conservation or restoration plans to maintain native diversity”. After asking, Dr. Norris what he likes best about SU so far he replied, “there has been a great group of faculty that have really helped me settle in.” Make sure you stop by and introduce yourself and make him feel welcome to the SOS and to his new Stevenson family.

My name is Keeley Cook, and I am a junior here at Stevenson University. I am majoring in Biology with plans of applying to pharmacy school. This summer I am participating in the Research Experience for Undergraduates at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, ND. I was recommended for this internship by Dr. Blatch, whom I would like to greatly thank! At NDSU, I am under the mentorship of Dr. Kendra Greenlee. Two main insects studied in this lab are Manduca sexta, or the tobaaco hornworm, and Megachile rotundata, or the Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee. Meghan Bennett, who is my graduate student mentor, and I work with M.rotundata. Our research is focused on studying the effects of temperature stress during pupal development of the bees. A main portion of my research is studying the longevity of the bees. It is a very exciting lab to work in!

Keeley Cook

Originally uploaded by Meredith Durmowicz

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