Biological Sciences Newsletter

Volume 2, Fall 2016

Biology Study Abroad with Remembrances of a Field Study Course Long Ago
Integrating Algae Biofuels Research into the Introductory Biology Laboratory
The SIUE Campus is Home to the State-Threatened Illinois Chorus Frog
Biology Faculty Members Awarded Research Grants
Welcome New Faculty Members to Biological Sciences
In Memoriam
Axtell Lecture to Celebrate Darwin Day
Biological Sciences hosts the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences
Top Students Recognized at Honors Day
Students Research Awards
Students Present Their Research
Supporting Biological Sciences


Hello everyone, and welcome to our second annual Biological Sciences newsletter. In this newsletter we introduce you to our new faculty and remember department members we lost this year. We update you on some of the research projects of our faculty and students, as well as an innovative new approach we are piloting in our introductory biology lab course. Some of our students participated in a field course in the Rockies this summer, and alum Max Gricevich shares some of his memories from a field trip taken long ago. We celebrated Darwin’s Birthday in February with an Axtell Lecture presentation by honored guest Dr. Lawrence Witmer, and we are proud to have hosted the 108th Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science in April. Finally, as always, our students have been very busy in studies and research this past year, and we want to catch you up on the awards they have won and all the interesting presentations they have made since our last newsletter.

Biology Study Abroad with Remembrances of a Field Study Course Long Ago

Travel study courses provide unique and memorable educational experiences for our students. This past summer Drs. Rick Essner and Peter Minchin led a travel study course to the Northern Rockies. Students learned about the natural history of the Rockies in an outdoor classroom like no other—Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks in the U.S., and Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. The experience of seeing the rich diversity of plants and animals alongside spectacular geological features and the opportunity to conduct field research in these unique ecosystems, is certain to make a lifelong impression on these future scientists.

Study abroad courses can be some of the most interesting and enjoyable classes for our professors to teach as well. Any professor who has organized one will also tell you these courses can be logistically complicated to organize, and one can never anticipate all the challenges that may arise.

Max Gricevich, ’73MS, recalls his experience on a field trip with Dr. Ralph Axtell and fellow students several decades ago:

Long about 1972, if my memory serves me correctly (and it sometimes does), I and two other graduate students at SIUE accompanied Dr. Axtell on a two week western field trip. Others on the trip were Tim Weyenberg, ’74MA, and Walter Boyce, ’74 MS ’79 MBA. We traveled through parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, and Arizona studying semiarid and desert biomes. At the time, Tim was focusing mainly on mammals. Walter’s primary interest was entomology. I was concentrating on plants, but Ralph’s extensive knowledge of biogeography brought it all together.

Under Ralph’s guidance, the three of us grad students began to experience the interrelationships of geology, climate and biological systems as we never had before. But there was plenty of fun to be had also. I specifically remember bathing in a freezing Colorado River, jumping from a cliff into a pool in Utah, and actually feeling the water evaporate around me while standing in the municipal swimming pool in Gila Bend, Ariz., in 125 degree temperature.

I think I remember this one semi-correctly, but, if not, it’s still a good story: We were camped near Page, Ariz., on the Friday before a 4th of July weekend. We were planning to head out later in the day toward the Gila Bend area. Ralph was driving a VW minibus, and I was driving a VW squareback. Late in the afternoon in sweltering heat, Ralph tried to start his vehicle and the distributor virtually exploded. The cap had evidently melted. Ralph and I hopped into my squareback and headed into Page, seeking a VW dealer. Although VW dealerships were not all that common in the west at that time, we located one. It had closed early for the holiday weekend. Resigning ourselves to being stuck in the Page area through the long weekend, Ralph and I went to a liquor store near the VW dealership to restock our beer supply. As we were leaving the liquor store, we looked over toward the VW dealership and saw someone unlocking the door. We rushed over. It was the owner. He had been out at Lake Powell near Page, settling in to camp for the weekend when he noticed a cracked gas-line hose on his boat. To our good fortune, he returned to Page and his dealership for a new piece of hose at the precise time of our exiting the liquor store. He had the part we needed. Sometimes the fates smile.

Integrating Algae Biofuels Research into the Introductory Biology Laboratory

Introductory biology classes can be challenging for new college freshmen and are the place where students can either be turned on or off to science careers. In Biological Sciences we recognize that if we can grab student interest and get them through introductory courses successfully, we will positively impact more student lives and retain more of them in biology. A team of Biological Sciences researchers has designed and is currently piloting an authentic lab experience in BIOL 150, an introductory course for biology majors. This experience fits what is referred to as a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) lab and involves groups of students conducting semester-long authentic research on the synthesis of biodiesel from green microalgae. This topic offers a wide range of investigations, including algae culturing conditions, lysing methods, lipid-to-biodiesel transformation, and characterization of biodiesel products. Students share their research findings through a written report and by presenting their research at a culminating poster symposium.

The first pilot phase took place in the Spring 2016 semester and included three lab sections participating in the CURE lab while nine sections continued with the traditional laboratory experience. In Fall 2016, six of the lab sections follow the CURE lab format along with 11 traditional lab sections. The goal is to have all students participating in the CURE lab experience by the fall 2017 semester.

CURE lab equipmentCURE labs provide research experience to whole classes of students and are reported in the literature to increase retention in STEM disciplines. By focusing on a freshman level course, the researchers will expose far more students to the research experience earlier in their academic progression. The research is being conducted in collaboration with the campus STEM and NCERC Centers, and the Biological Sciences team includes Dr. Kelly Barry, associate professor of Biological Sciences, Christine Simmons, instructor of Biological Sciences, and graduate student Charles Knoth Jr. An assessment of the lab experience outcomes will determine if students participating in the CURE lab increase their a) self-efficacy in science through understanding of the research process and inquiry practices, b) sense of belonging to a science community, c) science identity, and d) retention in STEM academic programs. The researchers hypothesize that increased project ownership will positively influence the sense of belonging to a science community. Both sense of community and science identity are directly linked to the long-term goal of persistence in science.

The SIUE Campus is Home to the State-Threatened Illinois Chorus Frog

The Illinois Chorus Frog, Pseudacris illinoensis, is a state-threatened amphibian that is highly dependent on sand prairie habitat and is only found in isolated parts of Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. This unique frog spends the majority of its life underground, burrowing through sand using its forelimbs. They emerge in the early spring for only a short period to breed and may travel over a kilometer to reach breeding ponds. Illinois Chorus Frogs were once more widespread in Madison County, with populations in Granite City and South Roxana. However, these populations have been extirpated due to development. The only remaining population is in the vicinity of the agricultural fields along the western edge of the SIUE campus, near Sand Road. Unfortunately, this population is being threatened by the warehouse expansion occurring along the I-255 corridor. The development will place warehouses adjacent to the highest quality remaining habitat for these frogs.

Dr. Rick Essner and his graduate students, Lisa Hebenstreit and Alexis King, have been studying the Madison County population for the last couple of years. They have been conducting population surveys, documenting road mortality, and using radiotelemetry to track frogs to and from breeding ponds and to identify burrow locations. Their studies are critical in the effort to protect the last remaining population of Illinois Chorus Frogs in the region.

Lisa HebenstreitOn a related note, Lisa Hebenstreit was recently awarded a graduate student intern position with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). This is a highly competitive program with only eight positions being awarded on an annual basis. The program is designed for students who are nearing completion of their graduate work. Lisa’s position is located at IDNR headquarters in Springfield. She is gaining valuable hands-on experience in wildlife biology, including endangered species monitoring and habitat management. In addition, part of her internship duties include continued monitoring of Illinois Chorus Frogs through bioacoustic surveys.

Biology Faculty Members Awarded Research Grants

Duvernell Lab

David Duvernell, professor of Biological Sciences, and his collaborator Jake Schaefer at University of Southern Mississippi, were awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for their laboratories to map chromosomal rearrangements and study their genetic consequences during hybridization in a group of topminnows. Hybridization occurs when members of different species attempt to reproduce. While hybridization has traditionally been viewed as normally inconsequential to species integrity and the speciation process (hybrids usually assumed to be inviable), there is growing evidence it may actually be beneficial and accelerate speciation under some circumstances. Duvernell and Schaefer have initiated a study of topminnows to understand how divergence and chromosomal rearrangements may interact to determine the dynamics of naturally occurring hybrid zones.

Student researchers at SIUE are using modern genomic tools to quantify the amount of hybridization and patterns of introgression in hybrid zones. Artificial breeding experiments in the laboratory will produce genetic maps of chromosomal rearrangements. Genetic maps, combined with data from hybrid zones, will allow researchers to infer spatial patterns of gene flow between species in naturally hybridizing populations. Two SIUE undergraduate students, Amanda Markovich and Tessa England, have begun working on this project in May of this year. Both students are involved in the SIUE Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) program, and both are interested in pursuing graduate studies. Amanda had the opportunity to present a research poster at the 5th annual Saint Louis Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (SLEEC) retreat held at Principia College in September.

Liebl Lab

Faith Liebl, associate professor of Biological Sciences, was awarded a one year grant from the CHARGE Foundation to uncover the synaptic mechanisms correlated with CHARGE Syndrome. CHARGE Syndrome results from mutations in the gene CHD7, which encodes a protein that regulates gene expression. Affected individuals exhibit neurodevelopmental delays and cognitive and sensory impairments. There is very little known, however, about how synaptic function is affected in individuals with CHARGE Syndrome. Liebl's lab examines how the Drosophila ortholog of CHD7, kismet, affects synaptic development. The grant from the CHARGE Foundation helped fund the research of two graduate students in the Liebl lab, Taylor Delaney and Carly Gridley, and the research of one undergraduate student, Shelby Markel, an URCA Associate. Collectively, their data suggests that mutations in kismet lead to deficient presynaptic release of neurotransmitter possibly due to impaired endocytosis. All three students presented their research at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting last year in Chicago.

Welcome New Faculty Members to Biological Sciences

We are incredibly fortunate to welcome three new faculty members to our department.

Susanne DiSalvo

Susanne DiSalvoDr. DiSalvo joins SIUE as virologist and microbiologist. She comes to us from a postdoctoral fellowship position at Washington University where she has been studying the microbiome of the soil amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum in the Strassmann/Queller lab. DiSalvo earned her PhD at Brown University in 2012 where she studied prions in a yeast model system. Her research background includes studies involving bacteriophages as well. At SIUE DiSalvo and her students will continue studies of the causes and consequences of amoeba-bacteria symbiosis, and she will be teaching a variety of courses, including virology and microbiology.

Danielle N. Lee

Danielle N. LeeDr. Lee is an animal behavior biologist who has been in a postdoctoral research position at Cornell University where she has been examining African giant pouched rat behavioral biology. Her work has included extensive field research in Tanzania. Dr. Lee earned her PhD at University of Missouri – St. Louis in 2010 where she conducted behavioral studies on prairie voles. Dr. Lee’s courses at SIUE will include mammalogy, animal behavior, and urban ecology. Dr. Lee is very active in outreach and diversity advocacy in the sciences, having been a TED fellow, and recognized for her social media influence by EBONY Magazine, the Grio’s 100, and as a White House Champion of Change. Dr. Lee blogs as The Urban Scientist for Scientific American.

Ben Greenfield

Ben GreenfieldDr. Greenfield arrives at SIUE having completed his PhD at the University of California – Berkeley where he modeled environmental antibiotic resistance emergence, and also multivariate spatial patterns in environmental hazards. Prior to his work at Berkeley, Dr. Greenfield spent twelve years at the San Francisco Estuary Institute where he specialized in human health risks and policy implications of chemical contaminants. At SIUE, Dr. Greenfield will have a joint appointment between Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences where he will be offering courses critical to the new undergraduate major in environmental science.

In Memoriam

During 2016 we were saddened to lose three members of the department.

Marian Smith

Marian SmithIn March, Professor Emerita Dr. F. Marian Smith passed away peacefully at home in Edwardsville, surrounded by family and friends. Smith earned a BS in Mathematics from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, a MEd in Biology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and a PhD in Botany from Kansas University in Lawrence. She joined SIUE in 1987 and began a 21-year career as a teacher-scholar, reaching the rank of distinguished research professor several years before her retirement in 2008. She is best known for her work on rare and endangered plants, such as Boltonia decurrens, which is native to the floodplains of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, and Schoenoplectiella hallii, a species with a disjunct distribution in the Midwest and Eastern US. Smith was an accomplished botanist and population ecologist, who mentored many undergraduate and graduate students and was an active and very productive member of the department. Mike Penskar, a former botanist with the Michigan Heritage Program who collaborated with Marian on Schoenoplectiella hallii research wrote, “Her students were clearly guided by the hands of a wise teacher, and I believe that this shows through in the high quality of studies that they engaged in and produced. Thus in addition to being a talented researcher and botanist, I believe that Marian was a gifted mentor, the type that catalyzes the interests of students and launches productive careers. Many professors can produce prodigious amounts of literature, and many can influence and guide students, but too few can do both. SIUE was very fortunate to have had Marian Smith as an esteemed professor. All can take some solace in knowing that her work will continue to guide ongoing and future research, and I for one will keep her in my thoughts.”

Ralph Axtell

Ralph AxtellIn July, we received the sad news that Professor Emeritus Dr. Ralph W. Axtell had passed away at his residence in Edwardsville. Axtell obtained his PhD in 1958 from the University of Texas – Austin and in 1960 he was appointed to the faculty of SIUE while it was still housed in Alton. As a founding member of the Department of Zoology and later the Department of Biological Sciences, Axtell taught generations of undergraduate and graduate students and mentored many of them in his research lab. Axtell developed a national reputation for the excellence of his research in herpetology, including the description of eight new species or subspecies. In 2006, a lizard, Sceloporus poinsettia axtelli was named in his honor by Robert G. Webb. On his retirement in 2014, Axtell was the longest-serving tenured Professor in the university’s history. He was a lifelong supporter of SIUE, and through his generous donations an endowment was set up to support research and teaching in ecology and organismal biology. In recognition of his support, a teaching lab in the Science West Building was named the “Ralph Axtell Biology Laboratory.” In addition, in honor of our respected professor emeritus, the lecture series associated with our annual celebration of Darwin Day was named the “Ralph W. Axtell Lecture Series.” In the words of Interim Chancellor Professor Stephen Hansen, “Ralph Axtell was one of the ‘founding fathers’ of SIUE. An outstanding teacher and scholar, Ralph laid the groundwork for SIUE’s future by setting the standard for excellence. Over his long career, he helped build SIUE into a nationally recognized university.”

Mary Rast

Mary RastIn August, we were once again saddened to hear of the passing of Mary Corle “Pete” Rast, who had been Lab Manager in the Department of Biological Sciences for 45 years. Born at Christian Welfare Hospital in East St. Louis in 1944, Rast was a cheerleader and a graduate of East St. Louis Senior High School. She was awarded the W. T. Grant Foundation College Scholarship, which enabled her to attend and graduate from Monmouth College. Rast was known to our faculty, staff and students for her smile and pleasant personality. She loved watching birds and wildlife, gardening, and traveling with her husband, Bob Cunningham. Through that travel she became well known and loved by the hockey community throughout the nation. She was a passionate St. Louis Blues fan. In recognition of her years of devoted service to the department and our students, a new annual senior award named in her honor will be awarded to a senior Biological Sciences student in the Ecology, Evolution and Conservation degree concentration for academic excellence and a demonstrated commitment to conservation or community outreach.

Axtell Lecture to Celebrate Darwin Day

Each year the Biological Sciences Department celebrates Darwin Day, honoring Charles Darwin’s birthday (February 12), by hosting a speaker for our Ralph W. Axtell Lecture Series. The lecture is named in honor of the late Dr. Ralph Axtell in recognition of his many contributions to the University and to science. In 2016 we hosted Dr. Lawrence Witmer, the Chang Ying-Chien Professor of Paleontology at Ohio University and world renowned dinosaur paleontologist for a presentation titled “Fleshing Out Dinosaurs! From Darwin’s Bulldog to advanced 3D modeling.”

This coming year we will be joined by the Anthropology and Psychology Departments in hosting Dr. Robert Martin, Emeritus Curator at The Field Museum of Natural History. The event will be held on January 30, at 4:00 PM in the Meridian Ballroom, Morris University Center. The lecture is free and open to the public. Please join us!

Biological Sciences hosts the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences

The 108th Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science was held on the SIUE campus on April 15 and 16, 2016. SIUE had previously hosted the conference in 2002 and 2009. The meeting was attended by 236 professional and student scientists from across the state. Three floors of the Science Laboratory West building were filled Friday by 138 posters from all disciplines. SIUE Biological Sciences students, faculty members, or adjunct faculty members were authors on 70 of the 137 posters. On Saturday morning, thirty-five oral presentations were delivered in the Morris University Center with SIUE biological science contributors numbered at 13. Abstracts of all of the presentations can be found in the Supplement to ISAS Transactions, vol. 109 (

Drs. Fowler and Retzlaff organized the meeting, co-sponsored by the Biological Sciences Department, Biology Club, Pre-medical Club and Chemistry Club, and with generous grant funding from the SIUE Graduate School. Many of the students from the department pitched in with volunteer time and talent to make sure the meeting ran smoothly. The scientific life and contributions of SIUE Professor Emerita F. Marian Smith, who died in 2016, were remembered in a tribute by Interim Chancellor Steve Hansen following the Friday evening dinner. In conjunction with the Physic Department Shaw Lecture and the Arts and Issues series, the ISAS Keynote presentation was made by Apollo 13 astronaut Captain Jim Lovell.

Top Students Recognized at Honors Day

April 17, 2016: Front row, left to right: Amanda Brink - The Dr. Arthur C. Zahalsky Award for Excellence in Medical Technology; Kaitlyn Maly - The Michael R. Levy Memorial Award in Molecular Biology; Jessica Westerhold - Student Researcher Award; Brittany Mersman - Senior Award in Medical Science; and Allison Newton - Senior Award in Genetics and Cell Biology. Back row, left to right: Dr. David Duvernell, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences; Luke Revelt - The Michael R. Levy Memorial Award in Molecular Biology; Brandon Schack and Alexander Smith - Senior Award in Ecology, Evolution and Environment; Jonah Longdon - Senior Award in Integrative Biology; Jeremy Huckleby - Ollie Mae Williams Merit Award; and Alicia Wilson - Senior Award in Integrative Biology.
Not Pictured: Aaron Hancock – Senior Award in Medical Science.

Each spring, the College of Arts and Sciences celebrates some of our best and brightest students with a special Honors Day event. Honors awards for Biological Sciences students are funded by several named award funds, as well as the Biological Sciences fund. If you would like to support one of our Honors Day awards, please consider contributing to one of these funds, or consider creating a new award for our students.

Students Research Awards

The students in our department are among the most research active of any on the SIUE campus. The University provides opportunities for our students to apply for and receive funds for original research projects through two very important programs available campus-wide. These programs provide a great opportunity for our students to experience the creative process first hand, beginning with project conception and proposal preparation and review. We recognize and congratulate all undergraduate and graduate students who earned funding for their research projects in 2016 through the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) Associate program and the Research Grants for Graduate Students (RGGS) program.

Spring 2016 URCA Associate awardees:

Alexis Aranda
Luke Brown
Abbie Fox
Amanda Markovich
Daniel Miller
Rebecca Ngo
Emily Wade

Spring 2016 RGGS awardees:

Aaron Alexander
Md Yousuf Ali
Kathryn Carter
Noah Dell
Melisa Hillman
Alexis King
Samuel Keck-Flory
Jenelle Mathias
Ryan Momenteller
Hana Thixton
John (Devon) Wall

The University awards each student $500 for their research project. You can supplement these award-winning student projects with your donation to the Department of Biological Sciences Endowment.

The URCA program has a second participation mechanism in which faculty may advertise to fill student research assistant positions in their labs. The following Biological Sciences students have served as URCA Assistants in the past year.

Spring and Fall 2016 URCA Assistants:

Kelsey Bernard Matthew Hunsaker Luke Revelt
Jordan Bolletta Blaine Johnson William Schryver
Edmund Bruning  Stefan Jones Colton Shaw 
Andriana Christiensen Megan Lauzon Joseph Strohmeyer
Kim Croxford Caleb Mau Nestanet Taeme 
Kelly Cusack  Nathan Meckel  Kayla Tatum 
Tessa England Kelli Meyer  Michele Thole 
Maggie Erdmann Jacob Miller Samuel Trifon
Jordyn Grawe Allison Newton Brennan Tschop
Haley Gula Breanna Olliges Jessica Westerhold
Oliva Haddox Lance Price  Harley Youtzy
Benjamin Harsin Tasmeem Raida
Amanda Henderson Abigail Reller

Students Present Their Research

As usual, our students have been very active over the past year presenting their research at regional, national, and international conferences and symposia in the form of oral presentations or posters. 

Environmental Education Association of Illinois Conference. Canton, Ill. March 11.

Brooke Kottkamp (BS) Students and Teachers Misconceptions on Climate Change Knowledge and Attitudes.

Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid Conservation Meeting, Morton Arboretum, Morton, Ill., April 9

Hana Thixton (MS) Identification of Site-specific Mycorrhizal Fungi Associates of the Federally Threatened Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea) in Illinois.

International Orchid Conservation Congress, Hong Kong, China, May 16-20

Hana Thixton (MS) - Isolating Orchid Mycorrhizal Fungi from Spiranthes vernalis for Subsequent Seed Germination and Reintroduction.

108th Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science, Edwardsville, Ill., April 15-16

Lisa Adden (MS) - Characterization of Molecular Mechanisms of Silver Nanoparticle Toxicity in Escherichia coli (E. coli).

M. Yusuf Ali (MS) - Molecular and Biochemical Characterization of the Wild-Type Drosophila melanogaster that Produces Enhanced Levels of ROS After Exposures to Sub-Lethal Amounts of Ivermectin.

Sudhamadhuri Arvapally (MS) - Developing Coding Tutorials for Educators and Middle School Students.

Ivan Ayala (MS) - The NuA4 Histone Acetyltransferase Complex Affects Epigenetic Regulation of Regeneration in Schmidtea mediterranea.

Sally Ayoob (MS) - Comparative Morphology of the Mandible within Canidae.

Branden Bennet (MS) - Characterization of Brux-Like Motor Patterns: Simultaneous Electromyography and Sonomicrometry.

Jordan Bolletta (BS) - Transformation Rescue of the gps5 Mutant in Arabidopsis.

Courtney Brewer (BS) - Cranial Morphology Distinguishing Two Closely Related Canidae Species.

Amanda Brink (BS) - Comparative Pituitary Growth Hormone Immunostaining in Anolis Lizard Species (Sauria: Iguanidae) that Vary in Body Size.

Luke Brown (BS) - Rescue of the Arabidopsis ggps1-1 Mutant with Meristem-Specific Promoters.

Nicole Brueggemann (BS) - The Effect of Cholesterol and Tocopherol Supplementation on Rapid Cold Hardening and Low Temperature Tolerance.

Brooke Bryson (MS) - Growth and Morphological Impacts of Copper Contamination on Acer negundo (Sapindaceae).

Kathryn Carter (MS) - Osteopontin (OPN) Enhances Migration in Human Salivary Gland (SG) Cancer.

Shelby Chesko (BS) - Quantification of Lead in Central Illinois Birds of Prey.

Peyton Crowe (BS) - Characterization of Smed-htt, the Planarian Homolog of the Human Huntington’s Disease Gene.

Kelly Cusack (BS) - The Effects of the Container, Aeration and Inoculation Optimization of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Culturing for Use in Biodiesel Research in Introductory Biology Research Laboratories.

Aubree Dahler (MS) - Comparative Functional Osteological Morphology of the Forelimb in Mustelidae.

Allyssa Decker (MS) - Evaluating Native Plant Survival on a Mid-Western Green Roof.

Emily Ehrhardt (BS) - Analysis of Circumnutation in Gravitropism Mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Vineet Garlapally (MS) - Studying the Endocrine Disruption Activity of Environmentally Relevant ZnO Nanoparticles on Xenopus laevis Tadpoles.

Sarah Giacomini (MS) - Comparative Mandibular Morphology in Cervidae.

Victoria Goodwin (MS) - Experimental Inhibition of Corticosterone in Gray Treefrog Tadpoles (Anura: Hyla chrysoscelis and H. versicolor).

Lisa Habenstreit (MS) - Amphibian Diversity and Abundance in Old Artificial Ponds on the SIUE Campus.

Maya Habibi (BS) - Comparing Laser Scanning to Photogrammetry for Capturing 3D Surface of Snail Shells.

Amanda Henderson (BS) - Evaluation of Irrigation Methods on Sedum spp. in Established Midwestern Green Roofs.

Miles Herr (BS) - Gradient in Shell Density in a Riverine Snail, Elimia potosiensis.

Joy Hodge (MS) - Long-Term Success of Sedums on a Midwestern Green Roof.

Nichalas Horn (MS) - Evaluating the Effects of Silver Nanoparticles on Planarians.

Christopher Huff (MS) - The Effect of Hunter-Derived Offal Piles on Local Scavengers.

Jeffrey Iverson (BS) - Construction, Purification and Characterization of Blue and Cyan Fluorescent Protein-Fused Ca2+ Sensing Protein Calmodulin.

Blaine Johnson (BS) - Fitness Disadvantage of the DDT Resistant 91-R Strain of Drosophila melanogaster.

Daniel Karcher (BS) - Lethality or Other Severe Consequences May Accompany Deletion of the Schizophyllum commune G-gamma protein.

Samuel Keck-Flory (MS) - Enzymatic Activity of GGPS-1.

Ashley Keely (MS) - Effects of Pyrethroid Insecticides on Tight Junctions Using an In Vitro Blood-Brain Barrier Model.

Alexis King (MS) - Population Demography and Movement Patterns of the Illinois Chorus Frog, Pseudacris illinoensis, in Southwestern Illinois.

Alexa Kinney (BS) - Morphology of Canid and Felid Scapula Form.

K. Charles Knoth (MS) - Analysis of a Pilot Phase CURE Implementation in an Introductory Biology Course for Science Majors.

Brooke Kottkamp (BS) - Assessment of Climate Change Misconceptions along with Teaching Practices and Student Responses which Aid in Climate Change Education.

Jacob Krisher (MS) - Cell-Matrix Interaction: Activation of MAP kinase Signaling Pathway in Salivary Gland Cells.

Haley Kutosky (BS) - Using 3D Printed Models to Evaluate the Effect of Spines on Hydrodynamic Performance of Snail Shells.

Zack Ladson (BS) - Swimming Kinematics in Gray Treefrog Tadpoles (Anura: Hyla chrysoscelis and H. versicolor) with Predator-Induced Tail Morphology.

Jill La Rue (MS) - Bioinformatic and Knockout Analysis of Two Dicer Genes in Schizophyllum commune.

Lafisu Lasisi (MS) - Does the Invasive Shrub Lonicera maackii (Caprifoliaceae) have a Stratification Requirement?

Kyle Lincoln (BS) - Bioinformatic Analysis and Knockout Targeting of a Methyltransferase Gene in Schizophyllum commune.

Jenelle Mathias (MS) - Optimization of Medium Composition for Growth of Axenic Stanleya pinnata.

Caleb Mau (BS) - Thermal Benefits of Different Weeding Methods of Green Roof Systems.

Mallory Maves (MS) - Recruiting East St. Louis: Strategies for STEM Student Program Retention In an AtRisk Community.

Lalita Mazgaeen (MS) - Differential RNAi Approaches to Enhance Knockdown Efficiency of Target Gene Transcripts in the Highly DDT-Resistant 91-R Strain of Drosophila melanogaster.

Tyler McGowan (BS) - Karyotype of Topminnows in the Fundulus notatus Species Complex.

Drew Merideth (BS) - Detecting Incremental Growth Markers in the Shells of Lotic Snails.

Brittany Mersman (BS) - Use of RNAi Knockdown of Three Nervous System Genes to Determine Effects on Memory in Planarians.

Lucas Meyer (BS) - Relationships between Shell and Soft Body Characters in Two Syntopic Snails.

Daniel Miller (BS) - Sexual Dimorphism in Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) Mandible Form.

Callie Mincy (BS) - Effects of Cancerous Matrix on Normal Salivary Gland Cells.

Ryan Momenteller (BS) - Construction of a Timeline for Morphogenesis and Sporulation in Schizophyllum umbrinum.

Allison Newton (BS) - Analysis of Berberine Family Genes Potentially Involved in Chlorophyll and Carotenoid Synthesis.

Rebecca Ngo (BS) - Study of Interaction between Neutral Coomassie Brilliant Blue Species and Bovine Serum Albumin.

Breanna Olliges (BS) - Predator Induced Differences in Tail Morphology and Muscle Fiber Composition in Gray Treefrogs (Anura: Hyla chrysoscelis and H. versicolor).

Christine Olson (BS) - Investigating the Use of 3D Technology to Create a Taxon that Does Not Exist: Generating Morphological Variation in the Pleuroceridae.

Ummul Vara Qurratul NLN (MS) - Chromosome Number of Euphorbia rosescens (Euphorbiaceae) or Scrub Spurge a Florida State Endangered Species.

Luke Revelt (BS) - Analysis of the Geranyl Geranyl Diphosphate Synthase Family in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Rachel Rodgers (MS) - Phylogenomic Analysis of 16 Fundulus Species Using RNA-seq Data.

Alexis Ronan (BS) - The Effect of Elevated and Variable Winter Temperatures on Metabolic Rate, Body Mass and Water Content of the Goldenrod Gall Fly, Eurosta solidaginis.

Kyle Schafer (BS) - The Conformational Changes of the 3rd and 4th EF-Hands of Calmodulin are Important for the Recognition of Fas-Associated Death Domain.

Melinda Schneitz (BS) - The Effects of GFMRFamide on the Crop and Gizzard of Lumbricus terrestris.

William Schryver (BS) - RNA-seq Analysis of the Variegated Phenotype of the Arabidopsis thaliana ggps1 Mutant.

Kimberly Shoemaker (MS) - Bioaccumulation of Mercury and Selenium in Fish in the Lower Illinois River.

Parminder Singh (BS) - Relationship Between Growth Hormone Receptors and the Body Size Differences in Anolis Lizards (Sauria: Iguanidae).

Alexander Smith (BS) - Food Limitation as a Hypothesis Explaining Stream Gradients in Morphology in a Freshwater Snail.

Kayla Tatum (BS) - Weeding Maintenance of Green Roof Systems.

Thomas Teague (BS) - Have We Seen Enough? Quantifying the Extent of Behavior Displayed by Serine Proteases in a Molecular Dynamic Simulation.

Hana Thixton (MS) - Genetic Diversity of Northern and Southern Orchid Mycorrhizae Found in the Federally Threatened Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea).

Toria Trost (BS) - Characterization of the Planarian SWI/SNF-Related Chromatin Remodeling Complexes.

Ranjitha Uppala (MS) - Effects of Chemical Speciation on Selenium Accumulation in Fungal Mycelia.

Jhunnelle Walters (BS) - The Impact of Abscisic Acid on the Variegation Patterns of the Arabidopsis thaliana ggps1 Mutant.

Jun Wang (MS) - Microbial Transformation and Volatilization of Elemental Selenium Nanoparticles.

Benjamin Wedeking (BS) - Skeletal Correlates of Stream Gradient Morphological Variation in Largescale Stonerollers (Campostoma oligolepis) (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae).

Jessica Westerhold (BS) - Analysis of the Gravity Persistent Signal 5 (gps5) Mutant in Arabidopsis thaliana.

International Association for Vegetation Science 59th Annual Symposium, Pirenópolis, Brazil, June 12-17

Noah Dell (MS) - Assessing the robustness of clustering methods for classification of vegetation data.

St. Louis Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Retreat, Principia College, Elsah, Ill., September 17

Amanda Markovich (BS) - Assessment of Prezygotic Reproductive Isolation among Topminnows in an Artificial Stream System.

Rachel Rodgers (MS) - Phylogenomic Analysis of 16 Fundulus Species using RNA-seq Data.

Hana Thixton (MS) - Isolating Orchid Mycorrhizal Fungi from Spiranthes vernalis for Subsequent Seed Germination and Reintroduction.

Missouri Botanical Gardens 63rd Fall Symposium, Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis, Mo., October 8

Hana Thixton (MS) Identification of site-specific mycorrhizal fungi associates of the federally threatened Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea) in Illinois.

Supporting Biological Sciences

If you wish to support academic activities that benefit our students, please consider making a donation. Your donation can support student research and travel, guest speaker fees in our seminar series, and student recognition awards at the annual college Honors Banquet. For a full list of funds that benefit the Biological Sciences program and our students please visit

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