Conservation Biology Advocates for Change in Food Service Menu

Having students apply classwork in their lives is a rewarding outcome for professors; having studentslyonssobaski_orangeroughy2 use their classwork to change the campus, and even the world, makes that outcome even sweeter. Recently, students in Sheila Lyons-Sobaski's Conservation Biology class took a project to the College's Dining Services. As a result of the class's advocacy, orange roughy has come off the menu in Albion's dining hall.

Professor Emeritus Jeff Carrier had raised the issue regarding orange roughy with Dining Services Director Todd Tekiele, who asked for student input on the matter. Lyons-Sobaski and her class took up the request, with support from Carrier, who joined them from the Florida Keys via Internet technology. "It was a fun, valuable project for students," said Lyons-Sobaski. "It helped to show that to really do conservation, you must take action."

Students provided a range of information on the orange roughy, including details about reproduction, habitat, life history, and commercial harvesting techniques, in making their case that it's not a sustainable food source for humans. Orange roughy are widely distributed throughout the world's oceans, are relatively easy to process commercially, and are popular with diners. Unfortunately, they are also slow to mature and congregate for mating, making them both an attractive and especially vulnerable target for commercial fishing.

"Presenting and working on orange roughy conservation allowed me to experience what it really means to be a conservationist," said student Seth Everson. "Not only do you have to gather information in a meaningful way, you also have to communicate it to people who have little understanding of the subject, and get the point across in a way that avoids just being a biology lesson."

Beyond detailing the reasons why orange roughy shouldn't be eaten, students also researched alternative, more sustainable choices, considering reproduction rates, fishing practices, taste, and cost of various species. Canadian Atlantic haddock, pollock, halibut and yellow perch were among their choices.

Following the student presentation, Tekiele and staff agreed that orange roughy should not be served on campus. "Having students give compelling arguments, with fact-based research behind it, provided us with enough knowledge to make an informed decision," said Tekiele, who also is co-head of Albion's Sustainability Committee. "As we continue to improve our sustainable practices, the opportunity to bring students, faculty, and staff together in this environment was a memorable experience that yielded real results."

"Our aim is to continuously improve the overall experience for our diners," Tekiele concluded. "We are always open to feedback and willing to develop our program with the assistance of our campus community."

"I think the campus will gain moral satisfaction knowing that they are not eating a fish that is unsustainable," concluded student Heidi Richardson. "People on campus are concerned with all aspects of sustainability, and this project will help educate people on how we can be sustainable [beyond actions like] recycling."

Conservation Biology Advocates for Change in Food Service Menu

Having students apply classwork in their lives is a rewarding outcome for professors; having studentslyonssobaski_orangeroughy2 use their classwork to change the campus, and even the world, makes that outcome even sweeter. Recently, students in Sheila Lyons-Sobaski's Conservation Biology class took a project to the College's Dining Services. As a result of the class's advocacy, orange roughy has come off the menu in Albion's dining hall.

Professor Emeritus Jeff Carrier had raised the issue regarding orange roughy with Dining Services Director Todd Tekiele, who asked for student input on the matter. Lyons-Sobaski and her class took up the request, with support from Carrier, who joined them from the Florida Keys via Internet technology. "It was a fun, valuable project for students," said Lyons-Sobaski. "It helped to show that to really do conservation, you must take action."

Students provided a range of information on the orange roughy, including details about reproduction, habitat, life history, and commercial harvesting techniques, in making their case that it's not a sustainable food source for humans. Orange roughy are widely distributed throughout the world's oceans, are relatively easy to process commercially, and are popular with diners. Unfortunately, they are also slow to mature and congregate for mating, making them both an attractive and especially vulnerable target for commercial fishing.

"Presenting and working on orange roughy conservation allowed me to experience what it really means to be a conservationist," said student Seth Everson. "Not only do you have to gather information in a meaningful way, you also have to communicate it to people who have little understanding of the subject, and get the point across in a way that avoids just being a biology lesson."

Beyond detailing the reasons why orange roughy shouldn't be eaten, students also researched alternative, more sustainable choices, considering reproduction rates, fishing practices, taste, and cost of various species. Canadian Atlantic haddock, pollock, halibut and yellow perch were among their choices.

Following the student presentation, Tekiele and staff agreed that orange roughy should not be served on campus. "Having students give compelling arguments, with fact-based research behind it, provided us with enough knowledge to make an informed decision," said Tekiele, who also is co-head of Albion's Sustainability Committee. "As we continue to improve our sustainable practices, the opportunity to bring students, faculty, and staff together in this environment was a memorable experience that yielded real results."

"Our aim is to continuously improve the overall experience for our diners," Tekiele concluded. "We are always open to feedback and willing to develop our program with the assistance of our campus community."

"I think the campus will gain moral satisfaction knowing that they are not eating a fish that is unsustainable," concluded student Heidi Richardson. "People on campus are concerned with all aspects of sustainability, and this project will help educate people on how we can be sustainable [beyond actions like] recycling."

Scholarships and Awards

Each year during the spring semester, student scholarship and award applications are solicited. All recipients are announced at the Honors Convocation in April.

The Barbara Putnam Award

To receive this award the student of any major must have attained rising junior or rising senior standing. The student must have demonstrated a career interest in the environmental resources area. The Barbara Putnam Award is based on merit and need. The recipient does receive a monetary award.

To Apply:

Submit a brief essay in which you indicate your present aims in life, especially in relation to your environmental interests, your present activities related to them, and how you see your Albion College education relating to those aims. Attach to your essay a current Albion College student transcript. Turn your essay and transcript in to the Biology Department Office.

Steven D. Reed Award for Excellence in Student Laboratory Teaching

The Biology Department Faculty and Staff choose the recipients of the Steven D. Reed Scholarship. Only students who have previously or are currently working as Biology Department Assistants are eligible to receive this honor. No application is made for this scholarship.

The Marilyn Young Vitek Merit Scholarship in Biology

To be awarded this scholarship you must be a Biology Major, and have an overall GPA of at least 3.5. A sophomore must have completed three units of biology; juniors must have completed five units of biology. A brief essay is required. The essay should indicate your present goals in life, both biological and otherwise, the origins of those goals, and how you see your Albion College education, including your studies in biology, as related to them. Attach to your paper a current Albion College student transcript. Turn essay and transcript in to the Biology Department Office. The recipient receives a monetary award.

The Ewell A. and Barbara J. Stowell Scholarship in Environmental Biology

To be awarded this scholarship you must be a Biology Major with a GPA of at least 3.0. The criteria listed below must also be met. The recipient receives a monetary award.

  1. Successful completion of at least one year of work at Albion College
  2. Demonstrated interest in environmental aspects of biology
  3. Well-defined goals and apparent motivation toward those goals
  4. Demonstrated teaching and leadership potential
  5. Recommendations from two instructors, one a biology faculty member and one not
  6. A 2-3 page essay will be used to assess goals and an interest in environmental biology. Attach to your paper a current Albion College student transcript.

Turn essay, transcript and letters of recommendation in to the Biology Department Office.

The A. Merton Chickering Prize in Biology

A. Merton Chickering taught at Albion College for 44 years, chaired and shaped the Biology Department for 39 years, and was an arachnologist of international reputation. The prize will be awarded for student research in biology. The criteria are listed below:

  1. The biology research project must have either been carried out at Albion College or, if off campus, under the active direction of an Albion College Biology staff member.
  2. The student must have either junior or senior standing at the time the research is done.
  3. The student must submit an abstract and a two to three page written summary of the research project. The abstract must be written in 12 point font, single spaced, and fit within a space 7" wide (i.e., use 1" left and right margins) and 3.5" long. The abstract should include the title of the research project, the name of the student, the name of the faculty advisor, and a succinct description of the goals, methods, and conclusions of the project. The abstract will be included in an abstract volume which will be distributed at The Biology Research Symposium. The written summary should not exceed three pages and should expand on the content of the abstract. Abstracts and research summaries are to be submitted to the Biology Department Office.
  4. A 15 minute oral presentation of the work must be presented at The Biology Research Symposium. Presentations are open to the public; all Biology majors will be encouraged to attend.
  5. At least six biology faculty members must attend the oral presentation. The written summaries will be evaluated by all biology faculty.
  6. A monetary award will accompany the honor of the Prize.

The Lyman S.V. Judson Award for the Outstanding Senior Biology Major

The Biology Department Faculty chooses the recipient of the Lyman S.V. Judson Award. No formal application is made for this award.

Premedical Scholarships for which you might be eligible (see below).

There are also Premedical Scholarships for which you might be eligible. For Premedical Scholarship and application information contact the Coordinator of the Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Institute.

Internships

An Albion College student out in the field researching plants.The internship program in the Biology Department was organized with the intent of giving Albion College students an opportunity to experience a profession under "real life" conditions. In the program students spend six weeks during the summer (or if approved, 15 weeks during the semester) observing first hand such professions as: medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, physical therapy, cardiopulmonary respiratory therapy, optometry, environmental biology, greenhouse management, laboratory technician, and natural resources. The internship carries one-half unit (Biol 391) or one unit (Biol 392) of credit. General guidelines of the program are:

  1. Participants must be degree-seeking students at Albion College.
  2. Students must have completed a minimum of two years of college in order to be eligible for an appointment.
  3. Students must make a written formal application by the announced deadline. Application forms are available from the Biology Department Secretary.
  4. Internship appointments are made by a screening committee.
  5. Minimal G.P.A. required:
    1. 2.7 is college minimum for all.
    2. End of Junior year: 3.0 (3.2 for Premedical Internships)
  6. Student must have shown evidence of the following personal characteristics: responsibility, maturity, initiative, social concern, good interpersonal skills.
  7. Academic courses suggested as useful for internships:
    1. Premedical and predental internships: Anatomy, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry, Physiology.
    2. Physical therapy internships: Anatomy, Physiology.
    3. Prenursing internships: Anatomy, Microbiology, Physiology.
    4. Cardiopulmonary therapy internships: Anatomy, Organic Chemistry, Physiology.
    5. Natural resources internships: Field biology courses, Geology.
    6. Laboratory internships: Microbiology, Organic Chemistry.
    7. Pre-optometry internships: Anatomy, Physics.
  8. Student interns are responsible for their own room and board during their assignment. In many cases cafeteria meals are available at the institution at reduced rates. Faculty will help in this area as much as possible.
  9. Under certain circumstances a student may be awarded a second internship. Only one unit of internship credit may be counted toward the fulfillment of a major in Biology.

Career Opportunities

Professor Ola Olapade with Albion College biology students.The Biology Department at Albion College has traditionally maintained strong programs for the preparation of students for careers in a wide variety of professions. The Department recognizes that students need to be informed about the many different professional directions possible, and that they often desire advice on the best ways to prepare to enter specific professional careers. The Biology faculty take a strong interest in their advisory function and regularly participate in meetings to inform students of career options, in hosting visits by professionals and representatives of postgraduate opportunities with whom students can interact, and by providing students with opportunities for direct [internship] experiences in areas of biology in which they have interests. Some of the many professions in which our graduates have made their life work include:

  • The Health Sciences: Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Anesthesiology, Optometry, Podiatry.

  • The Allied Health Sciences: Nursing (R.N., Doctor of Nursing, and Nurse Anesthetist), Physical and Occupational Therapy, Health Psychology, Genetic Counselling, Physician Assistant.

  • Health-Related Areas: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Services Administration, Public Health Administration, Environmental Health, Nutrition Science, Dietetics, Pharmacology.

Some areas of Graduate Study, usually leading to the PhD degree: Arachnology, Bacteriology, Biological Chemistry, Botany, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology and Embryology, Ecology and Environmental Science, Genetics, Human Ecology, Immunology, Invertebrate Zoology, Limnology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Museum Curation, Neurobiology, Paleobiology, Parasitology, Physiology of Plants and Physiology of Animals, Radiation Biology, Virology, Wildlife Biology. These credentials usually lead to college/university teaching and research but may also lead to industrial, governmental, natural resources and fisheries, or nature center interpretive employment among others. Listed below are some graduate schools and programs currently or recently attended by Albion biology graduates.

  • Duke University School of the Environment
  • Florida International University - School of the Environment and Marine Science
  • Harvard University - Medical Sciences Department
  • Michigan State University - Biology, Plant Pathology, Zoology
  • Ohio State University - Microbiology
  • Sarah Lawrence College - Genetic Counseling
  • Scripps Institute of Oceanography - Marine Biology
  • Southwest Medical Center, Dallas - Cell Biology
  • Tufts University School of Nutrition
  • University of Arizona - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • University of Cincinnati - Molecular Biology and Biological Sciences
  • University of Hawaii School of Marine Science
  • University of Miami - Physiology
  • University of Michigan - Public Health, Microbiology/Immunology Program, Nutrition
  • University of Nebraska - Cell Biology
  • University of North Carolina - Molecular Biology
  • University of Rhode Island - Zoology
  • University of Tennessee - Knoxville - Biotechnology, Ecology/Wildlife Management
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison - Molecular Biology, Medical Microbiology
  • Washington University - Biochemistry
  • Yale University - Molecular Biology

Ornithology Returns to Magee Marsh

Dr. Dale Kennedy's Ornithology class visited Magee Marsh (Ohio) on April 29 and was rewarded with sightings of 49 different bird species in spite of cold weather. The trip has become a regular field trip to close the semester's study of bird life. The photograph clearly reveals the hectic pace of students' observations.

 

Magee_Marsh_Sized-2

Biology Students Present in Elkin Isaac Research Symposium

Biology majors figured prominently in Albion College's Elkin Isaac Research Symposium held April 14 as a part of the College's annual recoginition of student research and academic achievement. Of the 84 presentation at the 2011 Symposuium, 21 (25%) were from Biology majors. Platform presentations and poster sessions showcased student/faculty research conducted over the past year, much of which was supported by Albion College's Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Actitivity (F.U.R.S.C.A.). Mikki Burger and Emeritus Professor of Biology Dr. Jeff Carrier were photographed by David Trumpie during Burger's poster presentation.

Mikki_JC_Poster_EI_Sized

Campus Facilities

If applicable; not all sites need a facilities page.

Alumni

If applicable; not all sites need an alumni page.

Faculty and Staff

Kenneth Saville, Biology
Kenneth J. Saville

Chair and Professor
Office: Putnam 264
Phone: 517/629-0388
Email:

Faculty Profile

Roger Albertson, Biology
Roger Albertson

Associate Professor
Office: Putnam 262
Phone: 517/629-0572
Email:

Faculty Profile

KennedyDale

E. Dale Kennedy
Professor
Office: Palenske 128
Phone: 517/629-0297
Email:

Faculty Profile

Sheila Lyons-Sobaski, Biology

Sheila Lyons-Sobaski
Associate Professor
Office: Putnam 260
Phone: 517/629-0649
Email:

Faculty Profile

 

Ola Olapede, Biology
Ola Olapade

Associate Professor
Office: Putnam 056
Phone: 517/629-0296
Email:

Faculty Profile

Bradley Rabquer, assistant professor of biology at Albion College

Bradley Rabquer
Assistant Professor
Office: Putnam 266
Phone: 517/629-0633
Email:

Faculty Profile

Dan Skean, Biology
J. Dan Skean, Jr.

Professor
Office: Putnam 160
Phone: 517/629-0525
Email:

Faculty Profile

Douglas White, Biology
Douglas W. White

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Office: Putnam 150
Phone: 517/629-0266
Email:

Faculty Profile

Abigail E. Cahill
Abigail E. Cahill
Assistant Professor of Biology
Office: Putnam 254
Phone: 517/629-0570
Email:
Website: aecahill.weebly.com

Faculty Profile

Marcella Cervantes, Asisstant Professor
Marcella D. Cervantes
Assistant Professor of Biology
Office:
Phone: 517/629-0290
Email:

Brad Cavinder
Visiting Assistant Professor
Office: Putnam 256
Phone: 517/629-0389
Email:

Freyja Davis, Biology
Freyja Davis

Secretary
Office: Putnam 154
Phone: 517/629-0291
Email:

Kurt Hellman, Biology
Kurt Hellman

Laboratory Technician
Office: Putnam 158
Phone: 517/629-0292
Email:

Melissa Goodell, Biology
Melissa Goodell

Greenhouse Keeper
Office: Kresge 176B
Phone: 517/629-0291
Email:



Faculty Emeritus

Jeff Carrier, Biology

Jeffrey C. Carrier
Professor Emeritus
Office: Putnam 256
Phone: 517/629-0389
Email:

Faculty Profile
Web Pages

Contact Us

The Albion College Department of Biology is located in the Science Complex at Hannah Street and Michigan Avenue. Contact the department at 517/629-0291 or through the form below.

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Abigail E. Cahill

Abigail Cahill
Assistant Professor of Biology

aecahill.weebly.com

B.A., 2007, Colgate University (Biology, French)
Ph.D., 2014, Stony Brook University (Ecology & Evolution)

Appointed: 2016

Expertise Areas: Ecology, evolution, marine biology, dispersal, invertebrate biology

Current Courses:

  • BIO 195 (Ecology, Evolution, Biodiversity)
  • BIO 225 (Invertebrate Biology)
  • BIO 289 (Marine Biology)

Research Interests:
Dr. Cahill's research interests center around evolutionary ecology of early life stages of marine species. She is interested in questions relating dispersal of marine invertebrates to other ecological and evolutionary processes, especially how dispersal type can influence local adaptation to temperature regimes and ultimately how these species may or may not evolve in response to global climate change. She is also interested in how marine invertebrate population dynamics are driven by recruitment and subsequent survival, and how these crucial processes are affected by environmental, phenotypic, and genetic variation. Answering these questions involves labwork using molecular methods, as well as lab and fieldwork with live organisms. At Albion, she will be branching out into freshwater invertebrate systems to ask some of these same questions regarding connectivity, dispersal, and life history.

Roger Albertson

AlbertsonRogerAssistant Professor

B.S., 1977, University of Colorado at Denver
Ph.D., 2003, University of Oregon

Appointed: 2008

Expertise Areas: Cell Division, Cell Polarity, Development, Drosophila

Current Courses:
Biology 210: Cell and Molecular Biology

Biology 317: Genetics

Biology 324: Developmental Biology

Biology 401: Stem Cell Biology

Research Interests:
Dr. Albertson is a cell and developmental biologist who investigates one of the most fundamental processes of life: cell division. Proper cell division is essential for development of an organism and has particular relevance in cancer and stem cell biology. Dr. Albertson's interests lie primarily in two aspects of cell division: 1) how cells coordinate cleavage furrow invagination with vesicle transport and 2) how asymmetric cell divisions specify the fates of mother / daughter progeny.

Cytokinesis relies on a contractile ring that drives plasma membrane invagination from the cell cortex. Recent studies have revealed that vesicle trafficking is also important for cytokinesis. This insight has raised new and exciting avenues of research: what are the sources of vesicles, how vesicle transport to cleavage furrows is regulated, and whether vesicles deliver proteins required for cytokinesis. Dr. Albertson has recently addressed these issues by conducting a genome-wide screen in the fruitfly, Drosophila, that revealed several new genes involved in cytokinesis. Current and future research goals include mapping these genes and characterizing their function using genetic and molecular approaches.

A second area of interest lies in factors that influence cell fate specification. During Drosophila development, neuronal stem cells undergo asymmetric cell divisions that yield daughter cells with unique fates. A recent study has indicated that a Drosophila strain infected with the bacterium Wolbachia are unable to properly specify neuronal cell fates. Yet, how Wolbachia influences cell fate determination at a cellular level is a complete mystery. Genetic, molecular, and cellular approaches will be used to monitor subcellular Wolbachia localization and to identify which cellular pathways the bacteria affect. Wolbachia is the pathogen that causes African River Blindness in humans. Thus, in addition to learning about Drosophila development, these studies will further our understanding of host-pathogen interactions at a cellular level.

E. Dale Kennedy

KennedyDaleA. Merton Chickering Professor of Biology

B.A., College of Wooster, 1975
M.A., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1979
Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1989

Appointed: 1994

Expertise Areas: Behavioral ecology of cavity-nesting birds; animal communication

Current Courses:

  • Biology 195: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity
  • Biology 206: Tropical Forest and Reef Biology
  • Biology 227: Vertebrate Zoology
  • Biolgy 248: Ornithology
  • Biology 314: Comparative Anatomy

Research Interests:
Dr. Kennedy is a behavioral ecologist whose research focuses primarily on factors that affect clutch size (number of eggs laid) and breeding success in birds. She carries out field studies on mating and feeding behaviors, clutch size, hatching and fledgling success, and nestling growth rates of a variety of cavity-nesting birds. In recent years she and her students have examined sex ratios of nestling House Wrens and Tree Swallows, patterns and variation in songs of House Wrens and other birds, effects of nest box microclimate on breeding success of wrens and swallows, and dominance and movements of local Black-capped Chickadees. Almost all her work is done in the Whitehouse Nature Center at Albion College.

Selected Publications:
Dubois, N., E. D. Kennedy, and T. Getty. 2006. Surplus nest boxes and the potential for polygyny affect clutch size and offspring sex ratios in house wrens. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series B: 1751-1757.

Rintoul, D. A. and E. D. Kennedy. 2002. Aberrant plumages in a Carolina Wren and two House Wrens from Kansas. KOS (Kansas Ornithological Society) Bulletin 53(2):21-23.

Kennedy, E. D. and D. W. White. 2002. Form and function: Feeding in birds. Wilson Ornithological Society's Manual of Field and Laboratory Exercises for Ornithology.

Songer, A. L. and E. D. Kennedy. 1999. Seed and fruit preferences of small rodents: Effects of food location and toxicity. Michigan Academician 31:371-384.

Kennedy, E. D. and D. W. White. 1997. Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii). In The Birds of North America, No. 315 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

White, D. W. and E. D. Kennedy. 1997. Effect of egg covering and habitat on nest destruction by House Wrens. Condor 99:873-879.

Kennedy, E. D. and D. W. White. 1996. Interference competition from House Wrens as a factor in the decline of Bewick's Wrens. Conservation Biology 10:281-284.

Sheila Lyons-Sobaski

Lyons-SobaskiSheilaAssistant Professor of Biology

B.S., 1989, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S., 1994, Kansas State University
Ph.D., 2003, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Appointed: 2005

Expertise Areas: Molecular ecology, conservation biology, population genetics, gene flow in plants

Current Courses:
Biology 195: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity

Biology 237: Ecology

Biology 389: Population Genetics

Biology 389: Conservation Biology

Research Interests:
Dr. Lyons-Sobaski is an ecologist whose research utilizes both field and molecular genetic techniques to investigate the ecology and evolution of plant populations. In particular, she is interested in how gene flow maintains genetic variation within isolated plant populations to better understand the ecological patterns and evolutionary processes which structure them. Her dissertation research was a comprehensive study of gene flow and its influence on the genetic structuring of a regionally-endangered annual plant, Sabatia campestris (Gentianaceae). This research was important because, at the level of an individual, she empirically demonstrated the significance of the soil seed bank in conserving genetic variation over time. In addition to studies of local gene movement, she has explored regional genetic differences for S. campestris by comparing peripheral populations, those located at the edge of a species range, with centrally located populations where the species is common.

Her current research plans include studying the population genetics of Sabatia angularis which is state-threatened in Michigan. Dr. Lyons-Sobaski is investigating the importance of peripheral populations, populations at the edge of a species range, by comparing the genetic variation of peripheral populations where the species is rare with core populations where it is common.

Ola Olapade

OlapedeO 0026-cropAssociate Professor of Biology

B.Sc., 1990, Obafemi Awolowo University
M.Sc. (Microbiology), 1995, Obafemi Awolowo University
M.S. (Biology), 1998, Millersville University
Ph.D., 2004, Kent State University

Appointed: 2006

Expertise Areas: Molecular microbial ecology, environmental microbiology, aquatic ecology, bioremediation

Current Courses:
Biology 210: Cell and Molecular Biology

Biology 332: Microbiology

Biology 365: Environmental Microbiology

Research Interests:
Dr. Ola Olapade is a microbial ecologist/microbiologist primarily interested in the delineation of microbial community composition and structure, especially those in biofilms (i.e., surface associated, such as the periphytic and epiphytic assemblages) in various aquatic systems including lakes, streams and, rivers. He currently employs both standard microbiological and molecular techniques (e.g., nucleic acid staining; fluorescent in situ hybridization; DNA sequencing) to examine and delineate the abundance and distribution of various bacterial populations in response to changes in hydrodynamics, seasonality, nutrient and organic C availability, predation, as well as, anthropogenic disturbances in freshwater environments. Apart from his interest in microbial taxonomic diversity, he is also presently exploring the diversity amongst various functional groups as well as their enzymatic activities, especially the ammonia oxidizing and the sulfate reducing bacterial populations with regards to nutrient dynamics in aquatic systems.

Bradley Rabquer

brad-rabquer-100Assistant Professor of Biology

B.S., Bowling Green State University, 2001
Ph.D., University of Toledo, 2006

Appointed: 2011

Expertise: Molecular and cellular physiology, Pathophysiology, Immunology, Inflammation, Angiogenesis

Current Courses:

  • Biology 210: Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Biology 341: Physiology

Research Interests:

Dr. Rabquer is a molecular and cellular physiologist interested in human inflammatory and angiogenic diseases.  Inflammation and angiogenesis play key roles in the pathogenesis of many cancers, and in autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic sclerosis (SSc).  Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels, is excessive in the synovium (joints) of patients with RA, and deficient in the skin of patients with SSc.  Specifically, Dr. Rabquer's work has focused on the role of adhesion molecules, cytokines, and chemokines in these diseases.  Currently, he is interested in determining the role of a novel family of soluble adhesion molecules, junctional adhesion molecules (JAMs), in mediating facets of angiogenesis. In addition, Dr. Rabquer is studying how the upregulation of angiogenic chemokines affects the development of blood vessels in patients with SSc.  Importantly, recent therapeutic successes of angiogenesis inhibitors have validated the idea that controlling pathological angiogenesis can modulate disease activity.  Therefore, continued research into potential angiogenic mediators and the dysregulation of known angiogenic pathways in diseases such as RA and SSc will be critical for the development of new therapies.

Immunofluorescence staining was used in the figure below to determine the expression of vWF (red), a marker of endothelial cells, and JAM-A (green) in normal human skin.  JAM-A is predominantly expressed by keratinocytes in the epidermis, and by fibroblasts and endothelial cells in the dermis.

Brad_Research_Web_Resize

Kenneth J. Saville

SavilleKennethProfessor of Biology

B.S., Western Michigan University, 1985
Ph.D. Syracuse University, 1992

Appointed: 1995

Expertise Areas: Drosophila, genetics, transposable elements, DNA repair, proteasomes, cancer

Current Courses:
Biology 210: Cell and Molecular Biology

Biology 317: Genetics

Biology 362: Molecular Biology

LA101: Genes and Society

Research Interests:
Dr. Saville is a geneticist whose primary research organism is the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. Recent research has focused on transposable elements in Drosophila and related insects. Transposable elements are discrete segments of DNA with the ability to "jump" into and out of chromosomes. Transposable elements are used to introduce genes into the chromosomes of Drosophila melanogaster, however such elements have not been utilized in insects of agricultural or medical significance. A goal of current and future research is to develop transposable elements that allow the genetic manipulation of such species. A second area of interest is the basic genetic processes that control animal development. In this area, Dr. Saville has studied a gene essential for Drosophila development. This work revealed a role for this gene in the proteolytic degradation of cellular proteins. The relationship of this function to development remains a mystery, however similar genes are present in virtually all organisms, suggesting their fundamental significance in biology. Classical and molecular genetic approaches will be used to continue to investigate this gene's function in Drosophila development.

Email

Ruth E. Schmitter

SchmitterRuthAssociate Professor of Biology

Email:

B.S., Michigan State University, 1964
M.Sc., University of Edinburgh, 1966
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1973

Appointed: 1982

Current Courses:
Biology 195: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity

Biology 215: Aquatic Botany

Biology 301: Cell Biology

Biology 321: Medical Microanatomy

LA101: Sexuality and Reproduction

Neuroscience 242: Neuroscience II

Science 205: Women and Ethnic Minorities in Science

Research Interests:
Dr. Schmitter is a cell biologist who was initially drawn to a career in biology by a strong and persistent interest in natural history and nature study. Her research interests are centered around the fine structure and physiology of dinoflagellate algae. First, intracellular digestion is uncommon in actively photosynthetic organisms, yet she has discovered by light and electron microscope studies that several dinoflagellate species possess enzyme activity typical of animal cell lysosomes. Undergraduates have carried out publishable work on this topic. Second, certain freshwater dinoflagellates have recently been shown by others to be acidophilic, and Dr. Schmitter is beginning studies on dinoflagellate algae as potential acid rain indicators in Michigan waters. Finally, she has extensive experience with some of the more exotic properties of marine dinoflagellates -- bioluminescence, circadian rhythms, and the formation of toxic blooms called red tides.

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