Assistant Professor of Biology
B.S., Bowling Green State University, 2001
Ph.D., University of Toledo, 2006
Expertise: Molecular and cellular physiology, Pathophysiology, Immunology, Inflammation, Angiogenesis
- Biology 210: Cell and Molecular Biology
- Biology 341: Physiology
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.
Kenneth J. Saville
Professor of Biology
B.S., Western Michigan University, 1985
Ph.D. Syracuse University, 1992
Expertise Areas: Drosophila, genetics, transposable elements, DNA repair, proteasomes, cancer
Biology 210: Cell and Molecular Biology
Biology 317: Genetics
Biology 362: Molecular Biology
LA101: Genes and Society
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.
Ruth E. Schmitter
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., Michigan State University, 1964
M.Sc., University of Edinburgh, 1966
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1973
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
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.
J. Dan Skean, Jr.
Professor of Biology
B.S., Western Kentucky University, 1980
M.S., North Carolina State University, 1982
Ph.D., University of Florida, 1989
Expertise Areas: plant systematics, Melastomataceae, floristics
Biology 195: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity
Biology 206: Tropical Forest & Reef Biology
Biology 207: Biology of Subtropical Florida
Biology 216: Vascular Plants
LA101: Plants and Human Affairs
Dr. Dan Skean is interested in the systematics of angiosperms, i.e., the classification and evolutionary relationships of flowering plants, especially those belonging to the family Melastomataceae. Skean has conducted floristic inventories in the eastern U.S. and Caribbean, and has current research projects in southern Michigan and on the island of Hispaniola. Skean's research involves data from many sources--morphology, anatomy, and field ecological studies, which are used in computer-assisted phenetic and cladistic analyses to estimate phylogeny, i.e., evolutionary history. Presently Skean is studying the systematics of the genus Calycogonium DC. Incorporating data from diverse approaches, Skean's research makes many different undergraduate projects possible.
Judd, W.S, J.D. Skean, Jr., Clase, T., and G. M. Ionta. 2008. Taxonomic studies in the Miconieae (Melastomataceae). IX. Calycogonium formonense, a new species from the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti.Brittonia 60: 265-270.
Michelangeli, F.A., W.S. Judd, D.S. Penneys, J.D. Skean, Jr., E.R. Becquer, R. Goldenberg, and C.V. Martin. 2008. Multiple events of dispersal and radiation of the tribe Miconieae (Melastomataceae) in the Caribbean. Bot. Rev. 74: 53-77.
Skean, J.D. Jr., W.S. Judd, T. Clase, and B. Peguero. 2010. Calycogonium bairdianum (Melastomataceae: Miconieae), a new species from the Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic. Brittonia 62(3): 210-14.
Albion College Plant Image Database
Douglas W. White
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
B.S., Pennsylvania State University, 1976
M.S., University of Tennessee, 1978
Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1989
Biology 195: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity
Environment 102: Introduction to the Environment
Environment 201: Ecology and Environmental Field Trip
LA101: Art and the Environment
Dr. White is an ecologist whose research focuses on coevolutionary interactions between fruit-eating animals, particularly birds, and fleshy- fruited plants. He has studied the nutritional composition and physical characteristics of temperate and tropical fruits, avian feeding preferrences, seasonal patterns of fruit use, interactions between feeding capacities of birds and fruit size, and patterns of avian seed deposition. His other research interests are (1) avian population biology including studies of interspecific competition and nesting microclimate in cavity-nesting birds, (2) ptilochronology, using feather growth rates to assess nutritional status in birds, and (3) evaluation and conservation of remnants of native forest which are jeopardized by development. Outside biology, Dr. White enjoys building reproductions of Shaker furniture.
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.
Kennedy, E. D. and D. W. White. 1997. Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii). In The Birdsof 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.
Jeffrey C. Carrier
Emeritus Professor of Biology
B.S., University of Miami 1971
M.S., University of Miami 1973
Ph.D., University of Miami 1974
Expertise Areas: Reproductive behaviors, and growth and movements of nurse sharks of the Florida Keys
Dr. Carrier is a physiologist whose primary research interests concern aging, growth, migration, and reproductive biology of nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) in the Florida Keys. Carrier and his colleagues have systematically studied a breeding population of sharks for more than eighteen years and have documented the relationship between the breeding population and the research site, now a protected area. The studies have further revealed the gestation period for this species, demonstrated multiple paternity in litters, and have begun to unravel an intricate social order in this little studied group of marine fish. His most recent investigations have employed remote sensing technologies to track short and long-term movements of sharks and, in collaboration with the Remote Imaging Laboratory of the National Geographic Society, have used animal-borne video and data recording systems (CritterCam) to explore more intimate aspects of shark mating behaviors. Carrier and his students have appeared in 17 shows produced for network and cable television ranging from National Geographic Explorer, CritterCam Chronicles, and Discovery Channel specials to Florida Public Television documentaries and segments for Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures and Fox's Wild Animal Moments.
What you’ll study.
Chemistry and biochemistry. Meaning: molecules; theories of molecular structure and function; quantum mechanical models; intermolecular forces; reaction dynamics and kinetics; complex biological and inorganic chemical equilibria; and more. Plus, you’ll consider how chemistry contributes to our understanding of the world. All within an American Chemical Society-accredited program. Majors and minors.
What you’ll do.
Synthesize new molecules. Make nanoparticles. Find the calorie content in snack foods. Use lab instruments highlighted in your favorite CSI program. Ask big questions and learn to solve big problems. Conduct research. Think, act and communicate like a molecular scientist. Share results with other scientists at a national meeting. Student opportunities.
Where you’ll go.
Work in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry. Go to graduate school. Continue study in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, nutrition, forensics, or law. Save the environment. With your problem-solving skills and liberal arts background, you can also pursue careers in business, marketing, Hollywood, and elsewhere. Potential career paths.
1 year Visiting Professor position in Chemistry
ONE-YEAR VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR POSITION
POSITION: A one year position for the 2012 – 2013 school year.
QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants should have experience in teaching introductory chemistry at the college or university level. A Ph D. is preferred, but consideration will be given to an advanced graduate student desiring teaching experience.
RESPONSIBILITIES: Teaching responsibilities include introductory general chemistry (lecture and laboratory) as part of the general chemistry program with the possibility of participating in the teaching of advanced classes/ labs.
DEPARTMENT: The Chemistry Department at Albion College is certified by the American Chemical Society and provides a stimulating teaching environment. The eight faculty members have a long tradition of commitment to quality teaching of undergraduates. Two majors are offered by the department: Chemistry and Biochemistry. The curriculum, although traditional in many respects, has some novel features including a unique general chemistry sequence that includes a systematic introduction to inorganic chemistry in the second semester and a second-year organic course emphasizing mechanism. Extensive use of discovery and research-based experiments is made throughout the laboratory curriculum. Departmental instrumentation includes a 400 MHz NMR, GC-MS (2), HPLC, LCMS, IC, Biochromatography system, digital polarimeter, ICP-AES, FTIR (3), scanning UV/Vis, diode array UV-Vis (3), UV/Vis-Fluorescence microplate reader, fluorescence spectrometer, and electroanalytical instruments. See www.albion.edu/chemistry for more information about our department and facilities including our recently completed Science Complex.
INSTITUTION: Albion College is a private liberal arts college of 1500 students. It is situated in a culturally diverse community in south-central Michigan within an hour's drive of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Western Michigan University. Albion is dedicated to the highest quality in undergraduate education and committed to diversity as a core institutional value. The College is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is especially interested in candidates who will contribute to a campus climate that supports equality and diversity. A member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, Albion is also associated with the Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges (formerly the "Oberlin 50") and the Annapolis Group - national organizations of Liberal Arts colleges. Visit our Web site at www.albion.edu.
APPLICATION: To apply, send curriculum vitae, photocopies of graduate and undergraduate transcripts, a statement of teaching philosophy, and three letters of recommendation to the address below. Review of applications will begin March 8th, 2012, and will continue until the position is filled.
Dr. Lisa B. Lewis, co-Chair
Department of Chemistry Phone: 517-629-0252
Albion College FAX: 517-629-0264
Albion, MI 49224 Email:
Thinking about graduate school in chemistry? Check out this article from the American Chemical Society (ACS).The ACS has also put together a great website devoted to helping you get in to the school of your dreams. Come and talk to any of the chemistry department faculty for more information about graduate school!
A few of things you can do to help prepare for graduate study:
- Gain experience in the laboratory by looking for chemistry related summer positions. See our Summer Opportunities web page for more information.
- Register your information on the Council on Undergraduate Research - Registry of Undergraduate Researchers database. Fill out a form with some of your information so grad schools can recruit you!
Scholarships and Awards
Albion Students Prepare for Ironman Event
Chris Omerza, ’12, is devoting a sizable chunk of his summer to science. As a participant in Albion College’s Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (FURSCA), the biochemistry major is trying to determine which groups of electrons should be used to maximize magnetic interactions.
When Omerza does get out of the lab, however, it’s often not for rest and relaxation. Rather, he is most likely training for the Sept. 11 Ironman event in Madison, Wis. Omerza, who completed the Racing for Recovery half-Ironman in Monroe on June 5, will be joined in the Wisconsin race by Luke Holly, ’12. Omerza and Holly will be tested by a 2.4-mile swim on Lake Monona, a 112-mile bike ride that includes two 40-mile loops through rural Dane County, and a 26.2-mile marathon through downtown Madison streets and the University of Wisconsin campus.
Omerza, who hails from Honor and graduated from Leelanau High School, became Holly’s roommate during their sophomore year after Holly’s original roommate joined a fraternity. The two met during their first semester at Albion and made the decision to pursue an Ironman event and become training partners. Despite training together while participating in FURSCA last summer, the timing of registration forced them to wait for this year to actually begin competition.
“Luke had randomly mentioned that his life goal was to complete an Ironman by the time he was 25 years old,” Omerza said. “We tried to do it last summer, but we found that all of the races for the summer of 2010 were closed because registration typically closes 364 days before the event.”
Holly’s training was made more difficult by a challenging academic load during the 2011 spring semester. The biology and economics and management double major from Cadillac, who is also active in the Chapel and Campus Crusade leadership teams and serves as treasurer of the hockey club, devoted the bulk of his time to studying for the Medical College Admission Test, which forced him to reassess his original performance goal.
“My training suffered a bit, but studies come first,” Holly said. “I had made a goal of finishing in less than 12 hours. I have let go of the time goal and I’m just going to finish the race and take that as an accomplishment.
“The [December-January] break between fall and winter semesters was the best [training] time for me,” Holly added. “Training didn’t have to compete with all of the things I’m involved in.”
Omerza, meanwhile, was 21st in a field of 150 individuals to complete the Monroe event. His time of 5 hours, 5 minutes has placed him in the category he calls “competitive hobbyists,” and he has established a long-term goal of qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
“Qualification in the World Championship is based on your rank and the number of competitors in your age group,” Omerza said.
The Tie That Binds
For Omerza and Holly, rising early is a prerequisite for carving training time into their schedules. Holly said he wakes at 5 a.m. to get his running in before heading to his full-time summer job; he completes his biking or swimming session in the evening.
“I try to do each sport four days a week with each sport having its own long day,” Holly said. “By the max portion of training I’ll be doing bike rides of 40 miles, with 60-80 miles on the long days, runs averaging eight miles, with longer runs up to 15 miles, and the swimming distance depends on what I’m doing [with the other two sports].”
Omerza added, “I get up early and do homework in every five- and 10-minute time shot I have. I’m never sitting around doing nothing.”
Omerza and Holly were not roommates during the 2010-2011 academic year, so a heavy-sleeping roommate is crucial during the winter months. Omerza said that while he can run outdoors in a T-shirt in the cold, biking is done on a trainer in his room. To pass the time while pedaling, he has watched every episode of Dexter available on DVD and has lost count of the number of movies he has seen.
“I would get up at 7 or 8 on Saturday and I could ride to noon or 1 o’clock and my roommate could sleep through it,” Omerza said. “Biking inside really stinks.”
‘Legendary’ Runs to the Grocery Store
Nutrition is just as important as the physical training, and Omerza and Holly report a diet high in carbohydrates and protein.
“We buy as much chicken as Sam’s Club will let us,” Omerza joked.
Holly added, “I’ve always been a big eater, but we have had some legendary Sam’s Club runs for chicken and pasta.”