What you’ll study.
Living organisms. Biospheres. And the relationships and mechanisms that tie all life on earth together. Through active involvement with organisms and the systems of life, you’ll learn how to observe, analyze, and communicate. Then you’ll build on your expertise by applying these skills to your area of specialization. Majors and minors.
What you’ll do.
You will formulate and test hypotheses through course projects and independent research. You’ll work in the field, both here—at our 135-acre Whitehouse Nature Center—and at more distant locations, such as the forests and coral reefs of Belize and southern Florida. Biology internship opportunities.
Where you’ll go.
Advisory groups. Meetings. Visits with professionals and representatives for postgraduate opportunities. The close ties you’ll make with our faculty will lead you to what’s next, whether it’s a career in medicine, natural resources, or any number of health or science fields. Potential career paths.
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.
Conservation Biology Advocates for Change in Food Service Menu
Having students apply classwork in their lives is a rewarding outcome for professors; having students 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."