second edition 2021-2022
Enjoy the second edition of our
HPU Biology Newsletter! 2021 has been a year of continued adaptation as we ramped up our efforts to stay connected and engaged despite challenges from the ongoing global pandemic. We honor and celebrate these efforts by chronicling some of the highlights of the past year in the pages that follow. Together, we have continued to grow as scientist scholars, mastering the skills needed to thrive in these unprecedented times. This second edition of our newsletter showcases members and friends of our HPU Biology community— alumni, students, staff, and faculty— who contribute to HPU and the world in skillful and authentic ways. Scientists who are students and student-athletes, laboratory and clinical professionals, educators, social innovators, communicators, and mentors, they are all key pieces of what makes our HPU Biology community an extraordinary community. Thank you for being part of what makes our HPU Biology community extraordinary!
Liz Cabrera ‘22
Verónica A. Segarra, Ph.D.
Billy Matthias ‘22
Table of Contents 4 ..............................
Marlo Hemerson, Zane Sobejana, Brendan McCabe
Carrie Wilson, Deanna Clemmer
Dr. Kevin Suh
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Emergency Medical Services
“Creating Experiences at the Nido and Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum”
Staff Spotlight Katelyn Greer
Guest Editorial: “Evolution is not Always Linear”
Conservatory Editorial: ”Orchids Through the Seasons in the Caine Conservatory”
Dr. Jason Lattier
Marlo Hemerson Where are you originally from? Parker, Colorado
What year are you and how did you become interested in attending HPU? Sophomore, my college counselor recommended it to me and I fell in love the moment I stepped on campus.
What are your long-term goals? MD/PhD, hopefully a physician scientist, specifically in neurosurgery. An MD/PhD program is a 8 year program that combines the MD and PhD degrees. You spend 2 years in your curriculum based medical school courses, then 4 years working on your PhD with research, and then 2 more years in clinical based medical school courses. By the end, you have both degrees. For me, this program sounds like the perfect opportunity because I have fallen in love with research since beginning here at HPU, and now see a research element in my future career. However, I am still very passionate about medicine, and don’t want to lose that aspect of my dream, so MD/PhD allows me to pair it perfectly and become a physician scientist.
Do you have a favorite place on campus? Obviously WSNS (specifically the Hive), but Butterfly Cafe is a close second!
What do you enjoy the most about being part of the HPU community? Everyone here pushes me to become a better version of myself! People want to see me succeed and it makes me want to succeed even more. We’re just a big collaborative community and another person’s success is just as good a feeling as your own.
3 | Student Spotlight
What are some of your extracurricular activities on campus? I am involved in many things across campus! Some of which are being on the Wanek School of Natural Sciences Student Advisory Board, a Student Leader for the Natural Sciences Fellows, and a University Ambassador in Admissions. As for clubs, I am the treasurer of Neuroscience Club and American Chemical Society and am the president of Philosophy Club. I also am a part of the chapel community.
How have these activities enriched your HPU experience and education? Besides keeping me very busy, my extracurriculars have given me a wonderful community. Natural Sciences Fellows have given me my best friends, while the WSNS Student Advisory Board has created an amazing professional networking community with other students and faculty. The clubs are such fun times of my week to meet up and get to know people on a more casual level than just in class or studying. Especially Philosophy Club, where we hold open table discussions, I have loved meeting so many people outside the sciences and hearing their prospectives on philosophical topics. On a more ‘life skills’ side of things, both WSNS Student Advisory Board and NSF have given me the opportunity to hone my leadership skills, whether that be public speaking, networking with real-world professionals, or organizing large events. These same skills have also been developed through working as a University Ambassador, as I have to interact with brand new people each shift, and you never know who you might meet! Through and through, I know my time at HPU wouldn’t be the same without these communities that have been so welcoming and supportive during my time here, and I can’t wait to see how they continue to enrich my college experience.
Zane Sobejana Where are you originally from? I am originally from the Philippines. I moved to the United States five years ago and have stayed in North Carolina ever since.
What year are you and how did you become interested in attending HPU? I am a freshman and I became interested in attending High Point University because of the amount of scholarship that the institution offered me. At first, I didn’t think attending HPU was going to fit me very well, but the caring faculty members and the amazing academic opportunities that HPU has are what ultimately convinced me into staying at HPU.
What are your long-term goals? I am very interested in the medical field, but I narrowed it down to becoming a physician. At first, I was curious in becoming a nurse during high school where I took Nursing Fundamentals. During our clinicals, I usually helped walk residents around the facility with their wheelchair or on a gait belt, and I was really delighted as I listened to them talk about their lives. It reminds me of my grandmother back in the Philippines who tells me stories about my grandfather, or funny stories about my dad, and how life was like back then. It’s the same with the residents that I care for during that time. When one of the residents that I cared for months passed away hours after I took her vital signs, I was devastated. She used to show me what her children looked like based on the photo that she always kept on her mini purse. The next morning, I had a conversation with my instructor about what possible way could we have prevented her death. She only
4 | Student Spotlight
told me that it was not in my scope of practice to be thinking like that. There’s a whole bunch of stories like this during my clinical years but this one impacted me the most. That’s why after that, I switched from becoming a nurse to physician. Like my instructor said, I wanted to widen my scope of practice so that whenever someone needed help, I will do my best to support them. Also, I want to become a physician so I can still have the opportunity to talk to the patients or residents as I listen to what stories they have, and make sure that I’m there by their side as I help them on their illnesses.
Do you have a favorite place on campus? I always like going into the second floor of the Smith Library. It’s just a perfect place to sit down and relax. It also allows me to focus more in a quiet environment as I do my homework.
Anything else you would like to share with us? I just would like to give some encouragement to my fellow pre-meds who are reading this and are feeling discouraged in pursuing medicine. I would like to pass on the message from Dr. Ryan Gray. A “C” in general chemistry or organic chemistry does not mean you are not getting into a medical school. If you genuinely have a passion in becoming a physician, you’ll do whatever it takes to become one. Your undergraduate grades only show how well you’ll do as a student in medical school, but not how well you’ll become as a doctor. I genuinely believe in this message, and so should you. If you ever see me on campus with an HPU lanyard hanging down on my neck and hear keys jingle as I walk, come talk to me about it. Student to student with the same goal.
Brendan McCabe Where are you originally from? I am originally from Westfield, New Jersey.
What is your favorite part of being a student athlete? Developing friendships was my favorite part of being a stu-
What year are you and how did you become interested in attending HPU? I just graduated from High Point University as a member of the class of 2021. I became interested in attending HPU after touring the campus and meeting other prospective students. When I toured HPU, I coincidentally bumped into Dr. Qubein in the Café where he explained his vision of the university to me and in that moment I realized I wanted to be a part of this incredible transformation.
What are your long-term goals? My long-term goal is to become a dentist.
How long have you been a student athlete and what inspired you to become one? I have been a student athlete for three years at HPU on the track and field team. I didn’t plan on running competitively in college but Coach Esposito got a hold of my name through the running club and I ended up walking on in September of my freshman year. My coach inspired me through his vision of what I could do to help the team achieve success. Through his leadership and belief in his athletes, we were able to win our first-ever Big South indoor conference championships in 2019.
5 | Student Spotlight
Do you have a favorite place on campus? My favorite place on campus is the Cottrell amphitheater.
What do you enjoy the most about being part of the HPU community? What I enjoy most about being part of the HPU community are the relationships you build with not only the other students but the professors as well. Specifically, everybody in the HPU community wants the best for each other and it shows. Additionally, on top of the busy schedules that professors have, all of them went out of their way to mentor me, whether it was after class, in the hallway, or during office hours. I will certainly miss the HPU community and everything they have helped me with along the way.
Anything else you would like to share with us? I would like to thank all of the professors in the Department of Biology in the Wanek School of Natural Sciences for their mentorship, support, and inspiration. I would also like to thank my classmates who went out of their way to support me through these last four years. I am extremely grateful for my experiences at HPU and I wish all the best for my professors and classmates in their future endeavors.
Deanna Clemmer I am currently a Senior Research Support Specialist in the Taylor Lab at Upstate Medical University. We ultimately focus on the role that metabolism plays in HIV-1 infection. I love my lab because I am in an environment where my scientific passions and my scientific goals synergize, which is always what we seek as researchers. As my knowledge expands, so does my love for the lab and my absolute love for the field. I’m currently working on a project that I’m hoping to share with everyone really soon as I transition from being a lab technician to a graduate student. It’s the type of project I didn’t foresee myself doing, but excited that I am able to push the envelope to study something novel. Everyday in the Taylor Lab is an absolute adventure as we explore extremely novel connections between metabolism and HIV-1 infection and my lab mates make it feel like I’m not working at all. It is the type of lab environment that promotes productivity, creativity, knowledge, and family.
Carrie Wilson I am currently in my next to last semester of nursing school at Rockingham Community College and in the spring of 2022, I will graduate with my Associates Degree in Nursing. So many of my classes and the knowledge I acquired from them at HPU have helped me tremendously in the nursing program. This journey has been tough, but I am excited for this path and cannot wait to graduate! Along with being in the nursing program, I also took over as the head coach of the Lady Eagles volleyball team at Rockingham CC. I have worked endlessly to turn the program around and not only did they earn their first win in over five years, but they are currently competing for a spot in the conference tournament.
6 | Alumni Spotlight
Dr. Kevin Suh Where are you originally from? Korea, South Korea or Republic of Korea (ROK), not the one in the north. In case you didn’t know, there is no U.S. Embassy in North Korea or Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) which means North Korean people cannot get the VISA to come to U.S.
What inspired you to become a scientist? Science (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) was my least favorite subject until high school. But when I first took biochemistry in college, it was simply fascinating. I must say that was the first time I truly liked learning science and enjoyed understanding biology. The textbook was Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. The textbook is very well written and easy to understand, even without a deep background knowledge in biology or chemistry. We used the English version as the textbook because the Korean version was not available. Because of that, I had to spend hours to translate it first using an English-Korean dictionary. Therefore, it took a long time to read and understand the topic, but it was very fun. After taking the biochemistry course, I decided that I want to learn more about how life works at the molecular level. I still have that textbook in my office after 20 plus years, even if it is falling apart.
7 | Faculty Spotlight
How long have you been at HPU and how did you become interested in joining the HPU community? I came to HPU in the Fall of 2016. I found HPU when I was exploring the HPU website and searched the internet to get some more information about HPU. After searching, I found that it is an institution that grows and gets better every year and that’s when I thought that I want to be a part of it. And, of course, when I visited the campus for the interview, I made up my mind that I wanted to work at HPU even though the Biology Department was nested in Couch back then.
Can you tell us a bit more about some of the benefits of your position in the department? I think my research field, which is cancer cell biology, is quite beneficial and appealing to students who want to go to graduate school to study cell biology or pursue a career in medicine. A mammalian cell culture facility is typically not available in most primarily undergraduate institutions because of the high cost of purchasing and maintaining the equipment and devices for the facility. By gaining hands-on experience with mammalian cells, students can get a deeper understanding of cell biology rather than using bacteria as model system. It provides opportunities for testing or measuring many key cellular processes such as cell signaling and programmed cell death. Engaging with research that involves mammalian cell culture can also be a valuable asset in a medical school application.
Do you have a favorite place on campus? That will be the Caine Conservatory. Not only for the fresh O2 that plants are pumping out but also because it reduces my stress level and makes me feel relaxed and happy when I’m in the conservatory. It could be the source of phytochemicals for my research in the future as well.
What do you enjoy the most about being part of the HPU community? Diversity. Not the diversity of the community members but the diversity of my colleagues’ fields of study. Faculty members of the Biology department have a very wide range of specialties including virology, microbiology, genetics, paleontology, and botany, just to name a few. This helps me think and learn about different aspects of biology which is very valuable in understanding and teaching biology.
What is your research about? I am interested in developing novel mechanism-based dietary agents or phytochemicals for prevention and treatment of cancer. According to American Cancer Society, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States. While women have slightly more than 1 in 3 lifetime risk of developing cancer, men have approximately 1 in 2, in the United States. Rapidly proliferating cancer cells require continuous supply of lipids for energy and cell membrane production. The key enzyme that catalyzes de novo synthesis of fatty acids is fatty acid synthase. Previous research has found that synthetic fatty acid synthase inhibitors can effectively suppress several different types of cancer. In the immediate future, my plans include targeting abnormal metabolic pathways of cancer, including fatty acid synthesis pathway, using natural dietary agents, such as lupeol, resveratrol, and fisetin. Many fruits and vegetables contain biologically active chemicals that are beneficial for health. Recently, prevention of cancer through natural dietary agents has received an increasing interest since these “nutraceuticals” exert their anti-cancer effects by targeting multiple signaling pathways that are specific to cancer. My long-term goals are identifying new phytochemicals and/or new molecular targets of phytochemicals for cancer chemoprevention.
8 | Faculty Spotlight
EMT Club Corner What is HPUEMS? High Point University Emergency Medical Services (HPUEMS), is a chartered, student-run EMS organization that is dedicated to serving and helping others in the campus community and surrounding areas. With over fifty established members composed of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), ER Technicians, Firefighters, and aspiring medical students, our organization is diverse, integrative, and unique. Currently, our organization is engaged in the rigorous process of becoming an EMS agency through the state of North Carolina. Once approved, this will allow the organization to become fully-operational under the supervision and authority of Guilford County EMS. Not only will HPUEMS be in charge of running Basic Life Support calls within the campus community, but will also be engaged in community outreach, service events, and collaborating with other organizations. The sky is the limit with this program and we are beyond excited to see where this program takes all of us.
What is the mission of HPUEMS ? The mission for our organization is simple, to serve the High Point University community and surrounding areas through skill, dedication, passion, and medical knowledge. Our goal is to make the campus a better and safer place for all those who step onto campus. We are all thrilled to be a part of such a great organization, who has a passion to serve, mentor, and lead others in times of need.
Is there any criteria for joining HPUEMS? At this time we do not have a set limit on the number of members we can accept. We truly encourage anyone, even with a remote interest in emergency medicine to join. Certification is preferred, but not required. We just ask that you are interested in the field of medicine and that you have a passion to help and serve others in times of crisis. Due to the life-or-death nature of emergency medicine, there will be a difference between being a full member of the organization itself versus being a practicing full member through the eyes of GCEMS and the state of North Carolina. Regardless of your current level of certification, once HPUEMS becomes fully-operational, we will allow for members to come on ride-a-longs with a fully-certified EMT team to get a feel for what emergency medicine is all about.
What if I want to become a EMT? What is the process of gaining membership through GCEMS? For those interested in becoming a first responder, you must take an EMT course. Typically the class is taken across 5 months, however for many students, they decide to take an intensive 8 week hybrid course over the Summer. This allows for students, especially those who live out of state, the time to get their certifications and licenses without as many scheduling conflicts. In terms of gaining full membership through the eyes of GCEMS and the state, two types of criteria must be met. First you must obtain at least a state-certified EMT, NREMT, CNA license. As many students are from out of state, as long as you have the certifications necessary and they are not expired, we will then work to gain you reciprocity to work in North Carolina. Second, you must be in possession of an Emergency Vehicle Operator Certificate (EVOC/CEVO). EVOC classes train first responders to drive vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, police cruisers, and response vehicles and be able to operate them safely, and correctly. HPUEMS has in its possession its very own quick reaction vehicle (QRV), and members running calls will need to be able to operate it safely, legally, and expeditiously. 9 | Club Corner
When will HPUEMS become fully-operational? The process of becoming operational has been an arduous experience; setting into place such an important organization has to be carefully planned with support from all levels of university and community leaders. Even though we were set back a bit from Covid, we are moving forward with the organization and surrounding programs to be sure that we are on the right track to be operational. Behind the scenes, our organization has been in countless meetings with both GCEMS, the state, and school to get things off the ground. One of the first things our organization was able to do is get a quick response vehicle(QRV) and office space to hold all of our medical equipment. It’s taken us a lot of time to develop strategies and ideas to procure all of the equipment and find the space to store it all. The volume of forms and paperwork required by local and state regulating agencies has exceeded our expectations greatly. Despite all these delays, and due to herculean efforts by the Executive Officers of HPUEMS, Drs. Kristin Ackerman (Dept. of Medical Sciences) and Jim Johnson (Dept. of Physician Assistant Studies), Gus Porter (Security), and Student Life, we are nearing the final stages of achieving operational status. While we do not have a firm date, we anticipate that we can become fully operational during the year of 2022.
Other than running medical calls, what are your plans for the organization? Currently, we have been reaching out to the campus community and surrounding areas to see what we can do to serve, outside of running emergency calls. We have already been able to sponsor one of the campus’ largest blood drives with over 153 donations, with both the school and Red Cross. We were able to donate enough blood that could save the equivalent of 596 lives! After HPU posted a press release from the event, we have been blessed to be featured in countless online news articles, newspapers, and media, helping our organization tremendously. At the request of the Red Cross, we have also been coined as the lead sponsors for all future drives at HPU! We are also connecting with other campus organizations to enhance the well-being of those not only on the campus but the community as a whole. Besides running calls and helping our community, we have aspirations of having a EMT course on campus, along with other certification classes (CPR/AED and First Aid-certified), allowing our members to continue their education and gain new skills that will help them become the best providers they can be. This will be especially helpful for members with zero formal training or certification. Our organization is eager to reach new heights and goals as time goes on, as we believe that there are no limits as to what we can do or the impact we can have on the community.
How can I contact the organization if I want to join? If you are interested in joining, please reach out to our Chief of Staff and President, Lauren Parr, via phone, email, or social media. We would love to meet you and answer any questions you may have about the organization. You can find us also in room 134, in the Wanek School of Natural Sciences. Our information is attached below! Social Media: Instagram Email: email@example.com Phone: (336) 841-2111 *Please allow up to 24 hours for us to get back to you, we look forward to meeting you soon!*
High Point University Emergency Medical Services held a blood drive on Sept. 15, 2021 and collected 153 units of blood for the local American Red Cross, which in turn will save up to 596 lives.
10 | Club Corner
Zac Posner (Founding Chief of Staff and President) and Dr. Kristin Ackerman (Founding Faculty and Executive Director) proudly displaying the HPUEMS quick response vehicle.
Clara Primus “Creating Experiences at the Nido and Mariana Qubein When I first heard that the city of High Point was getting a children’s Children’s Museum” museum, I thought this building will probably have a more positive effect on our community than any other. As a child that was born and raised in High Point, I know first-hand the difference that this museum will make in our community. When the opportunity to get involved presented itself, I knew I had to be a part of it. Over the last 2 years, I was heavily involved in High Point University’s Mobile Science Lab bus. I really enjoyed engaging local students in STEM concepts and getting them excited about the possibilities of science. The skills I learned through planning events as the Mobile Lab Liaison were easy to translate to my internship at the Nido and Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum. I am so excited to have a hand in planning what children will experience at the museum and want to make sure I provide them with the best environment for learning and creativity. Through my internship, I have been able to select and plan some of the science experiments that we will have available in our STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) Lab, document all of our fossils and specimens, and appear in some of the museum’s social media posts. I have had many new experiences while interning including, going on hard hat tours on the construction site, meeting Qubein Children’s Museum board members, working out of the world’s largest chest of drawers, and even holding a real meteorite from space. All of these experiences made me look forward to each day interning at the museum since every day brought something new and exciting. During this summer, I have learned numerous life skills that I will take with me as I move into my professional career. I have learned how to present myself in a professional workplace and communicate with my colleagues confidently. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to troubleshoot through challenges when I don’t exactly understand how to perform a task. This hands-on experience showed me that in the workplace you might not have specific instructions on how something should be done but, it takes trial and error combined with your best effort to get the job done. Taking constructive feedback from my colleagues and using it to persist and improve pushed me to become an adaptable employee. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I had this summer to learn professional skills while impacting the youth of my community. I am very excited to participate in our opening day festivities, and even collaborate on future events alongside High Point University’s Mobile Science Lab. Nido and Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum’s Executive Director, Megan Ward, says, “We were so happy to have Clara Primus as our intern for the summer. She has a real passion for introducing children in our community to STEM and has put a lot of hard work into the planning of our museum. We are looking forward to seeing her work come to fruition on opening day this Fall.”
11 | Student Editorial
Katelyn Greer Where are you originally from?
Do you have a favorite place on campus?
I am originally from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina and have lived in the Charlotte area for most of my life, until moving to High Point.
My favorite place on Campus is Wanek Sciences, although I may have some bias. I value the facilities that HPU has designated to the growing science majors and its importance to the foundation of undergraduate students that will pursue professional degrees. After studying in Couch as an underclassman, prior to renovations, I feel greater gratitude for the learning environments and equipment that we now get to utilize!
Where did you train to become a scientist? I received my undergraduate degree from HPU as of May 2021 and would claim that my training came from my classes and research, here, at HPU. Thank you to the many professors that have taught and encouraged me to grow!
What made you decide to apply to become a staff member at HPU Biology? I knew that High Point was a great place to work because I knew the people that had already chosen to be apart of the HPU Biology family. This family is made up of the professors, mentors, and friends that helped guide me through my time at HPU as a student. I hope to be someone that can contribute to the support of students and faculty to continue the tradition of creating relationships that promote growth and learning. (Plus! I get to hang out with my mentors a little longer.)
What are your long-term goals? In the long term, I would like to graduate from Physical Therapy School as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I would like to start my own practice after working a few years for another company to gain more experience. There is a high likelihood that the founding of my future practice will take place out West (Montana, Idaho, Washington)!
12 | Staff Spotlight
What do you enjoy the most about being part of the HPU community? I’m grateful to be apart of the High Point community that is continuing to grow and develop into a more significant part of the Triad. I am proud to be apart of the HPU family that continues to promote a wholeness within the community through education and service. I hope that the community and HPU can continue to promote growth, wellness, and innovation, together.
What should HPU Bio students do if they would like to be considered for a lab assistant position? If you would like to be considered for a Biology Lab Assistant position, please reach out to me! I would be interested to hear what experiences you have and what more you would like to learn. Let’s have a conversation about what your next right step is!
Scott Wojciechowski “Evolution is not always linear.” I recently had the pleasure of attending the opening luncheon for the Science Advantage Camp, an intensive two-week program for a select group of STEM majors from underrepresented populations. In his opening remarks, Interim Dean of Natural Sciences Dr. Brett Woods spoke about the importance of mentorship in a student’s career. These remarks made me reflect on my college days and reminded me of the relationship I worked to build with my undergraduate advisor, Dr. David Cundall. Now, some of you may be thinking – why is this Student Life person writing for the Biology newsletter? Fun fact– I earned a B.S. in Biology before my time working with college students. I originally started as a chemistry major, but then quickly changed when I realized that chemistry was too much math (and frankly, too much chemistry). When I declared my bio major in my sophomore year, I was assigned to Dr. Cundall, a softspoken Canadian who wore pearl snap shirts and studied the mechanics of viper strikes. Since he was anatomist of the department, anyone planning to attend medical school had to take Dr. Cundall’s comparative anatomy course (and hope for a letter of recommendation). At that time my aspirations could not be farther from med school. My goal was to be a high school science teacher. I quickly disclosed these intentions in our first advising meeting, and that initial transparency set a strong foundation for our relationship.
13 | Guest Editorial
I went on to take most of my classes with Dr. Cundall – two of which were histology and verbrate anatomy. I spent most of my time in these courses either staring into a microscope while sketching squamous cells or hovering over a dissected specimen trying to recall its location in a cladogram. I was enamored as we learned about the evolutionary links between these organisms, and I even wrote a whole term paper on the pineal gland and the development of the complex eye. I learned that little happens in a vacuum; life and life science is made by living. Throughout my time as a biology major, I sought the guidance of my advisor frequently. After an internship at the Pittsburgh Zoo, I knew for sure that I was not going to work with animals, reptiles, or insects. He coached me as I prepared my lessons for the two lab sections I taught my senior year. Dr. Cundall walked alongside me during these adventures. He always kept me honest. He wrote in my recommendation for graduate school: “I am amazed that Scott is able to recall the names of almost everyone he meets. It’s a shame that he cannot apply that skill in anatomy class.” Dr. Cundall was there to not only keep me humble, but also encourage me as I slogged through my major and later changed my plans from the K-12 classroom to higher education. I share this story to reinforce the message that mentorship matters, especially as you evolve as a biology major. You do not have to be perfect – in fact, your imperfections will help you to grow. Remember that you cannot do this alone, you are not meant to operate in a vacuum. Seek out a mentor with whom you can develop a relationship that is symbiotic – the best mentoring relationships are bidirectional. There are some fantastic folks here at HPU who have your best interest at heart. Find someone with whom you can be vulnerable and who will be honest with you. These relationships do not just materialize – they take time to evolve. Take the time to make that investment. I am forever grateful for my connection with my dear advisor, now retired, with whom I still stay in touch. It does matter, in fact, it makes all the difference.
14 | Guest Editorial
Conservatory Editorial “Orchids Through the Seasons in the Caine Conservatory ” Dr. Jason Lattier,
Director of the Caine Conservatory
It is hard to imagine a tropical conservatory without orchids. Orchids represent a group of terrestrial and tree-dwelling (epiphyte) plants that produce an array of spellbinding, exotic blooms. They have been a source of fascination and obsession for many tropical plant enthusiasts. Their draw has even been captured in best-selling books, such as the Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, and in major motion pictures, such as Adaptation. The majority of orchid aficionados focus primarily on one genus or a small number of genera, which can take years to master. Rare is the collector that can master a range of hundreds of genera and species, including both wild types and the gaudy hybrids with dinner-plate-sized flowers. Enter the intrepid North Carolina master grower, John Stanton, into our little tale. Over decades, John has built a Mecca of orchids in his 21,000 sq. ft. nursery, The Orchid Trail, about 1.5 hours east of High Point University in the town of Morrisville (Image 1). During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, John decided to sell his nursery after many years of building his impressive collection. His collection was a combination of plants for sale to the public as well as 20+ year old specimen plants in his private collection. After many discussions, John decided to donate much of his species collection to the new conservatory at HPU, as well as sell a large hybrid collection from his retail nursery to HPU at a bargain price. During summer of 2020, we began moving the orchid collection into the Caine Conservatory. One of the oldest specimen plants in his private collection just happened to be finishing its bloom during the move. The 20+ year old clump of Schomburgkia tibicinus (aka Myrmecophila tibicinis) was producing a massive 8’ long inflorescence that arched overhead of our small production greenhouse (Image 2). This is a giant tree-dwelling and sometimes rock-dwelling (lithophyte) orchid native to the seasonally dry forests from Mexico south to Columbia. After situating the collection on the vertical lath panels in the production houses, the plants began to bloom as the short days and cool weather of fall approached. The range of colors, fragrance, and complexity of the orchid collection began to unfold. In late
15 | Conser vator y Editorial
Image 1. John Stanton surveying his orchids at The Orchid Trail in Morrisville, NC.
Image 2. Myrmecophila (Schomburgkia) tibicinis and its 8’ long inflorescences in the production house at the Caine Conservatory.
Image 3. Bulbophyllum sikkimense from India.
summer, the diminutive blooms of Bulbophyllum sikkimense from the foothills of the Sikkim in India began to bloom with its graceful ring of diminutive pink flowers (Image 3). Another stunning Bulbophyllum (B. medusae from SE Asia) showed off its flowers in Fall; however, it is named after the deadly hair of Medusa so gaze at your own risk (Image 4). Next in bloom were the deep maroon flowers of Cycnoches cooperi native to the humid rain forests of Peru (Image 5). From the Greek, ‘kyknos’ meaning swan and ‘anchen’ meaning neck, the flowers resemble a swan in flight. (Pro tip: flip the photo upside down to see the swan in flight!) During the Fall, some of our fabulous terrestrial orchids exhibited their complex blooms, including one of the more fancifully named hybrid lady-slipper orchids, Paphiopedilum Macabre ‘Cha Cha’ (Image 6). The macabre flower (obviously going through a Goth phase) arrived in October just in time for Halloween. Nearing Thanksgiving, one of our larger flowering Brassia ‘Rex’ hybrids began to emerge (Image 7). It produced a massive inflorescence packed with blooms nearly a foot across and has become a crowd favorite among our fall bloomers. In the orchid world, Brassia ‘Rex’ is considered a ‘primary hybrid’ since it is the result of two wildtype species, B. verrucosa (native to C & S America) and B. gireoudiana (native to Costa Rica and Panama). In the short days of winter, our Oncidium collection began to flower, with the largest and showiest flowers emerging from Oncidium Sharry Baby ‘Sweet Fragrance’, producing a towering inflorescence of burgundy and white flowers with up to 150 flowers per inflorescence (Image 7). This is the most prized Oncidium hybrid for collectors due to its massive profusion of flowers and its chocolate fragrance early in the morning. Winter also brought blooms on more of our terrestrial orchid collection, including the dynamic duo of the hybrid Cymbidium ‘Nut’ and wild-type Paphiopedilum venustum from eastern Nepal, Tibet, and Bangladesh (Image 8). However, the highlight of our orchids during the holiday season arrives with the bloom of our largest specimen orchid, Angraecum Veitchii ‘White Star’, commonly known as the Christmas orchid, the Star of Bethlehem orchid, and Darwin’s orchid (Image 9). This orchid can be found in our center bed climbing our centerpiece palm, the Bismarkia nobilis from Madagascar. Darwin’s orchid also originates from Madagascar, and was so named based on Darwin’s assertion that the unusual flowers with their extremely long rear spur must be pollinated by a yet undiscovered species of moth with an absurdly long proboscis. Mocked for his assertion at the time, the moth (Xanthopan morganii) was discovered 21 years after his death (Image 10).
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Image 4. Bulbophyllum medusa from the Thailand, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, and the Philippines.
Image 5. Cycnoches cooperi from Peru.
Image 6. Paphiopedilum ‘Macabre Cha Cha’. One of the Macabre series originating from the cross of P. sukhakulii (from NE Thailand) x P. ‘Voodoo Magic’. Image 7. The chocolate-scented blooms of the hybrid Oncidium Sharry Baby ‘Sweet Fragrance’ (front) and the Mombasa cycad Encephalartos hildebrandtii (rear). Image 8. Cymbidium ‘Nut’ (rear) and wild-type Paphiopedilum venustum (front) from eastern Nepal, Tibet, and Bangladesh.
Image 9. The four foot tall (and growing) orchid from Madagascar, Angraecum Veitchii ‘White Star’, commonly know as Darwin’s orchid. Image 10. Morgan’s sphinx moth (Xanthopan morganii), the predicted pollinator of the Darwin orchid discovered 21 years after Darwin’s death. Photo: Natural History Museum of London (WikiCommons).
Spring brought about another bloom in our Africa bed with our specimen of leopard orchid, Ansellia africana (Image 11). Ansellia is a monotypic genus of orchids with only one species, but it is one of the toughest species of orchids around. Unlike most orchids, it grows in high light and in hot, dry grasslands. It can be found growing on trees, shrubs, and even rocks, and has even (unfortunately) been referred to as the “trash-basket orchid” because of the basket of aerial roots it crafts to catch falling leaf debris for nutrients. Spring also brought about blooms on one of our most interesting fragrant orchids, the coconut orchid Maxillaria tenuifolia, native to Mexico and Nicaragua (Image 12). The fragrance of this orchid is a mixture of coconut mixed with warm sugar, smelling like a warm coconut pie. Although the blooms are diminutive, the many dozens of flowers covering our mature specimen makes it a feast for the senses. And finally, with the long days of Spring many of our complex Cattleya hybrids displayed their multi-colored fragrant flowers, including the HPU-colored L.c. C.G. Roebling coerulea ‘Beechview’ (Image 13). This seasonal description highlights just a handful of the many fantastic orchids in the collection of the Caine Conservatory. We hope to continue building a world-class orchid collection that will grace campus for years to come. Maintaining a diverse orchid collection takes a dedicated and skilled staff of horticulturist performing many hours of work cleaning, pruning, dividing, remounting, watering, fertilizing, and virus testing. We are currently fortunate to have two dedicated volunteers, Mitch Meiners and Tammy Goldberg from the Triad Orchid Society that help maintain our ever-growing orchid collection (Image 14). We hope to see you in the conservatory and answer any questions you may have about the wonderful world of orchids!
Image 11. The leopard orchid, Ansellia africana, native to tropical and southern Africa.
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Image 12. The coconut orchid, Maxillaria tenuifolia, native to Mexico and Nicaragua.
Image 13. The complex Cattleya hybrid L.c. C.G. Roebling coerulea ‘Beechview’ in HPU purple and white.
Image 14. Volunteers Mitch Meiners and Tammy Goldberg from the Triad Orchid Society dividing and remounting orchids in the Head House of the Caine Conservatory.
New Publications Hughes, Nicole M, George, Christian O, Gumpman Corinne B, and Neufeld, Howard S. 2021. “Coevolution and photoprotection as complementary hypotheses for autumn leaf reddening: a nutrient-centered perspective”. New Phytologist (in press) Ivory, Brenna J., Hannah M. Smith, Elizabeth Cabrera, Meaghan R. Robinson, Jackson T. Sparks, Amanda Solem, Jun-ichi Ishihara, Hiroki Takahashi, Masaharu Tsuji, and Verónica A. Segarra. “ATG8 is conserved between Saccharomyces cerevisiae and psychrophilic, polar-collected fungi.” microPublication Biology 2021 (2021). https://dx.doi.org/10.17912%2Fmicropub.biology.000446 Robinson, Ashley M., Mackenzie M. Crow, Austin Kratz, Taylor Ritts, Yewseok K. Suh, and Verónica A. Segarra. “Introducing Mammalian Cell Colony Formation in the Undergraduate Biology Laboratory.” Journal of microbiology & biology education 22, no. 1 (2021): ev22i1-2229. https://doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v22i1.2229 Segarra, Verónica A., Anupam Sharma, and Sandra K. Lemmon. “Atg27p co-fractionates with clathrin-coated vesicles in budding yeast.” microPublication Biology 2021 (2021). https://doi.org/10.17912/micropub.biology.000380 Segarra, Verónica A., Anupam Sharma, and Sandra K. Lemmon. “Atg27p localization is clathrin-and Ent3p/5p-dependent.” microPublication biology 2021 (2021). https://doi.org/10.17912/micropub.biology.000381 Segarra, Verónica A., Jim Vigoreaux, Maria Elena Zavala, and Ashanti Edwards. “Accomplishing Career Transitions 2019: facilitating success towards the professoriate.” In BMC proceedings, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 1-2. BioMed Central, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12919-021-00220-9 Segarra, Verónica A., and William A. Gentry. “Taking ownership of your career: professional development through experiential learning.” In BMC proceedings, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 1-7. BioMed Central, 2021. https://doi. org/10.1186/s12919-021-00211-w Sturgeon, Candyce M., Nicholas Zanghi, Hannah M. Smith, Emily K. Davis, Meaghan R. Robinson, Elizabeth Cabrera, Molly C. Holbrook, and Verónica A. Segarra. “YML018C protein localizes to the vacuolar membrane independently of Atg27p.” microPublication Biology 2021 (2021). https://doi.org/10.17912/micropub.biology.000391
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The invitation and opportunity for every person to be included in our community.
- Alec Garfield, Junior, Biology
To me, HPUnity means embracing everyone and everything. It’s the togetherness of different people and cultures in an environment where diversity is praised.
- Charla Ward, Senior, Biology
Together we are greater than the sum of our parts.
- Patrick Vigueira, Faculty, Biology
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unity at HPU mean to
Being surrounded by supportive students and staff that have become my family away from home.
- Taylor Gray, Sophomore, Political Science & Pre-Medicine
We are all included no matter how different our majors are!
- Samantha Mitchell, Freshman, Biology
At HPU, people from all backgrounds have equitable opportunities to thrive and develope into extraordinary and authentic scholars.
- Veronica Segarra, Faculty, Biology
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Biology Newsletter High Point University
High Point, NC 27268
Second Edition 2021-2022
Visuals @ Brookelynn Berry-Wagner