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Loras College Biology Newsletter  1999   

Loras College Faculty Update The Loras College biology faculty continues its productive and student-oriented atmosphere while maintaining strong ties to the community. Many faculty members received honors and recognition this year including organizational nominations, funding of proposals, and publication of research. The following article highlights the achievements of the biology department faculty for 1998-1999. Full-time Faculty Dave Czarnecki, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Curator of the Loras College Diatom and Algal Collection. Dr. Czarnecki was on sabbatical during the academic year of 1998-1999.During this sabbatical year, “Czar” worked on his funded research proposal (ISF 98-17) to develop a slide and materials herbarium based on his existing strain holdings. In addition, Czarnecki has isolated an additional 1000 strains of algae, mostly diatoms, for development as cultures upon his return to Loras. He is presently trying to develop saline cultures from the Great Salt Lake (Utah), a saline lake in Saskatchewan, and most of the saline systems in east-central North Dakota. Dr. Czarnecki also instructed courses for the University of Minnesota at Lake Itaska. He was also involved in a High School “Outreach” program for promising high school students to expose them to Bog and Marsh Ecology, Phycology, and Protozoology. He hopes to set up a similar high school outreach program during summers at Loras. He also presented several general seminars to the local community at Lake Itaska. At present, Czarnecki is trying to develop a long-term (intern) project with Abbott Laboratories to fund the maintenance for and more effective use of Loras College’s Algal Collection. Czarnecki will also be offering a Fall (1999) MOI course entitled Dark Humor which will contain works by Kurt Vonnegut. Tom Davis, Ph.D., Associate Professor In order to improve the quality of education and assist students in their pre-professional plans, Dr. Tom Davis continues to dedicate his time to students and committees. More specifically, Davis served as Chair of the Faculty Development Committee and as Chair of the New Faculty Orientation Committee which assists new faculty members’ transition to Loras College. Davis also served on the Summer Session Committee to assist students in registration and transitory issues. He was also extensively involved in summer registration. Davis gave a number of presentations to the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Highland Community College, and Fifth graders at Table Mound School. He continues his dedication to the steering committee of ACUBE. To improve learning and student involvement, Dr. Davis received an Instructional Improvement Grant from the Loras College Faculty Development Committee for upgrading the Vertebrate


Loras College Biology Newsletter  1999   

Physiology laboratory and classroom approaches to physiology. The grant funded $1500.00 towards equipment, supplies, and wages for a student worker. Gerald W. Eagleson, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Biology Department and Curator of the Amphibian Culture Facility Dr. Eagleson was busy as a teacher and mentor in laboratories and student research. Dr. Eagleson was recognized most recently for his studies in the neurosciences by the publication of; 1.) “Neuroendocrine aspects of differentiation and axonogenesis in the Xenopus laevis forebrain” published by the Netherlands Journal of Zoology. And “Forebrain differentiation and axonogenesis in amphibians” published in Brain Behavior and Evolution. Eagleson was recognized for his hard work and dedication in neuroscience and developmental biology through his election to the American Society of Neurologists and his nomination for the Endowed J Z Young Chair of Anatomy at the University of London (England; 1999). He was also elected to Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Eagleson also received a grant for his research proposal entitled “Continued Studies on the Regionalization of the Anterior Neural Plate Tissue.” This project is being funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (NIH; the Division of Child Health and Development) for the next two years (1999-2000). This grant will provide funds ($66,000.00) for undergraduate and faculty research. Eagleson will investigate the regionalization of the vertebrate forebrain areas involved in memory and learning. This study will examine the early gene expression cascades necessary for the development of these forebrain areas. As the administrator and organizer (with Dr. Speckhard) for the recombinant DNA laboratory Eagleson has helped provide a basis for collaboration between the Dubuque community and the Loras College Biology Department. The new laboratory will be used by Loras College biology students. Lawyers, doctors, and forensic scientists will also use the lab as an educational resource center. In addition to Eagleson’s dedication to the biology department, he also found the time to develop and instruct an MOI class, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” with peer assistant Nicole Westphal. Eagleson was also the moderator for the Power Lifting Club. Elizabeth Lynch, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Dr. Elizabeth Lynch has dedicated the past year at Loras to students, research, and community involvement. In addition to her time spent as a teacher and in environmental research, she dedicated her time to the Loras community by serving on the Committee for the selection of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Lynch also served within the North Central Accreditation Task Force. Dr. Lynch was also elected to the Board of Directors of the Catfish Creek Coalition. She was also elected to the Dubuque Environmental Stewardship Commission as a result of her outstanding dedication to the environment.


Loras College Biology Newsletter  1999   

In an effort to continue to fund her research Lynch submitted grant proposals 1) “Detecting the long-term dynamics of giant reed grass, Phragmites australis” to the Iowa Academy of Sciences and 2) “Late-glacial pollen record from the forest-steppe border, Wind River Range, WY” to the National Science Foundation. Recently, Dr. Lynch received word that these proposals will be funded. She also had the following paper reviewed and accepted for publication: Origin of a Park-Forest vegetation mosaic in the Wind River range, Wyoming published in Ecology. Fred Schnee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Curator of Drosophila melanogaster Collection Dr. Fred Schnee has had a busy year that included marriage. He has continued, however, his dedication to his students and community service. Dr. Schnee continued to serve as the Division III representative on the Committee for Ethics and Values Education at Loras College. He continues to contribute new ideas that bridge the gap between Philosophy and Biology by teaching an interdisciplinary course, “Ethics and the New Genetics” with Dr. Janine Marie Idziak. This course allowed students to apply their knowledge of genetics to the ethical and moral issues facing our society. David A. Shealer, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Although still new to Loras College and the local community, Dr. David Shealer has wasted no time finding his niche. An adamant ecologist with a background in bird research, Shealer is serving as the local representative for bird banding. At the college level Shealer dedicates most of his time to his students to ensure quality education. He also serves on the Disciplinary Committee for Loras College. Dave Shealer was recognized for his research through the review and publication of the following papers: 1) “Sandwhich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)” The Birds of North America, and 2). Foraging patterns of eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) on golden rod gall insects, a potentially important winter food resource” American Midland Naturalist. Student Update Awards and Honors Seniors During 1998-1999, the Biology Department had 32 majors conferred with Bachelor of Science degrees. Among those, the following Seniors were recognized during Senior Recognition Day for High Academic Achievement: Jeremy Ackermann, Sara Binz, Missy Dakin, Angie Demplewolf, Julie Feller, Micki Gerdes, Matt Graeve, Jeff Haverland, Aaron Heiar, Bertina Hooks, Tim Platz, Tara Sanft, Peter Schlueter, Tirzah Schnorr, Mark Simons, Nicole Westphal, and Sean Whalen. These students brought recognition not only to their own outstanding achievements, but also to the biology department which assisted them in their education and development as scientific thinkers. Two seniors received additional recognition for their dedication to research. Sean Whalen a senior Biology Research major, had his summer research project published in the International Journal: The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC). The paper was entitled; “Transcriptional


Loras College Biology Newsletter  1999   

activation following cerebral Ischemia in mice of promoter deleted nitric oxide synthetase-2 gene”, JBC vol 274: 8844-8849. (1999). Nicole Westphal, a Loras College Biology Research Major, was a recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship for 1999-2000. Ms. Westphal’s Fulbright project will encompass an extension and expansion of her undergraduate research studies at Loras College. It will involve a collaboration with the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She will be collaborating with Nijmegen University on a project funded by NASA. The project will investigate the possible effects of microgravity upon early forebrain development. The following Biology Research majors: Tim Platz, Tara Sanft, and Nicole Westphal developed and presented posters concerning their undergraduate theses at the Fifth Annual Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology Symposium at Iowa State University. The Symposium was entitle “Cellular Differentiation” and took place from February 19-21, 1999. It included plenary lectures from experts in the fields of flower development, muscle differentiation, adipose cell differentiation and the effects of retinoids upon cell differentiation and cancer. Tim Platz’s poster was entitled: “The effects of the mutant eyeless condition in the Mexican Axolotl upon forebrain axonogenesis. Tara Sanft’s poster was entitled: “Investigations using retinoic acid to ascertain the stage of determination of the suprachiasmatic area in Xenopus laevis. Nicole Westphal’s poster was entitled: “Regionalization and organization of the anterior forebrain in Xenopus laevis using the telencephalon-specific transcription factor Xbf-1.” Mark Simon, a Biology Research major, presented his undergraduate thesis entitled; “Temperature effects on the antibacterial activity of organium oil on several species of bacteria” at the Animal Behavior Society Meeting at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA) on June 26-30, 1999. James Sheehan will be shadowing as an intern at Central Dupage Hospital in the E.R. and O.R. departments for the summer of 1999 to investigate future professional opportunities. Juniors and Sophomores Summer Research In addition to sound classroom concepts, the Loras College Biology Department stresses application in the form of research to reinforce students’ learning experiences. Scientific research exposes students to a different mode of thinking as well as hones their background knowledge in the sciences to develop better scientists. As a testament to its outstanding professors, students, and educational opportunites, Loras College was recognized through student research opportunities at Loras and surrounding universities. Matt Rauen received a stipend from the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota) to investigate molecular cell cycle changes during cell division in a tumor line. Mindy Hubler (winner of the Gerald Kaufmann Memorial award) received a stipend and was involved in an internship with the Nature Conservancy (Iowa Chapter). With undergraduate research funds, Marca Wosoba will investigate neuroendocrine changes in amphibians during development under the watchful eye of Dr. Eagleson. Kelly Conmey has received a stipend to investigate fruit fly sexual behavior at


Loras College Biology Newsletter  1999   

Loras College under Dr. Schnee’s supervision. With a stipend, Danielle Bollinger will investigate fire history in Wisconsin pine barrens with Dr. Lynch as a mentor. Jeff Haverland spent his summer afield investigating foraging ecology of the black tern with Dr. Shealer. With NIH funds, Ryan Demplewolf will be investigating gene expression events that promote telencephalon patterning under Dr. Eagleson’s tutlelage. As part of the University of Iowa’s Program on undergraduate research, Will Goodmann will work with the Pharmacology Department (under Dr. Fred Quelles’s supervision). Mark Johnson received an undergraduate stipend to work at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics to work in the Department of Infectious Diseases with Drs. Denning and Britigan. Abby Pape received a Hughes Summer Undergraduate Research Grant to work at Iowa City (University of Iowa with Dr. Rod Nagoshi). Alumni News Lisa Gerlach 1997 Loras College Graduate Ann Arbor, Michigan Lisa Gerlach has taken her classroom knowledge and research techniques learned from the Loras College Biology Department and set out on her own. She is currently in her third year in the Cell and Molecular Biology Program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The first two years consisted of classroom work and lab rotations to expose the graduate students to many types of research. The students then chose which area they wanted to focus on. Ms. Gerlach researched diseases of the eye before deciding to work with Dr. Kate Barald to investigate mechanisms of vertebrate inner ear development. Her research currently focuses on the roles of BMP4 and noggin in establishing inner ear axis formation in chick embryos. Ms. Gerlach hopes to graduate with her Ph.D from the university after three more years. In her spare time Ms. Gerlach enjoys microbiology softball with her team Biohazards and the finer points of tennis. She became engaged to Jason at Christmas. Ms. Gerlach is busy preparing for her wedding and plans to live in the Ann Arbor/ Detroit area after the wedding in order to further her studies in the Cell and Molecular Biology area. Dr. Carol Martin., M.D. 1989 Loras College Graduate Black River Falls, Wisconsin Dr. Martin utilizedher biology background by pursuing a professional career in medicine. She is currently one of sixteen physicians, five females and eleven males, at Krohn Clinic, an independent family practice located in Black River Falls. Dr. Martin is a family physician also involved in emergency room medicine, clinical medicine, and obstetrics. Medical students from Madison spend time at the Krohn clinic so Dr. Martin is able to mentor and teach as well as practice medicine. The clinic is also starting a rural residency program to stay on “the cutting edge” of rural medicine. Dr. Martin resides in Black River Falls with her husband David Pardoe and their 18-month-old son Nikolas. They are expecting their second child in December of 1999.


Loras College Biology Newsletter  1999   

Katie Pedrianna 1998 Loras Graduate Katie is dodging bullets and acclimating to life in Villa Amelia. Despite the dangers, she is settling into life within her community. Katie is working as a nurse’s assistant to help disabled kids and interacting with them in English. She is gaining work experience to apply to schools with a physician’s assistant program. Katie also hopes to tour various areas of South America during her vacations. Nicholas Wetjen 1996 Loras College Graduate Iowa City, Iowa At present, Nick is finishing his research elective for medical school. He is working on computer functional imaging for guidance during neurosurgical operations. These studies are being pursued to develop a functional atlas for stereotactic neurosurgery. Nick plans to finish this project and apply for residency in neurosurgery. During previous summers (1996, 1997) Nick worked in the laboratory of Christopher Loftus in the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Iowa. These studies used the canine as a model for investigating cerebral flow under different physiological parameters as well as cerebral disease states. From the standpoint of publications and meeting presentations, these studies were very successful for Nick and his colleagues. These studies were then extended to elderly human subjects which resulted in the “Best Clinical Research Award” at the University of Iowa (1997). We welcome all alumni to submit letters updating the department and other alumni as to what they are doing. Thank you! Nicole Westphal deserves a special thank you from the Biology Department for painting the mural for the Dr. Gerald Kaufmann Memorial in St. Joseph’s Hall of Science. Ms. Westphal spent hot summer afternoons painting the mural that depicts Dr. Kaufmann’s farm and hunting skills. All are welcome to come in and look at this Memorial. Kaufmann Memorial Scholarship Winner Mindy Hubler, an Environmental Biology major entering her junior year at Loras College, is the 1999-2000 recipient of the Kaufmann Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded annually in the amount of $1,000 to a biology or art major entering their third or fourth year at Loras College. The Memorial is designed in gratitude to Dr. Kaufmann for the 30 years of inspiration and dedication that he provided to the Loras College Biology Department and students. The scholarship will assist students in pursuing their academic goals at Loras College. Those interested in contributing to the Kaufmann Memorial Scholarship should contact Dan Allen, director of alumni relations/ annual giving (djalle@loras.edu) or Gerald W. Eagleson, chair of biology (eaglegw@loras.edu).


Loras College Biology Newsletter  1999   

Thanks to the generous contributions from David Meyers and Dan Callan, the Loras Biology Department was able to award two E. T. Cawley Awards for best undergraduate research. The awards were divided into Laboratory Research and Field Research. The winner of the laboratory award was Nicole Westphal for “Regionalization and determination of the anterior forebrain in Xenopus laevis using transcription factor Xbf-1 as a telencephalon-specific marker”. The winner for the best field thesis was Mathew D. Graeve for “The yucca-yucca moth symbiosis near the edge of its geographic range”. To promote communication between students, faculty, and alumni of the Loras College Biology Department, there will be a chili feed Friday October 8, 1999 during Homecoming. The feast will be held at 6:00 pm at the Log Cabin Pavilion located at Eagle Point Park in Dubuque. Food, drinks, and friendship will be provided for a nominal fee of $2.00. We would appreciate a R.S.V.P by September 30 via the postal service or email (eaglegw@loras.edu).

Biology Newsletter 1999  

Loras College Biology newsletter 1999

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