Note from the Dean
Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences

Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences in the fall.

Many jobs have an uneven flow to them, very busy some times and somewhat slower others. This is, or should be, the busy time for academics - the time after fall break and before the holidays. This is the time for students to fix up deficiencies that were identified with the midterm grades, and this is the time to really get into the courses now that they have a background of a couple months in the material. This is the time to work on those semester projects so that the work doesn't have to be 'crammed' in at the last moment with little time for reflection.

But how many of us are able to really get involved in our work? For those of us who have learned how to enjoy our work, this is an enjoyable and satisfying time. As a teacher, I find this time to be enjoyable because more and more of my students are finally getting a 'feel' for physics and beginning to see why I love it so.

Our featured major in this issue is Computer Science. It can be a challenging major, but it can also be a very interesting major with great job prospects even in this market. Our featured alum shows how a major in mathematics can lead to a good and satisfying career. Our featured article shows how our students continue to grow beyond CBU.

I hope you are enjoying these newsletters, and I look forward to sharing more of our work with you in February, after the holidays and after the start of the spring semester. If you have comments, questions or reactions, you may send an email now to jholmes@cbu.edu .

News of the Moment

Joe Fong at TAS

Joe Fong at the T.A.S. meeting.

On October 28, Br. Kevin Ryan, Adjunct Instructor of Natural Science, chaired a session on the History of Science at the Tennessee Academy of Science meeting at Union University in Jackson, TN. Br. Kevin also gave a talk on An Account of the First Annual Geocentric Conference.

We had two students also attend the 121st meeting of Tennessee Academy of Science in Jackson TN. These students are graduating in December and the results they presented are from their research internship over the summer 2011. As part of their fulfillment of their degree in biology, one requirement is to present their research material at a public forum. They chose the TAS meeting. They had a good experience. Joe Fong presented in the Health and Medical Science session chaired by Nick Ragsdale. The title of his talk and his coauthors were CLINICAL AND MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF CFTR MUTANTS dF508 AND R347P by Joseph W. Fong*, SunithaYarlagadda, Dennis C. Stokes, and Anjaparavanda P. Naren, Department of Biology, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN (JWF), Department of Physiology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN (SY, APN), and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital (DSC), Memphis, TN. Dr. Naren just received over one million dollars to study diarrheal diseases http://www.uthsc.edu/news/ne.php?HYPER=/news/october/naren_of_uthsc_recevies_$1.2million_grant_for_diarrheal_research.htm


Scott Parker at TAS

Scott Parker at the T.A.S. meeting.

Scott Parker presented in the Cell and Molecular Biology session chaired by Greg Johansen. The title of his talk and his coauthors were THERAPEUTIC INTRAOCULAR ERYTHROPOIETIN GENE THERAPY IN A MOUSE MODEL OF RETINAL DEGENERATION by Robert S. Parker II*, Cody Richardson, Rachel Haag, Siddharth N. Desai, Jessica Hines-Beard, Tonia S. Rex, Department of Biology, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee, and Department of Ophthalmology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee. Names in bold in addition to Scott are CBU alumni that also have worked with Dr. Rex on this project. Scott received the Ophthalmology Merit Fellowship to conduct this work.

David Kim presented the results from his senior internship at the Hinman Student Research Symposium: Honoring Student Efforts in Dental Research at the Peabody Hotel on Saturday, October 29th in the poster session. He was funded by the Dental Research Foundation. The title of his talk was Plasminogen Activator (uPA) and Inhibitor (PAI-1) Expression in Cultured Adenocarcinoma Cells.

During the week of October 25-29, the Chemistry department and the Student Members of the American Chemical Society gave daily demonstrations. A complete article on this and other activities of SMACS will be featured in the February newsletter

On Friday, October 28, CBU's Student Section of the Mathematical Association of America held its annual Pumpkin Carving and Mathematician Costume contests.


Gulf Coast trip 2011

Larry Anderson during the Gulf Coast trip.
Image courtesy of Indiana Soliman.

On November 4-6, 15 students along with Dr. Stan Eisen, Professor of Biology and Br. Edward Salgado, Biology Professor Emeritus, went on the Gulf Coast Trip as part of two biology labs: BIOL 394 Dendrology and BIOL 413 Parasitology. The group stayed at the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, MS, and they did field work along the coast during their stay. This trip is a regular event in both of these courses. See images from last year's trip on the public facebook page and on the Biology Events page.

On November 6th, the Honors freshman Biology class journeyed to the Wolf River at Moscow, TN, to study a more pristine version of the river. Waders and old sneakers were the preferred wardrobe for the day. Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, instructed the crew in taking water samples and collecting invertebrates. Most agreed that the trip was a very good one although many indicated that the fried chicken and brownies were the highpoint of the excursion. Biology professors Dr. Mary Ogilvie and Dr. Katie Sauser, who accompanied the group, heartily agreed.

On Wednesday, November 4, Beta Beta Beta held its annual "behind the scenes" trip to the aquarium at the Memphis Zoo.

On Tuesday, November 8, Dr. James Moore took his BIOL 216L Botany lab students on a field trip to the Memphis Botanic Gardens. Click here for images.

On Friday, November 11, the Student Chapter of the Mathematical Association of American (MAA) started its Annual Chess Tournament. The winner has not yet been determined. A full report will be in one of the spring issues of the newsletter, so stay tuned. Proceeds will be donated to St. Jude Children's Hospital.

On Sunday, November 13, Alpha Chi, a national honor society that includes all academic disciplines, inducted the following Science majors at its induction ceremony: Krystyna Clark, Jessica Ferrell, Jamie Frommelt, Corey Haughey, Brent Holmes, Stephen Pace, Cameron Volpe, and Xinyu Wang. Congratulations to the new inductees!


Upcoming Events
Math Center in use.

Math Center is a popular place!

Thursday, November 17, 11 to 2 p.m. in the Sabbatini Lounge of the Thomas Center: Annual Health Career Opportunities Fair. Here’s who’s coming, as of September 26, 2011:
1) University of Tennessee Health Science Center Schools of:
. a) Allied Health Science
. b) Dentistry
. c) Graduate Health Sciences
. d) Medicine
. e) Nursing
. f) Pharmacy
2)Southern College of Optometry
3) Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN) College of Pharmacy
4)Georgia campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
5) Christian Brothers University Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies
6) Lincoln Memorial University DeBusk School of Osteopathic Medicine
Contact: Dr. Stan Eisen, Director Preprofessional Health Programs,Christian Brothers University, seisen@cbu.edu

Beta Beta Beta will host its annual Bowling for Uganda bowlathon on November 18 at 6:00 p.m. All proceeds from the bowlathon benefit Hope North in Uganda, an establishment that provides refuge and education for Ugandan children dislocated in their country's civil war. Team packets can be picked up in Dr. Mary Ogilvie's office (Cooper-Wilson 113). Please sign up to have a great time and help enhance the life of a child!


Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Looking up in Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It is designed
with biological implications - it is like an Amazonian tree.

Do you have a flair for the international? Study abroad! Students can spend a semester in Barcelona, Spain at BES LaSalle for a cost comparable to that of a regular semester at CBU: students' CBU scholarships, grants, state and federal aid can be used to finance this semester! All business courses are taught in English, and students stay in BES LaSalle-recommended housing close to campus. All application materials and VISA application must be submitted by November 30, 2011 for the upcoming Spring 2012 semester. Spring classes are February to June. Admission open to all CBU students regardless of major. Other semesters abroad, including similar Exchange Programs for Austria and Ireland are available, as well! If you're not ready to commit to a whole semester yet, but still want to indulge your international interests, join for a short trip this year to either Rome Italy (Spring Break 2012), Paris, France (May 2012), or England (June 2012). All information, including itinerary, cost, application form, and scholarship information can be found on the Study Abroad website www.cbu.edu/studyabroad. Hurry as deposits have been extended for Rome (October 27) and Paris (November 14), but are due soon! Anyone seriously interested but unable to make the deadline shoudl contact studyabroad@cbu.edu.

Here are brief comments from two science majors who took a study abroad opportunity:
Amanda Fitzgerald, Biology 2011, That experience and the memories I have from being in Barcelona. are some that I wouldn't trade for anything....one of the best decisions of my life!
Hajra Motiwala, Natural Science 2012, To be able to experience the city of Barcelona in its entirety-the food, the education, the people, and the traditions-allow one to better understand not only a different culture but also to reexamine his or her own.

The deadline for applications for the Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program this year is December 31, 2011. For more information, visit the MHIRT website.

Ting Wong at her whitecoat ceremony
Alumni News

The image on the right shows Ting Wong at her whitecoat ceremony for her Pharmacy School class.


It appears that the middle of fall is not a popular time for either weddings or graduations (unlike the summer - see the September newsletter!). However, we do have a couple of weddings. I also thought the pictures of Ting Wong and Bobby Lawrence at their whitecoat ceremonies was worth sharing with everyone.


Dr. Theresa Tran, Biology 1997, is getting married to James Fairbanks on November 18th. Dr. Tran graduated from CBU in 1997, then worked for 3 years at U.T. Memphis Rheumatology lab, then Medical School at U.T. Memphis from 2000 to 2004, then internal medicine at Wake Forest University from 2004 to 2007, then with a Rheumatology Fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle from 2007 to 2009 where she met James, her husband to be, then starting working with a private practice group in Boulder, CO. James was born and raised in Seattle. He went to school at University of Montana for a business degree. He works in the field of finance now.


Bobby Lawrence at his whitecoat ceremony

The image on the right shows Bobby Lawrence at his whitecoat ceremony for his Osteopathic Medical School class.


Matt Charles, Biology 2012, was married on Friday, November 11 to Kristian Ashley Tate. Kristian is a guest service representative for Springhill suites by Marriott. Matt is majoring in biology and will graduate in 2012. He is currently working at St Jude for Dr. J. T. Morgan.


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Featured Story: School of Science Alumni Participate in Teaching Human Physiology

By Malinda E.C. Fitzgerald, Ph.D, Professor of Biology

Michael Herr, guest lecturer

Michael Herr, Biology 2008,
talking about his research on athlersclerosis
after the lecture on cardiovascular physiology.

When students begin working on their graduate studies progressing towards their Ph.D. in science, their focus is on classes in their study area and conducting research. Much of the time is spent learning techniques, collecting data, analyzing it and writing papers. However, when students near completion of their degrees and begin looking for a job, most academic jobs require experience in teaching undergraduates. One of the amazing things I learned while working on my Ph.D. was some of the most brilliant researchers were the worst teachers. They didn’t seem to be able to express their thoughts clearly to the naïve audience. We are doing our future college teachers a disserved since one main thing that is lacking in our educational system by in large is teaching them how to teach at the college level. Most of us in academia begin our teaching career emulating someone we thought was a good teacher. A few of us have had the good fortune to practice teaching within our graduate programs through teaching assistantships. Frequently, the CBU biology department has hired adjuncts to teach prior to completion of their degree or during their post-doctoral positions. This has not only helped the biology department, this has provided valuable experience for these individuals. Most of these individuals have moved on to other institutions as assistant professors. To enhance training of our CBU graduates while they are working on their PhD at UTHSC, I have arranged for them to give their first lectures in my human physiology course. The lectures that the alumni gave have been in their area of study. I assisted in the preparation and reviewed material prior to their lecture. I kept in touch with them during their Ph.D. work mainly through my involvement on their faculty committee assisting in their research and reviewing their Ph.D. research proposal. After the lecture I met with the alums and gave them feedback on their lecture. To date two students have participated: Jennifer Paxson Saputra, Biology 2006, and Michael Herr, Biology 2008; and another student, Kyle Summers, Biology 2008, will give a lecture later in the semester. The students enjoyed the opportunity and look forward to giving another lecture in the future. Dr. Dianna Johnson, director of the post-doctoral office at UTHSC and I have discussed the formation of a more formal type of teacher training to assist post-doctoral fellows and graduate students. It is hoped that we will be able to assist in the training of the next generation of teacher scientists.


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Featured Article: Two of our Math Center Tutors

by Br. Joel Baumeyer, Math Center Director

Andrew Greenop, Math Center Tutor

Andrew Greenop, Math Center Tutor

Senior Andrew Greenop, a graduate of St. Benedict, has been a tutor in the CBU Math Center since his freshman year. He is a double major in Math and Mechanical Engineering. He tutors everything: from basic algebra to real variables and almost everything in between along with basic physics. Through the years students have found him to be very friendly and helpful. Andrew also is a member of the Honors Program and is active in the School of Engineering where he finds time to tutor in the engineering program. He also has been a Peer Councilor and is a Lasallian Fellow.


,Justin Edwards, Math Center Tutor

Justin Edwards, Math Center Tutor

A Senior Biochemistry Major and graduate of Brighton H.S., Justin Edwards has been a Math Center tutor since the summer of 2010. His smile and friendly attitude are real assets to the Center. Besides tutoring math courses up to calculus he is our only chemistry tutor in the center. Justin also works as a senior lab specialist for Dr. Merat in the Chemistry Department. He plans to pursue a degree in teaching, also at CBU, and teach chemistry and biology in high school. Later he may work toward a degree in immunology. This summer he will do senior research at University of Tennessee Health Science Center.


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Featured Alum: Jason Sass, Mathematics 1999
Jason Sass

Jason Sass at work at FedEx.

My name is Jason Sass and I am a graduate of the class of 1999 with a degree in mathematics.

I recall my experience at CBU. During my undergraduate years at CBU I worked in the Math Center on campus. I have always loved to help others and tutoring math seemed to be a perfect fit. At the Math Center I helped other students wrestle with mathematical ideas and guide them, but never did all of the work for them. Instead I would help them see for themselves why something must be true or help them with a particular computational technique. It was quite fun and enjoyable to see them make progress and experience that 'now i get it understanding'. It helped me to better understand as well, so this was a good experience for me.

I had initially majored in chemical engineering, but later switched over to math. I just couldn't give up my passion for mathematical thinking and learning and sharing ideas. I would often stay in Plough Library on campus for hours and hours reading the many books and studying just for fun. Often I would be one of the last students to leave each night when the library closed. I would also hang out in the computer lab and chat with other students. It was always fun to learn new computer programs and write some programs of my own in the computer lab.

I took this curiosity about computers to the next level when I started working as a part time contractor for FedEx. There I provided computer technical support to gain some practical experience, all while still a student at CBU. It was a balancing act to manage both school and work, but quite doable, especially if you are determined and focused. So, I continued working there for about a year until I was offered a full time position at FedEx. I thought FedEx was a good company, so I decided to accept. In 1999 I completed my studies at CBU and was working full time for FedEx.


Jason Sass

Jason Sass at FedEx.

Initially I worked in the Customer Technology Services department at FedEx for a few years and provided technical support. Thereafter, I began working in the software development area in the Information Technology Division, focusing my energies on mission critical projects in the Retail sector at FedEx. I continued to learn new computer technologies and software development techniques. I believe my background in math has helped me to rapidly learn these new technologies. It was quite an enjoyable and fast paced environment. The environment is quite dynamic and there's always new business objectives to meet. I've found it useful to reason carefully and critically when dealing with conflicting and even contradictory requirements and goals. Mathematical training has helped in this regard. I've held various positions throughout the years and currently I am a programmer advisor. In this capacity I work with a team that provides web services solutions for global customers. Specifically, we provide a web services interface for customers integrating with FedEx by providing functionality to ship with FedEx. So, we allow customers to perform business transactions with FedEx over the Internet no matter where they are. I enjoy working with the many folks at FedEx. I'm on my 13th year with FedEx and have received many awards for excellence, including several hall of fame awards and most valuable player award at FedEx.

It was during alumni weekend that I visited the updated CBU campus and toured the new sciences building. I was impressed with the open and bright rooms and whiteboards. I remember when I was a tutor on campus the Math Center was in a room with old wooden floors that creaked wherever you walked. But, now the Math Center is modernized and bright and there's no more creaking floors. How lucky the current students are today! I saw the offices of my old professors, such as Dr. Becker and Cathy Carter Grilli and the various science classrooms. It's nice that the math department had 'moved up' and is no longer in the basement.

In my spare time I've revived my interest in music. I used to play violin in the Memphis Youth Symphony many years ago and the piano. Now, I currently play my piano just for fun whether it's Mozart or the London Symphony in D Major by Haydn or a modern rock song. In addition I like to tutor math and have done so for some time now. I always like to learn new things and I believe my CBU education has helped to encourage me to never stop learning.


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Thank You Notes to Sciences Faculty

The month's note comes to Dr. Mary Ogilvie, Professor of Biology from Sania Sayani, Biology 2010.

From: Sania Sayani
Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 3:52 PM
To: Mary Ogilvie
Subject: hey DR. O!!

Hey Dr, O!! hope u r doing well:) this is Sania... just wanted to give u an update on my life, I am in the caribbean at a medical school. I got into Ross and St. James, I decided to attend St. James in Bonaire. Just completed my first week of school, and I must say, it was quite overwhelming!! The lectures are 2 hours each day, so the material we cover in one day is almost equivalent to what we would cover in 1 week and CBU, and multiply that by 4 classes each day. Needless to say, I have never studied this hard in my entire life, but what made me think about you was my Histology class. We have 94 students in the class, and its really hard to concentrate, but it seems like that is my easiest class. Most students were freaking out about the amount of material and having to study 3 hours per day just for histology, I think it is a breeze, it is very very very similar to cell biology. I am sooo glad I took that class with you and I am glad you pushed me through it :) I struggled a little in the class, but I did try my best and I remembered most of what we learned. It has really helped me alot in med school, so I just wanted to thank you, and I hope to see you when i come back to town to visit :) I hope ur class this year is as awesome as we were...

-Sania Sayani

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Featured Major: Computer Science

CBU offers two related degrees in the broad field of computing with courses taught in three schools. The School of Business offers courses in Management Information Systems (MIS), the School of Engineering has a major in Computer Engineering (ECE) and the School of Sciences has a major in Computer Science (CS). The MIS courses prepare a graduate to manage software that solves problems in a business environment. The ECE degree prepares a graduate to design hardware and software. The CS degree prepares a graduate to develop software. A computer scientist designs algorithms to solve applied problems efficiently with software in such areas as video games, search engines, bioinformatics and secure communication. For example, one reason why Google is such a widely used tool for web searches is the speed and quality of its search algorithm.

Computer Science lab

Dr. Yanushka teaching the CS 234 Data Structures Lab.

Dr. Pascal Bedrossian, a CS faculty member, used a genetic algorithm to create a final exam schedule that meets the needs of both students and faculty. His algorithm creates a final exam schedule that a) has no conflicts for students; b) has no student taking four exams on any day; c) allows faculty to schedule multiple sections in one time slot for a common final exam; and d) minimizes those students who have three exams on one day. His algorithm represents a significant improvement over the old way where some students had to resolve conflicts of two finals in the same period and common final exams for multiple sections were difficult to accomodate.

Our Computer Science majors take an internship course in their junior year where they help to develop software for local businesses. They next take a capstone course in their senior year in which they complete a software project for industry in order to gain additional experience and use their skills and knowledge bases to solve a real problem. Our best graduates find jobs with companies such as Microsoft, Google and the New York Times.

The Computer Science degree requires an option in computer engineering, information technology management, bioinformatics or forensics. Bioinformatics applies techniques of computer science to solve biological problems at the molecular level. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital uses bioinformatics as one of its research tools to find cures for diseases. A computer scientist in forensics applies techniques of computer science to answer questions in the legal field.

CBU offers the opportunity to obtain dual degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and dual degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. As mentioned in the featured article above, we are developing course checklists for additional dual degree options in CS with Biology, Chemistry and Physics.