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School of Sciences Newsletter
October 2008

By Johnny B. Holmes, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Sciences

Featuring Biology and the MHIRT program

Note from the Dean News of the Moment Featured Article: MHIRT program Featured Alum Thank you's Featured Department: Biology

Dr. Holmes

A Note from the Dean

We're now approaching the middle of the fall semester, and we are still settling into our new buildings. With such major changes, we now have to re-think where and how we store and use things. Change can be exciting, but it can also be frustrating. Whether we like it or not, we have to learn to deal constructively with change. This semester not only the students are experiencing changes, but the faculty certainly are also.

While many external things change, the basic love of and dedication to effective teaching remain. It is our hope that all of the CBU students and alumni find the joy and satisfaction in their work that I and the faculty in the School of Sciences have in ours.

I hope you are enjoying these newsletters, and I look forward to sharing more of our work with you next month. If you have comments, questions or reactions, you may send an e-mail now to jholmes@cbu.edu . There are other newsletters from the other schools at CBU.

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News of the Moment

Commuter Fair in front of new CW building

The image on the right shows the Commuter Fair being held in front of the new Cooper-Wilson building on September 30. Click on the image for a larger view.

The official dedication of the new Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences and the completely renovated and refurbished Assisi Hall is scheduled for Tuesday, October 28. The event starts at 5:00 PM in front of Cooper-Wilson with a reception immediately following in the Plough Sciences Courtyard (the new one between the two science buildings). All are welcome! Please enter the campus from the Central Avenue Gate and Campus Safety will direct you to the best available parking. To RSVP, please respond to RSVP@cbu.edu or call 321-3270.

Beta Beta Beta will hold its annual mock interview session on Wednesday, October 29th. Sign-ups are open to Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors. Students should contact Dr. Mary Ogilvie (mogilvie@cbu.edu) if interested, and include the career for which they are seeking an interview.

On October 4th, CBU had its alumni weekend lunch that featured tours of the new Science buildings and science demonstrations. For some videos of some of the demonstrations, click here.

The Mid-South Coalition for Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program at CBU begins its 9th consecutive year. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald has completed the eighth year and has begun to start the ninth grant year for the Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) grant. (See the feature article below.)


MHIRT group for 2008

The image on the left shows the MHIRT group for 2008.

The MHIRT Projects Symposium and Wrap-up for Summer 2008 projects was held Saturday, September 13 from 9 a.m.- 1:15 p.m., at Christian Brothers University (CBU), Thomas Center in the Sabbatini Lounge. Students who participated in the 2008 projects presented the results from their summer international research experience. Applications are now being accepted for summer 2009. All applications must be postmarked by January 30, 2009 for acceptance. To learn more, visit the MHIRT web site or contact Julia Hanebrink at jhanebri@cbu.edu.


Dr. Fitzgerald in China

The image on the right shows Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald at the Great Wall in China. Click on the image for a slightly larger view.

Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, attended the 18th International Congress of Eye Research. The congress meets every two years, and there were 853 total attendees. She organized and moderated a session on ocular blood flow. She gave a paper in that session titled Differing roles of oculomotor and facial parasympathetic circuits in regulation of choroidal blood flow. Her co-authors were Chunyan Li, Anton Reiner, and Mark S. LeDoux. Dr. Fitzgerald gives this brief account of her trip for the newsletter: "In addition to attending the meeting I was able to tour a few places. I went to Xian to see the terracotta warriors, I rode a bike on the wall in Xian and went to a factory that makes warriors in a manner that was initially used. These warriors were initially found in 1974 and they are still uncovering them, the estimate is that there are over 8,000 life-like warriors. They were made in 210 BC to guard the tomb of the First Qin Emperor. In Beijing I visited: the Summer Palace (first built in 1790), the Forbidden City (built in 1406), the Beijing zoo (they had a family group of pandas) and Mutianyu site on the Great wall (4000 mi long built between the 6th and 16th centuries). I stayed in a Houton for a few days in Beijing prior to the meeting. This is a traditional Chinese home (it was a bed and breakfast) I enjoyed a lot of good food, networking with my collegues, and seeing the sites (olympic park, Tiananmen Square, a lot of parks and of course shopping)."


Gina Cooper is shown on the left at the awards ceremony for her CBU Distinguished Alumna award

Alumni News

On the left Gina Cooper is shown at the awards ceremony.

Gina Cooper: CBU Distinguished Alumna award winner! Congratulations to Gina Cooper (Natural Science, 1991) on receiving the 2008 Distinguished Alumna award for her recent work as founder of Netroots Nation, an online and in-person organization that encourages the use of technology to influence the public political debate. Gina was also named this year as one of "40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders" by the New Leaders Council and has been asked to serve on Senator Barack Obama’s policy committee for Technology, Media, and Telecommunications.


Manny on the cover of the Bell Tower

Manny Patel: CBU Distinguished Young Alumnus award winner! Congratulations to Manish “Manny” Patel (biology ’05) on receiving the 2008 Distinguished Young Alumnus award. Manny has been involved in the Minority Health International Research Training Program at CBU since 2003 and recently returned from his 4th trip to Uganda to assist this year’s students with their research projects. Manny has dedicated much of his time to raising funds and awareness for Hope North, Uganda. Hope North is a non-governmental organization that provides settlements and homesteads (including clean water, sanitary facilities, and garden space) for displaced Acholi and scholarships for orphaned children. Manny is currently in his 4th year of medical school and plans to continue to serve health disparate communities when he begins his residency. A picture of the Bell Tower issue that featured Manny is on the right

On a related topic: GuluWalk Memphis. This year’s GuluWalk Memphis takes place on November 1st. You can help even if you can't make the walk! Pledge to help those walking at www.guluwalk.com or attend the after- party at Young Ave. Deli. What is GuluWalk?
• Uganda is home to Africa's longest-running civil war
• 1.4 million have been displaced
• Children have been regularly abducted and forced to fight
• Funds raised by GuluWalk will help war-affected children
• Walk with us for Northern Uganda!
When & Where
• The 3.2 mile walk will be held Saturday, November 1st, 2008
• Register free online at http://www.guluwalk.com
• Meet at Riverside Drive parking lot, across from Visitor's Center
• Sign-in begins at 12:30 pm
• The walk starts at 2:00 pm
• Dogs and strollers welcome!
• After-party at Young Ave. Deli to follow!
Contact Julia Hanebrink (jhanebri@cbu.edu) for more information.


Manny Patel receiving his Distinguished Alumni award

Manny Patel is shown on the left with his Distinguished Young Alumnus award. Manny is flanked on the left by Dr. Teri Mason, Uganda Site Director for the MHIRT program and Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences, and on the right by Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, MHIRT Director and Professor of Biology. Click on the image for a larger view.

Debbie Helms Arrington (Engineering, 2002) and David Arrington (Biology, 2001) had a son, Samuel David Arrington IV, Sept 24. He was 6 lbs 4 oz. Mom and baby are doing fine.

Adrianne Wilkinson (Biology, 2005) and Sam Vitale (Engineering, 2005) were married September 27 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis. Adriane was a MHIRT participant, went to nursing school at UT (class of 2007) and they are currently living in St. Louis.

The annual Bowling for Uganda event, first started by Manny Patel (see above), will again be sponsored by Beta Beta Beta and is scheduled for Nov 13. Contact Dr. Mary Ogilvie, Professor of Biology (at mogivlie@cbu.edu) for more details.

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Featured Story: Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Grant

MHIRT participants

The picture on the right shows the MHIRT participants for this past summer (2008). Click on it for a slightly larger view.

CBU prides itself on effective and enjoyable teaching. An integral part of such teaching is having the students perform research. In recognition of this, all science majors at CBU are required to do either a senior research project or an internship. There are different ways for students to perform their research: with a CBU professor, with a researcher at another local institution such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, or with a researcher in the student’s hometown.

In addition to the above opportunities, CBU is pleased to provide an excellent opportunity to do this research via internships at sites in Brazil and Uganda with all expenses paid and a stipend through a Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This is a major collaborative project involving CBU, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and other regional academic institutions. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, CBU Professor of Biology, is the program director. There is also an advisory board that consists of faculty from the University of Memphis, St. Jude, Rhodes College, University of Tennessee at Memphis and Le Moyne Owen College. These faculty assist in the recruitment of students locally at their institutions. The summer research projects allow students to assist underserved individuals in Brazil, Thailand and Uganda. Students and professors travel to these countries to conduct research on health related projects that benefit the native populations who are frequently underserved in health care. Approximately 15 students are sent on an MHIRT trip every year in the summer after having participated in preparation workshops the prior spring. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, CBU biology professor, serves as the project director. Dr. Teri Mason, CBU behavioral Science assistant professor, serves to coordinate the Uganda sites and Julia Hanebrink is the program coordinator.


Hope North

The image on the left shows CBU alum Lanie Smith at Hope North, Uganda. Click on the image for a larger view.

The most wonderful things happen as a result of these summer research experiences. Students go on to graduate programs in dentistry, medicine, public health, and biological sciences. Some dedicate their lives to helping others by setting up non-profit organizations, or working with refugees from Burma. All continue to be globally involved. It is wonderful for our students to have this life altering experience.

For more information, visit the MHIRT website.

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Thank You's to Science Faculty

As dean, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the faculty and staff in the School of Sciences for their hard work and patience in the planning of the new construction, moving out (particuarly the lab equipment and supplies) of the old Science Center, working out of temporary offices scattered around the university this summer, and then moving back into our new and refurbished buildings while school was beginning this semester. As with any move, there are major decisions and significant inconveniences, the everyone has worked to make the situation as smooth as possible. I would also like to thank our students for their patience and cooperation in "breaking in" the new and refurbished buildings this semester.

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Featured Alum: Claudia Wade, chemistry 1996

Claudia Wade with her family

The image on the right shows our featured alum, Claudia Wade with her family. Click on the image for a larger view.

Hola my fellow Buccaneers! I am honored to be the featured ALUM this month. I graduated from CBU in 1996 where I received a B.S. in Chemistry. My time at CBU was always very busy because along with my studies, I was a member of the Lady Buccaneers Volleyball Team!! Go Bucs!! My experience at CBU, both in the chemistry department and the on the court have played a big role in my life today. I attribute a lot of my career success to Dr. Mike Condren, the CBU faculty, my coach, Irene Collins and my family. When I first arrived at CBU, I was enrolled as a Chemical Engineer. My freshman year, I took Dr. Condren’s General Chemistry class and I was convinced science was in my blood. Dr. Condren has such a passion for chemistry that when he taught it came out in every lecture. I would get just as excited as he would as the years went by. Of course, it was a challenge for me because along with my studies there was hard work in the gym. Though my coach had us very disciplined and really pushed success in the classroom first, the fact that our classes were small and the having the opportunity of one-on-one attention from the teachers, made my experience at CBU go by smoothly. As I reflect today, that one-on-one attention is one of the many characteristics that makes CBU a WINNER. Each one of the CBU teachers really enjoys their work and wants to see you succeed and they are always willing to help. Dr. Condren is the best mentor/teacher anyone could have. He taught me not only chemistry but how to think outside the box, how to discipline myself in the lab, and he truly cares for each one of his students.

I currently work at Buckeye Technologies in Product and Market Development and was promoted in January 2006 to a Research Specialist. I have been employed with Buckeye 9 ½ years. Buckeye is a leader in producing-cellulose-based specialty products for high-end niche markets worldwide. We are the only manufacturer in the world offering cellulose-based specialty products made from one of the most abundant materials on earth, cellulose fiber drawn from wood and cotton, both naturally renewable resources. I work in the New Products Department and my goals are to develop novel cellulose fibers for upstream product lines. So a lot of thinking “outside the box” and my job requires a lot of discipline in note taking on experiments for legal patent purposes. I have received recognition for my work in a patent for “Delivery of Fibers Into Concrete”. Volleyball has also continued to be a part of my life after CBU. I have coached middle school volleyball @ St. Agnes Academy for the past 11 years and have also coached Junior Olympic Volleyball for various clubs around the city, including one for inner city girls.

Along with working full-time, I am a mother of two beautiful children, Isabella Concepcion (4 yrs.) and Jacob William (2 yrs.). My husband, Kelly, and I have been married for 11 years and are enjoying life each day. My husband is a CRNA and is enlisted in the Army Reserves. He just returned from his first tour of duty in Tikrit, Iraq. I am so proud of him for supporting and aiding our soldiers in the fight for freedom and the continuation of the American way.

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Featured Department: Biology
(In each issue we feature a different department or major.)

Genetics lab

The image on the right is from the BIOL 311 Genetics Lab in the new CW 120 lab room. Click on the image for a larger view.

The Biology Department is one of the most popular departments at CBU serving 134 majors (92 biology and 42 biomedical science). The department has a very good record of preparing students for medical school and other health related professional schools. It also has had some of its graduates go on to other science related careers.

One of the strengths of the Biology Department is the caring nature of its faculty. That care for the students shows up in many forms, both formally in lecture, lab and field trips, and informally in their interactions with students in the hall, in the office, and in the Beta Beta Beta student honor society. Br. Edward Salgado, as Chair of the department, has led the department to develop a very strong overall curriculum that includes a Biology degree and a Biomedical Science degree. Dr. Stan Eisen, as Director of the Pre-Health Program, works very hard to give CBU students the best opportunity to succeed in a very competitive field via both individual counseling and via his web pages and Caduceus newsletters. Dr. Anna Ross is famous for her departmental and course web pages that support the students in their learning. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald supports the students early in the Biological Careers course for sophomores and in the senior research including the MHIRT program (featured earlier in this newsletter). Dr. Mary Ogilvie runs the Junior Seminar that prepares students for their senior research and she also serves as moderator for the Biology student group Beta Beta Beta. Dr. Sandra Thompson-Jaeger serves as Vice President of the Faculty Assembly and is teaching the honors Principles of Biology section. The newest member of the department, Dr. Katie Sauser, is preparing to offer a new course in toxicology in the spring.

Another major strength of the department is its commitment to making the science real to its students. Science, and biology in particular, is image oriented. To make the subject real and visual, the department has developed labs to accompany most of its courses, and it has developed web resources that are image intensive. There are 25 biology lecture classes and 20 of them have labs attached!


Principles of Biology I Lab

The image on the left shows students working in the Principles of Biology 1 lab in the refurbished AH 121 lab. Click on it for a larger view.

An important component of any science education is research. Research gives motivation and context to the work done in lecture and lab. In the CBU Biology Department, research is interwoven into the curriculum. It starts with a discussion section in the freshmen Principles courses (BIOL 111 & 112). It continues in the sophomore year with a Careers Course (BIOL 275) where students shadow two professionals and hear presentations made by many others. It continues with Biology Seminar (BIOL 362) in the junior year where students see presentations made by area researchers and are helped with choosing a senior project. It then culminates with the Senior Research project (BIOL 463, 464 & 465) where students do research with either local researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, the Memphis Zoo, through the MHIRT program (featured earlier in this newsletter), or with CBU faculty. Students present their research at a local or area science meeting. Many of our students have won awards for their research, and 28 have had their research published in peer-reviewed articles over the last ten years.

The results of a CBU biology degree, and with any of the CBU science degrees, are quite impressive. The statistics for the past five years for acceptance into medical and other health professional schools remain well above national averages.

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