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

Early morning at the Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences.

We are approaching CBU's Fall Break which starts tomorrow, and this means the fall semester is about half over already. Time flies when you're having fun! It probably surprises some of our students about how much work it takes to really have fun, but I hope they are learning. To learn something well is really an accomplishment, and it is these kinds of accomplishments that can best support self confidence and provide personal satisfaction. I hope we all can take a break next week and reflect on how we've done. Even if you can't join in that break from the routine, I encourage you to reflect briefly on how much you have learned so far. You might actually be surprised at how much you've learned - and how much there still is to learn!

Our first feature article for this issue is about our Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) grant. This is part of our mentored research effort, and one that provides a life-changing opportunity for a few of our students to go to Brazil, Uganda or Thailand and work for about 10 weeks during the summer with all expenses paid plus a stipend. Our second feature article, Old Man & the Sea, is about a summer research experience by one of our biology professors, Dr. Stan Eisen.

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 .

News of the Moment

Front Cover! Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, had an image from one of her publications make the front cover of a journal. Here is the text of an e-mail about this: "Congratulations! This email is to inform you that the Editors of Brain Research have selected Figure 7B from your manuscript for the cover of our next issue, Volume 1358 (October 28, 2010). The title of the paper is: Projections from the Hypothalamic Paraventricular Nucleus and the Nucleus of the Solitary Tract to Prechoroidal Neurons in the Superior Salivatory Nucleus: Pathways Controlling Rodent Choroidal Blood Flow. Authors are C.Li, M.E.C. Fitzgerald, M. LeDoux, S. Gong, P Ryan, N.DelMar and A. Reiner.

Dr. Fitzgerald at the MHIRT Symposium

The image above shows Dr. Fitzgerald at the MHIRT symposium
last month.

The Mid-South Coalition for Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Projects Symposium and Wrap-up for Summer 2010 Projects was held Saturday, September 18 from 9 a.m.- Noon, at Christian Brothers University. CBU Students who presented their research were: Dominique Garcia Robles, Benjamin Chism & Jennifer Cobb, Vanessa Walker, and Jenessa Gebers.

NOTE: The application deadline for MHIRT has been changed to an earlier date: end of December rather than end of January. See the MHIRT home page for more details.

The image below is from the Student Members of the
American Chemical Society meeting on Sept. 16.

Student Members of the American Chemical Society meeting

On September 16, the Student Members of the American Chemical Society held its first meeting of the year. Dr. Dennis Merat, Chair of the Department, introduced the Chemistry faculty and Chapter President Erik Scott introduced the officers of the Chapter and outlined the activities for the coming year. Pizza was served!

On September 16, the Society of Physics Students (SPS) held a meeting where Dr. Ted Clarke demonstrated radioactivity of a bowl glazed with a radioactive compound. SPS now has 20 members. Everyone is invited to join. You can find them on facebook.

On Tuesday, September 28, Beta Beta Beta held its annual Mock Interview Workshop at 7:00 pm in the Cooper-Wilson Conference Room. After an outstanding (according to the cook) lasagna dinner, interested pre-health students met one-on-one with professionals in the students' field of interest. Health professionals conducted the interviews as though they were screening the interviewees for professional schools and followed up by making suggestions for improving interview skills. Thanks to the following CBU alums for conducting interviews: Jarad Braddy, DDS, Natural Science 2000; Melissa Hines, MD, Biology 2006; Scott Adelman, MD, Biology 2003; and Colleen Hastings, MD, Chemistry 1996.

The Student Chapter of the Mathematical Association of America had a presence at both the Student Activities Fair and Commuter Fair this fall. On September 30th it had an ice cream social to introduce itself to new members. They also enacted some Alice in Wonderland logic along with enjoying sudoku puzzles. Plans are underway for their annual Dress Like A Mathematician Halloween Party and Pumpkin Carving. The date is October 28th at 12:30. Join them if you can with or without a costume!

On Tuesday, September 28, Dr. Linda Pifer, a professor in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Services at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center was on campus to share her research and slide presentation on the Five Most Common Sexually Transmitted Infections. Dr. Pifer is widely known as an expert on the transmission and effects of the AIDS virus. The whole campus was invited to join the freshman class and the peer counselors for Dr. Pifer’s outstanding presentation.

On Wednesday, September 29, the CBU Fall Health Fair was held in Buckman Quad and the Thomas Center Conference Room. There were lots of health-related exhibitors and screenings, free information about current health topics, and lots of fun!

On Friday, October 1, Father George Coyne, S.J., retired Director of the Vatican Observatory, gave a talk entitled The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Chance and Destiny Embrace at CBU.

Richard Kyle Hayes, Biology 2011, has had his abstract accepted for presentation at the 6th Annual Academic Surgical Congress to be held February 1-3, 2011, in Huntington Beach, CA. The title of his presentation is Impact Of Halo Vest Stabilization In Patients With Blunt Cervical Spine Fractures by R. K. Hayes, L. J. Magnotti, M. A. Croce.


Alumni News

Rosie Britton, Biology 2009, has been inducted as an Associate Member into the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI).

Paula Cerrito, Biology 2006, married John Paul Adams on September 5, 2010, on the beach in Gulf Shores, AL. Paula just graduated from Pharmacy School in May and is working as a pharmacist at Target, and John Paul is a pharmacist at St. Francis Hospital.

Jonathan Henderson, Natural Science 2005, graduated from the Alabama State Unversity Physical Therapy program this past May with his DPT, passed his PT Board exam AND got engaged to another CBU alum, Doneisha Peoples, Finance 2006, MBA 2009. They plan to get married next year and live in Memphis.

Sean Hunt, Biology 2004, and Lauren Smith Hunt, Marketing 2004, welcomed their first child, Joy Madison, on August 15th. Joy was 6 lbs 15 oz and 20 inches long.

Carrie McIvor, Biology 2005, has begun a Masters in Nursing at the University of Memphis. She received a B.S.N. from there in 2007. She is currently working at St Jude Children's Research Hospital as an R.N.

Steven Moore, Biology 2006, is currently in Boston studying for a Global MBA at Suffolk University.

Stephanie Parker, Biology 2009, has been accepted to pharmacy school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Hope Shackelford, Biology 2010, has started graduate school in nutrition at the University of Memphis.

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

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.

MHIRT group picture for 2010

The image above shows the MHIRT participants for 2010
at the MHIRT Projects Symposium.

In addition to the above opportunities, CBU is pleased to provide an excellent opportunity to do this research via internships at sites in Brazil, Uganda, or Thailand 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. Dr. Teri Mason, CBU Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences, serves as a behavioral science researcher and Mrs. Julia Hanebrink, CBU Adjunct Lecturer of Behavioral Sciences, is the program coordinator aided by Mr. Dustin James as assistant coordinator. 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, Uganda, and Thailand. 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 a MHIRT trip every year in the summer after having participated in preparation workshops the prior spring.

At the beach in Brazil

The 2010 MHIRT Brazil group at the beach
at Praia da Joaquina in Florianopolis, Brazil.

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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Featured Story: Old Man and the Sea

Last summer, Dr. Stan Eisen, Professor of Biology, took a course at the Gulf Coast Research Lab, and here is his story.

Dr. Eisen at work

My facial expression seems to say, “I’m in control”,
while the REST of the photo says, “Oh, NO YOU’RE NOT!!”

In July, I took a course in marine invertebrate zoology at the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, MS. While I teach a course in invertebrate zoology at CBU, my whole experience has been with freshwater and terrestrial creatures, but from a diversity point of view, the marine ecosystem is where the diversity is.

There were six of us in the class. The others were undergraduates taking the course for credit, while I audited the course. We sampled creatures from a variety of habitats along the coast, from the beach near the lab all the way to the Florida panhandle.

As part of the course, I conducted a mini-research project on the parasites of hydrobiid snails, a group of small snails found in marshes.

The photo on the right was taken at a high-action beach in Pensacola, FL, where we used Yabbie pumps (which look like 3-foot long hypodermic syringes made of PVC) to draw sand into a screen to look for ghost shrimp and crabs.


ghost shrimp

Here is a photo of what ghost shrimp look like.
The very long front claw indicates that this is a male.

I also learned the ancient Japanese art of fish printing, which involves taking a fish, applying ink to one side, and then pressing Japanese rice paper against it to make an imprint. The caption in the facebook photo album on the fish printing experience says the following: Susan Carranza, Art Technician for the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, led a workshop to develop skill in printing last Thursday. In fish printing, the specimens that the students have collected and studied throughout the term are painted, and the paint is transferred to paper to record shapes, textures, and other anatomical observations in detail.


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Featured Alum:
Mohammad Khoshnevisan, Ph.D., Mathematics, 1992
Dr. Mohammad Khoshnevisan

Dr. Mohammad Khoshnevisan

First we give information about Dr. Khoshnevisan, then we give his remembrances of his time at CBU.

Dr Mohammad Khoshnevisan has completed his B.A in Mathematics from Christian Brothers University. Dr Khoshnevisan has obtained his Ph.D from the Department of Computer Sciences and Software Engineering from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr Mohammad Khoshnevisan is one of the world leaders in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Fuzzy Control Systems and he has applied this field in Financial Engineering and Medical Engineering and he has taught in Australia and he has been invited as visiting Scholar at Harvard University and University of California-Berkeley. Dr Khoshnevisan has published over 30 papers and 3 books in the United States and in international Journals mainly dealing with the Applications of Fuzzy Systems and Artificial Intelligence. Dr Mohammad Khoshnevisan research work in the Applications of Artificial Intelligence and Missile Guidance Technology in cancer detection has been reported by Australian IT / The Australian on November 29 2005 and it is cited by the The AI ALERT semimonthly of The American Association for Artificial Intelligence. Dr Khoshnevisan also has been a research associate with Massachusetts Institute of Technology-ISG and Professor Florentine Smarandache at the University of New Mexico-USA and he has reviewed many articles and he has acted as an examiner for Ph.D theses in Australia and overseas.

I was at CBU around 1989-1992. I remember most of my Professors and I can say:
1. Professor Miller's lectures were so fun and she was teasing us and she was saying in the class that she did not study Mathematics because the answers were on back on the book.
2. Professor Limper's classes were so challenging and I loved his style of lecturing and I used to hold discussions with him outside our class. One thing that I always remember is the fact that the sudden death of my sister made things very difficult for me. Professor Limper, Professor Yunushka, Professor Becker and Professor Vanderhaar were very helpful and they assisted me during the tough period.
3. I wrote a paper in differential topology in my junior year and I approached Br. Joel Baumeyer and he greatly assisted me in shaping up my paper and I presented my paper at UCLA. I used to go to Br. Joel Baumeyer's place of residence which was located on campus at the time and he always provided ne with guidance and support.
4. I also learned great stuff in complex analysis and real analysis from Professor Becker.
5. I sincerely appreciate CBU for providing such a great education and atmosphere for me to study. CBU had small sizes classes and I could interact with Professors very easily.

In conclusion, I love those who taught me at CBU and I wish them all the best.

Cheers,

Mohammad

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Thank You Notes to Sciences Faculty

This month we have two thank you notes to Dr. Anna Ross, Professor of Biology. The first is a note posted on a national society listserv, and the second is from from a graduate student in Chicago.



Here is a note posted on the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) listserv on 9/23/2010:

Finally, a true authority on these issues, and an active teacher (I have left the labor force entirely, except to change a CD) is Dr. Anna Ross. Her Histo is a treasure.



Here is the note from the graduate student:

From: "Thomas Bradley"
Subject: You have a fantastic bio webpage
Date: Wed, June 9, 2010 8:42 am
To: aross@cbu.edu

Dear Dr. Ross,

As a beginning MSN (GEM) student at Rush Medical University in Chicago, I
just want to pen these brief words of thanks for your labor of love in
collecting and posting so many outstanding links for biology, anatomy,
physiology, and microbiology in one place.

Just how many people have taken advantage of your selfless efforts may
never be known. I have not attended your classes or CBU, but have
personally gained from your collection and notes. May your effort of
giving without counting the cost be realized in a value greater than money
could ever provide.

Best wishes,

Tom Bradley

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Featured Department: Biology
Students in the Principles of Biology I lab

Students in the BIOL 111 Principles I Lab.

The Biology Department is one of the most popular departments at CBU serving 116 majors (78 biology and 38 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.


Genetics lab

The image above is from the BIOL 311 Genetics Lab.
Click on the image for a larger view.


Dr. Anna Ross is famous for her departmental and course web pages that support the students in their learning (see the thank you note above). 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 is teaching the honors Principles of Biology section and runs the Junior Seminar that prepares students for their senior research. She also serves as moderator for the Biology student group Beta Beta Beta. Dr. Sandra Thompson-Jaeger serves as the director of our concentration in public health. The newest member of the department, Dr. Katie Sauser, offered a new course in toxicology in the spring and is the department's safety officer.

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 30 biology lecture classes and 21 of them have labs attached!


The image below shows a student doing mentored
research in Brazil through the MHIRT program.

Student doing mentored research in Brazil

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.