Research by Nathan Robinson and Paladino Appears in The Conversation

the-conversation-logo-for-posts-hdResearch by Nathan Robinson, post doc research assistant in biology, and Frank Paladino, chair and Jack Schrey Professor of biology, on sea turtle ‘hitchhikers’ was featured in The Conversation, a news site that focuses on bringing academic, knowledge-based journalism to the general public in an accessible way.

From the article’s introduction: Many ancient cultures once believed that the world rested on the back of a giant sea turtle. This idea might seem far-fetched today, but for a diverse range of marine organisms, it’s reality. Collectively known as epibionts, these organisms make their homes on the backs of marine animals such as crabs, whales and sea turtles. These epibionts range in size, from microscopic plants called diatoms that are just a few hundredths of a millimeter across to fish called remoras than can grow to lengths of 75 centimeters. As scientists, we are finally starting to unlock the secrets of these mysterious hitchhikers.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 3.52.18 PMRobinson was also featured in a video produced by Earthwatch Institute called Securing the Future for Sea Turtles. The video focuses on the value that volunteers bring to sea turtle research around the world and offers ideas for how small changes in everyone’s daily lives can ultimately help sea turtles survive.

Punya Nachappa Presents Pair of Research Panels

Punya Nachappa, assistant professor of biology, presented two research panels at the annual meeting of the North Central Branch of the Entomological Society of America in Cleveland, OH from June 5-8.

Her presentations were:

  • Nachappa, P., Culkin, C., Han, J., Saya P.M. II and Nalam, V.J. 2016. Plant nutrient status and defense signaling modulate the interaction between water stress, aphids and virus transmission in soybean. Plant Pathogens and Their Insect Vectors Symposium.
  • Nachappa, P., Keough, S., Han, J., Lagos, D., and Voegtlin, D. 2016. Factors affecting population dynamics of thrips vectors of Soybean vein necrosis virus in soybean. Research Update from the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP) Symposium.

Janine Bennett Receives Competitive National Fellowship

Janine Bennett (senior, biology) was awarded the nationally-competitive 2016 American Society for Microbiology-Undergraduate Research Fellowship (ASM-URF) for $5000. The fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers (Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.) in microbiology.

As part of the fellowship, she will receive a stipend for completing a research project this summer and presenting her research at the ASM Microbe meeting in New Orleans next June.

Thanks also goes to Eric Link, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Frank Paladino, chair and professor of biology, for providing supplemental funding.

Biology Students Win Four Poster Presentation Awards

On April 1-2, students from IPFW and across the state presented their research at the Indiana Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) annual meeting, held on the IPFW campus.

IPFW was well represented with student abstracts by Xyryl Pablo (senior, biology); Justin Lothamer (’15); Janine Bennett (senior, biology); Phat Lam (senior, biology); Melissa Beaty (grad student, biology); James Price (grad student, biology); and Jamison Law (grad student, biology).

The following students won awards for their poster:

  • 1st Place M.S. Division: James Price “Juvenile Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) Microbial Community Structure Throughout an Ontogenic Shift” (mentors: Frank Paladino, chair and professor, biology; and Tanya Soule, assistant professor of biology)
  • 2nd Place M.S. Division: Jamison Law “Biochemical Characterization of  a Mycobacterial Glyercerol-3-Phosphate Acyltransferase” (mentor: Jaiyanth Daniel, assistant professor of biology)
  • 1st Place Undergraduate Division: Janine Bennett “The Response Regulator Npun_F1278 is Essential for Scytonemin Biosynthesis in the Cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme ATCC 29133” (mentor: Tanya Soule, assistant professor of biology)
  • 2nd Place Undergraduate Division: Xyryl Pablo “Mycobacterial Protein mEttA and its Role in Resuscitation from Stationary Phase” (mentor: Jaiyanth Daniel, assistant professor of biology)

Guests at the event included esteemed speakers from ASM national as well as the Allen County Health Commissioner. There were 27 abstracts in microbiology and immunology presented by 15 undergraduate, 4 M.S. graduate, and 8 Ph.D. graduate students.

Student Research Featured at Honors Showcase

Six senior students who presented their honors project research at the 2016 Spring Honors Showcase on April 8 will join the four Fall Showcase presenters as Honors Medal and Certificate Recipients at the May 2016 Commencement.

The students gave presentations and then conducted a question and answer session with the audience.

The presenters were:

Justin Anderson (senior, industrial engineering technology),  “Manufacturing Process Optimization”; Faculty Mentor: Ramesh Narang, associate professor of manufacturing and construction engineering technology

Sarah Bercot (senior, French/English): “The Algerian Revolution: Zhor Zerari’s Prison Poetry in Translation”; Faculty Mentor: Nancy Virtue, professor of French

Sean Godfroy (senior, English): “The Art of World-building: How to Construct Your Own Reality”; Faculty Mentor: Mary Ann Cain, professor of English

Luisa Pires Luciano (senior, political science): “Case Studies in the Conflict Transformation Process: An Analysis of Rwanda and South Africa”; Faculty Mentor:   Quinton Dixie, associate professor of religious studies

Grayson Ostermeyer (senior, biology),  “Effects of Nutraceuticals on Proliferation of Spleen Cells of Tilapia In-Vitro”; Faculty Mentor: Ahmed Mustafa, professor of biology

Crysta Terry (senior, psychology): “Search Strategy of Tilted Mice on a Barnes Maze”; Faculty Mentor: Ryan Yoder, associate professor of psychology