The first student project that will take place using the printer will be the construction of filter structures that can be used to clean local streams and lakes. The project is well-positioned for both undergraduate research and extension to the Department’s ongoing high school outreach program.
DJ Bines Fletcher Borum
Brant Boucher Blake Brown
Robbie Bugbee Josh Chamberlin
Alex Crabtree Tazewell DelDonna
William Echols Gannon Griffin
Treavor Hartwell Ryan Kluk
James Lau Zach Martin
Traylor Nichols Tyler Reekes
Reuben Retnam Zach Tabrani
Harris Thomas Mitchell Thomas
Joey Tyler Thomas Vinyard
Dustin Wiles Michael Willis
A.J. Willy John Zohab
The James R.T. Hewett Biology in recognition of outstanding achievement in the Biology Department was given to James Lau ’17. James graduated as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2017 and will be attending Eastern Virginia Medical School in the fall.
The H.B. Overcash Prize for outstanding achievement among pre-health junior students was awarded to Nicholas Chase ’18.
The two Sophomore Academic Excellence Awards for highest GPA in the sophomore class were both given to biologists. First awarded was Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major Blake Martin ’19.
Next awarded was Biology major Coleman Johnson ’19.
Finally, to show that Biology majors appreciate the full gamut of the liberal arts, Biology major David Bushhouse ’19 received the Sallie Wright Harrison award from the Department of English for his poem which considered the origins of his last name.
Both Jason and Brant presented work done as part of their work done jointly between the Biology and Chemistry departments. The work was presented both at an undergraduate-only session as well as the general session for the entire meeting. Jason presented his work on the characterization of chemical and genetic differences in hopped meads done between Dr. Wolyniak and Associate Professor of Chemistry Paul Mueller.
Halmo also coordinated an outreach initiative, the Prince Edward County Environmental Molecular Biology Institute (PECEMBI) with Dr. Wolyniak. Funded in part by a grant from the ASBMB, PECEMBI brought a long-term research project to the students of Prince Edward County High School with outreach support from Hampden-Sydney students and faculty. Both Halmo and Wolyniak presented a poster on PECEMBI at the meeting.
Boucher’s work was jointly done by Dr. Wolyniak, Associate Professor of Biology Kristian Hargadon, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Rupak Due and focused on the development of bacterial biofilms on titanium bone replacement implants.
ASBMB is one of several national and international meetings that are regularly attended by Hampden-Sydney undergraduates as a culmination of their research work at the College.
Brant presented his work done with Dr. Hargadon on the characterization of methods to combat melanoma.
Jason’s presentation focused on work being done in conjunction between the Biology and Chemistry departments on the characterization of yeasts used in the production of different types of meads.
Jason and Brant accompanied Biology professor Dr. Mike Wolyniak to the event. Dr. Wolyniak is the Science Education chair for the Academy and helped to coordinate the event.
Conspicuous by his absence, Dr. Hargadon could not even be found in his usual spot (the laminar flow hood) during the Grinch’s visit. Rest assured, though, the Grinch saved the day and continued his work. Melanoma doesn’t stand a chance!
–American Society for Microbiology Virginia Branch Meeting, Roanoke, VA
At this meeting, Brant Boucher ’17 and James Lau ’17 presented the work they have been doing with Dr. Kristian Hargadon.
James has been investigating how the FOXC2 transcription factor regulates the progression of melanoma by comparing gene and protein expression profiles of a wild-type murine melanoma and an engineered variant of this melanoma in which the FOXC2 gene has been rendered dysfunctional by CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. Based on the Hargadon lab’s evidence that FOXC2 is critical for promoting melanoma progression, Brant worked with Dr. Hargadon over the summer to develop a tissue-specific gene silencing approach to knock down FOXC2 gene expression specifically in melanoma cells.
At this same meeting, Dr. Michael Wolyniak presented the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning keynote address on the development of teaching mentorship networks across the Commonwealth.
American Association of Colleges and Universities STEM Conference, Boston, MA
Dr. Wolyniak presented the same project from the Roanoke meeting at this national gathering of STEM educators in Boston and also participated in a panel discussion about the Project Kaleidoscope Summer Leadership Institute for STEM Faculty, a program in which he participated in the summer of 2013 at the Baca Campus of Colorado College. Dr. Nicholas Deifel of the Department of Chemistry also attended this meeting.
Southeastern Medical Scientist Symposium, Birmingham, AL
This meeting was a regional gathering of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows from the Southeast to share research projects and learn about career opportunities in the biomedical sciences. William Echols ’17, Thomas Vinyard ’17, and Tyler Reekes ’17 presented their work done with Dr. Erin Clabough’s Neuroscience class that has led to a published paper on fetal alcohol syndrome.
Luke Bloodworth ’18 also presented his research based on a Hampden-Sydney- supported summer experience at the University of Alabama-Birmingham based on the development of an effective strategy for CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing in zebrafish.
Sigma Xi Student Research Conference, Atlanta, GA
Dakota Reinartz ’18, Traylor Nichols ’17, Joey Tyler, ’17, and David Bushhouse ’19 were accompanied by Dr. Rachel Goodman to the annual national gathering of the Sigma Xi society for scientific research. This meeting brings together undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows from across the sciences in a celebration of the scientific research enterprise. Traylor won the Best Poster award for the Environmental Science section of the meeting for his work on developing optimal hops growing practices.
Dakota presented research on the development of growth techniques for ramps, a type of wild onion native to Virginia, while Joey presented work preformed with Dr. Goodman on the spread of ranavirus among central Virginia reptiles and David presented his work on the isolation and characterization of a novel bacteriophage, named Thespis, found on the H-SC campus.
Society for Neuroscience Meeting, San Diego, CA
Tyler Reekes ’17 and Jamie Ingersoll ’18 presented research posters at the 2016 Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego along with Dr. Erin Clabough. Both students gave poster presentations during the undergraduate session (sponsored by Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience) and also presented their work in the general poster symposium session alongside experts in their field.
Jamie’s research exploring the way that developmental exposure to ethanol can alter neuroarchitecture in the striatum was presented in the Dendritic Branching poster session, while Tyler presented experimental results from the Spring 2016 H-SC upper level Vertebrate Physiology class showing the long-term effect of fetal alcohol on adult behavior in mice. Dr. Clabough also presented a poster that included Myshake Abdi 16′ as a co-author. Society for Neuroscience Meeting is attended by over 30,000 scientists annually.
Sitka Whalefest, Sitka, AK
Dr. Alex Werth was a featured speaker at the 20th anniversary Sitka Whale Fest in Alaska, which brings whale researchers and fans from all over the world to learn the latest science and observe whales in their native habitat.
The NSF-funded program emphasizes communication with non-scientists. In addition to giving a formal talk, Werth served as a naturalist onboard whale watching cruises and spoke with several groups of college and secondary students plus teachers and the general public. Many groups of feeding whales were seen, along with seals, sea lions, sea otters, and other marine life.
The Hampden-Sydney Biology Department prides itself with providing opportunities for students to work closely with their professors on original research activity. These meetings provide the opportunity for students to share their work on a regional or national stage and gain valuable scientific communication experience as they hone their career interests.
The Hops and Harvest Festival is the premier craft beer festival in central Virginia, and dozens of visitors took the time to look over the variety of posters detailing how common plant pathogens may be affecting the ability to grow a strong commercial hops crop in Virginia. This presentation is an outstanding example of how student research at Hampden-Sydney can have real world applications that can benefit the general public.
Dr. Goodman’s BIOL 385 Wildlife Biology class took a weekend field trip in October to the Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival. We camped for 2 nights in Kiptopeke State Park and went to workshops in bird identification and bird watching for the ornithology portion of the course.
The Delmarva peninsula is an amazing location for watching birds in the migration season, because birds flying south and funneled to the tip as they attempt to stay over land for as long as possible before crossing water. The park we stayed in has a “Hawk Watch” there people sight and count birds of prey as they fly unidirectionally overhead- typically they see over 1,000 hawks daily!
In total, we saw and heard 40 species of birds (and some bottle-nosed dolphins). We also hear a fascinating keynote lecture by a scientist with the American Bird Conservancy about the status of birds and their habitats, and the history and progress of bird conservation since the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.