Catherine Welsh Smith Research Award
The Catherine Welsh Smith Award in Biological Sciences recognizes outstanding achievement in biological research by a junior or senior majoring in Biological Sciences. The award committee selects the winner from nominations from faculty of students who have displayed talent for research, including initiative, independence, and the ability to design and carry out experiments.
Ellen Barton, a graduating senior majoring in Physiological Sciences, researches genetic regulation of rice cold tolerance in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Schläppi. Ellen worked to isolate DNA from the rice plants and map the location of cold tolerance genes within the rice genome. After an interesting discovery of a population of early flowering rice plants, her most recent focus has been on the genetic regulation of flowering time. The early flowering plants are being genotyped using polymerase chain reactions (PCR) and a series of diverse primers in hope of finding two mutated genes that are hypothesized to be responsible for the phenotype. After graduation, Ellen will be attending Des Moines University to study podiatric medicine.
The Department of Biological Sciences Research Award in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology recognizes outstanding achievement in research by a junior or senior majoring in the Biological Sciences Department. The award committee selects the winner from nominations from faculty of students who have displayed talent for research, including initiative,independence, and the ability to design and carry out experiments on their own, and from an abstract submitted by the student.
Joseph Rehfus has spent the past two years working in Dr. Robert Fitts’ lab doing cardiac electrophysiology research. His project has focused primarily on the electrical remodeling of the whole heart in response to exercise training, assessed using rat hearts as a model system. Specifically, Joe studies the beneficial adaptations that chronic exercise confers to the heart which enable it to better recover from ischemic injury. This research has clinical relevance, as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. In addition to whole heart work, he has spent time studying the calcium-handling properties of isolated cardiomyocytes in order to elucidate the cellular mechanisms responsible for the exercise-induced changes the lab has observed at the organ level. After graduation this May, Joe will be attending Johns Hopkins University as a graduate student in the Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics program where he will pursue a PhD.
The Department of Biological Sciences Research Award in Physiological Sciences recognizes outstanding achievement in research by a junior or senior majoring in the Biological Sciences Department. The award committee selects the winner from nominations from faculty of students who have displayed talent for research, including initiative,independence, and the ability to design and carry out experiments on their own, and from an abstract submitted by the student.
Spencer Agnew is a senior Physiological Sciences major and has worked in Dr. Allison Abbott’s lab for the past two years. His research has been focused on microRNA functions in Caenorhabditis elegans. Spencer has done work on a specific microRNA, mir-786, and its function in the regulation of defecation in C. elegans. More recently he has been working to determine if microRNA function in the germline or somatic gonad help regulate ovulation. After graduation Spencer hopes to pursue a career in the healthcare field.
The Biological Sciences Academic Achievement Award recognizes the outstanding academic achievement in the Biological Sciences Department by a senior majoring in Biological Sciences, Physiological Sciences, or Biochemistry/Molecular Biology. The award committee selects the winner based on a cumulative GPA of 3.50 and above, the student’s sciences GPA, and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member.
During Ashley Jacobson’s time at Marquette she pursued a
Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (Dr. Dale
Noel – academic advisor), as well as a degree in Psychology. Ashley was
also in the Honors Program. She worked at the Children’s Hospital of
Wisconsin in the Jane B. Pettit Pain Management and Headache Clinic.
This team's research focused on the biomechanics, obesity, and chronic
pain of children and the influence of Hatha Yoga. These data have had a
significant impact in exploring the link between pediatric chronic pain
and obesity. Ashley’s research project focused on mobile Health
(mHealth) data collection within an underserved, urban youth population.
This was done in concert with the yoga studies to assess the value of
using texting as a valid form of data collection. Ashley’s
post-graduation plan is to attend medical school in the fall to
specialize in anesthesiology.
Of the 26 Marquette students elected to Phi Beta Kappa this spring, 3
are majors from the Department of Biological Sciences. Phi Beta Kappa is
the oldest and most prestigious honor society in the U.S. and today
there are 280 chapters at American college and universities across the
country. Marquette was granted a charter for its Zeta chapter of
Wisconsin in 1971. One of the activities of the chapter is to sponsor
visiting scholars for presentations at participating universities. The
Department of Biological Sciences sponsored Dr. Lynn Margulis
(University of Massachusetts) in 1989 and Dr. Elliot Meyerowitz (Cal
Tech) in 2005.
2014 Biological Sciences Phi Beta Kappa Inductees: Kara Signorelli, Joseph Rehfus, and Ellen Barton.