Nominated for American Society of Plant Biology Committee

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Dr. Grace Miller was recently nominated to be on the Women in Plant Biology Committee for the American Society of Plant Biology (ASPB). She is one of six members and represents PUIs (Primarily Undergraduate Institutions). The other women are from MSU, UCDavis, Monsanto, and Dow. She will serve a three-year term. They will be planning a luncheon and workshop for the ASPB annual meeting in Montreal July 2018. She is excited to represent the PUIs.

Dr. Miller is co-chair for the PUI committee for the ASPB, which will also sponsor a workshop and undergraduate poster sessions for the Montreal meeting. The purpose of the Women in Plant Biology Committee is to showcase women in the world of plant biology and recognize their accomplishments while aiming to be more inclusive as more women enter this field.

This society has a main focus of advancing the plant sciences. Its goal is to develop research in plant biology in six different continents with many members all working towards this goal. It focuses on both basic plant science as well as the more specific biologies of cells and molecules.

Visit the American Society of Plant Biology website

 

Physics Professor Wins Research Award

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Dr. Warren Rogers, Physics Professor

The American Physical Society (APS) announced yesterday that Indiana Wesleyan University’s Dr. Warren Rogers, professor and Blanchard Chair of Physics, is the 2018 recipient of the Prize for a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution. 

The prize, established in 1984, honors a physicist whose research in an undergraduate setting has achieved wide recognition and contributed significantly to physics. Awardees must also contribute substantially to the professional development of undergraduate students. The prize consists of a $5,000 stipend to Rogers and an additional $5,000 unrestricted grant for the research to Indiana Wesleyan University.

Click to read more from IWU

Click to read more from American Physical Society

Hodson Research Institute enters its seventh year!

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The seventh annual IWU Hodson Research Institute (HRI) along with 2 research grants from the National Science Foundation have supported the research efforts of 25 students (pictured above) and 11 faculty in the Division of Natural Sciences this summer. The participants conduct full-time, original research for eight weeks addressing cutting-edge areas including:

  • Glial cell regulation of neuronal signaling in the retina. (Dr. Kreitzer NSF award 1557820) 
  • Investigating rescue mechanisms for bone cancer drug side effects. (Dr. Jones HRI award)
  • Constructing realistic molecular models of small molecules in silico and using computer simulations to evaluate their potential to control the SHP-2 enzyme. (Dr. McCullough HRI award)
  • Analysis of data from a nuclear physics experiment conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory to better understand how fast neutrons interact with and scatter from nuclei in BC408, a organic scintillator commonly used for fast neutron detection, in an effort to improve on Monte Carlo simulations used for interpreting experimental data from experiments conducted at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University.  (Dr. Rogers NSF award and IWU Blanchard Endowment)
  • Developing potent and selective small molecule inhibitors of the oncogenic phosphatase Shp2 which contributes to many developmental diseases and cancers. (Dr. S Leonard HRI award)
  • Studying the effect of CART (cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript) peptide and VPAC2 receptor signaling deficiencies on glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and maintenance of testicular and ovarian functions in mice. (Dr. Asnicar HRI award)
  • Studying several aspects of Moringa a plant with high nutrition and antibacterial qualities including: callus for transformation work, testing extracts as plant fertilizer and growth stimulant and comparing nutrition of leaves grown in growth chambers that simulate different climates. (Dr. Miller HRI award)
  • Developing molecular tools to better understand the telomeres of the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila. (Dr. Linger HRI award)
  • Investigating the biochemical requirements for activation and viral packaging of cellular kinase Hck by HIV-1 Nef. (Dr. J Leonard HRI award)

Most participants will continue their work in the upcoming academic year as part of the burgeoning undergraduate research program involving more than 50 undergraduates during the semester in the Division of Natural Sciences. All HRI participants will present their work at the annual Hodson Colloquium at IWU in the fall as well as IWU’s Celebration of Scholarship in the spring.  Many students will also present their findings at regional and national scientific symposia over the course of the academic year!

 

IWU Exploration Wildcat Summer Science Camp...

Indiana Wesleyan University’s Division of Natural Sciences hosted nearly 70 Grant County fourth through sixth grade children on campus June 15-16 as part of its inaugural Exploration Wildcat Summer Science Camp. More than 30 IWU science faculty and students along with community volunteers led local children through hands-on STEM activities during the two days. 

“The goal of this event is to create a fun, hands-on learning experience for children from Grant County to get them excited about Science,” said Dr. Matthew Kreitzer, chair, Division of Natural Sciences.

Activities featured topics in biology, chemistry, and physics such as EEG recordings, brain dissections, pond ecology, microscopy, forensic fingerprinting, liquid nitrogen ice cream, and infrared cameras. Local professionals also gave brief highlights about how science is used in their industry. Speakers included Corrine Coots, director of supply chain at Café Valley; Michael Liechty, quality manager at Café Valley; Kenny Ewing, wastewater supervisor at Marion Utilities; and Jim Dalrymple, water supervisor at Marion Utilities.

“STEM-related jobs are projected to be one of the highest growing fields, which means lots of great job opportunities,” said Dr. Tara Renbarger, assistant professor of Biology and organizer of the camp. “We hope this camp excites students to STEM and encourages them to pursue STEM-related degrees in their future. These students are our future, so we really hope we can encourage them to pursue what they love.”

In addition to the efforts of many faculty and students the camp registration was free to Grant County children thanks to the support of a number community industry partners and IWU. Grant County business that provided supplies for the camp include: Café Valley, Atlas Foundry, Southside Animal Hospital, Marion Utilities, and Bruner Dental along with support from a grant from the National Science Foundation and the IWU Blanchard Endowment.

 

IWU Science Faculty Authors Leading Microbiology Textbook!

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Dr. Matthew Sattley, Professor of Biology at Indiana Wesleyan University, recently co-authored the 15th edition of “Brock Biology of Microorganisms,” published by Pearson Education.   This text joins the accompanying Instructor's Manual, for which he is also an author.  An excerpt from Pearson’s website says this about the foundational instructional text.

 “The authoritative #1 textbook for introductory majors microbiology, Brock Biology of Microorganisms continues to set the standard for impeccable scholarship, accuracy, and outstanding illustrations and photos. This book for biology, microbiology, and other science majors balances cutting edge research with the concepts essential for understanding the field of microbiology, including strong coverage of ecology, evolution, and metabolism.”

IWU Sciences unveils first Science Exploration Zone at Homecoming.

IWU Sciences joined in a collaborative effort led by faculty from chemistry and biology working with students from the IWU Science Club and the Society of Physics Students to put on engaging science experience targeting kids from the IWU community and Grant County.  The exploration zone utilized over 30 IWU science student volunteers to bring kids into a “hands-on” fun science experience.  Science experiments spread across the new Ott Hall of Science and Nursing and Burns Hall of Science and Nursing included:  making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, clocking how fast they could kick a soccer ball with a radar gun, culturing bacteria, matching bones to an intact skeleton, looking at their cheek cells through a microscope, riding a hovercraft, and building/flying their own paper helicopter to name of few.  The event was a large draw for IWU’s homecoming festivities bringing in more than 60 kids.  For IWU Sciences the success was measured in our opportunity to engage kids from our community in the fun of science!

IWU Sciences Welcomes New Blanchard Chair of Physics, Dr. Warren Rogers!

    

Warren Rogers received his BS degree in physics from Harvey Mudd College, his PhD from University of Rochester, and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Washington. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society Fellow, and received the Distinguished Service Award from the APS Division of Nuclear Physics.  Warren has most recently served as a tenured full professor at Westmont College, and over the years has conducted nuclear physics research at the Nuclear Structure Research Lab at the University of Rochester, at the ATLAS accelerator at Argonne National Lab, the 88" Cyclotron at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Lab (and the soon-to-be-completed Facility for Rare Isotopes) at Michigan State University, and most recently at the LANSCE facility of Los Alamos National Lab. 

 

Research labs bustled with activity during the 2016 Hodson Summer Research Institute

The sixth annual Hodson Summer Research Institute (HSRI) supported the research efforts of 17 students and 8 faculty in the Division of Natural Sciences this summer. The participants conducted full-time, original research for eight weeks in a variety of areas, including the following:

  • human health applications of essential oils and antibacterial plant products
  • nerve conduction in an intact nervous system (Aurelia jellyfish)
  • chemical characterization and application of micelles
  • genomic analysis of an Antarctic, photosynthetic bacterium, and 
  • the treatment and prevention of several major diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, and type II diabetes. 

Many of the students will continue their work in the upcoming academic year as part of the burgeoning undergraduate research program in the Division of Natural Sciences at IWU. Be sure to check out their research and offer your support during Homecoming Week at the HSRI poster presentation and reception on Saturday, October 8 from 1:30-3:00 PM in the bright and spacious Ott Hall atrium.

The Alliance Gardens Serves IWU and the Marion Community!

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Alliance Garden team 2016

The Alliance Gardens is an educational, small-scale farm that seeks to educate IWU and the Marion Community about holistic living through sustainable agriculture. We currently have five student interns who work at two quarter acre gardens located at 38th & Boots and 46th & Race. The produce grown in the garden is sold in the Elder Parking Lot on Wednesdays from 4-6pm and at the Marion Open Air Market on Saturdays from 9am-2pm. 

learn more at our website: 

http://alliancegardens.wix.com/thealliancegardens

 

2016 HODSON SUMMER RESEARCH FELLOWS NAMED!

Seventeen IWU undergraduates have been named Hodson Summer Research Fellows for the 2016 summer.  The undergraduate research fellows will be working with 8 IWU Science Faculty on research ranging from examining complex neural circuity to regulation of metabolism using transgenic mouse models.  This is the 6th year of the Hodson Summer Research Institute (HSRI) at IWU.  83 students have participated to date and over 30 have had the opportunity to externally present or publish their work.  Click here to learn more about HSRI at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Dr. Sattley has a Microbiology review and research manuscript published. Seven members of his undergraduate research team are coauthors!

Newly published undergraduate research from Dr. Sattley’s lab describes novel bacteria from Antarctic Lake Vanda

Over the past several years, Dr. Sattley has led a research team that investigates the microbiology of permanently ice-covered lakes in Antarctica. A recent outcome of this effort is a research manuscript to be published in the journal Microorganisms entitled, “Cold-adapted, heterotrophic bacteria from the highly oligotrophic waters of Lake Vanda, Antarctica.” Coauthors who conducted undergraduate research for the report include lead author Nicole Vander Schaaf (pictured above), Anna Cunningham, Carli Riester, Chelsea Reeves, Lauren Slater, Cody Kraemer, and Brandon Cluff.

The manuscript, written in collaboration with Dr. Michael Madigan (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), describes the isolation and characterization of six novel strains of cold-active bacteria from Lake Vanda, a permanently ice-covered lake in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Although the unique geochemical features of the lake have been well characterized, the microbiology of Lake Vanda has been largely unexplored. The newly described bacterial strains, which grow well at in situ lake temperatures and can metabolize a wide variety of organic compounds, likely provide important contributions to carbon cycling in geographically isolated Lake Vanda. The study expands our knowledge of the microbiology of Antarctic lakes, some of the harshest and most unusual aquatic ecosystems on Earth.

Dr. Sattley has collaborative review article on the science of microbiology published in the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences

The article, simply entitled "Microbiology", was written in collaboration with Dr. Michael Madigan (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) for the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, an online collection of citable reviews in the life sciences. The article serves as a resource for undergraduate and high school students that provides a concise overview of the science of microbiology. The topics addressed include the history of microbiology, microbial taxonomy, microbial ecology, medical microbiology, and applications in microbiology.

Dr. Sattley will join a team of authors from prestigious research universities like Southern Illinois, Cornell, and the University of Washington to write the 15th edition of Brock Biology of Microorganisms published by Pearson.

Third and final NSF-funded Physics Girls Camp a Success

Eight middle school girls highly-recommended by science teachers and mostly from Grant County experienced a unique 3-day STEM Camp called "Physics Wonder Girls Camp" on the Marion campus of Indiana Wesleyan University on June 24-26, 2015.  On its third and final year, the physics camp aimed to sustain interest of middle school girls in science through hands-on physics demonstrations, physics-based games, and project-building. Topics ranged from the physics of buoyancy, building and testing submersibles at the IWU pool, an eggdrop competition, physics of food, extracting DNA, fingerprint science, and meeting female STEM professionals who discussed the joys and challenges of being women scientists. Girls learned to cut, drill, waterproof, assemble, solder, test, and debug their projects. Their submersibles competed by completing underwater missions under time pressure. The activity’s capstone activity was a Physics Show given by campers to family on the last day.

The free physics camp was funded by the National Science Foundation, conceived of and organized by IWU Physics Professor and Blanchard Endowed Chair Dr. Roberto Ramos. Dr. Ramos acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation DMR Grant # 1206561 and support provided by the staff, faculty, and students of DNS/SPAS. Prof. Eric Kern provided expertise in forensic fingerprinting. Profs. Tara Renbarger and Jolie Leonard provided career insights as female STEM models. Dr. Ruby Gonzales (University of Rochester) provided expertise on DNA extraction. Brenda Ramos (Senior R&D Manager, PURATOS Corporation) provided expertise and hands-on demos on the physics of food science and processing. The student crew consisted of Charisse Sallade, Madeline Livingston, Matt Eckhardt, Andrew Koors, Michael Huntington and Rafael Esmundo. We acknowledge the assistance of Cheryl Edris, Charlotte Sallade, Juanita Higley and Dale Briscoe. A musical slideshow of the camp activities can be found at:

Dr. Jones Presents Research Results at the 2015 American Society of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics Meeting in Boston on March 31st

Dr. Jones had the opportunity to present “Death Effects of Reveromycin A in Normal and Diseased Synoviocytes,” a follow up study from work published by his lab earlier this year in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. The results presented in Boston suggest that the potential osteoporosis agent, reveromycin A, may have undesirable programmed cell death effects in normal synoviocytes of the joint under acidic conditions at a concentration of 10 micromolar. However at lower, potentially therapeutic doses, programmed cell death effects do not appear to occur. Reveromycin A effects were also characterized in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS), a cell type that proliferates in joint disease, contributing to joint pathology. In this same study reveromycin A-treated FLS from rheumatoid arthritis patients were resistant to programmed cell death at an acidic pH. The work generated a published abstract in the FASEB Journal and showcased work of graduating senior, Haley Svrcina. Other current and graduated student authors on the project were Austin Greer, Ellen Steinke, Kelsey Davitt, Emily Sloane, Nathan Granger, and Calli Williams.

Dr. Smith gives Principium Faculty Lecture sponsored by the John Wesley Honors College

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STEVE SMITH, PH.D.DEPT. OF PHYSICS

Dr. Smith was selected by a review panel to give a lecture in the Principium Faculty Lecture, sponsored by the John Wesley Honors College.   His presentation was titled, “Up into the Heavens and Deep into the Abyss:  The Role of Miniature Mass Spectrometers for in situ Sampling of Atmospheric, Ocean and other Outdoor Environments.”

Dr. Jones' six-year undergraduate research effort has manuscript published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry.

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DAN JONES, PH.D.DEPT. OF BIOLOGY

Dr. Jones has led 33 students over the past 6 years on a research project focused on understanding cell-regulatory cascades in bone and cartilage cells.  15 of these students (Brittany Mead, Heather Morgan, Alyssa Mann, Laura Tedeschi, Chris Sloan, Spencer Lang, Cory Hines, Megan Gragg, Jonathan Stofer, Kaitlin Reimann, Tyler Derr, Emily Heller, David Collins, Paul Landis, and Nathan Linna) are co-authors on a manuscript now published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry entitled, “Reveromycin A-Induced Apoptosis in Osteoclasts is Not Accompanied by Necrosis.” (accepted January 2015)

Meaning in layman's terms: A naturally occurring antibiotic, reveromycin A, shows promise as an osteoporosis therapeutic in that it causes death specific to bone-resorbing cells. Further, the death that is induced by reveromycin A in bone-resorbing cells is not the type of cell death that causes inflammation of the surrounding bone tissue.

IWU Alliance Garden receives funding award.

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GRACE JU MILLER PH.D.DEPT. OF BIOLOGY

We were able to receive funding for the 4th year for the IWU Alliance Garden. This will allow us to hire a Garden Manager, Assistant Garden Manager and 4 interns for the summer. These interns will work in the garden at the corner of 46th St and Race St. and the 38th St garden by the townhouses.  The garden produces corn, tomatoes, beans, peppers, melons, watermelons, squash and many other vegetables for the IWU community as well as for the Marion community. The interns work also with Victory Acres Farm  (Community Supported Agriculture) in Upland. They also volunteer at the 6 Marion Community Gardens in the city. Interns learn about sustainable agriculture, pest management, canning, composting and community development.

Professors Receive Largest NSF Grant in IWU History

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded a team at Indiana Wesleyan University a $623,337 S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) grant. This is the largest NSF grant in IWU’s history and one that will impact the institution in the academic areas of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Only 100 proposals were funded out of 420 proposals from across the country.

The team, led by Physics Endowed Chair Dr. Roberto Ramos and Biology Professor Dr. Matt Kreitzer, submitted a proposal to provide scholarships to 18 academically talented and financially needy STEM undergraduate students over four years. While the scholarships are open to all eligible applicants, special effort will be made to attract and recruit from minorities, women and under-represented groups in the Greater Grant County area.

According to the project proposal, the grant will aid in improving STEM programs and resources at IWU. Scholars will experience a specialized STEM student orientation, extensive faculty mentoring and peer tutoring, quality research experiences, student lunches with local STEM employers, and a “boot camp” after students’ first academic year to introduce them to key components of a successful science career path.

“This project will enhance the quality and quantity of STEM undergraduates at IWU and has the potential to be highly-transformative in increasing the diversity of IWU's STEM student community. It will impact the local community as well,” said Ramos.

The four-year award starts Sept. 1, 2015 and will continue through Aug. 31, 2020.