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Three Biology Majors, Connor Cook, Taylor Hartzel and Danae Witte Join the Wheaton College Scholastic Honor Society Class of 2019 Inductees

On November 1, 1930, Dr. Orrin Tiffany, Professor of History, urged the faculty to establish a campus society that would “stimulate scholarship of a superior quality, the kind of excellence known to characterize Phi Beta Kappa Chapters.” Subsequently, the Wheaton College Scholastic Honor Society was established, and on May 27, 1931, eight charter members were elected to the Society. The constitution of the Society declares that “the object of the Society is the promotion of scholarship, Christian culture and helpful activities.” The initial dinner gathering of the Scholastic Honor Society was held June 16, 1931 at the local Court House Tavern, which was characterized as a “respectable establishment in spite of its name.” Currently, the Wheaton College Scholastic Honor Society has over 1800 members who are located in every part of the world. Notable members elected to the Society include Samuel Moffett, Harold Lindsell, Kenneth Taylor, Carl Henry, and Billy Graham. Members of the Honor Society were initially limited to 5% of the graduating class; recently that percentage has been increased to 7%. The criteria for the selection of students each year are complex and include an evaluation not only of scholarship, but also contributions to Wheaton College. The Society awards grants to seniors planning to enter graduate school. Adapted from Wheaton College: A Heritage Remembered, 1860-1984, by Paul M. Bechtel.

This year three Biology Majors joined the Wheaton College Scholastic Honor Society class of 2019 Inductees! Congratulations to Biology Majors Connor Cook, Taylor Hartzel and Danae Witte!

Bio-Bash! End of the Year Biology Celebration and Biology Awards

Biology End of the Year CelebrationBiology End of the Year CelebrationBiology Students celebrate with a Bio-Bash and Award Celebration! At the end of each year, the BSAC and Symbiosis Biology student clubs choose a theme (this year's theme corresponded with the Science Symposium-  Space theme) arrange for food, games, class gifts and faculty presenting the Biology Awards. This year's Biology Award winners were Connor Cook receiving the Russell Mixter Award, Danae Witte receiving both Biology Honors and the David Bruce Memorial Research Award, Katie Gillaspie and Jabe Gonder receiving the Raymond and Ruth Johnston Family Endowed Scholarship Fund (Botany Scholarship). Special guest was Dean, Dr. Dorothy Chappell!

2019 Biology Award Recipients:

Recipient of the Russell Mixture Award
Connor Cook 2019 Russell Mixture Award

Danae recipient of the David Bruce Award 2019
Danae Witte 2019 Biology Honors & David Bruce Award

2019 Recipient of the Ruth and Raymond Johnston Family Endowed Scholarship Fund (Botany Scholarship)
Katie Gillaspie 2019 Raymond & Ruth Johnston Family Endowed Scholarship (Botany Scholarship)

2019 Recipient of the Raymond & Ruth Johnston Family Endowed Scholarship Fund (Botany Scholarship)
Jabe Gonder 2019 Raymond & Ruth Johnston Family Endowed Scholarship (Botany Scholarship)

 

Dr. Kristen Page Joins "TowerTalks" Discussing the Impact of Creation Care on Public Health

Dr. Kristen Page, Biology Department Faculty Ecologist video taped in on TowerTalks as part of Wheaton's fifth video series of TowerTalks, a free series of 15-minute videos for the public to experience the latest scholarship being taught on the Wheaton College campus from wherever you are in the world. In this TowerTalk, Dr. Kristen Page explains how certain patterns of human land use and resource consumption contribute to an increase in disease, especially among the world’s poor. For this reason, she argues, care for creation is love for neighbor. Click here to listen to Dr. Page.

 

 

Dr. Nadine Rorem, Best Part of Teaching is Mentoring Students

Nadine Rorem faculty photoDr. Nadine Rorem, Marine Biologist, has taught at Wheaton College in the Biology Department for 25 years. She was recently featured in the Wheaton College Magazine and discusses her love of teaching and mentoring college students. Her feature is under the faculty profiles of the magazine. Click here for the link.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Kristen Page, Biology Department Ecologist interviewed in Christianity Today

Dr. Kristen Page, Wheaton College Ecologist, was interviewed and cited in Christianity Today in an article entitled, "When Loving your Neighbor Means Fighting Hookworm in Alabama". Dr. Page's research involves disease transmission and how this transmission changes as humans alter landscapes. View the article in Christianity Today here.

Dr. Raymond J. Lewis, Biology Department Faculty Co-Author of the recent book, Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins

Book Cover Dr. Ray Lewis along with Robert C. Bishop, Stephen O. Moshier, Larry L. Funck & John H. Walton, have team taught a course entitled “Theories of Origins” for nonscience students at Wheaton College since 1993, with the last 8 years involving all four of them and Bible scholar John H. Walton. As current members of this teaching team, they have written a textbook for this course that was published in December 2018. The course and book are designed to help students or other readers of the book to understand the scientific theories of origins in the context of biblical Christian theology. This book explores the nature of scientific explanations, the importance of understanding the historical contexts in which these explanations were developed, how they relate to biblical accounts of origins, and how themes from a comprehensive doctrine of creation inform our understanding of scientific theories of origins. Wheaton Faculty and this book is featured in this recent article in the Christian Post.

BIOL 368 Invertebrate Biology

Students in lab dissect squidStudents in BIOL 368 dissect squid with help from Dr. RoremBiology students in Dr. Nadine Rorem's BIOL 368 Invertebrate Biology class dissect and looked at the anatomy of squid and octopi.

 

Biology Alumni are Everywhere!!

Biology Alumni join Dr. Phil Ryken over spring break on the East Coast at a Young Alumni Event. Several of our Biology Alumni joined the festivities! A big shout out to all our Biology Alumni! Miss you all. Here are some photos of the event.

Dr. Nate Thom & Research Students Attend the SfN 2018 Meeting

Dr. Thom and his research students attend the SfN 2018 MeetingThe 2018 national Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting was a pleasure to attend for several reasons, first and foremost was the effect it had on the students that work in my Brain Hygiene Lab. One student from UCLA and five Wheaties across three majors (AHS, Biology, and Psychology) accompanied my wife and I to sunny Southern California for the largest neuroscience meeting in the world. With 26,691 attendees from 73 countries; 539 exhibiting companies, 13,571 abstracts, and 1,021 sessions spanning molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, cognitive, behavioral, and medical neuroscience, the national SfN is truly a once-in a-lifetime, and very eye-opening experience for most of our students. 

In addition to helping the students prepare for their presentations, taking full advantage of the networking the meeting had to offer, and doing some sight-seeing in my old stomping grounds, I was also able to attend several lectures and symposia that will enhance my teaching and research. For example, I attended a lecture on the important role that the basal ganglia plays in decision-making and reward. This lecture will help me update my own lectures on addiction. I also attended a Presidential lecture on the neurobiology of social behavior, a topic that has garnered significant attention in the last few years. The notes I took during this talk will help me update and revise the lectures that I deliver to my CORE class regarding theory of mind and its relationship to prosocial behavior. These are just a few examples of the many lectures, symposia, and posters that I attended that will benefit both my teaching and my research moving forward 

“SfN was one of the most influential experiences I have had through Wheaton. It has solidified my decision to go into research. The amount of knowledge and complexity of the research presented there left me in awe that God created a such complex organ. The trip also allowed me to grow closer with my lab mates and research professor Dr. Thom. Having time outside of a rigorous academic setting allowed for more personal relationships and trust to be cultivated. I appreciate the college allowing me to take part in this impactful experience.” Abby Walker, Biology, 2021

“SfN was an incredible experience for me as it allowed me to see what researchers in the neuroscience field are working on at present, and what steps and knowledge I will need if I hope to go into the research field after college. Seeing the global neuroscience community and the vast diversity of topics was motivational for me to recognize all the possible avenues in this field. Additionally, the conference helped show me the direction and courses I will need to take in order to be prepared for this field, and for the possibility of graduate school." Faith Gilbert, Biology, 2021

Fall Biology Department Chapel 

Students SingingThe Wheaton College Chapel Program designates one chapel service per semester as “Department Chapels”.  The Fall Department Chapel was held on Wednesday, November 28.  Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors majoring in Biology joined Biology faculty and staff to worship God, our Creator.  Songs (led by 2 juniors), readings (led by 2 seniors), silent reflection, and small group prayer focused on the theme “Following Emmanuel”.   We reflected on God’s power and celebrated the coming of Emmanuel, God with Us.

No Bones About It! What a way to Study Bones of the Human Skeleton, Katie Gillaspie!

Drawing of BonesDrawing of bonesThe students in BIOL 331 Anatomy & Physiology I have spent the past few weeks learning bones and bone landmarks of the human skeleton.  As they prepare for their lab exam on this material, each student has his/her own preferred way to study.  Katie Gillaspie (class of 2020) studied by drawing each bone and labeling its structures.  She turned our lab’s whiteboard into a remarkable work of art.

Biology Major, Mara Walters '19, Works at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

Working at Washington University, St. LouisThis summer, I got to work in a biochemistry/structural biology lab at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. I worked under a post-doctoral student studying the L polymerase protein of the Ebola and Marburg viruses. Essentially, we attempted to purify a portion of the end of this protein for both viruses over the course of the summer. While we were not able to complete the project before I left, we made significant progress and I learned a lot not only about what we were studying but also about having patience and confidence in what I was doing. I am very thankful for the experience and the ways I grew as both a scientist and a child of God.

 

Biology Major, Tyler Long '20, Interns at Feinberg Northwestern School of Medicine

Intern at Feinberg NorthwesternI was blessed to spend this summer as an intern at Feinberg Northwestern School of Medicine, where I was a student researcher in the neurogenetics laboratory of Dr. Teepu Siddique. There, I was involved with experiments on the mechanisms and causes of neurodegenerative disorders, especially Alzheimer's disease and ALS. I was personally responsible for conducting several experiments on both bacteria and mice models followed by statistical data analysis. I had the privilege of employing multiple techniques including cell culturing, transfection, genotyping, genetic sequencing, gel electophoresis, western blot, histology, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy. It was a very encouraging summer, as the Lord continued to teach me to rely on Him. I specifically saw His faithfulness through the fact that several of the techniques I learned in Wheaton laboratory courses last year prepared me for the techniques used in this summer's research. That advanced preparation gave me opportunity for expanded scope and responsibilities.

Dr. Rod Scott and His Summer Research Students Work on a New Project Sequencing genes from Two Minnow Species

Dr. Scott, Sarita George, and Justin Chu  Dr. Rod Scott, Sarita George and Justin ChuThis summer, students Sarita Davis (Née George) Biology Major '19 and Justin Chu Biology Major '20 are working with Dr. Rod Scott on a new project studying two cryptic minnow species. These two species can be distinguished by sequencing a gene from the mitochondrion, but physically, they appear identical. Dr. Scott, a colleague from the Shedd Aquarium, Dr. Phil Willink, and recent graduate Ben Norton just completed a project showing, for the first time, exactly where these two species occur in Illinois. Now, working with Willink, Davis, and Chu, Dr. Scott hopes to identify one or more nuclear genes that differ between the two species and that could be used to determine whether, and to what extent, the two species hybridize.

Dr. Nate Thom and His Summer Research Students Explore Effects of Exercise on Anger and Fatigue

Dr. Thom and his summer research studentOver the summer of 2018, as part of the Dean's Summer Research Program and with support from the Alumni Association, undergraduate student Lindsey Freier Psychology Major and Paul Ha Business Economics Major (not pictured), worked on several projects including two meta-analyses and a high-density EEG study in Dr. Thom's Brain Hygiene Lab.  The metas will explore the effects of acute and chronic exercise on anger and fatigue, and the EEG study is part of Lindsey's thesis where she will measure the relationship between leadership traits and resting-state brain activity.

Dr. Vanya Tepavčević Presents Her Research at the 30th Squid-Vibrio Conference

Dr. Koo presents research at Squid Vibrio Conference

The 30th Squid-Vibrio Conference (also known as the Squid-Vibrio Pow Wow) took place recently in June at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (UCSD) in La Jolla, CA. They celebrated 30 years of work on the bobtail squid - Vibrio fischeri research, first initiated by Ned Ruby and Margaret McFall-Ngai. With the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, attendees heard the newest progress in the field of this symbiosis, along with keynote presentations from Pete Greenberg and Carrie Harwood (University of Washington), Rob Knight (UCSD) and Doug Barrett (Scripps) that spanned the topics of bacterial communities, earth microbiome and microbes living in the deepest parts of the planet. Wheaton College’s Biology Department Microbiologist, Dr. Vanya Tepavčević presented her work on the role of sRNA chaperones Hfq and ProQ in controlling the functions of Vibrio fischeri that are necessary for symbiosis.

Biology Major, Danae Witte'19, President of 2018-2019 Symbiosis, Interns at Kansas State University

This summer, I am studying antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic alternatives in food animal agriculture under the direction of Dr. Raghavendra Amachawadi and Dr. T.G. Nagaraja at Kansas State University. As part of my internship, I am working on an independent research project focused on the use of various secretions by probiotic strains of bacteria on disease-causing bacteria found in liver abscesses isolated from cattle beef breeds. This study is laying the groundwork for future alternatives to antibiotics through in vitro studies in hopes of later using in vivo methods to prevent liver abscesses in these animals. I have already seen God at work here through the people he has placed around me: wonderful colleagues, mentors, and peers. My lab operates like a family, and they have welcomed me with open arms. This has even extended to them inviting me into their homes, helping me get around Manhattan, and patiently teaching me the ropes in a large and busy lab. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be in Manhattan this summer, and I’m looking forward to applying the skills I learn at K-State to my future research at Wheaton in the Koo lab.

Bio-Bash 2018 End of the Year Celebration

 

 

The Bio-Bash End of the Year Celebration is sponsored by BSAC and Symbiosis students who plan the end of the year celebration by decorating, preparing food, beverages, and games to celebrate the year end. Biology Department Honors and Awards are given later in the evening along with senior pictures, and other prizes. This year’s theme (since it felt like winter would never end, thanks to Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction!) was “Ice Age”!

The Biology Department Celebrates DNA Day April 25th!

This year the Biology Department celebrated DNA Day on April 25th with the Profs flipping pancakes and Dr. Rorem’s husband making his famous waffles! It was a big hit with the students before and after the morning classes! 

 

Biology Major, Jake Schaafsma '18 Presents Research at Millikin University

Presentation at Millikin

Jake Schaafsma '18 presented the results of his research with Dr. Ray Lewis at the Illinois State Academy of Sciences annual meeting at Millikin University on Saturday, April 14, 2018. Jake’s presentation on “Comparing Oogenesis in Two Ecomorphs of the Giant Kelp Macrocystis pyrifera in Response to Iron Nutrition” won an honorable mention for undergraduate presentations in Botany. Great job Jake!

 

 BSAC and Symbiosis Students Host Biology Department Social with Donuts from Mariano's!

 

Biology Majors and their friends gathered around for fellowship and food on Thursday April 12th for a Biology Department Social. Students from BSAC and Sybiosis brought 4 boxes of Mariano's donuts for the celebration! What a treat for the faculty, staff and students! Seniors gathered around the Biology mural to take their senior picture. Congratulations Seniors! We are going to miss all of you!

Dr. Nate Thom and his Research Students Celebrate Brain Week in the Brain Hygiene Lab!

Ever wonder about how your brain is doing? Dr. Nate Thom and his research students did just that by celebrating National Brain Week March 12-16, 2018. With the catchy slogan, "Come and Explore the only Organ that Discovered Itself," Dr. Thom's Brain Hygiene Lab in the Biology Department of Meyer Science Building had a steady stream of faculty, staff, students and even the President of Wheaton College, Dr. Philip Ryken trying on the brain hat! Student researchers working with Dr. Thom explained their research and the procedure they performed on each participant. For further information about the Brain Hygiene Lab and Neuroscience, contact Dr. Nate Thom in the Biology Department.