Spiders Were Just a Taste of Faculty-Student Research Collaborations

By Purnell T. Cropper | February 19, 2010


Boyer Hall was crawling with students, faculty, staff, Trustees and visitors on Wednesday, Feb. 17, and some of the displays of student-faculty research were creeping, too, especially the spiders and fruit flies. Departments opened their labs for the fun and informal gathering where faculty members and their student research assistants demonstrated data collection techniques, talked about their equipment and facilities, and answered questions about their work.

Dr. Chad Hoefler’s edible spider delicacies weren’t part of the official refreshments, but he tried to entice the crowd into sampling the spiders. The Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Computer Science/Mathematics departments participated in the 2010 Research Expo at Boyer Hall.

Karen Jessup, working with Dr. Lauretta Bushar, Associate Professor and Chair of Biology, discussed their research on “genetic relationships within and between hibernating sites in a Timber Rattlesnake population.”

Alyssa McDermott, working with Hoefler, Assistant Professor of Biology, presented their work on the “influence of mate availability and male sperm reserves on sex role behaviors in the cellar spider.”

Maria Stelacio, Samantha Dence and Dan Brophy, working with Dr. Lauren Howard, Assistant Professor of Biology, talked about “pitch pine conservation status and fire dynamics in West Virginia.”

Maame Dankwar and Nolan Ciemniecki, who are working with Dr. Naomi Phillips, Assistant Professor of Biology, discussed their project on the “examination of evolutionary patterns within the Brown Algae and their close sister groups.”

Rachael Palis, Chris Lewandowski and Britney Waddington, also working with Phillips, talked about “conservation genetics of Bioko primates.”

Lisa Durso, Stephanie Evans, Selina Eckert and Michaela Petit shared their work with Dr. Wesley Rose, Assistant Professor of Biology, on “mechanisms of negative feedback governing the neuronal response to interferon gamma.”

Sarah Janiszewski, who is working with Dr. Christopher Binckley, Assistant Professor of Biology, talked about her work on “diversity patterns of aquatic insects in logged and unlogged wetlands.”

Allison Ulrich, Will Shindel, Ansu Jacob, Morgan Wrzeszcz, Sophia Japhet, Neepa Christian, and Kyrillos Awad, who are working with Dr. Sheryl Smith, Adjunct Professor of Biology, shared their work on “evolution of insulator sequences in Drosophila: implications for phenotypic diversity.”

Students Liu Guanying, Christian Lubombo, Katlin Makara, Sanket Patel and John Sheppleman discussed their work on “ammonia clusters and hydrogen as potential energy storage systems,” with their faculty member Dr. Manny Curotto, Associate Professor of Chemistry.

Students Jaime Mickelson and Tabatha Simpson, working with Dr. Yanxia Jia, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, discussed their work on “a cluster-based early aggregation and routing protocol for wireless sensor networks.”

Students Beth Murray and Tamar Paltin, with Dr. Josh Blustein, Associate Professor of Psychology, talked about their work on “contextual control of cross tolerance to ketamine and morphine analgesia.”

Students Corey Mola and Katrina Wagner, with Blustein, presented information about their research on “contextual control of the effect of MK 801 on adaption to stress-Induced analgesia.”

And Ashley Wise, another of Blustein’s students, discussed “the effects of high and low distraction on pain perception.”