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Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

Newsletter of the Department of Biological Science, Florida State University

Number 3, Winter 2004
A Few Words from the Chairman

Welcome to the third issue of BioFeedback. It's been a spectacular year for the Department of Biological Science! We continue to be a campus leader in education and research; for what seems to be the umpteenth year in a row, we are the most popular major at FSU (with over 1600 undergraduate and graduate students in fall of 2003), and we've reached a new high for external support of faculty research. It's an exciting time of new challenges and opportunities.

The past year has also been one of profound changes. Five faculty members retired, and five new ones took their places. Sadly, in 2003 we also said good-bye to several good friends and colleagues who passed away. Finally, the department chairmanship changed hands, so a newbie is at the helm.

Our alumni and friends-you-are an important part of our extended family. We enjoy hearing from you, and contributions for the News from Alumni section are always welcome. You can pass information along by e-mail or on paper (the addresses appear below). We also ask for your help. If you know of bright students with interests in the life sciences, please point them in our direction. Bob Reeves (reeves@bio.fsu.edu), our Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, and George Bates (bates@bio.fsu.edu), Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, will be happy to discuss how you can actively assist in our recruiting efforts. And finally, your financial support is also important to our continued progress. The department's alumni, friends, and faculty have established a number of fellowships and programs to support our best undergraduates and graduate students. If you would like to contribute to any of these or to the general development of the department, please refer to the information at the end of this newsletter.

Tim Moerland

Big Changes

In September, virtually the entire faculty and their spouses assembled to honor retiring colleagues and to recognize Dr. Thomas M. Roberts, who in August handed over the chairmanship to Dr. Timothy S. Moerland. The retirees were, in alphabetical order, Professors Loran C. Anderson, plant systematist and director of the herbarium; Donald L. D. Caspar, structural biologist and member of the National Academy of Sciences; Kurt G. Hofer, radiation biologist and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor; Frances C. James, ornithologist and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and Richard N. Mariscal, invertebrate zoologist and scholar of anemone-fish biology.

Also in 2003, five new assistant professors joined the department. Photos appear on our web site.

Dr. Peter Beerli specializes in computational and mathematical biology and in evolutionary and population genetics/genomics. He comes to us from the University of Washington, where he worked for nine years after receiving his doctorate from the University of Z├╝rich, in Switzerland

Dr. Wu-Min Deng studies cellular polarization and the Drosophila model of muscular dystrophy. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1997 and also worked at the University of Washington before coming to FSU.

Dr. Austin R. Mast will be the new director of the department's Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium. He studies the interface of plant systematics, ecology, evolution, biogeography, and development, and his doctorate was awarded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000.

Dr. Gavin J. P. Naylor, formerly of Iowa State University, studies the mechanisms underlying biological diversification. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland in 1989.

Dr. Fredrik Ronquist applies computational and theoretical phylogenetics to phylogeny, systematics, and evolution of cynipoid wasps. His doctorate is from Uppsala University, Sweden, and he was employed there before coming to FSU.

Student Awards

Undergraduate Awards

John Mark Caffrey Memorial Scholarship: Kevin Desai (Plant City, Fla.) and Eric Powell (Miami, Fla.). Faculty Undergraduate Endowed Scholarship: John Hutchinson (Pensacola, Fla.). Francenia E. Fisher Scholarship: Shawn Havery (Sarasota, Fla.). Charles M. McAllister Endowed Scholarship: Brian Bielfelt (Grand Island, Fla.). Vaughn-Jordan Endowed Scholarship: Debbie Figueroa (Crawfordville, Fla.). Biological Science Alumni Endowed Scholarship: Heather Keane (Flushing, Mich.). TriBeta Scholarship: Julie McClure (Orange Park, Fla.), Sarah Gray (Orlando, Fla.), and John Hutchinson.

Graduate Awards

Margaret Menzel Endowed Award: Peter Bouwma (Grand Haven, Mich.), Jessica Brann (Columbus, Ohio), Jean Burns Moriuchi (McCall, Ida.), Jason Robotham (Shirley, N.Y.). Brenda Weems Bennison Memorial Scholarship: Jill Holliday (Lakeland, Fla.) and Pablo Munguia (Guadalajara, Mexico). The Robert B. Short Scholarship in Zoology: Pablo Munguia and Christopher Smith (Austin, Tex.). The Robert K. Godfrey Scholarship: Joe Hereford (New Orleans, La.) and Chris Oakley (Folsom, Calif.). The Graduate Student Publication Award: Jessica Brann and Calin Marian (Cluj-Napoca, Romania).

Staff Awards

Long Service: Graduate advisor Judith A. (Bradford) Bowers and Electronics shop engineer Steven Noakes were honored for their 30 years' service to the university.

The Sheila B. Lutz Memorial Scholarship: The 2003 Lutz Scholarship, intended to help an FSU staff member complete a college degree, was awarded to Tami Karl. Tami is a full-time Program Assistant in the Department of Geological Sciences. She maintains an informal guardianship of her grandmother and cares for a menagerie of rescued animals. She has volunteered with Meals on Wheels through Elder Care Services, the Emergency Care Health Organization, Woodmont Assisted Living Facility, and the Heritage Health Care Nursing Home, where her grandmother lives. After completing her bachelor's degree in social work in fall of 2004, she intends to continue working while pursuing a master's degree in the same field. Ultimately, she hopes to become an advocate for the elderly. Tami has taken all the course work for her degree under FSU's program of tuition and fee waivers for staff members, but she estimates that the Lutz award will just about cover the books she will need for the courses to complete her degree.

In Memoriam

James P. Hogg (retired from the machine shop after 35 years of service to the department) died 28 April 2003. He was Korean War veteran and was active in the Boy Scouts, the Sea Scouts, DeMolay, and the Masons.

Professor Emeritus Theodore P. Williams died 2 May 2003. Dr. Williams joined the Department of Biological Science in 1966 and remained a productive research scientist and popular teacher until his retirement in 2001.

Professor Emeritus Ralph W. Yerger died 11 May 2003. Dr. Yerger joined the Department of Biological Science in 1950 and retired in the mid-1980s.

Professor Emeritus Johann H. Stuy died 28 June 2003. He was a member of the Department of Biological Science 1965-2000. His son Alex Stuy is the department's Coordinator of Computer Applications.

Professor Emeritus Lloyd M. Beidler died 7 August 2003. He was a member of the Department of Biological Science from 1950 until his retirement in 1993. In 2001, Biological Science professor Marc E. Freeman honored his former colleague by becoming the Lloyd M. Beidler Professor of Biological Science.

History of the Department

The 2003 page of the department's history website provides more news, like photos from the TriBeta honor society's trip to Washington and a listing of recent awards to members of the faculty. Don't forget to help us fill in the blank--visit the history pages, then tell us what you know that we don't!

News from Alumni

All the news that fits, we print--the rest has to go on the web. These entries are severely condensed. Visit http://bio.fsu.edu/newsletter/feedback.php for the full stories and original wording.

1950's
Pasquale V. Gazzara, B.S. 1951: I graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in 1951. In 1952 I returned to Florida State to earn a teaching degree. I taught science for 33 years in New York, and after I retired in 1983, I became a paralegal for 14 years. I am married to my wife Geraldine for 45 years, have four children and 6 grandchildren. I have been fully retired for nine years. At the 50-year reunion for my graduating class, the alumni did a great job in providing for us.

Dr. Henry Tamar, Ph.D. 1957: After earning my Ph.D. in sensory physiology, I served as Head of the Division of Science and Mathematics at the Pembroke State College, Pembroke, NC. In 1962, I went on to Indiana State University, where I became full professor (I retired in 1998). In 1972 I authored the book Principles of Sensory Physiology. My research on planktonic ciliates (Protozoa) at Indiana State is used in Identification and Ecology of Limnetic Plankton Ciliates by W. Foissner, H. Berger, and J. Schaumburg (Munich, November 1999). On page 626, a new species, Membranicola tamari, was dedicated to me by its discoverers.

1960's
Robert A. White, Jr., B.S. 1968: January 1969 through December 1970, I enjoyed the tropical weather with the U.S. Army (9th Division and 1st Cavalry Division) in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam with no real adverse effects on my attitude or health. I earned an M.S. in 1973 and a Ph.D. in 1979-80 in entomology at the University of Georgia. After several postdocs, I worked for a private toxicology consulting firm for 2 years, taught high school physics and chemistry for 6 years, college biology for 3.5 years (Truett-McConnell College), and for the last 6 years, have been an applied entomologist with a small consulting/ag sales firm, NIPCAM, in Watkinsville, Georgia. My wife Carol is a Dean and chemist and our son is attending Georgia Southern University.

Roy A. Hammac, B.S. 1968: After college I served as an officer in combat in Vietnam. After the army, I worked for Prudential Insurance Company for 2 years, then went to work for Wyeth (pharmaceutical company), where I am employed currently. I have worked for Wyeth for 29 years, and I manage a sales force which encompasses the states of Virginia and Maryland and Washington, DC. My wife (Patty) and I live in Chester Springs, PA (Pennsylvania is our company headquarters location), and we celebrated our 33rd anniversary in March.

1970's
Steven C. Babcock, B.S. 1970: After graduation, I worked for the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. I earned the certification of Fisheries Scientist from the American Fisheries Society after completing professional and academic work. I earned an M.B.A. at F.S.U. I am now working in the Detroit area and have a post-bachelor's certificate in computer science and a graduate certificate in software engineering.

Susan H. Drake, B.S. 1970, M.S. 1975: I got my M.S. in pollution biology and embryology of fishes under Drs. Livingston, Simberloff, and Yerger. M.D., USF College of Medicine, 1979. ObGyn residency to 1983. Private practice in ObGyn, 1983-1998. Now part-time consultant to Board of Medicine and part-time gynecologist for VA Outpatient Clinic in Tallahassee. I am grateful for the education and experiences I had at the Biological Science Department over many wonderful years.

Herb Jervis, M.S. 1971, Ph.D. 1973: Recently retired to our dream house on Amelia Island with my bride of 29 years, Mary Gregory (FSU 1969) after a mixed career in academia and more commercial pursuits. After a 2-year postdoc (in biochemistry) at Virginia Tech, I spent 8 years on the faculty at Adelphi University (Garden City, N.Y.). With tenure in hand, mid-life crisis hit. Mary said younger women out of the question--change your career. Back to law school at age 40, then a career as a biotech patent attourney, first in private practice in New York and later with SmithKline Beecham in Philadelphia. Finished my career as V.P. and Chief Patent Counsel of Pioneer Hi-Bred Int'l in Des Moines, IA, where I took a case to the U.S. Supreme Court, successfully, ensuring that patent rights are available to inventors of new plant varieties.

Richard I. Rothman, B.S. 1977: Teaching biology for the last 25 years. Currently at Spanish River H.S. in Boca Raton, FL. Also coaching cross country and track. Team has won six state (Florida) championships in girls' cross country. Have been inducted into the Palm Beach Co. Sports Hall of Fame and the Florida Athletic Coaches' Association Hall of Fame. Have received 82 coach-of-the-year awards, including two state coach-of-the-year, 1999 and 2003. At Spanish River since 1983, when the school opened.

Raymond Runyan, M.S. 1976: I got my M.S. in genetics with Dr. Thomas Seale. We published a couple of Journal of Bacteriology papers in 1976 and 1978 as I recall. Tom Seale moved to the University of Florida in 1976, and he was a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma at least till a few years ago when I last heard from him. [Editor's note: >BioFeedback was able to put Drs. Runyan and Seale, still at Oklahoma, back in touch.] I got my Ph.D. in 1983 at Texas Tech University, did a postdoc at the University of Connecticut Health Science Center and the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. After earning tenure at the University of Iowa, I moved to the University of Arizona and have been there ever since The FSU Genetics Group journal club was a tough audience and after them, everybody else seemed easy.

1990's
William Matthew McDowell, student 1988-1992: I attended FSU as a biology major from '88-'92. Unfortunately, I did not complete my requirements for my BS at FSU. I transferred to UF and got a PA degree (BS in medicine) and then eventually came back to get my MD at USF. I am now completing my residency in Tampa. I would very much like to become a proud alum, so I'm looking into ways to complete my FSU biology degree retroactively.

The Real BioFeedback

Please let us know what you're doing now and how you've passed the time since you left Florida State. Please don't let space limit you. Add more sheets or send an e-mail. Did you respond last year? Feel free to send an update! If you can include a financial contribution as well, it would help the department to maintain it's quality in the face of the current fiscal crunch, but we would be delighted just to hear from you. Be sure to let us know whether we can post your remarks on our website and/or include excerpts in the next issue of BioFeedback. Thank you!

Send your news by letter, fax, or e-mail, to

Dr. Anne B. Thistle
Department of Biological Science
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida 32306-1100

Fax: (850) 644-9829
E-mail: thistle@bio.fsu.edu or biology@bio.fsu.edu

Please let us know whether we can included the information you send us in future alumni news columns or on the web as part of the departmental history project or whether you would like it kept confidential.

Read the replies from readers!


Editorial board: Anne B. Thistle (chair, thistle@bio.fsu.edu), Joanna Carter (carter@bio.fsu.edu), and Cathy Oakley (oakley@mailer.fsu.edu).