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Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

Newsletter of the Department of Biological Science, Florida State University

Number 5, Winter 2006
A Few Words from the Chairman

The Department of Biological Science enjoyed a banner year in 2005. Plans for the new FSU Life Sciences Teaching and Research Center are nearing completion, and ground breaking is scheduled to take place early in 2006. Tallahassee architects Elliott Marshall Innes and Atlanta-based laboratory planners Lord Aeck Sargent have worked hard at accommodating all the department's needs while remaining within budget.

Enrollments are up. In the fall of 2005, the department admitted a bumper crop of 15 new graduate students, bringing graduate enrollment to 99, higher than it has been in 20 years. Undergraduate majors number a whopping 1801! Meanwhile, the department is in the process of filling three faculty positions at the assistant or associate professor level: one each in Cell and Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Organismal Biology. Applications were accepted during fall of 2005, for interviews during winter of 2006, and starting dates in time for the fall semester of 2006. In addition, the search continues for a senior faculty member to fill the J. Herbert Taylor Distinguished Professorship in Molecular Biology.

Finally, as you'll see below, the department garnered a particularly good crop of awards this year.

Timothy S. Moerland, chairman

Just How Big Is the Department?

The Department of Biological Science is one of the largest on campus; only the Departments of Psychology and Physics are comparable. It includes 43 active tenure-track faculty members (three more will be hired in spring of 2006; of 15 emeritus professors, only a few remain active), 30 postdoctoral investigators (each acquiring experience in a faculty laboratory before moving on to a position elsewhere), and about 80 staff (from accountants to greenhouse workers to academic advisors to computer experts). Sixteen of 99 graduate students are in Neuroscience and the rest evenly divided between the Ecology and Evolution and the Cell, Molecular, and Genetic groups. Of the undergrad majors, 628 are freshmen, 441 sopho-mores, 367 juniors, and 365 seniors. About 3000 students per year enroll in BSC 1005, general biology for nonmajors (and 2200 more in the corresponding lab).

The department fills Conradi Building, Biology Unit I, and most of the faculty space in the Biomedical Research Facility. Four faculty members associated with the School of Computational Science are housed in the Dirac Science Library building, and two others have space in the molecular biophysics area of Kasha Laboratory Building. The offices and laboratories for BSC 1005 are located in Milton Carothers Hall, but the lecture is taught in Ruby Diamond Auditorium in the Westcott Building, the only auditorium on campus large enough for its enrollment.

The department's new building will be larger than Conradi, which it will replace, and the extra room will be more than welcome!

The Ants Are Coming!

Specifically, The Fire Ants by Distinguished Research Professor Walter R. Tschinkel is coming this spring, from Harvard University's Belknap Press. This massive work synthesizes more than you ever knew there was to know about the sometimes pesky but always fascinating Solenopsis invicta and its relatives, and it does so in a style that is rigorous enough for specialists but lively and accessible enough for any biology major.

Grad Made Good

Department alumna Felicia C. Coleman (Ph.D., 1991) has been named director of the Florida State University Marine Laboratory. Dr. Coleman was an Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellow in 2000 and a Pew Marine Conservation Fellow in 2001, and her 2004 paper (with four others) "The impact of U.S. recreational fisheries on marine fish populations" (Science 305:1958-1960) stirred considerable controvery. In addition to her duties as Marine Lab Director, she will continue to organize the biennial Mote International Symposia in Fisheries Ecology, of which the next will take place in November of 2006.

What's News?

The next time you visit the Biological Science web page (at http://www.bio.fsu.edu), try clicking "What's News." This recently added section highlights the latest news of the department. Many entries include links to further information and media coverage.

Arrivals and Departures

No faculty members have left or joined the department since our last issue, but in August of 2005, long-time Coordinator of Administrative Services Michele Slaton left to accept a position in the College of Law and was replaced by John W. Netter, who came to us, highly recommended, from the Department of Classics. In addition, former employee Robert Lumsden (son of coordinator of courses for nonmajors Ann Lumsden) has returned to the department as Auxiliary Support Supervisor. Rob has taken on many of the duties of the physical-plant manager position left vacant by Carol Heiman's retirement in 2004.

In Memoriam

Thomas Eugene "Tom" DeWitt, 55, of the Biological Science engineering shop, died 18 January 2005 after an accidental fall at his home. Besides working for the department, Tom was the producer and broadcast engineer for the Florida State University football and basketball sports broadcast games and call-in shows.

Roseli Ocampo Friedmann died 4 September 2005 in Kirkland, Washington, after a three-year battle with Parkinson's disease. She earned a master's degree in 1966 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, under the direction of Dr. E. Imre Friedmann. After returning to her native Philippines for two years, she rejoined Dr. Friedmann at Florida State University and completed her doctorate in 1973. The two were married in 1974. They worked together for many years at Florida State, and in 1987, Roseli became a full professor at nearby Florida A&M University, while retaining a courtesy appointment in FSU Biological Science and working there during the summers. The couple left Tallahassee after Imre's retirement from Florida State in 2001. Just a few months before her death, a mountain peak in Antarctica was named in her honor.

2005 Faculty Awards

FSU Distinguished Research Professor: Dr. Kenneth G. Roux.

FSU Named Professorship: Dr. Kenneth G. Roux (Kurt G. Hofer Professor of Biological Science).

FSU Developing Scholar Award: Dr. Thomas A. Houpt.

University Teaching Award: Dr. Robert H. Reeves.

The department's Loretta Ellias Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching: Dr. William H. Outlaw Jr.

Student Awards

Undergraduate Awards

John Mark Caffrey Memorial Scholarship: Aaron Kline (Tallahassee), Pankaj Pal (Tallahassee), Lauren Seabrooks (Ocoee), Alanna Simon (Jacksonville), and Fiona Smyth (Cape Coral). Faculty Undergraduate Endowed Scholarship: Katherine Hoops (Niceville) and Aaron Kline. Charles M. McAllister Endowed Scholarship: Vivek Dalal (Boynton Beach). Biological Science Alumni Endowed Scholarship: James Enos (Safety Harbor). Francenia Fisher Scholarship: Amanda Thompson (Crawfordville). Varina Vaughn and Winona Jordan Endowed Scholarship in Botanical Science: Nicholas Miles (Port Orange). Howard Hughes Computational Biology Fellowships: Rudolph Arceo (Babson Park), Jren Armon (Guayaquil, Ecuador), Joshua Hoffman, Benjamin Kemp (Tallahassee), Denise Newsome (Lynn Haven), Kristen Norman (Mary Esther), Pankaj Pal, Priya Pal (Tallahassee), Lauren Seabrooks, Lawren Vandrevrede (Bangor, Michigan), Halei Wong (Shalimar). TriBeta Honor Society National Research Grants: Wildaliz Nieves (Miami) will work on neural signaling pathways in zebrafinch brain following injury in the laboratory of Dr. Susan Cappendijk at the College of Medicine, and Shari Campbell (Miramar) will work on the modulation of voltage-gated channel expression by tyrosine kinase TrkB (neurotropins) in the laboratory of Dr. Debra A. Fadool. Nieves and Campbell are the first FSU students ever to receive TriBeta Research Grants. TriBeta Honor Society Poster Competition Winners: 1st Prize (funds to attend the TriBeta National Convention), Greg Kirchenbaum (Dania Beach; Houle laboratory). 2nd Prize (funds to cover grad-school application) Aaron Kline (Hurdal laboratory, Mathematics). 3rd Prize (subscription to Scientific American), a tie between Wildaliz Nieves (Cappendik laboratory, College of Medicine) and Denise Newsome (J. Fadool laboratory).

Graduate Awards

Margaret Menzel Endowed Award: Beverly Colley (Arima, Trididad) and Pablo Munguia (Guadalajara, Mexico). Brenda Weems Bennison Memorial Scholarship: Nicole Fogarty (Dayton, Oh.) and Peter Cavnar (Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ). The Robert B. Short Scholarship in Zoology: Nicole Fogarty and Peter Cavnar. The Robert K. Godfrey Scholarship: Sarah Braun (Kaukauna, Wis.). The Graduate Student Publication Award: Richard Chi (North Palm Beach, Fla.). The Jack Winn Gramling Research Award in Marine Biology: Nathaniel Jue (Keene, N.H.) and Pablo Muguia. The Horace Loftin Endowment Award (inaugural presentation): Heather Gamper (Wyckoff, N.J.) and Jon Seal (St. Louis, Mo.).

Staff Awards

The Sheila B. Lutz Memorial Scholarship: The 2005 Lutz Scholarship, intended to help an FSU staff member complete a college degree, was awarded to Kathryn Marietta-Tondin. Katie worked at Florida State for almost two years in the 1990's and more recently has worked here since August of 2002, currently as a Coordinator of Computer Applications in FSU Center for Professional Development. She earned her B.S. at FSU in 2000 and is now working on her master's degree in instructional systems design. Katie is shown here receiving the award certificate from Dr. Diane K. Roberts (left), of the University of Alabama, cousin of the late Sheila Lutz.


Halloween Gala

This year's awards, like last year's, were announced at the department's gala Halloween party, held in the barn at Shiloh Farm, near Tallahassee. Entertainment was provided by our very own band, the Polyploidz, made up of graduate students Dave Ferrell and Brian Storz; Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor and Dean of Arts and Sciences Joseph Travis (shown here on drums); and Eppes Professor, Hughes Fellowship faculty sponsor, and keyboard player David L. Swofford (shown on the right).


News from Alumni

As usual, we could fit only a fraction of each entry into the print newsletter. Visit the newsletter website for the full stories and original wording.

1960s
David E. Black, B.S. ca. 1963: After graduating from FSU, I taught high school for 15 years. In 1978 I went into the citrus business. In June 2000, I sold the business and retired to raise 22 acres of citrus and run 25 head of cows. I still reside where my grandparents settled in 1899. I was sad to read about Conradi. I spent many hours in that building. Please don't let them tear it down.

Don Scott Hatcher, B.S. 1969: I have been a high school biology teacher for 34 years. Glad to hear that a new biology building is going to be built. I have "fond" memories of going to Conradi in the middle of the night to conduct Drosophila labs. Campus security always got a big laugh when you told them you were going to the biology building to "collect virgin flies."

James R. Jensen, B.S. 1969: I finished my master's degree in microbiology in June 1971. After serving in the U.S.A.F. as an officer, I completed a state supervisor's license for microbiology, clinical chemistry, immunohematology, serology, and hematology. I have enjoyed 26 years at Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville, supervising an immunology, endocrinology, and special chemistry laboratory. We have three children: two U.F. Gators and an F.S.U. Seminole.

James Murray, B.S. 1969: I remember well and with fond memories Drs. Elias, Hood, and Pates. It is nice to hear that the new Bio Bldg will finally be built, although long nights in Conradi (even sleeping there some nights) make the passing of that torch bittersweet. After marrying Elizabeth McElligott (FSU, B.A., English '69), I worked as a lab tech at Cordis Laboratories, Miami, Fla., and started graduate school at the University of Miami ( at least I didn't go to Gainesville). After military service, I joined Regulatory Affairs at Technical Resources International, Inc. My wife Beth and I have 4 children and are active in the large Baltimore Seminole Club.

1970s
Michael H. Allen, B.S. 1975: I cut my teeth in Gib Debusk's molecular genetics courses, did some research in the social psychology department and worked a little with the telephone counseling service. I then went on to become a psychiatrist. Married while living in New York and had 2 boys, now 11 and 13. Was involved in the first world trade center bombing and a number of other infamous events there. Moved to Denver where I'm responsible for psychiatric emergency services and study mood disorders at the University of Colorado Health Sciences. I would enjoy hearing from classmates.

Bruce Amato, 1969-1979: I was a student in the Biology Department in various years from 1969 through 1979. Dr. Herrnkind got Dr. Beidler to hire me to run the computer room from 1978 through 1983. I taught a one-hour course in scientific computing and built 84 different laboratory systems using microcomputers and various laboratory equipment. I've been a management and marketing consultant now for quite some time. I am married and have a son, Andersson.

O. Glenn Beck, Jr., B.S. 1975: After F.S.U., I entered U.F. College of Dentistry and graduated in 1979. In Gainesville, I met my wife, Marci, who also became a dentist. We moved back to Tallahassee and have been practicing together in general dentistry ever since. We have three great kids: Brian (20), Amelia (19), and Davey (16). I remain loyal to my Seminole roots and have many fond memories of Conradi and the Biology Department at FSU, especially Drs. Stuy and Yerger.

Hal Beecher, Ph.D. 1979: Hal Beecher was a core author of Instream Flows for Riverine Resource Stewardship, which has been used as a text at FSU. In 2004, he became President-elect of the Instream Flow Council. Hal (beechhab@dfw.wa.gov) works for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, with an emphasis on salmonid fishes.

James B. Claiborne, B.S. 1977: I went on to the University of Miami for Ph.D. in 1981. Did a couple of years postdoc in Germany at a Max Planck Institute, then started as Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern, was promoted to Professor in 1994, and have been here ever since. Research supported by NSF for the most part. Interest is in vertebrate osmoregulation, pH balance, physiological genomics. Recently awarded the GSU Eidson award, given about every ten years.

Loren D. Coen, M.S. 1979: I currently manage the Shellfish Research Section at the Marine Resources Research Institute, in Charleston, SC. After my M.S. in Conradi with Dr. Abele, I got a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland. On various projects, I have worked with three other FSU grads, Drs. Dara and Pace Wilber (NOAA-CSC) here in Charleston and Dr. Keith Walters (Coastal Carolina University).

Mary Knoblock Gearhard, B.S. 1978, PIMS 1979: Conradi was my favorite building at the University--my first class there was embryology with Dr. Wiese--what a delight he was, although it took me 3 weeks to understand words like "syncytium" in his accent. My other favorite was Dr. Short--to this day I can recall genus and species names of way too many parasites. My husband Tom Gearhard (B.S. 1978, PIMS 1979) and I finished med school at UF in '82. Our Family Practice residencies were completed in Phoenix, AZ, and we have been in Powder Springs, GA, for the past 20 years. We practice in the same office and have two daughters, Caroline and Katherine.

Chris Kuebler, B.S. 1975: My bachelor's degree led to a 30-year career in the pharmaceutical industry. I spent 20 years in sales and marketing for Squibb and Abbott, eventually heading up Abbott Europe in the early nineties. For the last 10 years, I have been chairman and CEO of Covance, Inc. FSU provided a great foundation for running a life-sciences company.

Bruce Slater, B.S. 1973: I went to UF for MD, Internal Medicine Residency, worked for the National Health Service Corps for 3 years in underserved New Mexico as a general internist, married a Gator! (Jan Hogle, PhD in Anthropology at Univ. Connecticut), worked for Peace Corps as doctor for PC Volunteers for 7 1/2 years, then as an internist at George Washington University for 13 years, and 18 months ago became Medical Director Computerized Decision Support at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison Wisconsin. Would love to hear from any 'Noles in Wisconsin.

Franklin B. Titlow, B.S. 1970: Budd Titlow went on to earn an M.S. in wildlife ecology at Virginia Tech in 1973 and has since completed more than 300 hours of additional postgraduate training and seminars. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, and has worked as an environmental scientist for a variety of agencies and companies. He has also published over 200 popular articles, 3000 photos, and a book. His writing and photography have won many awards.

Michael P. Weinstein, Ph.D. 1975: Michael P. Weinstein is President & CEO, New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium (NJMSC), and Director, New Jersey Sea Grant College Program. His primary academic interests include the role of estuarine habitat in the production of marine recreational and commercial fishes and shellfish. His most recent text, Concepts and Controversies in Tidal Marsh Ecology, is expected to have international impact on the direction of tidal marsh research and restoration science.

1980s
Dirk E. Peterson, B.S., 1980: I remember fondly my years of study in the department. The cadre of truly great graduate students, especially under Drs. Livingston and Herrnkind, really stimulated my development as a scientist. Drs. Heard and Hoffman (Chemistry) also guided my development. I completed my M.S. in environmental sciences at Long Island University and a Ph.D. in ecological sciences, under the direction of the late ichthyologist Ray Birdsong (FSU B.S. 1962, M.S. 1963) at Old Dominion University. Then after medical school at Case Western Reserve University and residency at University Medical Center in Jacksonville I became an ob-gyn in Fort Myers. I look back with pride on the years I spent working hard as a biology major. There was always something interesting going on in the department.

1990s
Maurice P. "Phil" De Young, B.S. 1996: After a break, I started graduate school at Florida Atlantic University in biology, then transferred to chemistry and biochemistry. My research focused on molecular oncology. This past year I accepted an oncology fellowship with simultaneous appointments at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School. I live in Boston with my wife, who was a fellow graduate student at FAU, and our two-year-old. I've since turned them into Seminole sports fans and can't wait to show them the university and the department as well.

Kerri Kissinger-Miralles, B.S. 1999: I am proud to inform FSU that I am currently teaching Honors Biology in the largest high school in Broward County. I enjoy preparing students for the future, and encouraging students to pursue a career in sciences. Thank you FSU for some of the best memories of my life. I will miss the Conradi building.

2000s
Stephanie J. Mathews, B.S. 2003: I am a graduate student in Science and Mathematics Education at Florida Institute of Technology. I am working on an M.S. in science education with certification in biology and chemistry. I enjoyed everything while at FSU and hope to be able to send future students to the place I called my home away from home.

Joseph Strater, B.S. 2001: I am currently in my last year of chiropractic school. I owe much of my direction to Dr. Quadagno, who influenced me to do my DIS on the subject of chiropractic and its history. It has given me a career I will love forever, never get bored of, and change many other lives in ways you cannot even imagine. My time at FSU was some of the most memorable and enjoyable years of my life. The students, the faculty, and of course football games were all incredible. I feel privileged to have been a part of FSU and all of its great traditions! And thanks forever Dr. Q!

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 Judy Bowers (bowers@bio.fsu.edu).