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Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

Newsletter of the Department of Biological Science, Florida State University

Number 7, Winter 2008
The Finish Line Approaches!

The department's staff and administration are scheduled to move to the new Life Sciences Center during the second week of March (FSU's spring break). The faculty will follow soon after the end of the spring semester. Many members of the department have recently been getting their first glimpses of the interior, as Carol Heiman, the department's former facilities manager, who came out of retirement to supervise the construction, has conducted tours for small groups, so that we can all see, and plan for, our new spaces. The building will be officially inaugurated on 4 April, with the delivery of this year's Yerger Lecture and a ribbon-cutting ceremony (followed, of course, by a party). The department owes a huge debt of gratitude to Carol for keeping this enormously complex project on track. Below, the stone door lintel is delivered.

Addressing the Teacher Shortage

FSU-Teach is a collaborative effort of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education at FSU, modeled after the highly successful UTeach program at the University of Texas, Austin, which has dramatically increased the number of secondary science and math teaching graduates primarily by attracting science and math majors into the teaching profession. The program is spearheaded by the Arts and Sciences Office of Science Teaching Activities, housed Biological Science. FSU-Teach has already garnered a $2,400,000 four-year grant from the National Science and Mathematics Initiative to get it underway.

The program will recruit and prepare excellent students to become reform-minded science and mathematics teachers, then support them after graduation to encourage them to remain in the teaching profession. Science and math majors will be recruited through an array of student benefits and will graduate with a degree that lists two majors, one in the content area (for example, Biology or Mathematics) and one in Secondary Science or Mathematics Teaching. The mentor relationships they form will extend at least through their first year of teaching. An endowment is already being built to provide financial support to students and graduates of the program. The Helios Foundation has contributed $1,000,000, as will the National Math and Science Initiative at the end of its four-year grant to FSU-Teach, and both will be eligible for state matching.

The Cluster Begins to Form

The first member of the department's Integrating Genotype and Phenotype cluster has been selected. Dr. Kimberly A. Hughes, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will soon join the department. Her research addresses sexual selection, life-history evolution, evolution and genetics of aging, genetics of reproductive behavior, conservation genetics, maintenance of genetic variation—in short, the causes and consequences of variation in natural populations. The search committee has been at work for two academic years now, amassing a large pool of applicants, reading hundreds of letters, convening a second workshop in February of 2008, and interviewing the top candidates. Two more candidates are currently considering offers, and many more interviews are scheduled for this spring semester.

2007 Faculty Awards

The department's Loretta Ellias Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching: Dr. Nora Underwood.

Student Awards

Undergraduate Awards

John Mark Caffrey Memorial Scholarship: Belinda Gavino (Lutz, FL) and Jordan Rogers (Ormond Beach, FL). Faculty Undergraduate Endowed Scholarship: Tristan Gonzalez-Sanz (Fort Meyers, FL). Charles M. McAllister Endowed Scholarship: Jason Lorenzen (Bradenton, FL) and Cynthia Ogolla (Tallahassee, FL). Biological Science Alumni Endowed Scholarship: Steven Godby (Tallahassee, FL). Francenia Fisher Scholarship: Natalie Fredette (Rockledge, FL).

Graduate Awards

Brenda Weems Bennison Memorial Scholarship: Nathaniel Jue (Keene, NH). The Robert B. Short Scholarship in Zoology: Nathaniel Jue and Kenneth Wray (Kissimmee, FL). The Robert K. Godfrey Scholarship: Eric Jones (Tallahassee, FL) and David McNutt (Bloomington, IN). The Graduate Student Publication Award: Jianjun Sun. The Jack Winn Gramling Research Award in Marine Biology: Timothy Swain (Buffalo, NY).

Staff Awards

The Sheila B. Lutz Memorial Scholarship: The 2007 Lutz Scholarship was awarded to Gina Mathis, Student Services Manager of FSU International Programs. Gina is working toward an interdisciplinary B.S. in Social Science, minoring in Law and Society. She hopes to go on to graduate school and eventually to teach abroad for International Programs. In addition, Gina feels that continuing her education sets the right example for her 13-year-old daughter. The scholarship will let her purchase textbooks without taking out additional student loans.


Arrivals and Departures

Professors Marc E. Freeman, William F. Herrnkind, and David M. Quadagno all retired this year.

Dr. Freeman joined the department in 1972 and studied regulation by the hypothalamus of hormones from the pituitary gland involved in reproduction; He was particularly interested in the control of secretion of prolactin, the hormone that controls milk synthesis in the mammary gland.

Dr. Herrnkind came to FSU Biological Science in 1967 and is the last to retire of several faculty members who were hired as assistant professors in that year. In addition to his research on animal behavior, particularly in crustaceans, he has been one of the department's most popular teachers.

Dr. Quadagno joined Florida State in 1987 after a successful career as a professor at the University of Kansas. He transferred to Biological Science (from Movement Sciences) in 1989. His areas of study were neuroendo-crinology and human sexuality, intervention strategies for the prevention of HIV infection, and determinants of violent behavior in humans.

In addition, Dr. David L. Swofford and Dr. Fredrick Ronquist, left the department to accept positions elsewhere, Dr. Swofford at Duke University and Dr. Ronquist in his native Sweden.

Finally, department chairman Timothy S. Moerland will leave Florida State at the end of this academic year to take the position of Dean of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University. A new chairman has not yet been chosen, but watch this space in next year's BioFeedback!

Two new assistant professors joined the department this year.

Dr. Emily H. Duval comes to the department from a postdoctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. She studies behavioral ecology, most frequently in birds, and current projects investigate (1) the adaptive basis of female mate choice in the absence of direct benefits (i.e. territory quality or paternal care); (2) the effects of complex mating strategies on temporal and spatial genetic variation at the population level; (3) the mechanisms of mate choice from both male and female perspectives; and (4) the balance between male competition and female mate choice in determining the opportunity for sexual selection to occur.


Dr. Lisa C. Lyons most recently held an assistant professorship at the University of Houston, Texas. She studies signaling and circadian modulation regulating associative memory, usually in the model organism Aplysia, a sea slug. Her preliminary research has focused on determining some of the chemical processes involved in short- and long-term learning.


In Memoriam

Dr. E. Imre Friedmann, Professor Emeritus of Biological Science, died 11 June 2007, in Kirkland, Washington, of complications after heart surgery. Dr. Friedmann joined the department in 1966 and retired in 2001.

Dr. Robert B. Short, Professor Emeritus of Biological Science, died 24 November 2007, in Tallahassee, Florida, of pneumonia. Dr. Short joined the department in 1950 and retired in 1990.

News from Alumni

Visit the newsletter website, http://www.bio.fsu.edu/newsletter/feedback.php, for the full stories and original wording.

1960s
Robert A. Nelson III, A.A., 1968 (M.S., M.D., Ph.D.): I only attended FSU for two years before transferring to the University of Florida to major in Chemistry. I eventually wound up with an MS in Chemistry, then completed a five-year MD/PhD at Vanderbilt University. But just one instructor really made a difference in my life—Dickie Brinson, who ran the FSU Flying High Circus. Growing up in the shadow of my dad, the famous microbiologist, whom I admired enormously, and trying to live up to his academic achievements left me shy, nerdy, and introverted, but everything changed for me the day Dickie Brinson taught me how to juggle. He taught me to be proud just to be myself. I worked for a while in medicine, but since 1976, I have worked solely as a professional juggler. I've performed all over the world and won all kinds of awards. I frequently work as a comedy juggler in Japan, speaking Japanese. When my father died, a close Japanese colleague of his, who had once organized a group of Japanese doctors to attend my performance, organized that same group to write a huge tribute to him. At the time, I couldn't yet read Japanese, so I asked a young woman employed by the performance venue to help me translate it. We fell in love, got married, and are still very much in love today, 18 years later. I owe it all to Dickie Brinson!

1970s
Franklin B. Titlow, B.S. 1970 (M.S.): Budd Titlow went on to earn an M.S. in wildlife ecology at Virginia Tech in 1973. He lives in Durham, NC, and has worked for, among others, the Federal Power Commission, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service, Baystate Environmental Consultants, ENSR International, and most recently, the BSC Group, Inc. In addition to many scientific publications, he has published over 200 popular articles, 3000 photos, and a book. He has won awards from BBC International, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Conservancy, Nature's Best magazine, Kodak International, and many others. More information on his photography is available at http://www.agpix.com/photographer/prime/A0229960.html.

Douglas Eder, Ph.D. 1973: I spent 31 years on the biology faculty of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), working in neuroendocrinology and anatomy. More than once I returned to FSU to visit my own former students and work alongside them in the lab of my doctoral mentor, Ted Williams. During the last 12 years I shifted to administrative activities to foster the academic assessment of student learning. Since my retirement from SIUE in 2006, I've been back in Florida as associate provost at the University of North Florida. It's good to come home.

Paul Allison, B.S. 1974 (M.D., M.B.A.): I went to graduate school in organic chemistry, then on to medical school at Indiana University. After that I did a postdoc at Eli Lilly in hematology research, then a pathology residency at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. I have been a faculty pathologist with UT and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. My research is in hemostasis, and I've been working to develop a comprehensive database of platelet proteins using mass spec/proteomics. My memories of FSU include the first-year biology courses with Drs. Williams, DeBusk, and Elliott. I still carry a useful background in chemistry due, in part, to the courses with Dr. Walborsky and independent research in Dr. Detar's lab. I don't get to Tallahassee often but was glad to see that FSU has opened its own medical school. Too bad so many of us had to go out of state in the 70's to get a good medical education.

Elizabeth (Schneider) Tuttle, B.S. 1975 (M.D.): I attended PIMS at FSU--transferred to University of Florida Medical School for the last three years for the M.D. degree. I met my husband of 30 years now in our medical class. We live in Worthington, Ohio, where I practice family medicine with The Ohio State University Primary Care group. Steve and I have four children--all grown now and doing well--and two wonderful grandchildren. I give FSU and especially the biology department a lot of credit for launching me toward my medical career. I had great professors--a great education and wonderful memories.

Arlyn Beneke, B.S. 1977: After the PIMS program, I moved to northern California and worked for 8 years as a county agricultural biologist before changing to the insurance business for the next 22 years. Now I am working on a master’s degree in history at CSUC Chico with the goal of selling my business and teaching history at the community college level. I believe my career shows that you don't have to make a living within biological sciences to profit from a biology degree. A serious student graduating in the hard sciences will go forward instilled with confidence and a thirst for knowledge that will be a major help in becoming successful in any endeavor. As Dr. Roeder said, the main purpose of undergraduate study is "learning to learn." I am sorry the wonderful professors who taught me wasted their time on someone who did not go on in science, but I am eternally grateful for the education I received.

Paul M. Hendricks, B.A. 1977 (M.D.): I have fond memories of my FSU courses and of Conradi building. I went on to an MD at UF and currently live just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, and practice emergency medicine in Chattanooga. I have long been active with the Sierra Club and recently won election to the Signal Mountain Town Council and then was elected Mayor (I recently signed the Mayor's Agreement on Climate Change, only the 4th community in Tennessee to do so). I have a son who wants to be a filmmaker (and may attend FSU in a few years) and a daughter who is 8, but already a committed "tree-hugger" and plans to be a veterinarian (and then become President so she can save all the trees and habitat for endangered species!!). Best to all my old friends and professors.

Lawrence R. Aaronson, B.S. 1979 (Ph.D.): I had a great educational experience at FSU, working as a genetics TA for Dr. DeBusk and doing research with Dr. DeKloet. I received my Ph.D. in microbiology from Rutgers University in 1984, then did a postdoc at the Yale medical school. In 1987, I joined Utica College in Utica, NY, and was promoted to full professor in 1997. I teach a variety of undergraduate courses, and my research has focused on the study of natural antifungal compounds in mammalian and amphibian skin, and microbial biodiversity. In May 2007 I was honored with the Carski Foundation/American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, and presented the Carski Award Lecture at the ASM General Meeting in Toronto, Canada (http://www.asm.org/Academy/index.asp?bid=39527).

Fay Ferrell, Ph.D., 1979 (M.D.): I live just 80 miles away, in Dothan, GA, and invite any FSU BIO folks to drop by! After completing my Ph.D. under Dr. Beidler, I got an NIH Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to continue studying plasticity in the developing gustatory system at the University of Michigan Institute of Dental Research with two earlier Beidler Ph.D.s, Charlotte Mistretta and Robert Bradley. I then joined the University of California, Davis, and, in the '80s, completed three consecutive Heart of California Double Century bicycle rides, climbed Half Dome in Yosemite, and made four ascents of Devils Tower in Wyoming. In 1987, at the age of 43, I entered Chicago Medical School and later completed an internship and psychiatric residency at Duke University Medical Center. Since 1995, I have enjoyed a rewarding psychiatric practice, and do foster care at my home for pregnant dogs and their pups. I thank all of my professors at FSU for teaching me to think critically. When patients express confidence in my powers of diagnosis and recommended treatments, I attribute it to my FSU training. I think often of (and sometimes consult) Dr. Freeman, Dr. Herrnkind, and Dr. Tschinkel, and I journeyed to FSU to hear Dr. Herrnkind give his farewell lecture before retirement.

Kenneth S. Saladin, Ph.D. 1979: I received my Ph.D. under Dr. Robert Short's direction and worked as a TA under Lynn Fox, Walt Tschinkel, Bob Short, Jim Byram, and Pasquale Graziadei. I wrote my dissertation during my early years on the faculty of Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA, where I've just 30 years and hope to continue at least 10 more. I regularly teach human anatomy and physiology, animal behavior, histology, and a study abroad course in the Galapagos Islands, and have also taught parasitology, sociobiology, and general zoology in earlier years. I have two college textbooks in print and two others in preparation. My first one, Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function is now going into its fifth edition. My second, Human Anatomy (795 pp.), is in its second edition. I was named Distinguished Professor in 2001. My wife Diane and I have a daughter, Nicole, who has just completed her master's degree in marine environmental management at Duke University, and a son, Emory, a junior in interior design at the Art Institute of Atlanta.

Andre F. Clewell, faculty member 1962-1979: After leaving FSU, I joined an environmental consulting firm and, while there, finished writing, Guide to the Vascular Plants of the Florida Panhandle (FSU Press, 1985). In 1984 I opened up my own ecological-restoration firm, A. F. Clewell, Inc., which was based various locations in Florida until I closed it in 2006. When it first organized in 1989, I joined the organization that became the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER), serving on its Board of Directors for its first seven years and as President for two of those years. Since 1999, I have spent much time in India, lecturing and promoting ecological restoration at universities, government bureaus, and NGOs. In 2005 I helped organize and became a co-coordinator of the RNC ("restoring natural capital") Alliance. My next scheduled consulting assignment will be to provide oversight of ecological restoration programs under the auspices of the United Nations in the Middle East. I now live in Ellenton, Florida, where I maintain an 1100-species personal herbarium. My new book, Ecological Restoration, Principles, Values, and Structure of an Emerging Profession, will be published by Island Press in autumn 2007.

1980s
Gerald J. Niemi, Ph.D. 1983: I just received the Outstanding Scientist Award for the Great Lakes from the International Joint Commission—you can find info at their website. I did my Ph.D. with Fran James and finished in 1983. I always enjoy perusing the newsletter and I keep in sporadic contact with Fran.

James Liberatos, Ph.D. 1986: I was a graduate student of Dr. Bob Short. I've stayed in science since leaving FSU and am a professor of biology at Louisiana Tech University. In addition, I am dean of the College of Applied & Natural Sciences, which has academic units in Agricultural Sciences, Biology, Forestry, Health Information Management, Human Ecology and Nursing.

Yvonne (Holton) Carter, B.S. 1987: My FSU BS was in Medical Technology, and I've worked in ever since in hospital labs. My husband (Daniel Carter) graduated from FSU in 1989 in Communications. We currently live in California, but last September, we were fortunate enough to get some box seats to a FSU football game and brought our boys to visit Tallahasse, where they were both born. It was great fun to enjoy the game and show them around the campus and the town. Go Noles!!

Dianne (Buckheister) McNeill, B.A. (Biological Science/German) 1989: Dianne is the Chemistry Manager for ECC, an environmental remediation and clean construction company, with offices worldwide. In 2006, she founded the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals (http://www.swepcolo.org) and now serves as acting president. She has completed three mini-triathlons and numerous foot races, though not quickly. She credits Professor Joe Travis with honing her ability to think creatively and critically at the same time, and actually misses his “zero point extra credit” questions. Dr. Travis provided invaluable growth opportunities to Dianne as student; she is honored still to count him among her friends. Dianne lives near Denver, CO, with her husband and young son, where they enjoy hiking and biking in the mountains and playing in the snow. They recently moved to a house with a big yard where their son is discovering new uses for dirt.

1990s
L. Davis Phaup III, M.S. 1992: I got my M.S. with Dr. Ross Ellington, and I'm currently Environmental, Health & Safety Coordinator for Old Dominion Electric Cooperative in Glen Allen, Virginia. My wife, Christine, my two children, Hayley and Evan, and I visited Ross and the campus last November during the weekend of the Florida State vs. UVA football game.

Elizabeth Chattin, B.S. 1995 (M.S.): Post FSU, I wandered across country and up the eastern seaboard participating in amphibian and reptile research projects for just about every federal, natural resource acronym possible. Eventually, a stint in the Great Smoky Mountains NP led to my M.S. on spatial distribution of the Junaluska salamander, Eurycea junaluska. After gradual school, I moved to California and worked for a while in the non-profit conservation arena and eventually infiltrated a local, land use planning division as a biologist. I had no idea how disparate the land use planning and conservation biology disciplines were, but it has become one of my goals to bridge these disciplines. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to be when I grow up, but where is the fun and sense of exploration in that? My sincere thanks go to Dr. Tom Miller, Dr. Alice Winn, Dr. Fran James, and many others.

Shannon (Posey) Brittain, B.S. 1998: After graduation, I moved to Orlando to work as a water-quality analyst with a nationwide laboratory, then, a year later, as a biologist with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (Orlando airport). Three years after that, I moved to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as a Regional Biologist with the Bureau of Invasive Plant Management—the most rewarding and enjoyable position I have held to date. Later, I went to work with the Orange County Environmental Protection Division as a senior lake management specialist. I soon found out that local government solicits a lot more red tape than state goverment! Today, I live in Panama City, only two hours from FSU football, and am a stay at home mother of three and loving every minute of it! I will professionally be back one day, though!

Kristy (Jones-Sturdivant) Campbell, B.S. 1998: Immediately after graduating, I entered the Master's in Anesthesiology and Patient Monitoring Program at Emory University in Atlanta. I finished in the summer of 2000 and have worked ever since as an Anesthesiologist's Assistant (AA) at the Emory University Hospital. While I find my job challenging and rewarding what I love most is spending time with my two daughters! Living in Atlanta and now working part-time, I enjoy many different aspects of the city. We get back to Tallahassee whenever we can.

Paige Johnson Layman, B.S. 1999: After graduation, I worked as a construction assistant at an architecture firm before going back to school and receiving a master's in human genetics at Sarah Lawrence College, which focused specifically on genetic counseling. After grad school, I held a research position regarding the genetics of congenital heart defects. I am now in Charlotte, NC, working with families in a high-risk obstetrics office, educating them on risks, available testing, and probably outcomes for their pregnancies. I found what I want to be when I grow up--I just didn't know until after FSU that it even existed!

2000s
John Mullinax, B.S. 2002 (M.D.): I recently graduated from USF College of Medicine and will begin my residency in General Surgery here in Tampa at USF. Other updates since graduation include a marriage to Laura Gill (FSU College of Ed '03). While at FSU I worked with Dr. Tschinkel in his lab and I am very excited to see his much deserved recognition for his work with fire ants. I was also one of the many TA’s to Ann Lumsden in the nonmajors BSC1005L program. Please put any students in your current undergraduate program that are interested in medical school, especially here at USF, in contact with me. I’d love to help a fellow Seminole any way that I can.

Derik E. Cockerham, B.A. 2005: B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science, University of West Florida 2007; Medical Technologist II (ASCP); employed at Bay Medical Center, Panama City, FL.

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!


Editorial board: Anne B. Thistle (chair, thistle@bio.fsu.edu), Jo-Ann Falcon (jtfalcon@bio.fsu.edu), and Judy Bowers (bowers@bio.fsu.edu).