Department News for 2016

June 27
Dr. Mark Welch's Students Conduct Iguana Research in the Cayman Islands
see story at this link

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June 27
Sea Urchin Research-Dr. Ryan Range
see story at this link - external link

June 23
2016-2017 Scholarships Awarded
Congratulations to the recipients of the Department of Biological Sciences 2016-2017 Scholarship Recipients.

Ramsey & Elaine O'Neal Scholarship
Christian Manganti
Jacob Avery Roberts
Hannah Lynn Hults
Haley Nicole Jenkins
Mary Ann Smith
Jessica Lynn Milner
Harned Memorial Scholarship-Microbiology
Haley Nicole Jenkins
John C. Longest Pre-Med Scholarship
Jamelle V. Vance
Coy E. Patton Memorial Scholarship
Haley L. Derouen
Mildred Watkins Brand Pre-Med Scholarship
Madilyn Brooke Petty
Scott Ferguson Memorial Fund
Lachelle D. Vance
William-Gardner Memorial Scholarship
Mercedes S. Gaither

June 10
Chathurani Ranathunge Arachchige Receives Botanical Society Award
Biological Sciences Ph.D. student, Chathurani Ranathunge (Chathu) recently received a $500 Botanical Society of America (BSA) Graduate Student Research Award for her proposal, "Elucidating the adaptive role of microsatellites in natural populations of Helianthus annuus (Asteraceae).

Chathu conducts research under the direction of Dr. Mark Welch, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences.

The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards support graduate student research and are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendations.

Congratulations Chathurani!

May 4
Spring 2016 Society of Scholars in the Arts & Sciences
Congratulations to the 21 Society of Scholars inductees (see link below for article).

BIO students inducted were:

Robert S. Billingsley (Biological Sciences)
Madison L. Buras (Biological Sciences)
Ridgeland Clay Dabbs (Microbiology)
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May 4
2016 Spirit of State Awards
Congratulations to the 19 MSU students receiving Spirit of State Awards. Biological Sciences recipients are

Mikaela S. Gold (Biological Sciences/Pre-Med)
Heidi Meeks (Biological Sciences/Pre-Med)
Jeronn R. parker (Biological Sciences)

Follow link for the full story. - external link

May 4
Biological Sciences Graduate Research Award
Congratulations to Lindsey Brown--2nd Place Biological Sciences Graduate Research Award Winner.

Lindsey is a 3rd-year Ph.D. student under the direction of Dr. Justin Thornton, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences. Her research focuses on understanding the role of metal ion availability, specifically zinc and cobalt, in Streptococcus pneumonia physiology and virulence.

May 4
Biological Sciences Graduate Teaching Award
Congratulations to Evelyn Windham, recent recipient of the Biological Sciences Graduate Teaching Award. She is a M.S. student under the direction of Dr. Gary Ervin, Professor of Biological Sciences.
In addition to her teaching excellence, Ms. Windham also conducts research in Dr. Ervin's lab. She, along with doctoral student Cory Shoemaker, has spent the last two years studying wetland restoration projects in the Mississippi Delta to better understand factors influencing the success of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetland Reserve Program restorations.

May 2
BIO Ph.D. Student, AlexTice, Receives Two Research Awards
Congratulations to Alexander (Alex) Tice, Ph.D. student under the direction of Dr. Matt Brown, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences. Mr. Tice received the Office of Research and Economic Development 2016 Graduate Student Research Award for the College of Arts and Sciences at the Annual Research Awards Banquet April 28, 2016. In addition, Alex received the Department of Biological Sciences 2016 Graduate Student Research Award.

Alex is a second year Ph.D. student in Dr. Brown's lab where he pursues his passion for unique organisms that fascinated him in his early graduate work. A portion of his dissertation project involves investigation of the molecular mechanisms involved in the transition from unicellularity to multicellularity in the slime mold life cycle.



May 2
Congratulations to Dr. Counterman-Research Award Recipient
Dr. Brian Counterman, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, received the Office of Research and Economic Development 2016 Faculty Research Award for the College of Arts & Sciences at the Annual Research Awards Banquet April 28.

Dr. Counterman's research studies the amazing diversity found on butterfly wings to better understand genetic changes responsible for the origin of new species.

He has published 22 papers in some of the top scientific journals including Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Since joining MSU, Counterman has been awarded nearly $1 million in external research funds and has given 20 invited presentations of his research at other universities and conferences. He is part of an international consortium of butterfly biologists that, together, were the first to identify the genes that control differences in color and shape of patterns on butterfly wings. His research has led Dr. Counterman on numerous field expeditions across South and Central America to collect butterflies for genome sequencing.

April 22
Chathurani Ranathunge Receives Oral Presentation Award
Biological Sciences Ph.D. student, Chathurani Ranathunge, received 2nd Place in Oral Presentation at the MidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society Annual Meeting March 3-5, 2016, in Memphis, Tennessee. Ms. Ranathunge's presentation was entitled, "Differentially Expressed Genes between Latitudinal Populations of Sunflowers are Enriched with Microsatellites." Her research is performed under the direction of Dr. Mark Welch, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences.

For more information about Dr. Welch's research lab:

- external link

April 22
Jonathan Belanich Inducted to Graduate School Honors Hall of Fame
Congratulations to Jonathan Belanich, M.A. student in Anthropology (Advisor: Dr. Molly Zuckerman) and Ph.D. student in Biological Sciences (Advisor: Dr. Heather Jordan), was recently inducted to the Graduate School Honors 2016 Hall of Fame, along with 7 others. Jonathan conducted research in Dr. Jordan's lab. Follow the link for the rest of the story... - external link

April 22
Jackson Coole and Jaslyn Langford Awarded Spring 2016 Undergraduate Research Symposium Presentation Awards
Jackson Coole (right) and Jaslyn Langford (left) earned first and third place awards, respectively, for their presentations at MSU's Spring 2016 Shackhouls Honors Undergraduate Research Symposium and Community Engagement Symposium. Both students presented posters of their research being conducted in the lab of Dr. James A. Stewart, Jr., Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences. Mr. Coole's presentation was entitled, "Persistant Organic Pollutants Increase Rage Signaling and Oxidative Stress in Diabetic Hearts," and Ms. Langford's presentation was entitled, " Rage Signaling is Intersected by RAP1A Crosstalk in Fibroblasts in Diabetic Hearts." Congratulations to both these students for their outstanding work!

April 7
Dr. Kaplan Receives A&S Teaching Award
Dr. Evan Kaplan, Instructor, Biological Sciences recently received the College of Arts & Sciences Natural and Physical Sciences Teaching Award. Congratulations, Dr. Kaplan!

April 7
Cory Shoemaker Receives Best Student Oral Presentation
Biological Sciences Doctoral student, Cory Shoemaker, was awarded the Best Student Oral Presentation at the 2016 Mississippi Water Resources Conference, held April 5-6, in Jackson. His presentation, entitled "Effects of land use on wetland plant diversity in Mississippi," was selected for the First Place award. Cory's research, conducted under the supervisions of Dr. Gary Ervin (Professor of Biological Sciences), has been funded by approximately $100,000 of external support from the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute and the U.S. Geological Survey. Cory and Master's student, Evelyn Windham, have spent the last two years studying wetland restoration projects in the Mississippi Delta, to better understand factors influencing the success of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetland Reserve Program restorations. CONGRATULATIONS CORY!

March 29
Dr. Diana Outlaw Receives NIH $80,000+ Grant
Please follow the link for the article about Dr. Outlaw's grant award:

- external link

March 28
BIO Student Jaslyn Langford Selected to Present Research at the Rotunda in the State Capitol
Jaslyn Langford, undergraduate Biological Sciences-Microbiology major is one of two MSU undergraduates chosen for the honor. Please see full story at the following link: http://biology.msstate.edu/pdf/bio_student_research-rotunda.pdf.

January 26
Dr. Matthew Brown Awarded NSF Grant
Dr. Matthew Brown is Principal Investigator on an NSF Grant entitled "Examining the macroevolutionary trajectories in Amoebozoa, a major lineage of eukaryotes." The National Science Foundation grant in the amount of $825,000 began in May of 2015 and will continue through April 2018. Follow the link to learn more

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