An Update for the FAU Life Science Community   |  August 24, 2017
This newsletter will highlight initiatives and activities in the Department of Biological Sciences. With 30 faculty distributed at three sites (Davie, Jupiter, and Boca Raton), we play a large role in the development of FAU's life sciences. Our faculty focus on three main research areas: environmental science, neuroscience, and marine science. In 2016, they published 70 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and spent $2.6 million dollars in research grant funding. The Biological Sciences Department has strong collaborations with local research institutions. We plan to cover various areas and geographic units as the stories emerge.
The Annual Biology Faculty Retreat Will Take Place on the Davie Campus
The 2017 Biological Sciences Department faculty retreat will take place on August 28th in the Heritage Room (Student Union Building) on the Davie campus. This annual event encourages Biology faculty members across several campuses to participate in program, social and scientific interactions, address concerns and receive feedback in hope of building better departmental programs for both faculty and students. All Biological Sciences Departmental faculty members are welcome to attend the retreat. 
Google Analytics Reveals Most Visited Biology Webpages
Google Analytics data from the past year reveals that the Undergraduate Degree Programs webpage had 17,958 unique page views with the BS Biology degree page receiving over 8,000 and the Neuroscience & Behavior degree page with 7,400 views. The Graduate Degree Programs webpage received over 6,300 unique page views. In research areas of emphasis, Neuroscience received 5,150 views, Marine Science had 4,780 views, and Environmental Science had 1,844 page views over the last year. 
Integrative Biology Alumna Adds to the Growing FAU Life Science Hub
Dr. Sirisha Madem, Integrative Biology alumna, will be working as a postdoc in the laboratory of Dr. Lucia Carvelli, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, on the FAU Jupiter campus. Sirisha will investigate the behavioral, functional and epigenetic changes caused by chronic exposure to psychostimulants during early development, and how these changes are transmitted to future generations. This project is part of a National Institutes of Health R01 research grant totaling $1,563,760. 
Recent Funding 
Dr. Alex Keene
Dr. Alex Keene , Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has received a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant totaling $333,000 for his project entitled “Neural mechanisms of sleep loss in the Mexican cavefish.” Read more here
Dr. Herbert Weissbach
Dr. Herbert Weissbach , Distinguished Research Professor in the Biology Department, has received a three-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant totaling $442,560 for a project entitled "Activators of MsrA and MsrB: potential use for diseases of the retina." Read more here
Dr. Rindy Anderson
Dr. Rindy Anderson , Assistant Professor in the Biology Department, was awarded a Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorder to study the songs of female Bachman's sparrows. This study could be integral to the conservation efforts of this elusive and threatened species. Read more here
In the Media
FAU Researchers Featured During 'Shark Week' 
Many FAU Biology Researchers were featured in interviews and made appearances on local and national programming networks during the national programming event 'Shark Week.' Drs. Stephen Kajiura and Marianne Porter of the Biological Sciences Department appeared on many local programming networks to discuss shark physiology, migration, shark encounters and even Olympic legend Michael Phelp's chances racing a shark. Dr. Matt Ajemian, Assistant Research Professor at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and Integrative Biology PhD program faculty, appeared on Discovery Channel's Shark Week segment "Return of the Monster Mako." 
FAU Biology Well-Represented at National Conferences
Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
The 2017 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists was held in Austin, Texas this year. Many FAU faculty and students across several campuses attended the event and received awards. Read more about the event  here
Benthics 2017
The laboratory of Dr. Voss, Assistant Research Professor at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and Integrative Biology PhD program faculty, attended the 2017 Benthic Ecology Meeting in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Read more about the event  here
Integrative Biology Graduate Student Featured in Gold Coast Magazine
Integrative Biology Ph.D. candidate Missy Williams was featured in the summer issue of Gold Coast magazine in "The Mystery of the Wild Monkeys of Dania" (page 58). Missy works in the laboratory of Dr. Kate Detwiler, Assistant Professor of Anthropology with a joint appointment in the Department of Biological Sciences. Detwiler's research focuses on primate hybridization and speciation, molecular primatology, primate behavioral ecology, and conservation of African monkeys and their rainforest habitats. Read the article here
Watch a video featuring their research here
Student Spotlight
Richelle Poulos a senior in the Biology B.A. program, just successfully completed the Biology Honors Thesis Program under Dr. Frazier’s guidance. Her honors thesis project entitled, “The structure-function analysis of Amyloid Precursor Protein in the Drosophila Giant Fiber Circuit”, was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Godenschwege, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. “I initially wanted to do research because it was something to ‘check off’ for medical school; I didn’t realize how much I would love working in the lab,” said Richelle. Since 2016, Richelle has presented her research at two local conferences and received two undergraduate research fellowships. After graduation, she will continue in the Godenschwege laboratory this summer before she begins work as a Certified Nursing Assistant. “I strongly support and encourage pre-health professional FAU students to submerse themselves in research at FAU because it teaches you to critically think, be independent, organized, reliable, and precise.” 
Biology Student Named Florida's 'Student of the Year'
Tevin Ali, a recent graduate of FAU’s B.S. Biological Sciences degree program, was named the 2017 Student of the Year by the Florida Association of Colleges and Employers (FloridaACE). Each year, FloridaACE recognizes an outstanding student from a Florida university based on their achievements in experiential learning and involvement on their college campus. “My time at FAU made me realize that my true strength lies not in one, but the many who encouraged me.” Ali credits the Lead & Serve Office, FAU’s Career Center, and staff of the College of Science for believing him and supporting him throughout his journey at FAU. Read more about Tevin Ali  here.
Where Are They Now?
Dr. Joy Young
What you may, or may not see in my resume is the non-linear path I took into the sciences. I took a job at Sea World in San Diego where I discovered a passion for working with fishes and aquatic reptiles. My interest in research started to grow when I became the lead aquarist at a new aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. I took a vacation to volunteer in a research lab in Bimini, Bahamas. Despite all my colleagues assurances I would hate research- it was boring, tedious, unfulfilling- I loved it! I moved to the Bahamas and started working at the research lab as a manager. I eventually moved to Florida and interviewed potential advisors at several universities. Dr. Colin Hughes at FAU was the perfect match. Since graduation, my career at the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was in full swing. I was promoted as a research scientist, I manage an international collaborative organization of scientists, I am active in the AFS Hutton mentorship program, and I was nominated as a steering group member on a national board of scientists. Not many people would, or should, follow my path. However, I think my path demonstrates the importance of taking opportunities, working hard, and allowing yourself to change goals and priorities. My only regret is how long I held on to feeling ashamed, or less of a scientist, for not following a traditional route. 
Dr. Courtney Cocilova
As graduation quickly approaches, Ph.D. students ask themselves which direction would best be suited for them, academia or industry. Since I was already working in an academia-style setting, I decided to explore the industry route that I had not been exposed to yet. During my last semester at FAU, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of the internship program offered by Sancilio & Company (SCI) working in the analytical laboratory. I acquired a lot of industry-based knowledge, additional laboratory skills, working in an environment with strict guidelines, and I became more prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation. The hands-on experience and engagement in real project scenarios I gained helped me make a very important career choice; I decided that I wanted to continue working towards advancing the health of individuals and build my career in the pharmaceutical industry. SCI hired me as a Senior Scientist in the Analytical Sciences Laboratory after graduation. Since then, I have been working in a very fast-paced, challenging, yet rewarding environment. Thank you to SCI for being so welcoming to students and thank you to FAU for allowing this partnership to exist. I truly believe that I would not be where I am today without these opportunities. 
Meet the Davie Biology Office Staff
Sheryl van der Heiden , Coordinator for Research Programs and Services. Please contact Sheryl if you have questions about research on the Davie campus or need general assistance. 
Cynthia Berman-Gruen , Environmental Science Master's Program Assistant. Please contact Cynthia if you have questions about the program or need secretarial and general support. 
Cristina de la Rosa , Biology Laboratory Supervisor. Please contact Cristina if you have questions about or need suport in the coordination of Davie campus laboratory courses. 
Lucetta Richards , Budget Coordinator. Please contact Lucetta if you have questions about contracts and grants for the Biology Department on the Davie and Boca Raton campuses. 
The Biological Sciences Department staff is here to serve students, both majors and non-majors, across several colleges and campuses at FAU. We are always happy to assist as well as answer questions that you may have. For general information about the Biological Sciences Department on the Davie campus contact Cynthia at  954 - 236 - 1267 or .
To feature exciting news and accomplishments in this newsletter,
please contact  Dr. Stacee Caplan at