An Update for the FAU Life Science Community   |    March 27, 2019
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 2018, they published 91 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The Biological Sciences Department has strong collaborations with local research institutions. We plan to cover various areas and geographic units as the stories emerge.
Dr. Rod Murphey, Chairman
FAU Neuroscientists Present at Sunposium 2019 Conference
The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, which is located on the FAU Jupiter campus, held the Sunposium 2019 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach from March 4-8 th . This year, FAU neuroscientists located on the Jupiter campus were featured during the talk sessions. Bethany A. Stahl, Ph.D.,  a post-doctoral fellow who works in the laboratory of  Dr. Alex Keene , an Associate Professor of Biology and Jupiter Life Science Initiative faculty researcher, was selected to speak on "Glial regulation of Sleep and Metabolic Rate." In addition, Dr. Randy Blakely , Executive Director of FAU's Brain Institute and Professor of Biomedical Science, was invited to speak on "Rare Opportunities for Insights into Serotonergic Mechanism in Autism."Read more here
They're Back! Scientists Now Have Intimate Shark 'Diaries'
In the largest migration in U.S. coastal waters, blacktip sharks are headed south in the thousands for their annual migration off Florida’s southeast coast. For almost a decade, Dr. Stephen Kajiura  has been observing and tracking these “snowbirds of the sea” by air and by sea. Now, the latest addition to his arsenal of tools is providing personal and intimate details about them. Attached to their dorsal fins for two to four days, a $5,000 reusable radio and satellite sensor is capturing and measuring detailed information on blacktip sharks’ movements. Data from these “shark diaries” can reveal activities like how often they swish their tail, what depth they prefer to inhabit, and even their favorite time of the day to get close to the beach. Read more here
Dual-Enrolled Undergraduate Researcher Named Scholar
Hannah Herbst , a dual-enrolled FAU High School student who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne Porter , was named one of the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) Scholars, one of the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition. Hannah's project in the Biomechanics lab is entitled "Biomimetic Antibacterial Engineered Surface Topography Development to Reduce the Spread of Pathogens in Medical Facilities." Read more here .
FAU Sweeps Awards at the 2019 International Sea Turtle Symposium
Many FAU Biology faculty and students, both graduate and undergraduate, attended the 2019 International Sea Turtle Symposium (ISTS) that took place in Charleston, South Carolina. The conference was attended by: Dr. Sarah Milton and three of her graduate students; Dr. Jeanette Wyneken , her post-doctoral fellow, four graduate and two undergraduate students; and  Dr. Michael Salmon , his postdoc and three graduate students. FAU swept the awards competition with Boris Tezak , Integrative Biology Ph.D. candidate who works in the Wyneken laboratory, won first place in the Biology Orals Competition. Dr. Wyneken was awarded the Sea Turtle Champions Award and Dr. Salmon was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. Read more here .
JLSI Neuroscientist Named Kavli Fellow
Dr. Alex Keene , Associate Professor of Biology and JLSI researcher, has been named a Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and selected to participate in the 30th Annual U.S. Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium (KFoS) scheduled from Feb. 28 th - March 2 nd . Attendance at the KFoS symposium is by invitation only. Attendees are selected from among award winners for early career scientists in the U.S. and abroad. Keene, a neuroscientist who is focuses on the neural basis through which sleep and feeding state interact, is only the second FAU faculty member to be named a Kavli Fellow. Read more here .
11 th Annual Integrative Biology Retreat A Major Success
The annual Integrative Biology (IB) Retreat brings all the graduate students in the Integrative Biology PhD program together as well as recruit’s new students and is hosted by the Association of Integrative Biology Students and the Association of Biological and Biomedical Students. The IB PhD program currently has 77 students from both the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and College of Medicine, encompassing different disciplines spread out over four FAU campuses. The day's events featured a poster session, a Faculty 3-Minute Thesis Competition, Distinguished Alumni talk, keynote speech, and reception. This event is generously sponsored by the College of Science, College of Medicine, Jupiter Life Science Initiative, Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Brain Institute, and the Graduate and Professional Student Association. Read more here .
Biology MS Alumna Named 'Outstanding Young Owl'
Shelby Creager , who received her Biology Master's degree under the direction of Dr. Marianne Porter , will receive an award honoring exceptional young FAU alumni at the annual Outstanding Young Owl award ceremony on March 15, 2019. Creager, along with seven other recipients, will be recognized at the annual ceremony. Creager's field work experiences and focus on shark biology helped her land a position with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as an Endangered Species Act Section 7 Biologist. Read more here .
In the Media
IB PhD Candidate Presents at ASLO 2019 Conference
Conall McNicholl , Integrative Biology PhD candidate who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marguerite Koch , presented at the 2019 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) in San Juan, Puerto Rico from February 23 - March 2, 2019. They discussed results from microsensor and calcification experiments conducted at FAU and Little Cayman Island (LCI) Research Center on coral reef macroalgal responses to ocean acidification. Tropical reef macroalgae are important for reef structure, development and coral larval settlement. Read more here .
J. Experimental Biology
Katherine Galloway , IB PhD candidate who works in the laboratory of  Dr. Marianne Porter , published a paper examining the mechanical properties of venous spines and morphology among lionfish species. Read more here .
PLOS Biology
Maria Yurgel and Priyanka Kakad , recent IB PhD graduates who worked in the labs of  Dr. Alex Keene and Dr. Tanja Godenschwege respectively, published a paper investigating the cellular basis of sleep–metabolism interactions. Read more here .
Marine Ecology Prog Series
Chelsea Bennice , IB PhD candidate who works in the laboratory of Dr. Randy Brooks , published a paper examining temporal and spatial distribution and resource partitioning mechanisms that facilitate the coexistence of two octopus species in a shallow water lagoon in South Florida. Read more here .
Biology Open
Sarah Hoffmann , IB PhD candidate who works in the laboratory of  Dr. Marianne Porter , published a paper examining 3D movement of the pectoral fin in Pacific spiny dogfish. Read more here . Hoffmann was also featured in their First Person interviews to promote her research. Read more here .
Who's Tougher? Baby Sharks or Daddy Sharks?
It’s not just their teeth and jaws that people find intriguing. It’s also their funky shapes and unique skeletal makeup that capture attention. Unlike humans and most land animals, sharks have mineralized cartilage skeletons instead of bones. This allows them to move at unbelievable speeds through the water.  Danielle Ingle , Integrative Biology PhD candidate who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne Porter , examined cartilage mechanics from six species of sharks under biologically relevant conditions along the length of their bodies and over a range of ages. Read more here .
FAU Social
Searching for Antibiotics
Dr. Diane Baronas-Lowell is leading the Tiny Earth project at FAU that focuses on identifying new antibiotics that kill superbugs. Superbugs are bacteria that have developed resistance to all known antibiotics. Read more here .
Internship Spotlight
Danielle Bartz , who is currently doing an internship in the laboratory of  Dr. Stephen Kajiura , Professor of Biology, were recently featured on a FAU social media video about her internship in his laboratory studying blacktip shark migration.
Manatee Masters
Rachel Shanker , who works in the laboratory of Dr. Randy Brooks , and Andie Hernandez , who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne Porter , are two of FPL's fifteen Manatee Masters. FPL opened Manatee Lagoon in 2016 for the public to watch the sea cows in action and they hire FAU students to become their manatee experts.
Marine Science MSO Program
The Marine Science & Oceanography MS program headed by co-directors Dr. Sarah Milton and Dr. Peter McCarthy  is jointly administered by the College of Science and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. This science degree program focuses specifically on coastal and marine issues and allows graduate students to work directly with world class researchers.
Meet the Boca Raton Biology Office Staff
Michelle Cavallo , Director of Academic Programs and Support Services. Michelle administers programs and academic assessments within the Biology Department. 
Rebecca Dixon , Senior Secretary and Master of Science in Biology Program Assistant. Please contact Becky if you have questions about the Biology Master's programs.
Sharon Ellis , Secretary and Biology Honors Program Assistant. Please contact Sharon if you have questions about the Honors program in Biology or need general assistance. 
Dr. Stacee Caplan , Graduate Program Coordinator for Biology PhD students across all campuses. Please contact Dr. Caplan if you have questions about the Integrative Biology PhD programs. 
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 contact Sharon at 561-297-0387 or
To feature exciting news and accomplishments in this newsletter,
please contact  Dr. Stacee Caplan at