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Department News

Department of Biological Sciences Awards - Spring 2014

High Academic Achievement (High GPA):                Maryam Ahmad

Undergraduate Research Symposium:

1st Place -                                                              Maryam Ahmad

2nd Place –                                                            Leah Turigliatto

3rd Place –                                                             Stephanie Angel and Sarah McMasters

Outstanding Undergraduate TA                            Colleen Stobinski

Outstanding Peer Mentor                                      Nicole Carr

C.V. Wolfe Scholarship                                          Shazli Khan

Fred O. Hartman Scholarship                                Andrea Tsatalis

Biology Merit:                                                        Mariah Truscinski


Department of Biological Sciences Awards - Spring 2013

Outstanding Student (Dean’s Medalist):                 Daniel Hettel

High Academic Achievement (High GPA):                Abigail Wagner and Dan Kvaja

Undergraduate Research Symposium:

1st Place -                                                              Jacob Justinger

2nd Place –                                                            Dan Hettel

3rd Place –                                                             Hilary Linzie and Shelby Powell

Outstanding Undergraduate TA                             Alexandria Broekhuizen

Outstanding Peer Mentor                                      April Brockman

C.V. Wolfe Scholarship                                          Shazli Khan

Fred O. Hartman Scholarship                                 Mackenzie Keegan

 Department of Biological Sciences Awards - Spring 2012

Outstanding Student (Dean’s Medalist):                    Amanda Kitson*

*Amanda also won the Outstanding Arts and Sciences Undergraduate award for 2011. Congratulations!

High Academic Achievement (High GPA):               Amanda Kitson

Undergraduate Research Symposium:

1st Place -                                                             Andrew Stein

2nd Place –                                                             Amanda Kitson

Honorable Mention –                                              Lindsey Foster

Outstanding Undergraduate TA                               Dan Hettel

Outstanding Peer Mentor                                         Sydni Coleman

C.V. Wolfe Scholarship                                            Abigail Wagner

Fred O. Hartman Scholarship                                   Matthew S. Fischer


 Congratulations to both of these outstanding faculty members in the department!

 These grants are in addition to other recent awards to faculty in our department, including:

  • Dr. Maria Diakonova recently received an NIH R01 award ($1,250,000 over 5 years) to study the role of JAK2- PAK1 interaction in prolactin-dependent signaling.  R01 grants are considered the “pinnacle” of individual grants in science, and Dr. Diakonova is to be commended.
  • The R01 grant is added to an existing NIH R15 grant awarded to Dr. Diakonova in 2008   to study the role of JAK2-PAK1 interaction in human breast cancer.  This R15 award   runs through 2011.  Congratulations Dr. Diakonova!     
  • Dr. Malathi Krishnamurthy was awarded a NIH R15 grant ($462,000 over 3 years) to study the role of small cellular RNAs in amplifying the cellular responses to virus infections.  This grant will allow Dr. Krishnamurthy, who just joined us in January, to establish her new laboratory with a strong financial footing.  Congratulations Dr. Krishnamurthy!

In addition to these external awards, Dr. Robert Steven received competitive internal funding in 2011, in the form of a D’Arce award.

Recent Graduates from the Departmental graduate degree programs:

Dr. Sarah Rache – Ph.D. – Dissertation Title. “Processing and Presentation of Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase 65 T cell-Inducing Epitopes: Implications in the Non Obese Diabetic Mouse Model of Type 1 Diabetes” Laboratory of Dr. Anthony Quinn

Dr. Xinhui Shi – Ph.D. – Dissertation Title “Regulatory Functions of ZmMYB31 and ZmMYB42 in maize phenylpropanoid pathway”. Laboratory of Dr. John Gray

Nicole Bearss – M.S. – Thesis Title “Inhibition of prostate cancer via inhibition of peptidylglycine alpha-amidating monooxygenase (PAM)”. Laboratory of Dr. Paul Erhardt (Pharmacy)


 Dr. Doug Leaman accepts chairmanship of the Department of Biological Sciences.  Dr. Leaman joined the Biological Sciences Department at UT in 2001. (posted 2 March 2009) 

Dr. Patricia Komunicki named Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies“It is with great pleasure that we announce to you today that Dr. Patricia Komuniecki, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, has been selected as the new vice provost for graduate affairs and dean of the College of Graduate Studies,” wrote Dr. Rosemary Haggett, Main Campus provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Jeffrey Gold, Health Science Campus provost, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, in a memorandum issued to the campus community Dec. 19, 2008.  Komuniecki’s appointment took effect Jan. 1, 2009.  Komuniecki has served as chair for a decade, beginning as interim in 1998 and earning a permanent appointment in 2000. Her PhD in zoology came from the University of Massachusetts in 1977 and her master’s in biological sciences from Mount Holyoke College in 1976. She holds a BA in biology from Newton College (Boston College).  “I’m very enthusiastic about this new position and joining the leadership of The University of Toledo,” Komuniecki said. “I’m particularly excited about the opportunity to raise the profile of graduate education at UT.” (posted Jan 2009)

Two New Endowed Faculty Positions

  • The Harold C. and Charlotte L. Shaffer Endowed Chair in Biological Sciences.  A reception was held honoring Emeritus Professor Harold and Charlotte Shaffer on March 26, 2004. (more...)
  • The Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Endowed Professorship in Biomedical Research has been established in the Biological Sciences department. The department plans to recruit a renowned scientist and teacher working at the cutting edge of biomedical research. (more...)

Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) chapter formed at UTThe initial planning meeting was held on Wednesday, June 28, 2006. Dr. Nancy Collins gave the inaugural AWIS lecture on October 5, 2005.  (Click for more information on AWIS.)

A significant change in the department occured in July 2000 when the former Department of Biology became the Department of Biological Sciences. We still have the same mission: excellence in undergraduate and graduate education. Our research area in cell/ molecular biology focuses on signal transduction. We have faculty studying the regulation of transcription, nematode molecular biology, cytokine signaling, plant molecular biology and virology. Ecology colleagues joined with faculty from the former Department of Geology to form the new Department of Earth. Ecological, and Environmental Sciences. (posted Juy 2004)Welloween 2003. UT sponsors a health and wellness fair for employees and students the day after Halloween. For the third year, our department has sponsored a table on "Boo-ology". A variety of bones, skulls and skeletons come out of the closet for a fun way to pass a little science along. (posted October 2003)

Summer 2003 Lab Renovations. Three labs used for BIOL2160/BIOL2180 were renovated. This included removing unused sinks and bench shelves and installing 40 new Dell computers. The lab renovations allow for a more open and safe working environment for students. Every pair of students is equipped with a Dell Optiplex GX260 2GHz with a 17" flat panel monitor. This allows for integration of computer use into many labs. Students will expand their knowledge of Power Point and EXCEL. They will learn how to use the internet effectively for scientific research. We consider this an augmentation of wet labs with computers. No wet labs were replaced by computer only labs. (posted August 2003) RocketFest 2002 was a huge success! Over 12,000 people enjoyed the annual event prior to the start of school. Our department had a variety of information for undergraduates, specimens to investigate and fun stamps for the kids.(posted August 2002) Rocket Fest, 26 August 2001, was a great success. Approximately 8,000 people attended the 2nd annual event for students, families, and community members. Our booth featured information on our department, live planaria on the FlexCam, a powerpoint slide show of departmenal features/ pictures and coloring pages for the kids. See the UTNews story.(posted August 2001) A significant change in the department occured in July 2000 when the former Department of Biology became the Department of Biological Sciences. We still have the same mission: excellence in undergraduate and graduate education. Our research area in cell/ molecular biology focuses on signal transduction. We have faculty studying the regulation of transcription, nematode molecular biology, cytokine signaling, plant molecular biology and virology. Ecology colleagues joined with faculty from the former Department of Geology to form the new Department of Earth. Ecological, and Environmental Sciences. (posted Juy 2004)


Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Deborah Chadee received the University of Toledo’s “Honors College Professor of the Year” award for 2011. Dr. Harmych received her award at a banquet on April 17, 2011.  In receiving this award, she joins other past departmental winners including Dr. Brian Ashburner and Dr. John Plenefisch. Congratulations!

Dr. Charles Creutz was awarded the "Outstanding Teacher Appreciation Award" in August 2004 by the Sigma Phi Epsilon AcademicFraternity. (posted August 2004) Dr. Emilio Duran was recognized as a Master Teacher by the College of Arts and Sciences. Previous departmental receipients include Drs. Charles Creutz, Ernest DuBrul and Elliot Tramer. (posted July 2006) Brenda Leady, Laboratory Coordinator, was recognized with the UT Outstanding Staff Award for 2005. (posted October 2005) Dr. Emilio Duran received a Summer Faculty Teaching Fellowship Award form the UT Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). He will to develop BIOL2700: Critical Thinking and Writing in the Biological Sciences to teach students about the nature of science, the implementation of the scientific method and the use of critical thinking. (posted April 2005) Recent Emeriti were honored at the third annual luncheon for retired emeritus professors on October 1, 2003 in the Student Union hosted by Dean Stern, College of Arts and Sciences. Attending from the Department of Biological Sciences were Lloyd Jones, Harold Shaffer and Woon Jyung. (posted October 2003) Dr. Charles Creutz was named one of Ohio's Top 100 Educators by Ohio Magazine in September 2003. Faculty were nominated by their institution and winners were selected by a panel of editors. (posted September 2003) Spring 2002- Professor Emeritus Harold Shaffer was recognized by Dean David Stern at the Spring 2002 Arts and Sciences Commencement ceremony with a commendation for his many years of dedicated service to the University. (posted May 2002) Spring 2002- Dr. Ernest DuBrul has received a Distance Learning Faculty Fellowship that is part of the new OBOR Technolohgy Award to UT for the instruction of sciences teachers via distance learning. (posted May 2002) Dr. Scott Leisner was on WTVG13's "Ask the experts" program on 18 Oct 2001 answering questions on the anthrax threat. He also addressed the local Coast Guard facility staff on bioterrorism.(posted October 2001) Fall 2001Congratulations go to Dr. Charlie Creutz who has scored an award 'hat trick' this year!! He has been selected as one of four new Arts and Sciences Master Teachers (his third recognition with this award), as one of eight Master Mentors (a pilot program for advising undecided students), and one of six faculty recognized with an Award for Excellence for teaching of writing across the curriculum (WAC) courses. (posted August 2001) Dr. Bill Bischoff, professor and past chair of Biological Sciences, is now the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. He served as the Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences (1998-1999) before moving to the Provost's Office. (posted July 2001 Fall 2001 Drs. Keith Johnson and Margaret Wheelock have accepted positions at the Lied Transplant Center University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Arriving at UT in 1987, they made significant contributions to the department's research and teaching programs. We wish them well in their new endeavour! (posted July 2001) Fall 2001 Dr. Jani Lewis, Visiting Assistant Professor from 1998-2001, has accepted a faculty position at SUNY (State University of New York) Geneseo, New York (about 30 miles south of Rochester). Dr. Lewis did her doctoral work in the Biology Department at UT and a post-doc at the University of Michigan. The school has 5100 science undergraduates. She will be teaching basic biology, molecular biology, physiology and cell biology. She will continue doing research in cell adhesion and cancer and will work with undergraduates in the lab.(posted July 2001) 2001 Faculty retirements...we wish them the best of luck! Dr. Lou Glatzer continues research at the UT Lake Erie Research Center. Dr. Lloyd Jones continues his many interests in Weston, Ohio. Dr. Harold Leehas joined his family in California. (posted May 2001) Ecology colleagues who moved to the new EEES department include Dr. Stephen Goldman, Dr. Deborah Neher, Dr. Daryl Moorhead, Dr. Hans Gottgens, Dr. Elliot Tramer, and Dr. Bob Sinsabaugh. (posted July 2000)


Graduate Student News

  •  New help center and lounge in BO1013. A new help center for undergraduates in biology was established Fall 2003 Graduate students from Biological Sciences will be available. The graduate student lounge has also moved to BO1013. (posted August 2003)
  • Michael Hapiak received a $650 award from the National Academy of Sciences through Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research (GIAR). (posted August 2001)
  • Emhonta Johnson received the 2001 American Association for Cancer Research Minority Scholar Award. (posted August 2001)

Undergraduate Student News

  •  UT Biology/Pre-Med students as they departed for their exchange year at the University of Salford (England) in 2004. (posted September 2004)
  • Diamond Harris was named Glenn-Stokes Fellows for 2006-2007. The Glenn-Stokes Research Internship Program, named in honor of John Glenn (Ohio Senator and Astronaut) and Louis Stokes (Ohio Congressman) is designed to better prepare students for and to encourage them to pursue careers in science and technology. Students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are matched with faculty members at one of the fifteen participating institutions including UT. (posted June 2004)
  • UT Biology/Pre-Med students as they departed for their exchange year at the University of Salford (England) on September 14, 2003. (posted September 2003)
  • Steve Driver received an Outstanding Summer Student Award 2002 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (posted August 2002)
  • Louisa Seifert received a Fulbright Fellowship. She spent the 2001-2002 at Albert-Ludwig University of Freiberg, Germany doing neurology research. This is an extension of her honors undergraduate work she conducted at Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio with Dr. Lawrence Elmer. Louisa is a double major (BS in Biological Sciences/ BA in Psychology). She will attend medical school when she returns home. She was selected as the 2001 Outstanding Student for the Department of Biological Sciences. (posted August 2002)
  • Sarah A. Clark, junior Biology major,is the recipient of the Frances A. Stone Scholarship from the College of Arts and Sciences. (posted June 2002)
  • Rachael Sullivan, an incoming freshman Biology/Pre-Med major, is the recipient of a UT Founders Scholarship. (posted June 2002)
  • Summer 2001-Junior Kevin Aston was supported for his Honors research project during summer 2001 on C. elegans genetics conducted with Dr. John Plenefisch after Kevin returned from his junior year at the University of Salford, England. He presented his research at the 7th Annual Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium in April. Kevin also nominated Dr. Plenefisch as the "Honors Professor of the Year", and that honor was awarded at the spring Honors Banquet. (posted May 2002)
  • Freshman Jessica Hill received support for her participation in a Medicial Mission to the People's Republic of China in summer 2001 to gain a better understanding of the approaches of Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) toward treatment of pain. She presented her research at the Spring 2002 NCUR meeting in Wisconsin. Her advisor is Dr. Patricia R. Komuniecki. (posted May 2002)
  • Becky Hassel was selected by the Ohio Board of Regents as one of three recipients from UT to receive a two-year OBOR Fellowship for graduate and professional programs. Becky has decided to attend medical school at the University of Cincinnati.(posted May 2002)
  • Kevin Aston will receive a Presidential Scholarship from the Medical College of Ohio to cover his tuition expenses for his four years of medical school.(posted May 2002)
  • Meredith Snapp, a senior Biology/ Pre-med major, has been awarded the 2002-03 Ariss Family Pre-Med Scholarship. (posted March 2002)
  • Melissa Srougi received an Ohio Board of Regents Fellowship for graduate study. She will start her doctoral work at Case Western Reserve University in fall 2001. She spent her junior year at Salford and was an undergrad TA. (posted March 2001)
  • Troy Puckett has been awarded an Air Force Health Care Professional Scholarship (4 year tuition) to pursue his studies at the Ohio University School of Osteopathic Medicine. (posted March 1997)

Community Outreach News

  • Brenda Leady coordinated a 2 week summer campin June 2006 for “Accelerating Achievement in Math and Science in Urban Schools”. This five-year, $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to Dr. Larry Coleman in the College of Education brings economically disadvantaged 5th graders to campus for enrichment in science and math. (posted June 2006)
  • Pre-service and k-12 teachers, as well as faculty members, attended sessions on new curricula and instructional methods during the Northwest Ohio Symposium on Science, Math and Technology Teaching. Symposium sessions include "Dead Things in a Jar: How to Have the Coolest Classroom Ever" with Brenda Leady, UT coordinator of the biology lab with biological sciences, and "Cosmic Fellowship or Cosmic Loneliness: the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence" with Dr. Bernie Bopp, director of the UT Center for Teaching and Learning and professor of astronomy. According to Dr. Emilio Duran, director of SciMaTEC and UT assistant professor of biological sciences, this is the second year the event has been held. "We had more than 350 people attend last year. It's now a two-day event and we're expecting 500," he said.
  • Latino Youth Summit - May 10, 2005. The event, initiated by The University of Toledo 3 years ago, is an opportunity for 7th through 12th grade Latino students to gather with their peers and learn about educational and career opportunities. Student groups toured the Biological Sciences Department and participated in hands on activities inlcuding feeding the saltwater tanks. (posted May 2005)
  • On April 8, 2005 the department hosted a Weeblo group interested in forensic science. Eight young men attended the event along with many interested parents. Brenda Leady demonstrated how bones can be used to solve crimes. (posted April 2005)
  • On December 3, 2005, Brenda Leady staffed an information table at a career fair for girls, "Dreams to Reality," held at COSI-Toledo. (posted December 2005)
  • Dr. Emilio Duran and Dr. Patricia Komunicki are co-directors for the 41st annual Ohio Junior Science and Humanities Symposium sponsored by the UT Biological Sciences Department held March 31- April 2, 2004. High school students from all over Ohio presented papers and posters on topics from biofuel cells to SARS related proteases to snake censuses.
  • Dr. Anjali Gray presented information to young women interested in Science at COSI's "From dreams to reality" event in December 2003.
  • The TAPESTRIES (Toledo Area Partnership in Education: Support To Improve Elementary Science) received a $20,000 BEST Practice Award. Find more info on the Outreach page.
  • COSI sponsored "Dreams to Reality" on November 16-17, 2002. The program features information on women in sciencet for girls from across Ohio and Michigan. Brenda Leady presented information on fields in biology. Her hands on activity was making photomicrographs of the girl's cheek cell slides that they could take with them.(posted November 2002)
  • SciMaTech coordinated a summer camp in the Biological Sciences Department. Activities included using the microscope, extracting DNA from kiwis, measuring transpiration in confiers, dissecting a squid and a marine biology program. Click for more details.(posted June 2002)


Past Publications from the Department of Biological Sciences

 Grant Awards in the Department of Biological Sciences

Last Updated: 9/6/15