This fall, we welcome the newest member of our faculty, assistant professor Lisa Petrella. Dr. Petrella earned her Ph.D. in genetics from Yale University, and has just completed a postdoctoral fellowship at University of California-Santa Cruz. In her research, Dr. Petrella examines how developmental programs in C. Elegans vary with changing environmental factors. Organisms that cannot regulate their own body temperatures, like the nematode C. Elegans, need to have mechanisms in place to make sure that gene expression and chromatin states happen properly during development at a range of temperatures. She uses genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology to determine the molecular mechanisms that allow successful development in differing temperatures. Dr. Petrella will be teaching general biology in the fall.
This year the biological sciences department will again offer a summer undergraduate research program under the direction of Dr. Gail Waring. This will be Dr. Waring’s last year directing the program; next summer the torch will be passed to Dr. Edward Blumenthal. Eleven students representing 8 universities from across the country will be joining us for 10 weeks to conduct independent, faculty mentored research in eleven different labs. The NSF funded portion of the program targets students who are members of minorities currently underrepresented in the sciences, and students from colleges or universities with limited research opportunities. To fund Marquette students, we have established an endowment. To learn more about the endowment and to support the program see: Biology Student Research Endowment Fund.
The Department's Advisory Board added two new members with Dr. Joan Bathon (MU Alumni 1974), Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Ms. Clair Ruzicka (MU Alumni 1982), a life science professional in marketing and sales, who currently heads Ruzicka Consulting Services in Milwaukee. The Advisory Board meets biannually (fall/spring), and provides advice and guidance on our undergraduate and graduate programs. For example, the board was instrumental in helping us develop a new accelerated Masters Program (see the Fall 2011 Newsletter for a description) that will be submitted to the University for approval this summer.