Spring 2014 Newsletter | Biology | Marquette University




Do you have an update on your career? Have you run into a fellow MU Biology alum recently? Tell us your story! Send an email to the newsletter editor with your personal or professional achievements.

amy leliaert

Dr. Michelle Hastings received her doctorate from the Department of Biological Sciences in 1998. She studied pre-mRNA splicing and antisense RNA regulation of thyroid hormone receptor gene expression in Dr. Stephen Munroe’s lab. Read more






The course BIOL 1003 Biology Matters is designed to expose undergraduates to a variety of different paths they might take after earning their degree. This semester, instructor Dr. James Maki scheduled a number of graduate and undergraduate Biological Sciences alumni to speak to the students about their career paths and the nature of their jobs. The ones that have presented so far include Dr. Rupa Udani, a graduate alumnus, who is the Manager of the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at the Blood Center of Wisconsin, Julie Fangmann, an undergraduate alumnus, who teaches high school science, and Dr. Karen Harrington, another undergraduate alumnus, who is Manager of Clinical Affairs and Clinical Laboratory for Hologic/Gen-Probe/Prodesse Inc. Concluding this semester are presentations by two undergraduate alumni: Greg Archambault, a 1981 undergraduate alumnus, who is CEO of Fox River Fibers, and Michael Lawlor, MD/PhD, from the Medical College of Wisconsin.



Two former lab members from Dr. Martin St. Maurice’s lab, Melissa Budelier (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ’13) and Abigail Searfoss (B.S. Physics ’13) have been awarded NSF graduate research fellowships. Melissa is working towards her Ph.D. at Washington University, and Abigail is pursuing her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt.

Michael Bonaguidi (Biology minor ’00), Ph.D. (2007 from Northwestern), now a postdoc at Johns Hopkins University, received an NINDS Pathway to Independence Award entitled “Mechanisms Underlying Neural Stem Cell Heterogeneity in the Adult Hippocampus”. Mike was a bioengineering major with a minor in biology. He worked in Dr. Michelle Mynlieff’s lab from 1998-2000.


Susan Gater (M.S. ’09) is enjoying her recent career change to an Associate Biological Safety Officer at Texas A&M University.


Dr. Laura Korb Ferris (B.S. ’93) was alarmed when she heard that cell phone apps claimed to be able to diagnose skin cancer. Because of a shortage of dermatologists, many patients are turning to apps or primary care doctors who may not be qualified to make correct diagnoses. Ferris is working on developing software tools to help primary doctors determine which lesions need immediate attention. Read more in Marquette Magazine.

Dr. Jennifer Bray (Ph.D. ’10) received the Biology Department Teaching Award in recognition of her excellence as a faculty member in the Biology Department at the University of Wisconsin at Steven’s Point.


Since August 2013, Ashley Reynolds (B.S. Biochemistry/Molecular Biology '13) has been working in Dr. Murray Blackmore's lab at Marquette University, which focuses on spinal cord injury and the inability of mature central nervous system (CNS) neurons to regenerate. Certain transcription factors up-regulate gene activity leading to axonal regeneration and outgrowth in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The lab hopes that by forcing their expression in the CNS, the CNS axons will be able to regenerate like PNS axons. Ashley and other members of the Blackmore lab are editing a manuscript about one of these transcription factors to submit for publication this May. Ashley will attend the Neuroscience Doctoral Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin starting this summer. She plans to pursue her interest in the molecular imbalances related to affective disorders and hopes to conduct translational research to find better treatments for these disorders.





Biological Sciences Department

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