Spring 2014 Newsletter | Biology | Marquette University




In March, three graduate students in the department (Josh Garlich, Adele Gordon, and Cassie Nelson) traveled to St. Margaret Mary School located at 92nd and Capitol in Milwaukee to judge science fair projects from 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.. The students were awarded a set number of points based on their poster board arrangement, creativity, organization, testability of the hypothesis, and more. The students worked on the projects individually or in pairs, depending on grade level, and in each grade level, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes were awarded. Memorable projects included blowing up soda by adding mints, testing the dissolvability of salt and sugar, and testing the “absorbability” of generic vs. brand name diapers. Josh, Adele, and Cassie enjoyed sharing their science expertise with the students and teachers and had fun reaching out to a catholic Milwaukee K-8 school.



Meghan Fealey is a second year graduate student in Dr. Lisa Petrella’s lab, and serves as the graduate student representative for the department.

Meghan Fealey"I had the privilege of attending my first conference last summer at the International C. elegans Meeting at the University of California Los Angeles. I was a first year graduate student and had only worked with C. elegans- or worms, as we like to call them- and my project for a little over 3 months. Although this was a short time, my PI encouraged me to draft and present a poster of the data I had collected. Upon arriving at UCLA, I was a little overwhelmed by all of the worm scientists and fields of research that C. elegans had contributed to. I attended many talks and various technique workshops and even a few social events, including a worm comedy show and dance party. The most memorable part of my journey however, was presenting my data for the first time. The poster session ran for three hours and I was scheduled to present my poster for the first hour and a half. I had a stream of interested people at my poster for well over the required hour and a half. I met people who were really encouraging and seemed excited about the data I had and the future of my project. However, the most memorable people were those who were a little more skeptical and wanted to debate my experimental design and results. Although this was stressful, it helped me learn more about my project and the criticisms of my work. Overall, I met some really great scientists, learned a lot about the field, and was encouraged about my research and my future in academia."



A number of our students will be graduating with their degrees this May. We’d like to congratulate them on their achievements, and wish them the best for their future endeavors.

Andrew Karls, Ph.D. May 2014
Advisor: Dr. Michelle Mynlieff
Dissertation: Mechanism of GABA (B) receptor-activated increases in L-type calcium current in the neonatal mammalian hippocampus.

Jon Resch
, Ph.D. May 2014
Advisor: Dr. SuJean Choi
Dissertation: Hypothalamic pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide: Impact on energy Homeostasis and glutamate signaling.

Jasmine Wu, M.S. May 2014
Advisor: Dr. Robert Peoples
Thesis: Positions in the GluN2C-containing NMDAR regulate alcohol sensitivity and ion channel gating.

Jordan Blacktop, Ph.D. May 2014
Advisor: Dr. John Mantsch
Dissertation: Ventral Tegmental Area Regulation of Stress-Induced Reinstatement of Cocaine Seeking.



Travel Awards

Zac Lunak, Cassie Nelson and Tiezheng Li were awarded Richard W. Jobling Awards to present their work as first authors at conferences.

Cassie Nelson recently received a travel award from the MU Graduate School for her upcoming trip to the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, CA.


Dr. Catherine Groteluschen Summer Research Award

The Dr. Catherine Grotelueschen Scholarship Fund for Biology provides an annual award to a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences to support the recipient’s summer research. Josh Garlich is this year's reciepient of the award.



Cassie Nelson and her mentor, Dr. Bob Fitts (along with Dr. Sandra Hunter and Dr. Alex Ng from the Exercise Science Department), traveled to Merrillville, IN in November to the Midwest ACSM conference to present a symposium on “Central and Peripheral Factors in Skeletal Muscle Fatigue: Impact of Aging and Disease”.

Cassie Nelson gave a 45 min talk entitled, “Cross bridge mechanisms of skeletal muscle fatigue: effects of H+, Pi, and age”, to the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Department of Physiology for their seminar series in January.

Yi Lin went to the Midwest Enzyme Mechanism Conference in October, and presented a poster there on "Studies into Domain Coordinations of Urea Amidolyase".



Cassie Nelson and Fitts RH. Effects of low cell pH and elevated inorganic phosphate on the pCa-force relationship in single muscle fibers at near-physiological temperatures. American Journal of Physiology Cell Physiology, 306: C670-678, 2014.




Biological Sciences Department

Marquette University, Wehr Life Sciences
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P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
(414) 288-7355