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Biology Majors End Academic Year with Presentations at Conferences

Over twenty Biology majors ended the 2013-2014 academic year with a flurry of travel to five different conferences, where they presented their research. 

Drosophila Research Conference

Letitia Thompson was awarded a travel grant to attend and present at the 2014 Drosophila Research Conference in San Diego, California. Attending with her mentor Dr. Amanda Norvell, Letitia presented a poster entitled “grk mRNA alternatively spliced during oogenesis.”

Ecological Society of America, Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s 2014 Annual Meeting

Ten students presented their undergraduate research at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America’s 2014 Annual Meeting at the University of Maryland at College Park. Dr. Janet Morrison accompanied her students, who presented the following research presentations:

  • Alison Ball, John Speigel, Gio Tomat-Kelly, Nicole Mallotides, Priya Dalal, Danielle Leng, and Shane Wilkins: “Recruitment of experimental garlic mustard and Japanese stilt-grass populations in metro forests”
  • Nicole Mallotides: “Native tree seedlings and over-abundant white-tailed deer in the metropolitan forest”
  • Shane Wilkins: “Variation in the abundance of a spring ephemeral wildflower in deer-ridden suburban forests”
  • Megan Wyles: “Population genetic diversity and ecological invasion”

Tri Beta District Convention

Five TCNJ Biology students presented research at the NE District 2 Tri Beta Convention at Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and came home with 3 of the 4 awards given for the poster presentations. Accompanied by Dr. KT Elliott, the students and their research topics were:

  • Jennifer Aleman: “GLD-1 expression during germline development in C. elegans”
  • Lauren Langbein: “Msc1 interacts with the kinetochore to ensure accurate chromosome segregation”
  • Dylan McClung: “Genetic analysis of YqgF, a predicted Holliday junction resolvase in Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1”
  • Ryan Moazamian: “Examining the functionality of the NuA4/Swr1 complexes in  gene expression”
  • Rob Myers: “Neoplastic transformation of neural precursor cells to model glioblastoma multiforme”

American Society of Plant Biologists, NE Section

Five TCNJ Biology students attended the Annual Meeting of the NE Section of the American Society of Plant Biologists, held in Kingston, RI, accompanied by their research mentor, Dr. Leeann Thornton.  The students and the titles of their research presentations were:

  • Wil Prall: “Phylogenetic and functional analysis of the CYP72A enzymes contributing to secondary metabolism in flowering plants”
  • Amanda Soler, Sundeep Gidugu, Oliver Hendy, and Nikitha Yerram: “Molecular, genetic and biochemical analysis of the stress response activity of CYP72A enzymes from Arabidopsis”  

William Paterson University Undergraduate Research Symposium

Three students from Dr. Nina Peel’s lab presented posters at the William Paterson University Undergraduate Research Symposium.  Jessica Lee was honored with the First Prize in the Genetics category for her presentation.

  • Zachary Barth: “Decreased tubulin glutamylation impairs male worm fecundity”
  • Daniel Chawla: “Tubulin glutamylation: post-transitional regulation of microtubule severing”
  • Jessica Lee: “Combining mutations in 5 TTLL enzymes to investigate the function of tubulin glutamylation”


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