Biology Students Recognized at 2015 CPUB Conference

Posted on 4/30/2015 2:50:46 PM

Five undergraduate and graduate students representing the Department of Biology received awards at the 2015 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania University Biologists (CPUB) Conference held at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on April 11, 2015. Students attending the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities are eligible to compete for platform presentation awards and poster presentation awards at the annual CPUB Conference.

David Ampofo is a senior in the Widzowski Lab majoring in psychology and biology who became interested in his research topic, the interactive effects of neurotransmitter signaling and rodent pup handling on maternal care behavior and subsequent responses to stress in the pups, based on readings in his classes and discussions with faculty. Ampofo is excited about having a career in psychology and neuroscience research and will pursue his interest in a doctoral program at the University of Maryland in fall 2015.

Victoria Stone is a middle-level education major who plans to teach science to students in grades 4–8. She used survey research to assess the knowledge of undergraduate students to inform curriculum review with her project on the Pennsylvania Academic Standards and toxicology. Stone presented lessons for elementary school students on human health and toxicology at the 2014 Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association Conference.

Nicole Robinson is a junior majoring in natural science. She became interested in studying early arboreal mammals from the Jurassic of China after taking the Advanced Human Anatomy course with Shundong Bi. Robinson plans to attend graduate school to study human evolution using comparative and functional anatomy.

Natalie Verbanes is a senior in the Ruby Lab majoring in biology/pre-vet. Her project in the lab centers around the effects of caffeine on circadian rhythm regulation. She presented her research at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, a particularly noteworthy achievement for an undergraduate student. Since joining the lab, Verbanes has developed a keen interest in the neuroscience of circadian rhythms and has shifted her focus from veterinary medicine toward graduate studies in the circadian field.

Alexander Hess is a graduate student in the Townsend Lab, and his thesis research centers around the ecology and evolution of congeneric salamander assemblages. Hess is currently studying resource partitioning and character displacement in aquatic/terrestrial Desmognathus assemblages in Pennsylvania and terrestrial/arboreal Bolitoglossa assemblages in Honduras.

 Congratulations to the students and their research advisors.

Bio Students

David Ampofo - First Place: Undergraduate Poster Presentation - Cellular and Molecular Biology
“Are there interactive effects of maternal 5-HT2C inhibition and mouse pup handling on maternal care behavior?”
Daniel Widzowski - Research Advisor 

Victoria Stone - First Place: Undergraduate Platform Presentation - Biology Education
“Human Health and Toxicology – Determining Educational Outreach Needs for School-age Students”
Anne Simmons – Research Advisor

Nicole Robinson – Second Place: Undergraduate Poster Presentation - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
“Lifestyle of Earliest Arboreal mammal (Arboroharamiya jenkinsi) from the Jurassic of China”
Shundong Bi – Research Advisor 

Natalie Verbanes - Second Place: Undergraduate Poster Presentation - Cellular and Molecular Biology
“Caffeine potentiates circadian photic phase-resetting and delays light-entrained onset in mice”
Christina Ruby - Research Advisor 

Alex Hess

Alex Hess – Second Place: Graduate Platform Presentation - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
“A phylogenetic approach reveals a case of cryptic sympatry in lowland salamanders of the subgenus Nanortiton (Plethodontidae: Bolitoglossa) from Honduras”
Josiah Townsend – Research Advisor