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BioBits Newsletter
University of Delaware
September 2011
In This Issue:
Student News
Research News
Alumni News
Department Pic
Welcome to the BioBits
E-Newsletter from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware.   We are excited to share our news with you in this new format!  
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  Welcome New Students!



D. Smith Photo

The Department of Biological Sciences welcomed 330 new undergraduate students this fall.  Of these 330 Biological Sciences majors, 50 are in the Honors Program and approximately ten have shown an interest in the BS degree with a concentration in Pharmaceutical Sciences.  One of the Honors students, Jaewoong Yoo from Newark, Delaware, a double major in Biological Sciences and English, is shown above being advised by Dr. David Smith, Undergraduate Programs Director.  The department also welcomed eighteen new graduate students, shown below.  Twelve are M.S. students and six are Ph.D. students.  Ten of the new students have chosen the Molecular Biology and Genetics concentration, seven the Cell and Organ Systems concentration and one, the Chemistry and Biology Interface.

Grad Students 2011


 Reigle Schmieg Photo


Congratulations to Dr. Florence Schmieg and Ms. Betsy Reigle. This summer our department gathered to celebrate the promotion of Dr. Schmieg to Associate Professor and Ms. Reigle's thirty years of service to UD. Dr. Schmieg joined our faculty in 1989. She developed the Experimental Molecular Biology laboratory course and regularly teaches Introductory Biology as well as Molecular Biology of the Cell. Many of our alumni are familiar with her work in pre-health advisement. Dr. Schmieg has been the chairperson of the Health Science Advisement and Evaluation Committee (HSAEC) since 1997 and served as Director of Medical Scholars from 2002-2008. Ms. Reigle joined our department in 1979 back when we were the School of Life and Health Sciences and included not just Biology, but also Medical Technology and Physical Therapy. Her job encompasses the financial and human resources realm of the university. Through the years that Ms. Reigle has been with us, she has had to learn new technology and has taken on additional responsibilities. She has consistently done this with a professionalism and graciousness that is greatly appreciated by our faculty. We thank both Dr. Schmieg and Ms. Reigle for their years of service. Their dedication, positive attitude and commitment help make our department great.


 Allen Photo I

Welcome Back Dr. Deborah Allen


The department warmly welcomes back Dr. Deborah Allen, Associate Professor, who has returned from a 3-year leave of absence on loan to the National Science Foundation (NSF). As a Program Director in NSF's Division of Undergraduate Education, she organized and managed the peer review process for grant proposals, made decisions about which proposals received funding, and interacted with the directors of the funded projects to help them conduct them successfully. Dr. Allen also represented the agency at society meetings, gave workshops to help faculty write effective grant proposals, and served on various committees that worked on educational issues and projects that cut across the interests of several federal agencies. Highlights of her time in the Washington, DC area (in addition to working at NSF) included meeting former President Clinton at an inaugural ball and attending Senate briefings on educational issues and reform initiatives. Long an advocate of innovative undergraduate teaching methods, Dr. Allen is back in the classroom this fall teaching Introductory Biology.


 Lachke Photo

Research News


We are extremely pleased to have recruited Dr. Salil Lachke, a developmental biologist, to our faculty. Dr. Lachke will expand our training program in systems biology of mammalian organ development and disease. Dr. Lachke holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Iowa and completed his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital, in Boston. He served as an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and lectured at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine before joining the faculty at the University of Delaware in September 2011.

Dr. Lachke uses animal models, human genetics and systems-based approaches to investigate gene regulation during cell differentiation in the vertebrate lens. Lens transparency is the outcome of a specialized differentiation program that occurs throughout our life. Disruption of this program can result in the formation of cataracts - the most common cause of blindness worldwide.  Read more... 


Alumni Sept BioBitsAlumni News


Andrew Swiatowicz, D.D.S. ( B.A., 2006) recently completed his General Practice residency at the Wilmington Hospital of the Christiana Care Health System and entered private practice in the Pike Creek area of Wilmington,DE (Hazuda and Swiatowicz Aesthetic Family Dentistry). During his days at UD, Dr. Swiatowicz was an active member of the UD community. He was a Blue Hen Ambassador, a member of the UD men's crew team and an undergraduate teaching assistant in our department. In 2010 he graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, where he served as class president and student body president. Dr. Swiatowicz remains active in competitive rowing and even coached in a high school rowing program while in dental school. We are delighted to have him back in the area. Last spring Dr. Swiatowicz visited the department and shared his experiences in dental school and residency with members of our Pre-Dental Society.


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Contact Info

Pamela Vari 

Department of Biological Sciences