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BioBits Newsletter
University of Delaware
November  2011
In This Issue:
Research News
Staff News
Student News
Alumni News
Out of the Attic
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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Song Photo Research News

Dr. Jia L. Song joined the department in January 2010 as Assistant Professor. The main focus of the Song laboratory is to understand the regulatory role of microRNAs during early development. Dr. Song received her Ph.D. in Pathobiology from the University of Washington and began studying gene regulation in early development as a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University. Dr. Song has found that a global depletion of microRNAs in the early embryo leads to developmental defects, which can be rescued by four highly abundant microRNAs. Currently, the Song laboratory, which includes both undergraduate and graduate students, is testing the functions of these microRNAs. Two of the four are evolutionarily conserved and are medically important in cardiac disease and cancer. Using the relatively simple sea urchin embryo, Dr. Song's research will identify the molecular targets of these medically important microRNAs. This will contribute to a fundamental understanding of early developmental processes in general and will identify potential downstream diagnostic and therapeutic targets for treating human diseases. Dr. Song conveys her expertise to students in her graduate-level Developmental Biology course.  Read more... 


Acuff PhotoStaff News

Who took BISC 208 during the past years without encountering John Acuff, Laboratory Supervisor/Coordinator? If you did not, you missed seeing this jack-of-all-trades fix your computer glitch, catch your escaped anole, or trouble-shoot your potometer. For almost 20 years John has ordered and furnished supplies for BISC 208, prepped the labs weekly, maintained living specimens, and repaired equipment. If that equipment needed replacement but was too expensive, John built it. John found his position to be the perfect blend of his two degrees - Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University and Entomology and Applied Ecology from UD. Although it has been a seven-day-a-week job, he has "loved it." When asked what was the most fun about it, John's reply: "It's all been fun." His favorite part has been teaching BISC 207 and BISC 208 labs as a last-minute fill-in and also as head TA for labs during off-semesters. He enjoys creating ways to make his labs more exciting for students. After teaching and prepping two BISC 208 labs during winter 2012, John will retire. When his wife, also a UD employee retires, they will move to Tennessee. They plan to stay close to their children, also UD graduates and enjoy being grandparents. John will be hard to replace and will be sorely missed.


Mollee PhotoStudent News

Mollee Crampton started her undergraduate work at Del Tech and completed her last two years at Delaware State University as a Biology major with a concentration in Biotechnology. As a peer mentor for the Science and Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enrichment (SMILE) program she helped first year students transition into college. She also did research in a plant molecular genetics and genomics laboratory studying disease resistance in the common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris. In this project she and her group attempted to identify tentative P. vulgaris resistance gene analogs and ultimately identified 354 sequences. At Del State she also participated in the Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP). Shortly after arriving at the University of Delaware Mollee was awarded a Bridge to the Doctorate (BTD) fellowship which allows her to devote all of her time to her research project. She is working in the Herson lab on a new project which involves the microbiology of green roofs. These roofs are covered with vegetation, which offers the benefits of reduction of water runoff, insulation of the building, and decreased energy costs.

DeEuliis Alumni Photo
Alumni News

Diane DiEuliis received her bachelor's degree in 1988 and her Ph.D. in 1994 with Dr. Roger Wagner. She completed postdoctoral fellowships in Neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. DiEuliis then became a program director at the NIH and from there she joined the Executive Office of the President as Assistant Director for Life Sciences and Behavioral and Social Sciences in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). During her four year tenure at the White House, she was responsible for coordinating health issues among federal departments and agencies. Dr. DiEuliis is now the Deputy Director for Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a position she has held since August 2011.


Want to share your alumni news...Send your information and a photo to




Out of the Attic - Follow-up
Thanks to everyone who helped us identify Walter's Wolfs. We estimate that the photo was taken around 1977. So far we have identified the following people:


Walter's Wolfs

Back Row - Left to Right:  Milt Stetson (Faculty), Roger Wagner (Faculty), (Unidentified), George Molloy (Faculty), Ron Sasaki (Grad Student) and (Unidentified)

Second Row - Left to Right:  Dave Smith (Faculity), Norm Miller (Grad Student)

Front Row - Left to Right:  Frank Kuserk (Grad Student), Tom Dean (Grad Student), Jerry Smedes (Grad Student), Gordon Grau (Grad Student)




 Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and alumni!

































Contact Info

Pamela Vari 

Department of Biological Sciences