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BioBits Newsletter
University of Delaware
January 2012
In This Issue:
Department News
Student News
Faculty News
Research News
Alumni News
Our Deepest Sympathies...
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!   

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DeLeon Mentoring HS Students 
Spreading the Joy of Discovery:  A K-12 Outreach
Patricia DeLeon, Trustee's Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences, is the recipient of a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. She was honored by President Barack Obama during a White House ceremony in Jan. 2010. During her distinguished career Professor DeLeon has mentored undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, young faculty in the early stages of their careers and visiting scientists from around the world. This fall Prof. DeLeon added high school students to her list of mentees. During the semester three seniors from Delcastle Technical High School, Ashley Aiken, Josephine Dolan and Jacquelyn Gomez (pictured here with Dr. DeLeon) interned in her lab and had the opportunity to observe first-hand the department, UD, and how science works. They were in Prof. DeLeon's lab approximately five hours daily and received high school credit for the internship. All three students have included UD in their college applications and will be first-generation college students. Reflecting on their experience, they stated that they felt "empowered as women in the science field" and they "treasured the doors that opened up for them." Dr. DeLeon described the internship as a very positive, mutually beneficial experience during which these high school students became "experts in doing Western Blots." They even trained an undergraduate in the technique. Prof. DeLeon remarked that "It was wonderful to see how they all developed confidence during their tenure."  
Undergrad Awards 
Student News
Twelve undergraduate students from the Department of Biological Sciences attended the 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences held on October 22, 2011 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Pictured here are some of the attendees (Back Row, L-R) Dylan Lowe, Alex D'Angelo and Victoria Roop, and (Front Row, L-R) Sarah Stamm, Lauren Gurski and Erica Boetefuer.  Over 200 students from 40 schools presented in 35 judging groups. Students from our department earned awards in six of those groups. Earning a first-place award were the following students, listed with their faculty mentors : Hamza Bhatti (D. Galileo), Erica Boetefuer (E. Selva), Lyana Labrada (K. van Golen), Dylan Lowe (C. Kirn-Safran), Sarah Stamm (D. Herson), and Ashley Shay (V. Funanage). Also presenting at the symposium were Alex D'Angelo and Lauren Gurski (both with A. Nohe), Alicia Liu and Allison McCague (both with E. Selva), Rohan Patel (Quantitative Biology - E. Lyman) and Victoria Roop (M. Duncan). The department is very proud of its undergraduate researchers who continue a fine tradition of participation in regional and national research meetings. Their attendance at the symposium was sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Undergraduate Science Education Program. Read more...


A. Hlousek-Radojcic Photo 
Faculty News
Dr. Alenka Hlousek-Radojcic joined Biological Sciences in August of 2010 as an associate professor. She has always loved teaching and comes to UD with thirteen years of experience teaching introductory biology, microbiology, nutrition, and genetics. Her research experience has been in molecular biology and plant lipid biochemistry. Prior to becoming a Blue Hen, Professor Alenka, as her students call her, taught at Richard Bland College of the College of William and Mary. She spent seven months as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer teaching plant molecular biology at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal. The main focus of her daily activities at UD is teaching introductory biology, and she strives to improve the efficiency of active-learning pedagogy. She also is working on designing tools that would improve student retention of information needed for success in upper-level biology courses. When not teaching biology, Dr. Alenka enjoys photography, gardening, cooking, reading, and she takes every opportunity to "hit the road" to explore any part of the world, be it near or far.

KirnSafranLabPhoto Research News

 Dr. Catherine Kirn-Safran (pictured here, third from left, with her research group) has been a Research Assistant Professor in the department since 2002. Her research focuses on developing novel strategies to detect and slow osteoarthritis (OA), a disease causing pain and stiffness of the joints due to normal aging and wear and tear. OA is a common debilitating disease of the elderly that is without cure and often diagnosed when permanent damage has already taken place. Dr. Kirn-Safran received her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from the University of Strasbourg (France) and then did her postdoctoral training at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, engineering mouse models to study mineralized tissue development and growth. Currently, her team uses cell lines and animal models of knee OA to study the events involved in the silent, but reversible, phase of OA. One project focuses on understanding cartilage degeneration and associated bone sclerosis as well as the discovery of new biomarkers for early detection of OA. Another approach uses novel viscosupplements (synovial fluid replacement) for cartilage repair via injections. The knowledge of early events associated with OA will help develop novel therapeutics for stimulating cartilage regrowth before irreversible destruction of the joint tissue occurs, and total joint replacement surgery is needed. Read more...

S. Williams Photo 
Alumni News

Stuart K. Williams (B.A. Class of 1974)  continued at UD to earn an M.S. in biochemistry with Dr. Robert Hodson and a Ph.D. in cell biology with Dr. Roger Wagner. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pathology at Yale University School of Medicine and currently is the Executive and Scientific Director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, a partnership between the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Health Care, and a professor in the Department of Surgery. His research spans the fields of cardiovascular bioengineering, biomaterials and diabetes and is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the United States Army, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and several private corporations. He is the co-founder of three biosciences companies and serves as a scientific advisor for several others. Williams holds 16 U.S. patents and has several additional patents pending. He has authored more than 135 scientific publications and is a reviewer for more than a dozen scientific journals. Dr. Williams is a member of numerous scientific and professional organizations and also serves on several advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. Among his awards are the Distinguished Alumnus Award from our department, the R&D Magazine Award for one of the most technologically significant new products in 2003, the Excellence in Surface Science Award from Surfaces in Biomaterials and several NIH awards.


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Our Deepest Sympathies....


Adair B. Gould


It is with great sadness that we report that Adair B. Gould, former Associate Professor in our department, passed away on December 6, 2011. Professor Gould received her Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Rochester in the 1940s. She joined the Department of Biological Sciences in 1964 as a Research Associate, and she retired as an Associate Professor in 1981.  She was a teacher, mentor, role model and wonderful friend to many faculty and alumni. She will be greatly missed. The Department of Biological Sciences encourages anyone wishing to make a donation in Dr. Gould's memory to send a contribution to the Office of Annual Giving at 83 E. Main St. Newark, DE 19716. Donated funds will be used to support undergraduates and honor the memory of Dr. Gould.


Checks should be made payable to the University of Delaware or you may make a gift online at   Please specify "In memory of Dr. Adair Gould - Department of Biological Sciences" in the box labeled "Other" or in the check's memo line. Gifts can also be made by calling the Development Office's toll-free number at 866-535-4504 during normal business hours.




Contact Info

Department of Biological Sciences

University of Delaware

105 The Green

118 Wolf Hall

Newark, DE  19716