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BioBits Newsletter
University of Delaware

March 2012

In This Issue:
Dr. Arnold M. Clark Memorial Lecture
Student News
Staff News
Alumni News
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E-Newsletter from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware.   We are excited to share our news!   

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Dr. John D. Gearhart


Dr. Arnold M. Clark

Memorial Lecture

April 18, 2012


Very likely your memories of biology at UD include one or more dedicated professors whose teaching and mentoring impacted you greatly as a student. Such was the case with Dr. Howard Hudson, an Allentown PA physician, who as an undergraduate was so inspired by Professor Arnold Clark, that he and his wife Patricia established the Clark Lectureship in his honor. Dr. Clark was a biology faculty member from 1946 to 1981, during which time he conducted research, helped establish the biology graduate program, mentored 30 graduate students and most important to him, taught genetics to science and non-science majors. It is not only Dr. Clark's teaching and selfless mentoring which Dr. Hudson so admired, but also his philosophy that learning is a life-long endeavor. This year's Clark Lecturer, the sixth in the series, embodies that philosophy. John D. Gearhart, Ph.D., a developmental geneticist, has devoted his professional life to the study of the molecular and cellular basis of embryonic development. Dr. Gearhart is currently the James W. Effron University Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and the Director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1998 Dr. Gearhart and his team at Johns Hopkins University published seminal work on the derivation of pluripotent stem cells from germ cells of the human embryo. His stem cell research since then has included cell specialization and the development of possible therapies. Dr. Gearhart's talk, entitled "Instructing Our Cells to Rebuild Our Bodies," promises to be an inspiring addition to our Lectureship series and a tribute to the legacy of Professor Clark. The department is indebted to Dr. and Mrs. Hudson for again sponsoring the Clark Lectureship, to be held this year on April 18 at 5:00 pm in 100 Wolf Hall.




Fahmy Photo
Graduate Student Fahmy Mamuya
Student News . . .

Fahmy Mamuya, a graduate student in Professor Melinda Duncan's lab, was recently named a University Graduate Scholar for the 2012-2013 academic year. UD Graduate Scholars are a select group of graduate students whose professional qualities are only matched by their ingenuity and stamina in the face of other life challenges. This fellowship is awarded in recognition of prior academic success and the student's potential for success in their field of study. Fahmy is finishing a Ph.D. in biological sciences as well as an Masters of Business Administration. The Graduate Scholars Fellowship will support Fahmy during the final year of his Ph.D. work. His pioneering research on the first functional analysis of αV-integrins in the lens has already led to a proposal for preventative therapeutics for the most common side effect of cataract surgery. Before coming to UD, Fahmy attended Grand Rapids Community College where he initiated the Student Science Society. He then went on to earn a degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Grand Valley State University. Fahmy is a recipient of a five-year National Eye Institute pre-doctoral supplemental fellowship grant and an NIH scholarship to attend a course on fundamental issues in vision research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. Thus, recognition as a UD Graduate Scholar is a capstone to Fahmy Mamuya's successful graduate career. The department warmly congratulates Fahmy for his many accomplishments.


Pam Vari & Tina Fontana
Staff News . . .

Many faculty and students would probably agree that one of the secrets to a successful department is a dedicated and talented staff. Pictured here are two of our front office staff, Tina Fontana and Pam Vari. Tina joined our department 8 years ago and serves as executive secretary to the department chair. Tina handles all of the logistics involved in setting up the department's fall and spring seminar series, assists with department searches and participates on the research committee. When needed, she also works with the undergraduate programs committee. Tina is the mom of one of our alums, Cristin Fontana (Class of 2005) who teaches at Conrad School of Science. Pam Vari joined our department in 2009. Her wonderful smile is one of the first things visitors to our main office encounter, and her infectious laugh has calmed many an overstressed student and faculty member. Pam works primarily with the finance group, but also assists other staff when needed. She is a member of the alumni relations committee and is instrumental in collating all of the news for our monthly electronic-newsletter, BioBits. Watch for our annual newsletter, Metamorphosis, which Tina and Pam will finalize and send out later this semester. It is another reminder of the dedication shown by Tina Fontana and Pam Vari to the department.



Koester Alumni

Dr. Robert L. Boord &

Dr. David Koester

Alumni News . . .

David M. Koester shown here with Robert L. Boord (Professor Emeritus) received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences in 1983. He studied the neural pathways of the lateral line and inner ear nerves of the clearnose skate in Dr. Boord's laboratory.  Dr. Koester continues to study the sensory and motor systems of Elasmobranchs (sharks and skates) and the life histories of sharks and skates in the Gulf of Maine. He has taught gross anatomy and medical embryology for 26 years and served as chairman of the Department of Anatomy, College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of New England, Biddeford, Maine for 11 years. He has been recognized as Professor of the Year several times. Dr. Koester recently joined the Biology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, University of New England. He expects to teach the evolution of structure to undergraduates and have more time to devote to elasmobranch research.





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Contact Info

Department of Biological Sciences

University of Delaware

105 The Green

118 Wolf Hall

Newark, DE  19716