Department Logo
BioBits Newsletter
University of Delaware

September / October 2012

In This Issue:
Welcome New Faculty
Research News
Student News
Tri-Beta 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!   

Quick Links




Dr. Salil Lachke who has been named a 2012 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts.  Dr. Lachke is one of 22 scholars selected across the United States and the first UD professor to receive this prestigious award.  Read More...


  Boyd Photo


Dr. Fidelma Boyd on her promotion to full professor.



Dr. Roger Wagner
Faculty News
Dr. Roger Wagner retired from the Department of Biological Sciences in 2006 after 33 years of service and is now a Professor Emeritus in the department. He continues to teach (BISC408) Mammalian Histology and taught (BISC442) Vertebrate Morphology until 2011. He remains active in research, publishing a paper a year since his retirement. These studies have examined the structure of capillaries and endothelium, and he has employed x-ray tomography to visualize corrosion casts of microvascular systems in the kidney. Recently he has used electron tomography to examine the three dimensional structure of the vesicular system in thick sections of capillary endothelium. Dr. Wagner and his wife, Winnie, have traveled extensively since his retirement, visiting Cameroon, Kenya, Egypt, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, and Paris where he presented a paper at the World Congress for Microcirculation in 2010

 Welcome To Our Newest Faculty



Olabisi Photo
Dr. Oyenike Olabisi
Jungck Photo
Dr. John Jungck



Research News 

Dr. Donna Woulfe

Dr. Donna Woulfe joined the Department of Biological Sciences in 2010. Her lab studies signal transduction in platelets that leads to platelet activation and contributes to thrombosis, the underlying cause of heart attack and stroke. Platelets are small protein-filled structures in blood that are exquisitely sensitive to both soluble activators and proteins that line the vessel wall. Platelets help to stem bleeding at injured vessels by adhering to vessel-lining proteins and clumping together to plug the injured site. Both aggregation and adhesion are active processes that require activation of the platelet by the soluble substances released at the site of injury and proteins exposed by vessel injury. These same processes are activated at sites of arterial plaque rupture and can be the initiating cause of stroke and heart attack. The Woulfe lab strives to understand the initiating events in platelets that contribute to arterial thrombosis. Better understanding of these processes may lead to therapeutics. The major focus of her lab is on understanding how two enzymes inside platelets, Akt and GSK3b, contribute to platelet activation. Her research group is working to understand how Akt is regulated by receptors expressed on the platelet surface, and how platelets may become hyperactivated under certain conditions, such as diabetes or immune-mediated thrombocytopenias. Read More... 









McCague Photo
Allison McCague
Student News


We are excited to announce that undergraduate researcher Allison McCague is the first recipient of the Adair B. Gould Memorial Award. This award was established to honor the memory of Professor Adair Gould, a member of our department from 1964 until her retirement in 1981. Our department plans to present this award annually to an outstanding female junior majoring in biological sciences who is actively involved in undergraduate research and plans to pursue graduate studies in the biological sciences. Allison, an honors student who works on Drosophila development in Professor Erica Selva's lab, also received the Richard M. Johnson Award, which is given to an exceptional undergraduate who best exemplifies the objectives of the biological sciences honor society, Tri-Beta. Allison will defend her senior thesis and finish her honors B.S. degree with distinction in cell and molecular biology and genetics this coming spring. She has presented her research at both local and national meetings, including an invited platform talk at Experimental Biology 2012 in San Diego. A great example of someone with wide-ranging interests, Allison will also graduate with minors in political science and Italian. She is a member of several honor societies, as well as the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. An avid runner and soccer fan, Allison spent a summer abroad in South Africa in conjunction with the World Cup, and a winter session in Italy, related to her Italian minor. Allison is an active member of several service organizations and is in the UD concert choir. Our congratulations go out to Allison for all of her accomplishments.
Tri Beta
Fall 2011 Induction
Tri-Beta News  

The school year is back and so is our Tri-Beta Honor Society. This fall, Tri-Beta is working to become more involved with UD alumni, professors and students. Along with our usual Bagels, Banter and Brew events, new plans are in the works! Tri-Beta is looking for alumni with degrees in science or past members of Tri-Beta to come back and reignite the spark with our current members. What have you accomplished since leaving UD? Which courses helped you the most? If you could go back and change something, would you? What advice do you have for all of us with a major in biological sciences hoping to find a job? For this plan to succeed, we need you! Please contact Lisa George, our Public Relations Coordinator at to get involved.  While you're at it, check out the picture - do you remember YOUR induction? Who was the speaker?



Sept Alumni
Dr. Jonathan Asuncion and daughter Abbie
Alumni News

Jonathan Asuncion, D.M.D., (B.A., Class of 1983) has been a general dentist in private practice in Mount Joy, PA for 22 years. While at UD, he was an undergraduate teaching assistant in physiology, a resident assistant in Harter Hall, and an officer in Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. He also organized several indoor soccer teams for the intramural sports program. Dr. Asuncion graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 1987 and in 2001 earned a fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry. He currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve Dental Corps. Dr. Asuncion is the president of the Mount Joy Lions Club in addition to serving on the Alumni Board at UD. His daughter, Abbie, a junior majoring in biological sciences, plays mellophone in the UD marching band and is an officer of the Pre-Dental Society. Dr. Asuncion lives in Lancaster, PA with his wife, Valerie, and their younger daughter, Grace.     

 Want to share you your Alumni News...

Send your information and a photo to

Contact Info

Department of Biological Sciences

University of Delaware

105 The Green

118 Wolf Hall

Newark, DE  19716