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Biology and Environmental Science News

Congratulations to Christopher Snyder (BS Biology ’14) for having his capstone research published in the Medical Science Monitor Basic Research journal! His article, titled "The effects of morphine on Parkinson's-related genes PINK1 and PARK2", can be found using this link: Chris did his capstone research in the laboratory of Dr. George B. Stefano at the Neuroscience Research Institute at SUNY Old Westbury in Old Westbury, New York and is currently working there full-time.

Congratulations to Assistant Professor of Biology Kimberly Pause Tucker on the publication of her research into the identification of bacterial viruses in the environment. The research, entitled “Diversity of environmental single-stranded DNA phages revealed by PCR amplification of the partial major capsid protein,” was done in collaboration with scientists in Florida and France. It sheds light on the presence of and diversity of bacterial viruses called phages in the environment. Dr. Pause Tucker is also the Director of the Center for Environmental Sustainability here at Stevenson University. You can find the article here:

Senior biology major, Christopher Snyder has accepted a position of Research Scholar at The Neuroscience Research Institute at SUNY Old Westbury, Old Westbury, New York. This is a full-time position in the laboratory of Dr. George B. Stefano, where Chris completed an internship during the summer of 2013. Congratulations Chris and Good Luck!

Dr. Sydella Blatch, Assistant Professor of Biology, wrote the most read online article of 2013 for ASBMB Today, a publication by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ( Her article, titled “Great achievements in science and technology in ancient Africa” was published in February 2013 and has since been downloaded and read more than any other article published in 2013. It has also created chatter on Twitter from many students who have used it in their science classes. Read the article here – Congratulations, Dr. Blatch!

Alec Marschke has been volunteering with the Maryland Zoo since 2009 when he started as part of their “Junior Zoo Crew”. He has continued on and is now one of their most versatile adult volunteers with a lifetime total as of this month of almost 1,200 hours of service! He works with tortoises and turtles, insects (including the Madagascar hissing cockroach!), Panamanian golden frogs, screech owls, and snakes.

This year, Alec was selected as “Adult Volunteer of the Year” by Maryland Zoo staff from a large pool of adult volunteers. In order to be in the running for this honor, volunteers need to have completed 300 service hours in the year. “Alec was very special in his situation and was up against very tough competition by more senior volunteers… He assists with our interpretation program covering areas like our Polar Bears and Maryland Wilderness. He also travels all around the state with our Zoo Mobile program making presentations and handling our Embassy collection of animals to school children, libraries, and other facilities. He assists with our Penguin Wild Encounter and is currently on our volunteer cabinet in a leadership position… With all these tasks, time served, great attitude, and consistency he was able to earn the award for 2013.” – Allison Schwartz, Volunteer Manager, Maryland Zoo.

What does this stellar volunteer have planned for his future? Alec is majoring in Biology here at SU because he hopes to pursue a career in research. He is also interested in “conservation through captivity”, in other words, using zoos and aquariums to assist in conservation efforts for imperiled species.

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