Biology News Archive

The following is a list of past news from the Department of Biological Sciences. For more general stories or announcements, please visit the  Charles E. Schmidt College of Science  homepage, the Jupiter Life Science Initiative webpage , and the  Owl Research & Innovation Magazine


July 2019

  • IB PhD Student Research Featured in Online News Platform. Daniel Alempijevic, IB PhD student who works in the laboratory of Dr. Kate Detwiler, had his research featured in Mongabay, a nonprofit environmental science and conservation news platform.

  • Nambu REU Student Presentations. The John Nambu Memorial Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program showcased this year's scholarship recipients at the annual Nambu REU Research Day. Congratulations to this year's recipients!

  • Growing Up Scientist. Jane Goodall, Ph.D., and FAU’s Kate Detwiler, Ph.D., credit similar childhoods, filled with investigating the natural world and encouragement from supportive parents, that lead to their successful careers as scientists.

  • FAU Social Video: Under the Sea Discoveries. FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute researcher and Biology graduate programs faculty member Dr. Shirley Pomponi has made some interesting discoveries exploring our oceans.

  • New Associate Director of the IB PhD Program. Dr. Xing-Hai Zhang has agreed to serve as the Associate Director of the Integrative Biology PhD Program.

  • IB PhD Student & Alum Publish Paper. Tyrone Penserga, IB PhD candidate who works in the laboratory of Dr. Tanja Godenschwege, recently published a paper with former lab mate Dr. Sirisha Kudumala in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience entitled "A Role for Drosophila Amyloid Precursor Protein in Retrograde Trafficking of L1-Type Cell Adhesion Molecule Neuroglian."

  • Ask A Scientist Features Behavioral Ecologist. Dr. Rindy Anderson was featured in the eighth episode of the podcast series. Anderson studies the social behavior of songbirds, in particular the vocal signals of Bachman's sparrows.

  • Biology Students Win Competitive Research Awards. Two students that work in Rindy Anderson's laboratory, Morgan Slevin, a PhD student, and Gillian Cannataro, an undergraduate researcher, both won competitive Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research awards from the American Ornithological Society. Slevin was also awarded a prestigious and competitive Hesse Award for Graduate Research.

  • New Interim Chair of Biology Department. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Sarah Milton will be appointed as the Interim Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences beginning July 13th.

  • FAU Student Spotlight on Podcast. Boris Tezak, a PhD candidate who works in the laboratory of Dr. Jeanette Wyneken, was recently interviewed in the So You Want to Be a Marine Biologist podcast. Tezak studies temperature sex determination in sea turtles and has discovered a new way to identify the sex of young sea turtles without the need for invasive surgery. He discusses his research in the podcast "Hot Chicks and Cool Dude Sea Turtles" with host and FAU alumni Kara Muzia.


June 2019

  • Biology Faculty Gives Talk in Israel. Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully, Associate VP for Strategic Initiatives and Associate Professor of Biology, was recently invited to give a talk at Ariel University located on the West Bank. Dawson-Scully discussed his current research in a talk entitled "Protein Kinase G modulates seizure duration in C. elegans  using a novel electroconvulsion assay.”

  • FAU Receives NIH Grant to Develop Rapid, Reliable, Low-cost HIV Test. Drs. Waseem Asghar and Massimo Caputi, members of the IB PhD program faculty, have received a $377,971 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a disposable HIV-1 viral load microchip that can selectively capture HIV from whole blood/plasma.

  • Help Support Coral Reef Research Conservation. Drs. Chelsea Bennice and Randy Brooks are asking for donations to help survey octopuses near the Blue Heron Bridge, Phil Foster Park and Lake Worth Lagoon. Coral reefs are at risk due to the populations of many reef animals quickly declining and the microbiome of local octopus species may be the key to conserving our reefs.

  • Ask A Scientist Features Shark Migration Expert. Dr. Stephen Kajiura was featured in the sixth episode of the podcast series. Kajiura researches the seasonal aggregations of black tip sharks that visit south Florida during the winter months.

  • New Lionfish Exhibit at Gumbo Limbo Features IB PhD Candidate. Kate Galloway, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne Porter, is featured in the new lionfish wall exhibit at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center! She was also recently featured on the College of Science Facebook page! 

  • Cavefish Tri-Lab Publishes Visual Guides in JoVE. Drs. Alex Keene, Erik  Duboué, and Johanna Kowalko have recently published a number of visual guides to study cavefish and zebrafish function and behavior in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).

  • New FAU Research Hub App. Connect, collaborate and fine research funding by joining the hundreds of faculty and students who have signed up for the FAU Research Hub. The hub is a new web and mobile platform that connects researchers with students, collaborators and funding opportunities. Investigators are encouraged to post projects in just minutes.

  • Tolerance to Stress is a ‘Trade-off’ as Fruit Flies Age. Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully was recently featured in the FAU Newsdesk for his research using the common fruit fly to find biomarkers of aging and identify therapeutic interventions to counteract the deleterious effects of aging.

  • Dual-Enrolled Student Wins at International Science Fair. Hannah Herbst, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne Porter, recently won $5,000 for first place in the translational medical science category at the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.


May 2019


April 2019


March 2019

  • 2019 College of Science Initiative to Stimulate Extramural Research Funding Award. Dr. David Binninger, Associate Professor of Biology, was selected for funding on his project entitled "In Vivo Interactions of Serotonin and Methionine Sulfoxide Reductase Deficiency in Drosophila melanogaster."

  • FAU Neuroscientist Named Kavli Fellow by National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Alex Keene, Associate Professor of Biology, has been named a Kavli Fellow by The National Academy of Sciences. Keene recently participated in the 30th Annual U.S. Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium (KFoS), which took place at the Academy's Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, California.

  • Royal Caribbean Donates to FAU Marine Lab at Gumbo Limbo. Thanks to a generous gift from Royal Caribbean International, Dr. Jeanette Wyneken, is doing some groundbreaking research on leatherback sea turtles and where they grow up.

  • Biology Assistant Professor JEB Interview. Dr. Marianne Porter was recently featured in the Journal of Experimental Biology as part of an early-career researcher conversation piece.

  • FAU Jupiter Represented at Sunposium 2019. The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience held the annual Sunposium conference this week, bringing hundreds of the world’s most esteemed neuroscience researchers together.

  • IB PhD Candidate & Advisor Attend ASLO 2019 Conference. Dr. Marguerite Koch, Professor of Biology, and her IB PhD student, Mr. Conall McNicholl, presented at the 2019 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) in San Juan, Puerto Rico this last week (February 23-March 2, 2019).

  • IB PhD Candidate Publishes Paper. Congratulations to Katherine Galloway, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne Porter, for getting her research examining the mechanical properties of venomous spines and morphology among lionfish species published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Their image will also be featured on the cover of the next issue (April 1st)!

  • JLSI Neuroscientist Named Kavli Fellow. The National Academy of Sciences has named Dr. Alex Keene, Associate Professor of Biology and JLSI researcher, a Kavli Fellow and participate in the 30th Annual U.S. Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium (KFoS) scheduled from Feb. 28th - March2nd. Keene, who is focused on understanding the neural basis through which sleep and feeding state interact, is only the second FAU faculty member to receive this honor!


February 2019

  • Annual IB Retreat A Major Success. The Association of Integrative Biology Students and Association of Biological and Biomedical Students hosted the annual recruiting event featuring a poster session, a Faculty 3-Minute Thesis Competition, Distinguished Alumni talk, keynote speech, and reception.

  • They’re Back! Scientists Now Have Intimate Shark 'Diaries'. The annual migration of blacktip sharks is in full force along South Florida’s Atlantic coast as thousands of them head south for warmer weather. For almost a decade, Stephen Kajiura, Ph.D., an internationally renowned shark researcher and Professor of Biology, has been tracking the migration patterns of these top predators by air and by sea. Now, the latest addition to his arsenal of tools is providing personal and intimate details about them.

  • FAU Jupiter Campus to Host BioFlorida. Attend to learn about Scripps Florida's significant impact on the industry and their vision of the future; hear about FAU Tech Runway's exciting expansion into Jupiter and connect with key stakeholders in Jupiter’s vibrant life sciences cluster.

  • JLSI Post-Doc Selected to Speak at Sunposium 2019. Bethany Stahl, Ph.D., who works in the laboratory of Dr. Alex Keene, has been selected to speak at the fourth biennial conference highlighting some of the most complex issues at the forefront of understanding neural circuits. The conference also features world-renowned scientists from the Max Planck Society and research institutes and universities throughout the United States and Europe.

  • Biology MS alumna will receive an Outstanding Young Owl Award. Shelby Creager, who received her Master's degree under the direction of Dr. Marianne Porter, will receive an award honoring exceptional young FAU alumni at the annual OYO award ceremony on March 15, 2019.

  • FAU Biology Well-Represented at Sea Turtle Symposium. FAU Biology faculty members Drs. Jeanette Wyneken, Michael Salmon, and Sarah Milton along with their graduate and undergraduate students represented FAU and swept the awards competitions at the 2019 International Sea Turtle Symposium.

  • FAU Max Planck Academy Featured in Hechinger Report. The FAU Max Planck Academy will give high school students extensive research experience as they pursue diploma and associate degree. The Max Planck Academy is set to enroll between 35 and 50 high school juniors in 2020.

  • FAU Scientist Invited Talk at Journal of Experimental Biology Symposium 2019. Dr. Johanna Kowalko was recently invited as a guest speaker at the Genome Editing for Comparative Physiology Symposium where she will discuss her research investigating "The genetic basis of behavioral variation in natural populations."


January 2019

  • FAU Scientist Searches For New Antibiotics. Dr. Diane Baronas-Lowell was featured in a Charles E. Schmidt College of Science video discussing the Tiny Earth project, where she works alongside her students seeking new antibiotics to kill superbugs.           

  • IB PhD Candidate Publishes Paper. Chelsea Bennice, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Randy Brooks, recently published an article in the scientific journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

  • Biology MS Students Featured in FAU Social Video. Rachel Shanker, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Randy Brooks, and Andie Hernandez, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne Porter, are two of FPL's fifteen Manatee Masters. FPL opened Manatee Lagoon in 2016 for the public to watch the sea cows in action and they hire FAU students to become their manatee experts!

  • IB PhD Candidate Featured in  Biology Open. Congratulations to Sarah Hoffmann, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne Porter, for her recent publication in the scientific journal Biology Open and interview in First Person, where early-career researchers promote themselves alongside their papers!

  • IB PhD Student Gets Cover of  Cell Reports. Kerriann Badal, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Sathya Puthanveettil at Scripps Florida, recently published in the top-tier scientific journal Cell Reports and artwork related to their research report was chosen for the cover image!                                                                                        

  • IBNS PhD Candidate Publishes in  Neuron. Kuo-Sheng Lee, who works in the laboratory of Dr. David Fitzpatrick of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience and faculty member of the Integrative Biology-Neuroscience program, recently published a paper in the scientific journal Neuron.                                                                                             

  • Biology Faculty Member Presents Research in Israel. Dr. Alex Keene, Associate Professor of Biology, presented collaborative research on the evolution of behavioral and developmental processes in Mexican cavefish at the 27th Annual Israel Society for Neuroscience held at the Hilton Queen of Sheba, Eilat.                                         

  • Dual-Enrolled Undergrad Researcher Named Scholar. Congratulations to Hannah Herbst, a FAU High School dual-enrolled student who works in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne Porter, for being named one of the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) Scholars, the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition, for her project entitled "Biomimetic Antibacterial Engineered Surface Topography Development to Reduce the Spread of Pathogens in Medical Facilities."

  • Who's Tougher? Baby Sharks or Daddy Sharks? Congratulations to Danielle Ingle, IB PhD candidate, and her advisor, Dr. Marianne Porter, for having their recently published work featured in the FAU News Desk!


December 2018


November 2018

  • IBNS Alum Publishes Two Papers. Dr. Wes Bollinger, who worked in the laboratory of Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully, and lab mate Nadia Sial, member of the inaugural class of the FAU High School M.D. Direct pipeline program, recently published two papers this month in the Journal of Neurogenetics and ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

  • Biology Scholarships. Congratulations to all graduate students that received a Biology Department Scholarship this fall! Many thanks to the generous contributions of all Biology Department Scholarship donors!

  • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill’s Dramatic Effect on Stingrays. Dr. Stephen Kajiura, Professor of Biology, is one of the first to quantify the physiological effects of whole crude oil on the olfactory function of the Atlantic stingray, Hypanus sabinus, in a recent publication in Scientific Reports.

  • IBNS PhD Candidate Publishes Paper. Kazuma Murakami, PhD Candidate who works in the laboratory of Dr. Alex Keene, recently published a paper in Current Biology that identifies a new mechanism regulating sleep that involves glia.

  • New Undergraduate Scholarships funded by the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation. The Biological Sciences Department and College of Science has received a donation to fund new scholarships for undergraduate seniors conducting research in marine biology!

  • Mentoring Program Awards Announced. The Division of Research announced the faculty awarded pilot funding as part of the junior faculty mentoring program. Congratulations to Drs. Alex Keene and Sarah Milton!

  • IBNS PhD Candidate Publishes Paper. Maria Yurgel, PhD Candidate who works in the laboratory of Dr. Alex Keene, recently published a paper in G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics that identifies a gene that promotes sleep.


October 2018

  • FAU Awarded NSF I-Corps Grant. Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully, Associate Professor of Biology, along with co-PIs Dr. Dimitris Pados (College of Engineering) and Rhys Williams (Tech Runway) received a three-year NSF I-Corps grant to create an NSF I-Corps Site at FAU as a component of FAU Tech Runway®.

  • Integrative Biology Students in 2018 3MT Championship. Congratulations to the many Integrative Biology PhD students and their advisors for making it into the Championship Round of the FAU 2018 3MT Competition that will be held on Friday, November 2nd!

  • Dr. Evelyn Frazier Keynote Speaker at Florida Statewide Symposium. Congratulations to Dr. Evelyn Frazier, Senior Instructor of Biology, for being selected as the keynote speaker at the 11th Annual Florida Statewide Symposium: Best Practices in Undergraduate Research. 

  • IB PhD Candidates Relaunch The Nonprofit Sirenian International. Congratulations to Beth Brady and Danielle Ingle, who work in the labs of Dr. Edmund Gerstein and Marianne Porter respectively, to promote the conservation of manatee and dugong species around the world through research, education and inter-cultural collaboration.

  • IB PhD Candidate Gives Talk at the South Florida Wildlife Center. Missy Williams, IB PhD candidate who works in the laboratory of Dr. Kate Detwiler, spoke about The Dania Beach Vervet Project that she started in January of 2014 to promote public education, conservation, and awareness about the local free-living vervet monkey population.

  • Max Planck, FAU set new annual records for NIH funding in 2018. FAU landed grants totaling $7.3 million in 2018, a 36 percent jump from its 2017 haul of $5.4 million. Max Planck Florida of Jupiter brought in $5.3 million in 2018, up 16 percent from its 2017 total of $4.5 million.

  • Biology Master's Student Receives Guy Harvey Scholarship. Breanna Degroot, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Ajemian at HBOI, was named one of seven graduate students in Florida to receive Guy Harvey scholarship awards, recognizing their outstanding achievement in marine fisheries science research.

  • Shark Researcher Receives Leon H. Charney Foundation Gift. Dr. Stephen Kajiura, Professor of Biology and director of the Elasmobranch Research Laboratory at FAU, has received a $117,501 gift from the Leon H. Charney Foundation, Inc. for a joint program with the University of Haifa in Israel.

  • IB PhD Student and Alumna Publish Paper. Congratulations to Tyrone Penserga, IB PhD candidate, and Dr. Priyanka Kakad, IB alumna, who both work in the laboratory of Dr. Tanja Godenschwege, Professor of Biology and JLSI faculty member, for getting their paper accepted to the Journal of Biological Chemistry!


September 2018


August 2018


July 2018                                                                     

  • Differential tuning of excitation and inhibition shapes direction selectivity in ferret visual cortex. IBNS-IMPRS alum, Dr. Dan Wilson, recently published in the scientific journal Nature. Wilson worked under the direction of Dr. David Fitzpatrick at MPFI located on the FAU Jupiter campus.                                                                

  • Where Baby White Sharks ‘Hang Out’ in the North Atlantic. Dr. Matthew Ajemian, HBOI Research Scientist and Biology graduate programs faculty, us confirms the movement patterns and seasonal migrations of baby white sharks in the north Atlantic Ocean.                                                                 

  • Unique Sea Animal Encounters. Dr. Shirley Pomponi, HBOI Research Scientist and Biology graduate programs faculty, shares how she got into marine and biomedical research, and some of the most unique sea animals she’s seen on countless dives.                                                                    

  • IB PhD Candidate Featured on the PADI Website. Chelsea Bennice aka "Octogirl" was recently featured on the PADI website for using scuba diving in her research! Congratulations on the feature article Chelsea!                                                            

  • 2018 REU Program Student Presentations. This year the Nambu REU scholarship recipients from six research laboratories presented their summer research projects. Faculty mentors included Drs. Ken Dawson-Scully, Alex Keene, Erik Duboue, Tanja Godenschwege, Bob Stackman, and Randy Blakely.                                                                  

  • Alex Keene Featured on PBS SciTech Now Episode. Dr. Alex Keene discusses his research on sleep using the Mexican cavefish as a model system.                                                                  

  • FAU Partnerships Create Opportunities for Students. Local biotech companies in connection with the FAU Jupiter campus offer new skills training and potential internships for FAU students.                          

  • Nerve regeneration study designs "closed-loop" system to study damaged nerve cells in real-time. Dr. Jianning Wei, Associate Professor of Biomedical Science and Biology graduate program faculty, is part of an interdisciplinary team of FAU scientists recently funded by the NIH.         

  • Congratulations to Alexis Martin, Biology undergraduate, and her faculty mentor Dr. Diane Baronas-Lowell, Biology faculty member, for presenting at the 2018 Tiny Earth Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin. Her poster focused on the discovery of novel cyclic depsi-lipopeptide isolated from soil bacteria in Palm Beach County.         

  • Inaugural recipients of the College of Science Initiative to Stimulate Extramural Research Funding: Internal Grants Program. Congratulations to Drs. Rindy Anderson and Erik Noonburg, Biology faculty members for receiving funding!            

  • Deep-sea Sponges May Hold Key to Antibiotic Drug Resistance. Drs. Peter McCarthy and Guojun Wang, Biology Graduate Program and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute faculty members, along with others, examined 50 actinobacteria strains from deep sea marine samples to look for new anti-infective agents.


June 2018            

  • Synaptic Functional Properties Study Awarded NIH Research Grant. Dr. Greg Macleod, Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department and Honors College and JLSI faculty member, has received a four-year NIH R01 grant for his collaborative project with Dr. Kathaleen O'Connor-Giles (University of Wisconsin-Madison).        

  • Population Genomics Study Awarded NIH Research Grant. Dr. Alex Keene, Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department and JLSI faculty member, has received a four-year NIH R01 grant for his collaborative project with Dr. Suzanne McGaugh (University of Minnesota).            

  • The Origins and Evolution of Sleep. Drs. Alex Keene and Erik Duboue, Biological Sciences and JLSI faculty members, published a review in the Journal of Experimental Biology that describes the contributions of classical and emergent genetic model systems to investigate mechanisms underlying sleep regulation and potentially identify novel drug targets and approaches to treat sleep-related diseases.         

  • Congratulations to IB PhD alumnus Dr. Ramon Garcia-Areas for receiving a postdoctoral fellowship award from the PRESTIGE Programme in France!   

  • 2018 Neuroscience Pilot Awards. Congratulations to Biology and Jupiter Life Science Initiative faculty members for receiving 2018 Neuroscience Pilot Awards: Ken Dawson-Scully, Tanja Godenschwege, Kailiang Jia, Robert Stackman!           

  • NSF-URM Publishes Paper. Congratulations to Leonardo Calle, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Gawlik, for publishing his research in the journal Ecological Monographs!        

  • Congratulations to Nadia Sial, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Dawson-Scully, for being highlighted in the Owl Research & Innovation online magazine. Sial became one of the nation’s youngest medical students when she was accepted into the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine last year as the inaugural class of the FAU High School M.D. Direct pipeline program.           

  • Congratulations to IB PhD student Stephanie Kelly and recent graduate Monica Risley, both of whom worked in the laboratory of Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully, for publishing two papers in the Journal of Experimental Biology and Invertebrate Neuroscience  in the last month!


May 2018

  • IB PhD Alum Wins Award from the French Senate. Congratulations to Dr. Ramon Garcia-Areas for receiving a medal of recognition for his work with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Honduran government to create research programs in Honduras.           

  • Genessee Scientific Drosophila Art Gallery. Congratulations to Julieta Di Mase, a MS student that works in the laboratory of Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully, for having her watercolor fruit fly painting featured on the (a division of Genessee Scientific) Drosophila Art Gallery!           

  • 2018 Flies on the Beach Research Symposium. The annual South Florida Drosophila Research Consortium meeting unites South Florida researchers using fruit flies as a model organism. This year's events included FAU, UM, FIU, UF, Scripps Florida, and a guest lecture from the Perrimon lab at Harvard University.            

  • IB Alumna and JLSI faculty get paper in high impact journal. Congratulations to Dr. Lucia Carvelli, member of the Brain Institute and JLSI research group on the FAU Jupiter campus, and Sirisha Madem, IB PhD program alumna, for getting a paper accepted in Frontiers in Physiology, the second most cited journal in the physiology field!     

  • FAU Alum and Former Undergrad of the Year Publishes Paper. Congratulations to Sabah Ali, FAU alum who worked with Dr. Rindy Anderson, for publishing a paper in a top ornithology journal, The Auk.     

  • IB PhD Spring 2018 Graduates. Congratulations to the following (PI name in parentheses): Jennifer Krill (Ken Dawson-Scully), Olena Mahneva (Sarah Milton & Ken Dawson-Scully), Keith Murphy (Ken Dawson-Scully), Monica Risley (Ken Dawson-Scully), Brittany Stinson (Keith Brew), and Michael Studivan (Joshua Voss).         

  • FAU Graduate a National Winner of a $20,000 Graduate Scholarship. Congratulations to Tevin Ali, FAU graduate and in a biotechnology entrepreneurship program at Johns Hopkins, for receiving a $20,000 National Graduate Scholarship by Sallie Mae and Scholarship America!


April 2018

  • FAU AND MAX PLANCK TEAM UP ON FIRST-EVER JOINT POSITION. Congratulations to Ken Dawson-Scully for being newly appointed to the role of Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and head of institutional partnerships for FAU and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.

  • IB PhD Candidate Wins 1st Place in Statewide Competition. Congratulations to Keith Murphy for winning 1st Place at the Conference of Florida Graduate Schools Three Minute Thesis Competition in Tallahassee!

  • New poop sample analysis reveals interspecies monkey romance. Kate Detwiler, Assistant Professor and Integrative Biology program faculty, has authored a new paper that offers genetic evidence of what she’s observed: in the Tanzanian national park made famous by Jane Goodall’s study of apes, two species of guenon monkey are able to interbreed and produce fertile hybrid offspring who live alongside—and sometimes interbreed with—red-tailed monkeys.  MONKEYS SEE, MONKEYS DO CROSS SPECIES BOUNDARY.

  • Congratulations to Biology Honors Thesis Program student Andrea Rodriguez, who works gopher tortoises in the laboratory of Dr. Evelyn Frazier, who was awarded the University Scholars Award for the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. 

  • Undergraduate Researchers Represent FAU. Five undergraduate researchers presented their work at the Life Sciences South Florida Symposium at Florida International University. 

  • Teaching Innovations Improve Student Success. Many Biology faculty members are re-designing their teaching strategies to engage students and improve comprehension by implementing better technology and interactive resources, in-class exercises, and real-world applications of learned concepts to practical problem-solving skills. 

  • 2018 Nambu REU Winners. Congratulations to the undergraduates that were chosen to participate in the fifth annual John Nambu Memorial Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. This program is funded by the Jupiter Life Science Initiative and offers full-time research opportunities with stipend support for FAU undergraduates. 

  • Hanisak Named 2018 Audubon Hero. Congratulations to Dr. Dennis Hanisak, FAU Harbor Branch Research Professor and Education Director and IB PhD program faculty member, was recently named the recipient of this year’s Environmental Educator Award by the Pelican Island Audubon Society.

  • Keene lab publishes paper with students of all levels. The paper entitled "Variation in sleep and metabolic function is associated with latitude and average temperature in Drosophila melanogaster" examines the role that ecological forces play in sleep and metabolic function. The author list includes students at all levels in their academic careers- Valerie Rozzo, a Lifelong Learner, Joshua Torres, an undergraduate at the Wilkes Honors College, and Arianna Kerbs, a Dwyer High School student. 

  • Digital life team creates animated 3-D models of sea turtles from live specimens. Dr. Jeanette Wyneken in collaboration with the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, and the Inwater Research Group, have released new online full-color animated models of a loggerhead and a green sea turtle through a collaboration with sea turtle rescue and research institutions.

  • Department of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Honors Thesis Defense. Join us April 9, 2018 in the Student Union Palmetto Palm Room from 9am -12pm for the Biology Undergraduate Honors Thesis Defense Seminars!


March 2018            

  • 8th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. Biology Honors Thesis students presented their research along with fellow undergraduate researchers at the annual OURI Research Day!                                         

  • Congratulations to the 2018 GPSA Research Day Winners. The Biology Department swept the competition this year! Congratulations to Jordan Merritt- IB PhD candidate, Sean Paz- IB PhD student, Rashean Graham-Biology MS student, and Tasso Cocoves-Environmental Science MS student, for placing in many of the science categories!           

  • VOICE PITCH SWAYS VOTERS, DOESN'T RESULT IN BETTER LEADERS. To determine if there is a correlation between voice pitch and leadership ability, Dr. Rindy Anderson, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Dr. Casey Klofstad, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Miami, conducted an observational study and an experimental study that was published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.              

  • SYNAPSE 2018 a big success. The Jupiter Life Science Initiative sponsored event showcased the work of more than 150 young scientists including, 40 Postdocs, 40 graduate students and 30 undergraduates from FAU, MPFI, and TSRI.        

  • Congratulations to Dr. Alex Keene, Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, for recently receiving a $213,987 NIH research award for his project entitled "Development of Genetic Tools for Functional Analysis of Sleep in Cavefish."               

  • Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Milton, Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, for recently receiving a $9,750 sponsored research award from the FAU Foundation/Friends of Gumbo Limbo for her project entitled "Impacts of UV-B Light Therapy on Vitamin D and Immune Responsiveness in FP Turtles."         

  • THEY'RE BACK! SHARK MIGRATION SEASON BEGINS IN S.E. FLORIDAIn the largest migration in U.S. coastal waters, blacktip sharks are headed south in the thousands for their annual migration off Florida’s southeast coast. For eight consecutive years, Stephen Kajiura, Professor in the Biological Sciences Department and internationally renowned shark researcher,  has been observing and tracking these “snowbirds of the sea.” 


February 2018


January 2018


December 2017


November 2017


October 2017


September 2017

  • First Video of Rare Monkey featured in FAU's Digital Magazine. Thanks to the work of primatologist Kate Detwiler, Ph.D., FAU is at the epicenter of ground-breaking research involving the Dryas Monkey, an endangered species located in one of the world’s most remote regions — the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Lomami National Park.

  • SIZE DOESN'T MATTER - AT LEAST FOR HAMMERHEADS AND SWIMMING. Dr. Marianne Porter of the Biological Sciences Department had her research published and got the cover of the recent issue of  Journal of Experimental Biology . Congratulations to Dr. Porter and her students, IB PhD student Sarah Hoffmann and undergraduate researcher Matthew Warren.  

  • Dr. Tanja Godenschwege of the Biological Sciences Department had her research published in  PLOS Biology . This study established a role for  insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling in regulating the trafficking of gap junctional proteins that is conserved over the large evolutionary distance between  Drosophila melanogaster  (fruit flies) and humans, and between different cell types.

  • Brain Institute featured in Florida Trend magazine. The September issue of the magazine featured an article about FAU’s Neuroscience Pillar and the Brain Institute.


August 2017

  • Dr. Tanja Godenschwege of the Biological Sciences Department and her recent graduate Sirisha Kudumala had their research published in  PLOS One . This study established the Drosophila Giant Fiber neurons (GF) as a novel model to study axonal trafficking of L1-type Cell Adhesion Molecules (CAM) Neuroglian (Nrg) in the adult CNS using live imaging. 

  • Neuroscience Images Featured in FAU's First Digital Research Magazine. Many researchers of the Biological Sciences Department, Jupiter Life Science Initiative and Brain Institute had their images featured on the 'Brains Illustrated' cover story. 

  • Prestigious Fellowship Awarded to Biology Master's Student. Congratulations to Biology Master's student Danielle Dodge who was chosen for the prestigious 30-year old NOAA Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.  

  • Graduate College Fellowship Recipients. Congratulations to the Integrative Biology PhD students that have received scholarships from the Graduate College. 

  • FAU Biology student and alumnus recognized as emerging scholars. Gabrielle Rind, Biology major, and Dawit Rumicha, recent Biology graduate, were each given the Emerging Scholar Award at the 17  th   International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations in Toronto, Canada. The two also gave a research presentation on diversity in higher education during the conference.

  • Dr. Kailiang Jia of the Biological Sciences Department had his NIH-funded study recently published in   PLOS Genetics  . This is the first study to demonstrate how autophagy, a garbage-disposal like process where cells remove debris they produce - combined with food absorption and food smell - impacts the aging process, primarily by diet restriction. 

  • Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully of the Biological Sciences Department has been named the 2017 Distinguished Researcher! This award is given once a year to a researcher who leads by inventing and innovating by the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority (FARDA), which operates the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University. 


July 2017

  • FAU Scientists discuss black tip shark migration and shark physiology. Drs. Stephen Kajiura and Marianne Porter, Professors in the Biological Sciences Department, discuss the black tip shark migration (6:30) and shark physiology (43:00). Check out the show and happy shark week! 

  • FAU SCIENTIST HELPS DISCOVER NEW MINIATURE SHARK SPECIES. Dr. Stephen Kajiura, Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, was part of a team of scientists who discovered a new species of miniature, glow-in-the-dark sharks belonging to the Lanternshark family.

  • USA Today Interview. Dr. Marianne Porter, Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, discusses Olympic legend Michael Phelp's chances racing a shark. 

  • Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. FAU was well-represented by faculty and students from across several campuses at the 2017 large national conference. Congratulations to Sarah Hoffmann, IB Ph.D. student in Dr. Porter's laboratory, for receiving an award in the student talk competition! 

  • Good Morning America Interview. Dr. Stephen Kajiura, Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, discusses great white sharks with GMA hosts as they discuss actor Rob Lowe's encounter with a great white shark off the California coast.

  • FAU -SCI Partnership Yields First CareersFAU’s new workforce training partnership with Sancilio & Company (SCI), a Riviera Beach-based biotech company, has yielded new careers for recent graduates.

  • Avian Expert Awarded Scientific Product Grant. Wildlife Acoustics, Inc. has awarded a Scientific Product Grant to Rindy Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Anderson will receive acoustic recording units to further her research on Bachman's sparrow.

  • Research In Action. Anthropology researchers led by Kate Detwiler, Ph.D., are studying a little known monkey population living in Dania Beach. The video features Missy Williams, IB PhD candidate, and Daniel Alempijevic, MSc Environmental Science student. 


June 2017

  • Former Biology Honors Thesis Program Student Making Waves in SNMA. Congratulations to Sergeine Lezeau on being chosen to serve as the Publications Committee Co-Chair and Journal Editor of the Student National Medical Association’s (SNMA) National Committee Chair.   

  • Loggerhead turtle nests facing new threats. Dr. Marguerite Koch-Rose of the Biological Sciences Department along with researchers at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center were interviewed on WPTV to discuss rising threats to South Florida nesting grounds and sea turtle populations. 

  • FAU Biology Student Named Florida Student of the Year. Congratulations to Tevin Ali, recent B.S. Biological Sciences Graduate for receiving the prestigious award from the Florida Association of Colleges and Employers (FloridaACE). 

  • The Mystery of the Wild Monkeys of Dania. Congratulations to Integrative Biology PhD student Missy Williams and Dr. Kate Detwiler, her advisor, for getting their research featured in the summer issue of Gold Coast magazine (page 58).

  • Biology Master's student wins award. Congratulations to Danielle Dodge of the Voss laboratory for winning “Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation” at the 2017 Benthic Ecology Meeting in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

  • Dr. Nate Dorn Reignites Research Collaboration. Dr. Dorn recently restarted a collaboration and currently has four funded research projects totaling more than $640K.


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December 2016

  • Biomaterials: Sharks shift their spine into high gear. The languorous undulation of a shark cruising along a reef gives little hint of the fish's potential to unleash a burst of high-speed movement when pursuing prey. Writing in the Journal of Experimental Biology, Porter et al. reveal how the structural properties of the non-bony, cartilaginous skeleton of the spiny dogfish shark (Squalus acanthias) allow this fish to shift seamlessly between low-speed cruising and high-speed swimming.

  • Four PhD students were hooded at the graduation ceremony on December 16th. 

  • A study on fear memory by Robert Stackman, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of the Department of Psychology, and Joan Lora, a doctoral student in Integrative Biology - Neuroscience, was recently published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Collaborators include Sathyanarayanan (Sathya) V. Puthanveettil, Ph.D., associate professor at Scripps, who led the study. Previous work defined a role for the prefrontal cortex in consolidation of fear memory. However, the involvement of this brain region in encoding new long-term memories had not been determined.

  • The biology department recently awarded more than $34,500 in scholarships to 21 graduate students.  Additionally, 18 biology graduate students received Fellowships from the FAU Graduate College for the 2016-2017 academic year. Please join us in congratulating the following students:  

      • Narcissus Smith (Baldwin; Hughes)
      • Chelsea Bennice (Brooks)
      • Stephanie Kelly (Dawson-Scully)
      • Saheed Oseni (Kumi-Diaka)
      • Melissa Slocumb (Keene)
      • Paveena Vichyavichien (Zhang)
      • Jessica Dell (Benscoter)
      • Sergio Gonzalez (Dorn)
      • Karim Dawkins (Esiobu)
      • Lauren Kircher (Baldwin)
      • Marisa Martinez (Gawlik)
      • Lisa Celano (Salmon)
      • Christina Coppenrath (Milton)
      • Danielle Ingle (Porter)
      • Rachel Bladow (Milton)
      • Alexandra Lolavar (Wyneken)
      • Jacob Lasala (Wyneken)
      • Boris Tezak (Wyneken)
      • Sarah Hoffmann (Porter)
      • Erick España (Esiobu)
      • Priyanka Kakad (Godenschwege)
  • FAU Brain Institute Designated ‘Nikon Center of Excellence’. Florida Atlantic University’s Brain Institute in Jupiter is now home to a Nikon Center of Excellence, making it one of seven designated centers in the United States and 17 worldwide. Drs. Rodney Murphey and Ken Dawson-Scully were instrumental in developing this strategic partnership between Nikon and FAU. 


November 2016

  • Congratulations to Florida Atlantic University's inaugural Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Championship winners! Three students from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science placed in the Championship Heat. The IB PhD program took the 2nd and 3rd place positions in the Graduate College’s inaugural Three Minute Thesis Competition this last month.  Stephanie Kelly (Dawson-Scully) and Keith Murphy (Dawson-Scully/Ja (Scripps)) took 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

  • Championship Winner ($2,500) Mickelene Hoggard, Doctoral candidate, Chemistry

  • Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. "Snail Spit to Medicine." Advisor: Dr. Mare Cudic & Dr. Tanja Godenschwege

  • First Runner-Up ($1,500) Stephanie Kelly, Doctoral candidate, Integrative Biology

  • Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. "Of Flies and Men: Insights from an Age-Related Stress Tolerance Assay" Advisor: Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully

  •  Second Runner-Up ($1,000) Keith Murphy, Doctoral candidate, Integrative Biology

  • Charles E. Schmidt College of Science "Postprandial Sleep Mechanics in Drosophila." Advisor: Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully & Dr. William Ja

  • Following eight 3MT Heats comprised of nearly 90 graduate students representing each college and a range of disciplines, 17 graduate students advanced to compete at the Championship.  A number of our PhD and MS students placed and/or won People’s Choice throughout the 3MT heats. We’d like recognize the following students for representing our department:

    • Christina Coppenrath (Baldwin)
    • Douglas Holmes (Esiobu)
    • Kyle Newton (Kajiura)
    • Betsy Evans (Gawlik)
    • Victoria Erb (Wyneken)
    • Alexandra Lolavar (Wyneken)
    • Carlie Perricone (McCarthy)
    • Michael Studivan (Voss)
    • Alberto Padilla (Hartmann)
  • Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully’s company Neuro Pharmalogics participated in the Tech Runway program and has just entered into a licensing agreement with FAU. Neuro Pharmalogics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapies for patients with rare neurological diseases. Read more here: and here.

  • Keith R. Murphy (IB-N PhD) is the primary author of a paper about how different foods can play roles in the immediate effects of sleep titled, “Postprandial Sleep Mechanics in Drosophila.” Researchers at FAU, Scripps Florida Research Institute, and Bowling Green State University have discovered evidence for “food comas”, the sleepy-like stupor that comes after eating a large meal. The study has gained national press this Thanksgiving, including articles in the Huffington Post and Fox news. Drs. Ken Dawson-Scully and Alex Keene and IB student Maria Yurgel are co-authors on the paper. Read the study here:

  • FAU Drug Study Proposal Selected by National Institute on Aging Interventions Testing Program. The National Institute on Aging’s (NIA) Interventions Testing Program (ITP) recently approved a proposal by two Florida Atlantic University faculty members to test the known anti-inflammatory drug sulindac in a pilot study for life span extension. Distinguished Research Professor Herb Weissbach, Ph.D., and Shailaja Kesaraju Allani, Ph.D, research assistant professor- both of FAU’s Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science- based the proposal on years of research conducted at FAU on the drug, which revealed other unique biological properties that protect normal cells against oxidative damage that occurs after traumatic events such as heart attack and oxidative damage to the retina. Additionally, they have shown that sulindac can make anti-cancer drugs more effective in killing cancer cells. For more information, contact Weissbach at

  • The Neuroscience Student Organization Hosted Kick-Off Event. Graduate students interested in brain sciences and brain health at FAU launched the group Neuroscience Student Organization (NSO) with an event held in downtown West Palm to network and hear TED-style talks focused on key facets of the graduate experience, from the perspectives of senior neuroscientists. The speakers included Tanja Godenschwege, Ph.D., associate professor, biological sciences, FAU, Robert Stackman, professor & interim chair, psychology, FAU and David Fitzpatrick, scientific director & CEO of Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.


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