The Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science and the Department of Biological and Allied Health Sciences along with the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics presented a Research Forum on March 1, 2017 to inform students about research possibilities on campus. Not only did the professors speak about their research but two Honor Students: Alexandra Mueller and Marisa Grisaffi presented as well. As per Dr. Olechnowski, “Alexandra started her research in the Fall 2015 semester. She will be examining how different songbird species respond and habituate to an innocuous environmental stimulus (prowler owl statues) over time, and how feeding patterns across different species of birds change as they recognize the stimulus as non-threatening. Data will be related to the theory of optimal foraging. She will also then attempt to infer differential learning patterns across these species and relate these results to the potential overall cognitive ability of these various birds. Her final results will be presented at the 2017 William Paterson Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Marisa Grisaffi started her research in the Fall 2015 semester. Marisa will use local and regional zoological parks and aquariums as research sites and employ behavioral methodologies similar to past students. Marisa will examine the differences in both individual behaviors and social behaviors of several captive penguin species. She is especially interested in correlating these behaviors with the various morphologies of the different penguin species and biogeographic distribution of these species in their natural habitats. This research considers the conservation, ecology, welfare and management of these birds in zoological parks. Marisa was a Novo Nordisk scholar in Summer 2016. Her final results will be presented at the 2017 William Paterson Undergraduate Research Symposium”.
A Biology Seminar was held on Monday, March 6, 2017 on the Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham campus. It was given by Anna J. Ragni, MA. She is a Ph.D. candidate of the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History.
The following notes were taken and submitted by Biology student Jillian Salvodon.
The topic of the seminar was “The Evolution of Hominin Bipedalism”.
- This topic observes the evolution of locomotion in primates, specifically humans, can help to explain how our ancestors evolved their locomotion to bipedalism.
- Human beings are the only primates that have obligate bipedalism locomotion, meaning that we can only walk on two legs; any other way of moving from point A to point B would be uncomfortable.
- In our obligate bipedalism, our walking cycle consists of a heel-strike, then a stance phase on one foot, then the push off with the big toes, and a swinging phase of the leg, and then this process is repeated.
- Different bones in the human body can be compared to the bones of our relatives, such as chimpanzees, to observe how our bones are structured differently to support our obligate bipedalism. Some of these differences are in the spine, which in humans, it is s-shaped and vertical to support our vertebrae so it does not absorb a lot of shock pressure, while in chimpanzees their spine is at almost a 45 degree angle and is straight. Their arms and legs can also be observed, because in chimpanzees they are approximately the same size. In humans our legs are longer than our arms, because we want to cover the longest amount of distance in the shortest amount of time. There are many other ways to observe these differences.
- In our relation to our ancestors, if a skeletal structure is found, and there is a least one distinct trait that shows bipedalism, the skeleton can be classified as a hominin. Many scientists argue the degree of bipedalism by skeletal structures.
- Many skeletal structures that could have been the missing links between our ancestors could have been lost to the savanna hypothesis, which the idea that the fossilization of the skeleton was not preserved due to environmental conditions.
- There are also other ideas as to why humans evolved into obligate bipedalism, such as the thermoregulatory hypothesis, which is that we are upright to avoid having a large surface area of our bodies to the sun, and the increased convection of wind. Another idea as to why we evolved this way is for endurance running. This provides an increase of hunting tactics, such as handling tools with hands or being able to see the prey from further distances.
The Department of Biology and Allied Health Sciences sponsored a Biology seminar entitled, ”Nature vs Nurture, and Life at the Extreme: How Do African Cichlid Populations Respond to Hypoxia?” given by Erika Crispo, Ph.D. assistant professor of Biology from Pace University.
Here are some of the points presented as reported by Biology student, Jillian Salvodon.
- Nature was defined in this seminar as the heredity that is inherited throughout generations.
- Nurture was defined in this seminar as the phenotypic plasticity, meaning the genes expressed through environmental impacts.
- The environmental impact that was studied was hypoxia, the levels of oxygen or lack there-of in an ecosystem of cichlids.
- The level of hypoxia in the water is regulated by oxygen and nitrogen gas; oxygen to bring the levels up and nitrogen to bring the levels down.
- The level of oxygen in the cichlids was measured by taking readings of cytosine methylation.
- Since the cichlids cannot take oxygen by breathing air like most fish, they can only obtain oxygen through water.
- Multiple broods were made from fish collected from a river in Uganda, in varying locations; one brood consisted of fish collected from an area with hypoxia, and the other consisted of fish collected from an area with normixia.
- Each of the broods were split up and one-half of the brood was exposed to hypoxic conditions, and the other half was exposed to normoxic conditions.
- After one year of these conditions, the gills, muscle tissue and brain were observed. This showed that as the oxygen levels were decreased, their gill size increased.
The FDU Science Club won first place at Club fair. The competition was based upon aesthetic appeal, representation of the club’s goals, philosophies and information. The table featured a “make your own molecule” activity with gumdrops and toothpicks, flyers with club information and poster from past competitions at the Liberty Science Center.
Students pictured from left to right are: Alexandra Geczo, Juster Rivera and Nina Maria Zammiello.
A Biology seminar was given by Dr. Harita Menon on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 4:00 P.M. Dr. Menon is from the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rutgers University. The title of his seminar was “Developing Neurotherapeutics – “‘The tales of dendrite Branching.’”
Dr. Ronald S. Strange has been granted Emeritus status in September 2016
by Fairleigh Dickinson University. Dr. Strange taught in the Chemistry department
for 45 years. He retired from his position in May of 2016. He received his B.S. degree from
the University of Kentucky, an M.S. degree from Stevens Institute of Technology and a
M.S., Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.
The American Chemical Society names Fellows for 2016.
Congratulations to Dr. Raymond A. Baylouny for a job well done.
ACS Fellows Press Release 2016
Dr. Raymond Baylouny, Emeritus, was honored by the American Chemical Society as a Fellow at a ceremony in Philadelphia along with 56 other distinguished recipients on Monday, August 29th. He taught for many years in the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science on the Florham campus. He is presently retired, but has kept active, especially as the past director of the Chemistry Olympiad for high school students, sponsored by the American Chemical Society. Congratulations Dr. Baylouny on all your accomplishments.