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October 2014

Grant Will Allow Digitization of MU Herbarium

The Marshall Herbarium, located on the 3rd floor of the Science Building and directed by BSC's Dr. Emily Gillespie, has a key role in a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded effort to digitize collections that spotlight a global hotspot of plant diversity in the southeastern United States.

MU has united with dozens of other southeastern universities in a Thematic Collections Network project titled "The Key to the Cabinets: Building and Sustaining a Research Database for a Global Biodiversity Hotspot." The digitization will make the collections at MU and WVU instantly accessible to anyone with Internet access. Appalachian State University, in Boone, NC, is the lead institution for this regional collaborative effort. In all, the NSF awarded six grants this year totaling approximately $7.5 million to digitize biodiversity collections, a nationwide effort coordinated by the iDigBio program based at the University of Florida.

The MU herbarium, which houses WV's second largest collection of dried plant specimens, received $138,795 from the NSF to direct WV's part of a four year, 12-state initiative. The effort will develop an imaged and databased set of more than 3 million of the estimated 15 million southeastern U.S. specimens from 107 herbaria in the region.

The funds will be used to build collaboration among four important communities: 1) the scientists and students working with the collections, 2) affiliates, such as conservation biologists, who use the herbaria in their day-to-day work, 3) information technologists who will build the data pipeline to move information and facilitate communication, and 4) citizen scientists who will gain virtual access to the collections and the working scientists via this data pipeline.

One of the goals of this collaboration is to explore methods to engage citizen scientists in the process of doing science. The data generated will be of significant value in basic fields of biology, such as ecology and evolution, as well as in applied areas of conservation and regional planning. In addition, successful methods of engaging citizens with science will be shared for future scientific projects, in order to give the public opportunities to do science and have a real impact on the world around them.

Congratulations to Dr. Gillespie and her collaborators for attaining the funding that will allow researchers from all over the world to have access to these data and specimens!

Stuffed Cells by Zedmalia Wolfe
The scientifically-correct adventures of an archaean, a plant cell, and an animal cell.


Fall Career Expo is Wednesday, October 8

MU's Career Services' Fall Career Expo is Wednesday, October 8, 2014, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Don Morris Room of the Student Center. The continually-updated list of employers participating in the Expo is available online, and you may also want to visit the Career Services website, which contains links to articles that help you prepare for a job search and interviews.

Don't forget to log into your Marshall JobTrax account to keep your profile information updated, upload current resumes, cover letters, etc., and to search for jobs and internships. For assistance with your JobTrax account or with resumes, interviewing, and more, call Career Services (304-696-2370), or visit at 1681 5th Avenue, between Harless Dining Hall and the JCE Performing Arts Center.

College of Science Student Advising Has Been Reorganized

The College of Science Office of Student Services has reorganized, resulting in some changes in advising assignments. Vicki Cole will advise BSC students who have declared in one of our majors, while Joseph Chambers will advise BSC majors whose emphasis is on "pre-healthcare" professions. This means that if your interest is in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary science, etc. you will meet with Joseph Chambers for advising. Joseph is located in the Science Building room 214, and can also be emailed (, or called at 304-696-3475. Vicki Cole is located in Science Building room 270, and can be reached by email ( or called at 304-696-6672.

Students Enjoy Summer Ecuador Experience

This past summer, BSC's Dr. Suzanne Strait and six Marshall students from the College of Science joined a Marshall-sponsored KIIS program to Ecuador. The Marshall contingent included BSC graduate students Shannon Jones and Kayla Adkins, as well as undergraduates Tanner Bakhshi, Ethan Karnes, and Katie Mount from BSC and Mandy Chapman from IST. Students took classes in ecotourism, ornithology, evolution, and tropical ecology, and traveled around exploring the Amazon, cloud forests, and the Galapagos Islands. It was an amazing, life changing journey for all.

Brag Box An abbreviated list of recent BSC student and faculty accomplishments:
  • Megan Graham (BS Biological Sciences, May 2012) completed her MS degree in Reproductive Physiology at West Virginia University this spring. Her thesis was titled, "Effects of Lipopolysaccharide Induced Inflammatory Response on Early Embryo Survival in Ewes." Her advisor, Dr. Robert Dailey said, "She did a very good job and matured a lot while here. She has taken two part-time jobs," and "she is really excited about those jobs and hopes that the experiences will land her a position in a vet school in this fall's round of applications. Thanks for sending her this way."

What’s New in Biological Science:Gut bacteria that protect against food allergies identified. (Source: ScienceDaily, August 25, 2014) A study finds that the presence of the common class of gut bacteria, Clostridia, protects against food allergies, pointing toward probiotic therapies for this so-far untreatable condition. Food allergies affect 15 million Americans, including one in 13 children.

Selected BSC Contact Information

Dr. David Mallory, BSC Chair S-350 (304) 696-2353
BSC Graduate Program Information   (304) 696-2427
BSC office, TA applications, various forms S-350 (304) 696-3148
Susan Weinstein, BSC News S-204 (304) 696-2428

Download pdfs of this or any past issue of the Biological Sciences Newsletter by clicking on the archive links to the right.

Department of Biological Sciences | One John Marshall Drive | Science Building 350 | Huntington, WV 25755 | (304) 696-3148
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