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Bio 387 - Invertebrate Zoology Print

Bio387During the summer of 2015, students from 5 PASSHE Universities (Millersville, West Chester, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown and Lock Haven) experienced the invertebrate fauna of the Chincoteague Bay Field Station (formerly Wallops Island Marine Science Consortium).

The course (BIO 387 – Invertebrate Zoology), was instructed by Dr. S. Anne Boettger of West Chester University. Invertebrate Zoology is the study of animals lacking a backbone, a group that includes more than 90% of all animal species. As part of the course students gained first hand experience with a variety of large equipment that included the RV Parker (a research vessel that was used to examine the Atlantic marine environments on and off the continental shelf), the Flatfish and the Mollusk (two shallow water monitors that were used within Chincoteague Bay), and sea kayaks.

The location of Chincoteague Bay Field Station provides easy access to all environments along the Eastern Shore, the Chesapeake Bay and the deeper waters of the Atlantic Coast including sandy beaches, mudflats, rocky environments, salt marshes and seagrass beds. In addition, its location allowed visits to educational resources such as VIMS (Virginia Institute of Marine Science), industrial sites (shedding houses for softshell crabs and oyster/clam farms) and natural preserves (including Indian River Inlet, DE; Assateague Island, VA; Savage Neck Beach, VA and Kiptopeke State Park, VA).

Cool....Bio 387 Image Gallery

Faculty Position Available: Vertebrate Physiologist Print

Vertebrate PhysiologyTenure track ASSISTANT PROFESSOR position available August 2016. Earned doctorate in Physiology, Biology or related discipline; research focused on some aspect of vertebrate physiology. The successful applicant must be qualified to teach upper division Human Physiology, as well as special topics courses or graduate courses, and must be qualified to teach in Human Anatomy & Physiology, and General Zoology. Candidate is expected to establish an active, externally funded research program involving graduate and/or undergraduate students. Finalists must successfully complete an interview process that includes a research seminar and teaching demonstration.

To apply, upload a letter of application, statements of teaching and research philosophies, curriculum vitae, and all unofficial university transcripts to http://agency.governmentjobs.com/wcupa/default.cfm. Have three evaluators send a letter of reference by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by mail to Dr. Giovanni Casotti, 750 S. Church St., Department of Biology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA 19383. Review of completed applications begins on January 4, 2016 and continues until position is filled. For more details and full ad visit the website above or contact Dr. Giovanni Casotti at the email above.

The filling of this position is contingent upon available funding. All offers of employment are subject to and contingent upon satisfactory completion of all pre-employment criminal background checks. Developing and sustaining a diverse faculty and staff advances WCU’s educational mission and strategic Plan for Excellence. West Chester University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Can you identify these Birds? Print
Have you ever seen a bird and wondered what kind it was or what it was doing? Did you know there are ~30 species to identify on campus alone? Do you already enjoy birding and are looking to meet like-minded people?  If so, come join the fledging West Chester University Student Birding Club!  Any experience level welcome!

Birds are one of the most diverse, strikingly beautiful, and highly visible groups of animals.  Learning to identify birds by sight and sound can provide years of free entertainment.  Whether or not you can tell an American Crow from a Fish Crow, a Northern Flicker from a Pileated Woodpecker, or a House Sparrow from a Song Sparrow, come and join us! 

New BioFaculty: Fall 2015 Print
We welcome Dr. Teresa Donze-Reiner as a new assistant professor in the Department of Biology. She received her Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) in 2004, her Master’s degree in Biology in 2006 from the University of Nebraska - Kearney, and her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Microbiology from UNL in 2011.
Dr. Donze-Reiner’s research interests include understanding how plants defend themselves against insect pests and pathogens, including viruses. She has worked on many model plant systems such as Arabidopsis, soybeans, switchgrass, and sorghum to identify key genes that are necessary for resistance against biotic stresses. As a postdoctoral researcher at the UNL, she studied the defense response of susceptible and resistant switchgrass genotypes against greenbug aphids infestations. She also worked on understanding gender development in buffalograss, a common turf grass.
She will continue this research at West Chester University using both switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides) as model systems.  She is excited about teaching Genetics and other biology classes at West Chester University and working with students to develop independent research projects.  In addition to her interests in research and teaching, she enjoys doing educational outreach activities with the surrounding community and K-12 education.
Neural Tube Research Funded Print

neural tube

Dr. Jessica Sullivan-Brown was awarded $10,000 by the West Chester University Foundation to study the roles of folic acid metabolism genes in neural tube development.

The neural tube is a precursor to the brain and spinal cord, and neural tube defects, like spina bifida, are common and severe congenital conditions. Dietary supplementation of folic acid decreases the incidence of neural tube defects; however, the effects of folic acid on neural tube development are unclear. Folic acid metabolism has many important cellular roles and is thought to be critical for rapidly growing tissues like the neural tube.

Graduate student Patricia Bianchino will be analyzing the RNA expression of folic acid metabolism genes in the neural tube to determine if expression is enriched in the neural tube.  She will be analyzing the expression of folic acid metabolism genes during neural tube development in the frog Xenopus laevis. Xenopus laevis is a commonly used model system for studying neural tube defects because neural tube development is similar to humans and many genes are conserved.

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