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VCU News: Structurally complex forests better at carbon sequestration

Jeff W. Atkins, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher in VCU's Department of Biology, uses a lidar system to collect data in a forest at VCU's Rice Rivers Center in 2016. (Photo by Julia Rendleman, University Marketing)
Jeff W. Atkins, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher in VCU’s Department of Biology, uses a lidar system to collect data in a forest at VCU’s Rice Rivers Center in 2016. (Photo by Julia Rendleman, University Marketing)

Associate professor Chris Gough, Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellow Jeff Atkins, Ph.D. were recently featured in a VCU News article about carbon sequestration in forests.

Read the full article “Structurally complex forests better at carbon sequestration” by Brian McNeill at VCU News.

Chris Gough is an associate professor in VCU Biology, studying forest ecology.

Jeff Atkins is a post-doctoral fellow in Professor Gough’s Forest Ecology Lab.

Biology Faculty, Staff to Serve on CHS and University Organizations

First Row: Derek Johnson, Jennifer Olson, Fernando Tenjo, Alvin bryant. Second Row: Gerron Scott, Carmen Rodriguez, Carolina Yáber. Third Row: Jonathan Moore, Will moran, Maria Rivera, Sarah Golding.
First Row: Derek Johnson, Jennifer Olson, Fernando Tenjo, Alvin Bryant.
Second Row: Gerron Scott, Carmen Rodriguez, Carolina Yáber.
Third Row: Jonathan Moore, Will moran, Maria Rivera, Sarah Golding.

Several members of the VCU Biology community will serve on university and college organizations for Academic Year 2020 (Fall 2019 – Summer 2020).

Carolina Yáber was elected to be Secretary for Faculty Council of the College of Humanities and Sciences.  Carolina is an assistant professor in VCU Biology.

Gerron Scott was elected to serve as Vice-Chair for the University Academic Advising Board.  Gerron is an undergraduate academic adviser for the biology major.

Jonathan Moore was elected to serve on University Council as a member of the Faculty Caucus from the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Carmen Rodriguez Hernandez and Jennifer Olson will continue their terms on VCU Faculty Senate as representatives for the College of Humanities and Sciences.  Carmen is an associate professor for VCU Biology and Jennifer is an instructor for VCU Biology.

Additionally, Carmen has been elected to serve as President of the Faculty Senate of Virginia and will continue her role as VCU’s representative therein.

Will Moran was elected for a third annual term as President of Staff Council for the College of Humanities and Sciences.  Will is the Office Manager and Webmaster for VCU Biology.

Derek Johnson and Fernando Tenjo-Fernandez will continue to serve on the VCU ADVANCE-IT initiative to diversify VCU faculty across various intersecting identities in STEM fields and beyond.  Derek is the Chair of VCU Biology and Fernando is the Interim Associate Chair.

Sarah Golding is continuing her appointment on the President’s award committee and will serve on the REAL council as the representative from the College of Humanities and Sciences following her appointment as Co-Chair of the REAL taskforce.  Sarah is an instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Research in VCU Biology as well as Special Assistant for Experiential Learning in the Office of the Dean for the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Alvin Bryant will continue his role as Mentor Chair for the University Academic Advising Board.  Alvin is an Assistant Director for Undergraduate Advising in VCU Biology.

Maria Rivera was elected to serve as the Corresponding Secretary of the VCU Faculty Senate following her term as Senate representative which ended with this academic year.  Maria is an associate professor in VCU Biology.

The Biology Department is thrilled and privileged to have such qualified and passionate members of its community serving in so many important and varied roles.

Biology TRIO Student Featured in VCU News

Kamyar Sharifi looks back fondly on his first VCU experience — RAM CAMP — and the leadership skills it fostered. "I still remember when we participated in the challenge discovery program and climbed up the ropes. We were scared, but we trusted each other to finish it." (Photo by Allen Jones, University Marketing.)
Kamyar Sharifi looks back fondly on his first VCU experience — RAM CAMP — and the leadership skills it fostered. “I still remember when we participated in the challenge discovery program and climbed up the ropes. We were scared, but we trusted each other to finish it.” (Photo by Allen Jones, University Marketing.)

VCU News recently featured Kamyar Sharifi, a recent graduate from VCU Biology, in an article about the TRiO student support program.

Read the full article, “On the brink of graduation, students from VCU’s TRIO program reflect on their pasts and look ahead to the future” at VCU News.

VCU News features graduating Biology senior

Being diagnosed with alopecia areata at age 16 inspired in La’Tila Abbott a passion for health sciences that eventually led her to VCU. Abbott will graduate in May with a biology degree. (Photo by Kevin Morley, University Marketing)

VCU News reports:

“When she was 16, La’Tila Abbott was diagnosed with alopecia areata, a medical condition that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles. Her hair fell out, and she began to receive steroid shots in her scalp that came with “really horrible side effects,” she said. She wore a wig to school.”

“Her diagnosis inspired a passion for the health sciences that eventually led her to Virginia Commonwealth University, where she will graduate in May with a biology degree from the College of Humanities and Sciences.”

Read the full article, “Class of 2019: Entrepreneur and biology graduate driven by a personal mission” by Taylor Pilkington at VCU News.

La’Tila will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

VCU News: State approves funding to build new $121M STEM education facility at VCU

A conceptual rendering of six story building situated on the west side of Johnson Hall. Credit: Ballinger/Quinn Evans Architects.
A conceptual rendering of the future STEM teaching facility. Credit: Ballinger/Quinn Evans Architects.

VCU News Reports:

“The state budget signed Thursday by Gov. Ralph Northam includes funding for Virginia Commonwealth University to construct a $121 million 168,000-square-foot, six-floor building dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math education on the Monroe Park Campus.”

The building will house eight new laboratories for the Department of Biology’s introductory labs, among myriad additional spaces for other math and science units in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Read the full article, ‘State approves funding to build new $121M STEM education facility at VCU’ by Brian McNeill.

VCU News: CPEL research highlights impacts of climate change on VA’s barrier islands

The emergence of woody vegetation on the interior of Virginia's barrier islands — brought about by a warming winter climate — is accelerating the impact of sea-level rise. (Photo by Brian McNeill, University Public Affairs)
The emergence of woody vegetation on the interior of Virginia’s barrier islands — brought about by a warming winter climate — is accelerating the impact of sea-level rise. (Photo by Brian McNeill, University Public Affairs)

VCU News recently featured Julie Zinnert’s Coastal Plant Ecology Lab and their ongoing research into how climate change events impact the composition and function of Virginia’s barrier islands.

Full Article: “Study gives new insight into how climate change is transforming Virginia’s barrier islands” by Brian McNeill

Julie Zinnert, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology studying coastal plant ecology.  Others credited in the article include Ben Nettleton, who graduated from VCU Biology with an M.S. in Biology, and Philip Tuley, a current M.S. student in VCU Biology.

Biology Faculty Receive Course Redesign Grant to Lower Educational Costs for Students

Dianne Jennings and Jonathan Moore
Dianne Jennings (left) and Jonathan Moore (right)

The Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) recently awarded Dianne Jennings and Jonathan Moore a Course Redesign Grant for $27,797.00 to create open educational resources for BIOL 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences II.  With this grant, Jennings and Moore will be able to provide extremely affordable educational content to students for a course which is required for a B.S. in Biology at VCU.

Dianne Jennings is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology.

Jonathan Moore is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology.

‘Before the Flood’ Free Film Screening and Panel Discussion

It reads: From academy award winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens.  The science is clear, the future is not. Before the Flood. Executive Producer, Martin Scorsese. National Geographic.
Movie poster for “Before the Flood.” Hover for transcript of text.

VCU Biology and VCU Library will co-host the “Before the Flood” film screening in Room 303 of the James Branch Cabell Library on February 12th. This documentary follows actor Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels the world to learn about the effects of climate change and how that could make the Earth become unsustainable for human life. The screening begins at 6 pm and will be followed by a panel discussion. Seating is limited. Request your free ticket at goo.gl/nqznBp. For more information, contact Ching-Yu Huang at cyhuang@vcu.edu or check other films at 2019 RVA Environmental Film Festival at https://rvaeff.org/.

 

Ching-Yu Huang is an instructor for VCU Biology.

VCU News: How forests are a key piece in the climate change puzzle

A VCU biology professor was a contributing author to the forests chapter of a major new U.S. government assessment of carbon cycle science across North America. (Getty Images)
A VCU biology professor was a contributing author to the forests chapter of a major new U.S. government assessment of carbon cycle science across North America. (Getty Images)

Assistant Professor Chris Gough was featured on VCU News for his contributions to a report by the US Global Change Research Program regarding the carbon cycle in North America.

Full Article: How forests are a key piece in the climate change puzzle by Brian McNeill

Chris Gough is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology who researches forest ecology.

VCU News: $1.48M grant to aid community college students from underrepresented groups interested in biomedical sciences

Students in the 2018 cohort of VCU Bridges to Baccalaureate: Dream to Goal program, with Karen Kester, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Biology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, and Sarah Golding, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of undergraduate research in the Department of Biology. (Courtesy photo)
Students in the 2018 cohort of VCU Bridges to Baccalaureate: Dream to Goal program, with Karen Kester, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Biology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, and Sarah Golding, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of undergraduate research in the Department of Biology. (Courtesy photo)

VCU News has recently published an article featuring the recently renewed Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant in VCU Biology.  This program, lead by Karen Kester and Sarah Golding and with academic advising from Alvin Bryant, aims to help underrepresented community college students successfully transfer into a four-year institution.

Full Article: “$1.48M grant to aid community college students from underrepresented groups interested in biomedical sciences” by Brian McNeill with VCU News

Karen Kester is an Associate Professor in VCU Biology who runs an insect ecology and behavior research labSarah Golding is an Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Research in VCU Biology.  Alvin Bryant is an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Advising for VCU Biology.

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