VCU News: $1.48M grant to aid community college students from underrepresented groups interested in biomedical sciences
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.
Karen Kester is an Associate Professor in VCU Biology who runs an insect ecology and behavior research lab. Sarah 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.
VCU News: The River of No Return
Assistant Professor Dan Carr was featured in a VCU News article on The River of No Return: The Lower Salmon River Experience, a series of classes taught along the Lower Salmon River in Idaho.
Dan Carr is an Assistant Professor in VCU Biology.
VCU News Features Coastal Plant Ecology Lab’s research on climate change
VCU News featured the Coastal Plant Ecology Lab‘s research into climate change and its effects on barrier islands in Virginia.
The Coastal Plant Ecology Lab is managed by Assistant Professor Julie Zinnert, the principal investigator. Also featured in the story are Instructor Spencer Bissett, postdoctoral fellow Natasha Woods, and M.S. in Biology student, Michael Sinclair.
Plant Research in Zhang Lab Featured on VCU Home Page
Assistant Professor Wenheng Zhang, PhD, was recently featured on the VCU homepage (www.vcu.edu) along with her graduate students, Farahnoz Khojayori, Joon Kim, & Ghadeer Bukhari, and her postdoctoral fellow Jingbo Zhang, for their research efforts in plant evolution and development.
Zhang’s lab & research website can be found at https://plantevodevo.bio.vcu.edu/index.html
Biology Advisers Elected to UAAB Executive Board
The University Academic Advising Board announced the results of the Executive Board elections today. VCU Biology’s Assistant Directors of Undergraduate Advising Rachel Hill and Alvin Bryant were both elected! Hill will serve as Treasurer, and Bryant will serve as Chair of the Mentorship Committee.
Hill and Byrant are the leaders of the department’s academic advising office. They coordinate all undergraduate advising activities for VCU Biology. Congratulations Rachel & Alvin!
CHS Now Hiring Advisers
The Office of Student Services in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS) is recruiting to fill multiple Academic Adviser positions in the areas of Biology; Forensics; Kinesiology and Health Sciences; African American Studies, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, and Philosophy; and one Academic Adviser who will serve as a Generalist in CHS. The Academic Adviser will sustain an environment of effective academic advising for undergraduate students in the College in order to support VCU being a leader among national research universities in providing all students with high-quality learning/living experiences focused on inquiry, discovery and innovation in a global environment. More specifically, depending on the unit assigned, the Academic Adviser will provide resources to improve the student to adviser ratio in the Biology, Forensics, or Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science programs; provide professional advising for the programs in the smaller departments of African American Studies, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, and Philosophy; provide general advising through the CHS Office of Student Services to answer general questions, provide guidance to upper-level CHS majors who are exploring the option of changing to another major, and assist programs with larger student to adviser ratios that may change over time. Meeting these needs will improve student engagement through effective academic advising, while supporting the identified metrics of graduation rates and retention.
Interested applicants should visit the VCUJobs posting at the following url: https://www.vcujobs.com/postings/78810
The Department of Biology would like to congratulate Academic Adviser Samantha Rogers on being accepted into the Integrative Life Sciences PhD program at VCU Life Sciences. Samantha will continue as an academic adviser through the end of Academic Year 2018. VCU Biology wishes her the best and she will be dearly missed as a member of the biology team.
3 Biology Faculty Receive CHS Seed Awards
The College of Humanities and Sciences announced today that three VCU Biology faculty would receive Seed Awards for 2018. Scott Gronert, Associate Dean for Research writes, “the Seed awards were established to foster the development of successful grant proposals and nationally or internationally peer-reviewed scholarly and/or creative works.”
Assistant Professor Leslie Bulluck (pictured above, left) will receive a Seed award for her project “Using DNA barcoding to measure diet variation of a riparian consumer.”
Associate Professor Bill Eggleston (pictured above, center) will receive a Seed award for his project “Molecular analysis of loss of canalization and habituation in maize.”
Associate Professor Karen Kester (pictured above, right) will receive a Seed award for her project “Save the wasps! Maintaining productive collaborations and nurturing future funding opportunities.”
3 Biology Faculty to Develop Open Educational Resources for Biology Core Course
VCU Biology congratulates Instructors Ching-Yu Huang (pictured, left) & Jonathan Moore (pictured, right), and Associate Professor Dianne Jennings (pictured, center) for being granted an Affordable Course Content Award for their proposal, “Adopting and developing free open education resources for BIOL 151.”
Huang, Jennings, and Moore were awarded a total of $18,717 to develop lesson plans for BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I that would rely on open educational resources which would be free to students as an alternative to traditional textbook-based options. The award money will contribute to additional time and resources spent creating, implementing, and reviewing changes to the way BIOL 151 is conducted. The successful implementation of this proposal is estimated to save each student an average of $237 which would amount to total savings of $308,555 for the student population in a semester (based on estimated enrollments and textbook costs for Fall 2018).
BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I is the first of two sequential courses in the biology department that all students pursuing a major or minor in biology are required to complete and that serves as a collateral requirement for numerous other areas of study at VCU.
Wenheng Zhang named 2018 Biology Faculty of the Year
VCU Biology is thrilled to announce the 2018 Faculty of the Year: Wenheng Zhang!
Wenheng Zhang, PhD is a renaissance person who with sophistication, precision, humility, immense passion, and extending benevolence inspires her students everyday. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses, Zhang has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students as an Independent Study, Directed Study, thesis, dissertation, and postdoctoral supervisor. Her major accomplishments include identifying a new rheophytic orchid species, attaining ongoing funding from the National Science Foundation, and publishing in major journals such as PNAS and American Journal of Botany. Her research utilizes evolutionary developmental techniques to elucidate on plant morphologies that have daunted botanists for centuries, causing journals to seek her opinion.
Zhang was awarded the 2018 Faculty of the Year at the 2018 GOBS & ILSSO Picnic. Her name has been placed on the ‘Faculty of the Year’ plaque displayed outside of the VCU Biology main office and she also received a personal plaque.
The picnic was hosted by the Graduate Organization of Biology Students and the Integrative Life Sciences Student Organization.