CWUBiology NewsBiology News Professor Helps to Fund Cameroon Health Clinics with Soccer Camp, 28 Jul 2015 07:47:16<p><img alt="" src="/biology/sites/" style="width: 495px; height: 300px;"></p><p>Blaise Dondji was 10 years old and living in Bawa, Cameroon, when his mother died from blood loss after she gave birth to his sister.</p><p>“The was no ambulance or car to rush her to the hospital,” he said</p><p>From that point on, he knew he wanted to make a difference with the health care in Cameroon.</p><p>Read more of this story in the <a href="">Daily Record</a>.</p>CWU Student to Present Research at GSA International Meeting, 04 Jun 2015 08:01:18<p><img alt="" src="/biology/sites/" style="width: 481px; height: 320px;"></p><p>Tykayah Baird, a junior at Central Washington University, will present her research findings at the 20th International C. elegans Meeting at the University of California, Los Angeles, June 24-28, 2015. Baird has been awarded an Undergraduate Travel Award by the <a href="">Genetics Society of America (GSA</a>) in recognition of her research results. Baird She is one of only 15 students in the United States to receive the award.</p><p>Baird is majoring in biology, and plans to graduate in 2016. Her mentor is Lucinda Carnell, CWU professor of biological sciences.</p><p>"My research includes looking at the long term effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), escitalopram on behavior using <em>C. elegans</em> as a model organism," said Baird. SSRIs are compounds widely used to treat depression, and are the active ingredient in drugs such as Prozac.</p><p>At the conference, cutting-edge research will be presented on diverse topics, including physiology, neurobiology, development, ecology and evolution, behavior, aging, ecology, gene regulation and genomics. The 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine winner, Craig Mello, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, will present the keynote address on June 26.</p><p>To promote excellence in undergraduate research and education, the Genetics Society of America established the travel awards to assist undergraduate members in attending a GSA conference and presenting their research.</p><p>“We are always delighted to help further the careers or our undergraduate members, by providing them with an opportunity to present their research to an international audience," noted GSA Executive Director Adam Fagen. “We look forward to hearing more about their findings at the 'worm meeting' this summer."</p><p>Baird is a 2012 graduate of Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma, Washington. Her mother is Kendra Baird.</p><p>Photo: Tykayah Baird and CWU Professor Lucinda Carnell, Biological Sciences</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p>Get Intimate With The Shrub Steppe Saturday, May 30th!, 27 May 2015 15:22:36<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.4;">16th Annual Get Intimate with the Shrub-Steppe</span></strong></p><p>Saturday May 30, 2015<br>9:00am to 2:30pm with early bird-watching trip at 7:30am</p><p>Rattlesnakes, sagebrush and mammoth…oh my! The 16th Annual Get Intimate with the Shrub-Steppe (GISS) at the Umtanum Recreation Area is set for Saturday May 30th this year.</p><p>Get ready to hop, soar, swim, skip, or slither your way to the Yakima River Canyon and join the Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN) for a fun-filled day of exploration for learners of all ages into our unique shrub-steppe environment and the Yakima River watershed.</p><p>For all the early birds there will be bird watching with Deb Essman and Jerry Scoville starting at 7:30 am and again at 9:00 am. Participants can meet Deb and Jerry 13-miles south of Ellensburg along the Yakima River Canyon at Umtanum Recreation Area for the guided trips. Be sure to bring your binoculars!</p><p>All field trips will meet at the Umtanum Recreation Area where participants can experience the unique ecosystems that influence and interact with the Yakima River watershed through hands-on science learning and expert-guided field trips into the surrounding shrub-steppe habitat. Fish, beavers, butterflies, geology, native plants, and of course, snake-sneaking are featured this year. Take advantage of our local experts as they share their knowledge about the endangered shrub-steppe habitat that surrounds us!</p><p>This year will also be a rich selection of educational booths with hands-on kid’s activities including new ways to learn about mammoths, butterflies and birds. All the field trip and booth information can be found on</p><p>NEW this year…an evening event the night before GISS…for all the grownups. Please join KEEN’s Board of Directors between 6 and 9 pm on May 29th at 409 North Pine and Get Intimate in the Evening! Local beer and wine will be served; CWU’s own Nick Zentner – of 2-Minute Geology fame – will join us and show his short film on the formation of the Yakima River Canyon; and we’ll enjoy checking out the temporary Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center and learn what is coming next for the project.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>…more…</p><p>GISS 2015 promises to be an educationally and recreationally diverse event, with activities to satisfy the most curious and adventurous souls. For more information and a full schedule of events please visit KEEN’s website at</p><p>Please note that the Bureau of Land Management requires a $5 day use parking fee at Umtanum Recreation Area.</p><p><br>GISS Field Trip Schedule</p><p>7:30am-8:30am<br>Early Bird Gets the Worm<br>9:00am-10:00am<br>Early Bird Gets the Worm</p><p>9:00am-2:00pm<br>River Bugs &amp; Fish</p><p>9:00am-10:00am<br>Geology of the Yakima River Canyon</p><p>10:30am-11:30am Snake Sneaking</p><p>10:30am-11:30am<br>Ancient Composites: Lichens &amp; Biotic Soil Crusts</p><p>12:00pm-1:00pm<br>Beaver Tales and Geomorphology of Umtanum Creek</p><p>1:30pm-2:30pm<br>Butterflying for Families</p><p>1:30pm-2:30pm<br>Spring Wildflowers in Umtanum Canyon</p><p>Contact:<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Jill Scheffer<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; KEEN Board Chairperson<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (509) 962-1654</p></p style="text-align: center;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br>Yakima Basin Science and Management Conference June 17th-18th, 14 May 2015 10:07:54<p><strong>***This conference is free of charge and pre-registration is not necessary*** </strong></p><p>Purpose:<br>To provide a comprehensive overview and exchange of ideas about the most current biological science and resource management activities in the Yakima River Basin<br>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Wednesday, June </span>17th<span style="line-height: 1.4;">&nbsp;- &nbsp;</span>8am<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> to </span>5pm<span style="line-height: 1.4;">&nbsp; &amp; &nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Thursday, June </span>18th<span style="line-height: 1.4;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.4;">8:</span>30am<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> to </span>5pm &nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">CWU Science Building,&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Room 147</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For more information visit the Yakima Klickitat Fisheries Project website, <a href=""></a> or email<br>Dave Fast: <a href=""></a><br>or<br>Anthony Fritts: <a href=""></a><br>&nbsp;</p></br></br></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></br></a href=""></br></br></a href=""></br>CWU Professors Awarded $360,000 to Fight Scourge of Hookworms, 12 May 2015 13:38:48<p><img alt="" src="/biology/sites/" style="width: 244px; height: 300px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;">Worldwide, nearly a billion people are afflicted with hookworms, an intestinal parasite that causes stunted growth, anemia, malnutrition, low birth weight, and, though rarely, even death. Although it has been successfully treated in the past with drugs, hookworms and similar parasites are developing resistance to current treatments.</p><p>Responding to an urgent need to control this widespread parasitic disease, Central Washington University Professors Blaise Dondji, biological sciences, and Gil Belofsky, chemistry, have teamed up to develop alternative therapies. They are studying plant extracts that have potential to yield effective treatments for hookworm infection.</p><p>Recently they received $361,065 from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary &amp; Integrative Health for their three-year study, “Anthelmintic Activity of Plant Natural Products Against the Hookworm Ancylostoma ceylanicum.” The budget for the first year is $122,440.</p><p>“Very little research has been done previously to look for alternatives to treatments for hookworm infection,” said Dondji, a specialist in infectious diseases. “To date, there is only one group of drugs for the disease, the benzimidazoles and they are becoming ineffective.”</p><p>Belofsky has performed significant research in the use of plant-based extracts to treat drug-resistant bacteria such as the dangerous Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause pneumonia, endocarditis, and toxic-shock syndrome.&nbsp; He has published recently on the activity of other plant components against resistant fungal strains, toward insect crop-pests, and has done preliminary work toward treatments for Parkinson's via dopamine receptor-binding.</p><p>Their research aims at identifying and characterizing plant compounds that demonstrate activity against the hookworm Ancylostoma ceylanicum, one of the species causing the human disease. Compounds come from relatively common plant species—the Western prairie clover (Dalea ornata), and the Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis), for example.</p><p>“We’ll examine extracts of the leaves, root, and bark and isolate the active compounds,” said Belofsky. “Then we’ll test their effectiveness on the hookworm, both ex vivo (in a petri dish) and in vivo (in a living animal).</p><p>Both Dondji and Belofsky are optimistic that the isolated plant compounds will yield positive results, and have, in fact, already isolated some of the active compounds—“which, down the road, could develop into intellectual property patenting and drug development,” said Dondji.</p><p>Early indications from these sources have been highly encouraging. However, Belofsky cautions, it must also correlate with low toxicity toward healthy cells for a treatment to be useful.</p><p>People can become infected with hookworm orally, by ingesting the hookworm larvae, or through the skin, by walking barefoot or having other skin contact with soil contaminated with hookworm larvae. The larvae that enter through the skin, end up in the small intestine where they mature. The worms then literally hook their fang-like cutting plates into the nutrient-rich lining of the intestine, where they voraciously feed on the host’s blood. Pregnant women, children and those who have compromised immune systems are most at risk for complications from hookworm infections.</p><p>Hookworms can be found throughout the world, but most commonly in sub-tropical areas where there is a constant moist, warm climate.</p><p><br><em>This research is supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15AT008546. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.</em></p><p><em>Photo courtesy of NIH</em></p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,</p><p>May 12, 2015<br>&nbsp;</p></br></br>CWU SOURCE Symposium May 21st, 12 May 2015 10:09:51<p>Washington State’s longest running event of its kind reaches a significant milestone this year. The 20th Symposium Of University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE) takes place at Central Washington University on Thursday, May 21. &nbsp;</p><p>The emerald-anniversary event will feature free, public oral, poster, and performance presentations, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., in the Student Union and Recreation Center on the Ellensburg campus. For 2015, SOURCE will feature more than <a href="/biology/sites/">350 presentations </a>from 34 different academic departments.</p><p>“The continued growth of student interest and participation in SOURCE has been remarkable and gratifying,” says Kara Gabriel, SOURCE director and CWU psychology professor. “That’s also a testimony to the university faculty and staff, who have embraced SOURCE and helped it to become one of the state’s premier event.”</p><p>Originally known as the Undergraduate Research Symposium, the first conference featured 23 presentations in 1996. Two years later, it was renamed the “Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression,” to emphasize the broad nature of undergraduate scholarship at Central. Then, in 2002, a companion event for graduate students and faculty, the Conference on Graduate Student and Faculty Scholarship, was initiated.</p><p>Ten years ago, the two events merged as a way to foster overall awareness of and appreciation for CWU scholarship, regardless of discipline or academic level. SOURCE provides an opportunity for university undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, or employees who engage in scholarly activity to share the results of their work. This year, area elementary, middle, high school and Running Start students will also participate.</p><p>“Being able to offer chances for high-level scholarship beyond Central students alone is another way that SOURCE is unique from other research symposia,” Gabriel points out. “It’s proven to be beneficial to our faculty, fun for the staff, and an excellent learning experience for non-college students. We hope that some of them will enroll at Central and continue their research or creative endeavors here, and continue to be part of SOURCE.”</p><p>In addition, the annual CWU Student Business Plan Competition, sponsored by the CWU College of Business’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with the continued financial support of the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, will be held in conjunction with SOURCE. As in the past, oral presentations will be made by the finalists. A total of $10,000 in award money will be presented to the plans judged to be the top three overall.</p><p>A companion symposium at CWU-Des Moines, on the Highline Community College campus, will be held Tuesday, May 19 from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m.</p><p>“Having a second SOURCE in western Washington ensures that students at our campuses there also have opportunities to present and have their research judged without having to come to Ellensburg,” Gabriel acknowledges. “This type of competitive evaluation really helps them in their scholarly work, and we’re happy to be able to provide that opportunity to them.”</p><p>The campus SOURCE awards ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 27, at noon, in the SURC Pit. Outstanding student presentations will be honored at that event, along with those receiving “Faculty Mentor” awards for their significant contributions to CWU research.</p><p>A SOURCE 2015 Awards Ceremony and Celebration is also planned for Seattle, in Fisher Pavilion, on Wednesday, June 3. This year’s SOURCE award winners, along with those from past events, are invited to participate in that ceremony.</p><p>“The last couple of years, we held our celebration at the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center,” Gabriel says. “But, because of its popularity and the attendance at the event, we quickly outgrew that space and had to move to a bigger venue. It’s a nice problem to have!”</p><p>Based on the success and continued growth of the symposium overall, SOURCE will also expand, becoming a two-day event on the Ellensburg campus starting next year.</p><p>Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Content Development, Public Affairs, 509-963-1487, <a href=""></a><br>April 29, 2015</p></a href=""></br>CESME Science In A Pint Series Starts Tuesday, April 7th, 02 Apr 2015 13:10:51<p>Starting this April, Central Washington University’s Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education [CESME] and Cornerstone Pie will offer "<a href="">Science In A Pint</a>", a monthly series of science talks. &nbsp;</p><p>The new series, “Science in a Pint,” starts on April 7 (6:00-7:00pm) at Cornerstone Pie.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>Natural Science Seminar: “Rational Design of H2A.Z Mutants Uncover Differential Chaperone Interactions and Function”, 05 Mar 2015 11:04:47<p>Please join us for the final Natural Science Seminar of the Winter Quarter:</p><p>"Rational Design of H2A.Z Mutants Uncover Differential Chaperone Interactions and Function."</p><p>Dr. Michael Parra, Assistant Professor of Biology / Molecular Biology, Heritage University</p><p>Friday, March 6th</p><p>Science Building, Room 147&nbsp; (Refreshments served at 3:50)</p><p>Seminar 4:00pm-5:00pm</p><p>Everyone is invited!</p><p>The Natural Science Seminar Series is hosted by the CWU Department of Biological Sciences and the CWU College of the Sciences.&nbsp; Visitor parking permits are available for community members who would like to attend.&nbsp; Please contact the Biology Office at 963-2731 by 12:00pm on the day of the seminar to make arrangements.</p>Natural Science Seminar, "Movies and Math: The Past, Present, & the Future", 18 Feb 2015 11:03:03<p>Please join us <strong>Friday, February 27th, </strong>for the next Natural Science Seminar Series presentation:</p><p><strong>Movies and Math:&nbsp; The Past, Present, and the Future</strong></p><p>Dr. Michael Dorff, Brigham Young University, Department of Mathematics</p><p>Science Building - Room 147 (Refreshments served at 3:50)</p><p>Seminar 4:00-5:00pm</p><p>What’s your favorite recent movie? Frozen? The Avengers?&nbsp; Avatar? Transformers? What do these and all the highest earning Hollywood movies since 2000 have in common? Mathematics! You probably didn’t think about it while watching these movies, but math was used to help make them. In this presentation, Dr. Dorff will discuss how math is being used to create better and more realistic movies. Along the way, he will discuss some specific movies and the mathematics behind them, including examples from Disney’s 2013 movie Frozen (how to use math to create realistic looking snow) to Pixar’s 2004 movie The Incredibles (how to use math to make an animated character move faster). Come and join us and get a better appreciation of mathematics and movies.</p><p>Everyone is invited!</p><p>This Natural Science Seminar is hosted by the CWU Departments of Biological Sciences and Mathematics, and the CWU College of the Sciences.&nbsp; Visitor parking permits are available to community members who would like to attend. Please contact the Biology Office at 963-2731 by 12:00pm on the day of the seminar to make arrangements.</p>CWU Professor to Speak on Epigenetics February 7, 06 Feb 2015 14:16:26<p><img alt="" src="/biology/sites/" style="width: 250px; height: 289px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;"><span style="line-height: 1.4;">CWU</span><span style="line-height: 1.4;"> Professor Jennifer </span>Dechaine<span style="line-height: 1.4;">, biology/science education, will give a TED talk for </span>TEDx<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> Yakima at 2:00 p.m. at the Yakima Valley Museum on Saturday, February 7.&nbsp;</span></p><p>Her presentation, “Epigenetics, a New Dimension in what Makes You, <em>You</em>,” is about an exciting new branch of genetic research. Epigenetics is about non-genetic influences of environment on gene expression. Basically, it studies how environment influences your genes (and thus your risk for disorders, such as cancer) and how these influences may be even passed on to future generations, affecting your children or grandchildren.</p><p>Her presentation will be videotaped and available on the website and YouTube. For tickets and information, go to More information may also be found on;</p></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;">