Announcement Archive 2014

Graduate student Pratha Sah receives Cosmos Scholars grant

Congratulations to Pratha Sah, a PhD graduate student in Professor Shweta Bansal’s lab, who has recently received a $2,600 award from the Cosmos Scholars Grant Program. This grant has been awarded to Pratha to be used towards her research proposal entitled, “Effect of translocation on animal social networks, population robustness and disease vulnerability.”

Well done Pratha!

Dr. Steven Singer promoted to full Professor

Congratulations to Dr. Steven Singer, who has recently been promoted from Associate Professor to Professor. In addition to his role as Professor, Dr. Singer is also Chair of the Department of Biology, co-director of the Center for Infectious Disease, and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Lombardi Cancer Center. Dr. Singer is an expert in the fields of immunology and parasitology, and his laboratory research focuses on the intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia.

Well done Professor Singer!

Excellence in Teaching Award to Prof. Manus Patten

Prof. Manus Patten was selected by an overwhelming number of Georgetown College students as being a professor that strongly and positively influenced their college experience.  Santhia Varatharajah and Zoe Petropoulos, majors in the Department of Biology, introduced Dr. Patten, commenting on his rigorous approach to his courses and his encouragement of them in classes and while mentoring their senior research projects. 

Congratulations to Prof. Patten!

Students from the Mann Research Group Win Awards

Congratulations to several students from Janet Mann’s lab who have recently won awards.  Graduate student Megan Wallen and undergraduate student Desirae Cambrelen received awards at the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Marine Mammal Symposium (SEAMAMMS) in Wilmington, NC over the weekend of March 28-30.  High school student Maya Hallwon an award at the District of Columbia STEM Fair on March 22. 

Megan Wallen won an award for the best PhD Student Talk for her presentation entitled: Sexual coercion and the impact of males on female bottlenose dolphin ranging and habitat use. 
Desirae Cambrelen won an award for the best Undergraduate Poster: Bottlenose dolphin behavioral responses to shark attacks in Shark Bay, Australia.
Maya Hall got 1st place at the Fair for best Senior Poster entitled: The effectiveness of speckle count to determine the age range of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops cf. aduncus).  Because she won 1st place, she was invited to present her poster at the Intel® International Science and Engineering Fair® in LA on May 11-16th.

Congratulations to all!

Chris Griffey, Jen Purks and Jenny Marvin win research awards


The Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) was held from April 7-9, 2014; this 3-day conference included a keynote address by Dr. Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, as well as undergraduate student oral and poster presentations.  Neurobiology major Christopher Griffey (C’14) earned the award for best oral presentation and Biology of Global Health major Jennifer Purks (C’14) garnered the award for best poster presentation.

Graduating senior Jennifer Marvin was awarded the Chapman medal at the Department of Biology’s undergraduate awards ceremony following the RISE poster session on Saturday April 12, 2014.  Jenny is a member of Steve Singer’s laboratory, and she presented her work on the construction of genetically modified Giardia that express the ovalbumin gene.  This Giardia strain can stimulate T-cells and allows analysis of antigen-specific cell responses. 

Congratulations to Jenny, Jen and Chris!

Sara Gianfagna, David Schaffer and Nimrah Baig receive awards at Tropaia

Congratulations to 2014 Graduating Seniors who received awards at the Tropaia Ceremony on May 16, 2014

The Biology medal was awarded to Sara Gianfagna and David Schaffer.  This medal is awarded to the senior or seniors who have exhibited the highest degree of industry, perseverance, leadership, maturity and promise in the field of Biology.

The Dr. Michael Barrette medal was founded by James C. Shannon, Jr. (C’50) to honor the memory of Dr. Michael Barrette (C’50, D’54). It is awarded annually to the pre-medical or pre-dental strudent whose academic record is outstanding and who by his or her co-curricular activities and interests has contributed to the educational goals of the College.  The 2014 recipient of this award is Nimrah Baig

Jean Tsai, Niteace Whittington and Aleks Keselman successfully defended their PhD theses

Congratulations to Jean, Niteace and Aleks!

Jean Tsai successfully defended her thesis, entitled Male contest competition and mating success in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis (Pteromalidae), on Wednesday, April 9.  Her dissertation mentors were Profs. Martha Weiss and Edward Barrows. 

Niteace Whittington successfully defended her thesis, entitled Characterization of the Function of Sox21 During Neurogenesis, on Wednesday, April 9.  Her dissertation mentor was Prof. Elena Casey. 

Aleksander Keselman successfully defended his thesis, entitled Host and parasite factors contributing to variation in immunity and pathology in Giardiasis, on Monday April 14.  His dissertation mentor was Prof. Steven Singer. 

Kaley Beins and Sarah Kramer win Fulbright Fellowships, and Sarah Waye wins Goldwater Scholarship

Fulbright Fellowships to Sarah Kramer and Kaley Beins

Kaley Beins was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year to work at INDICASAT in Panama.  She will study how different vegetative covers may correlate with the presence of nitrates in the water.  Her studies will compare river waters adjacent to reforested, agricultural and native landscapes composed of different plant communities.  These studies may affect conservation projects associated with the expansion of the Panama Canal. 

Sarah Kramer was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year to work at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Germany.  Her project will be to model disease dynamics and human behavior in disease transmission.  She will be working to correlate rates of sexual concurrency (the rate at which individuals have multiple partners over the course of a given period of time) and HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in several German cities.

Goldwater Scholarship to Sarah Waye

Undergraduate Neurobiology major Sarah Waye was awarded the prestigious Goldwater scholarship.   The Goldwater scholarship is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Selected colleges and universities are invited to submit up to 4 candidates for the national competition.  Kirsten Craddock, also a Neurobiology major, received an Honorable Mention.  Congratulations to both students!

Congratulations to all three students for receiving these prestigious awards!


Shweta Bansal receives NSF Grant to study infectious disease transmission

Congruatulations to Shweta Bansal for receiving an NSF grant to study the modeling of the transmission of infectious diseases.  She is a co-PI with Dr. David Hughes of Pennsylvania State University.  The title of the grant is “Deconstructing infectious disease transmission in groups: from models to knockout experiments”. 

Jeffrey Huang receives National Multiple Sclerosis Society grant


Congratulations to Prof. Jeffrey Huang for receiving a 3-yr grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  He and his research group will study the molecular signals involved in CNS remyelination.  Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in which myelin membranes are destroyed through persistent inflammation.  Jeff and his research group are working to identify therapeutic strategies to repair demyelinated axons by promoting remyelination and/or protecting neurons.  These strategies are expected to limit the accumulation of clinical disability and bring disease progression to a halt. 

Niteace wins best poster award at the Society for Developmental Biology meeting

Niteace Whittington won the first place poster prize at the Society for Developmental Biology meeting that was held in Seattle from July 17-21, 2014. She recently finished her Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. Elena Casey, and this work was part of her dissertation project. 

Her prize includes a trip to England so she can attend the British Society for Developmental Biology Meeting.  This will be funded by FASEB! 

Congratulations to Niteace!

Professor Anne Rosenwald and team awarded NSF grant

Congratulations to Professor Anne Rosenwald, who is a co-principal investigator on a leadership team that has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a Network for Integrating Bioinformatics into Life Sciences Education. Professor Rosenwald and the other leadership team members (principal investigator Mark Pauley and co-principal investigators Eric Triplett, William Morgan, and Elizabeth Dinsdale) will convene a meeting at Georgetown University in March 2014 and a meeting at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in April 2014 with the aim to create a white paper to outline the needs for including bioinformatics in life science curriculum.

Well done Professor Rosenwald!

Amy Battocletti receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Congratulations to Amy Battocletti for receiving an NSF graduate research fellowship.  She is one of only two students at Georgetown University to receive this highly competitive fellowship.  This fellowship provides 3-years of support to Amy in addition to the prestige of being named an NSF Fellow.  She is conducting her research under the direction of Profs. Gina Wimp and Matthew Hamilton.