Student Achievements

Student Achievements

Newest: Andrew Becker (biochem '14) selected as Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship Nominee; Sigma Xi Inductees; Elista Stoyanova (Biochemistry 14) received a BBB Research Scholarship; Andrew Becker is The John Bernard Scholar; Haley Colman received research funding; ECSC; Sadie Schlabach, Biology '15; Robert Nichols in Summer Scholars Program; Robert Griffin-Nolan Publishes in The Ithacan; Andrew Becker; NCUR Presenters, James J. Whalen Symposium Presenters and Winners!

Posted by Nancy Pierce at 7:44AM   |  Add a comment

Congratulations, Andrew and good luck!

As included in Intercom:

Each year, the Ithaca College Chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi invites outstanding seniors to apply for selection as the Chapter’s candidate for one of the prestigious National Fellowships for the first year of graduate or professional study.

This year’s nominee is Andrew Becker, a senior biochemistry major in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College.

Andrew plans to continue his study at one of the major medical schools in the country next year.  In Fall 2014 Andrew was selected as the recipient of the Phi Kappa Phi John Bernard Presidential Scholar Award.  At Ithaca College, Andrew is the Director of Internal Communications for the Senior Class Cabinet, President of the Pre-Medical Society, President of the Diabetes Awareness Club, and a Group Leader for Ithaca College’s Relay for Life, which raises money for the American Cancer Society. He also serves as a Teaching Assistant at Ithaca College for chemistry courses and is an Academic Enrichment Services tutor for chemistry courses.  

Phi Kappa Phi national winners of the fellowships will be announced by June 1, 2014.  We wish Andrew all the best as his application goes forward for consideration at the national level.

Posted by Nancy Pierce at 3:46PM   |  Add a comment
Sigma Xi Inductees

2014 Biology /Biochemistry Inductees

  • Haley Coleman, Biology
  • Alisha Linton, Biology
  • Joshua Messinger, Biochemistry
  • Emily Powers, Biochemistry
  • Sarah Rabice, Biochemistry

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, is nonprofit membership society scientists and engineers who were elected to the Society because of their research achievements or potential. Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi has more than 500 chapters at universities and colleges, government laboratories and industry research centers.

Posted by Nancy Pierce at 1:28PM   |  Add a comment
Elitsa Stoyanova

Elitsa Stoyanova (Biochemistry ’14) received a BBB Research Scholarship for her research project, “In vivo tracking of CART neuropeptide dynamics in Danio rerio”.  The results of the research will be presented at a future convention and may be published in BIOS.   Research conducted under the supervision of Ian Woods.  Award $250.


CART (cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript) is a neuropeptide with functions in behaviors such as food intake, body weight maintenance, and reward. The aim of this research project is to elucidate the in vivo dynamics of the expression, release, transport and receptor localization of the CART peptide. We plan to accomplish this through four main steps, using Split GFP as a reporter of CART localization. First, we will generate plasmid reagents that will enable an inducible cart-gfp11 (hs-gfp-11) and a ubiquitously-expressed gfp1-10 (actin-gfp1-10). Second, we will test the functionality of the hs-cart-gfp11 via established behavioral assays. Third, we will create transgenic zebrafish for the hs-cart-gfp11 and actin-gfp1-10 construct, confirm their fluorescence in transiently-transgenic larvae, and generate stable lines for these transgenes. Finally, we will generate reagents for genome editing via CRISPR or TALEN technologies to introduce the gfp11 label to the CART gene on its endogenous locus. Taken together, these experiments will elucidate the dynamics of CART signaling in the context of a living, functioning brain.

Posted by Nancy Pierce at 9:28AM   |  Add a comment
The John Bernard Scholar

Andrew is among the 2013 Phi Kappa Phi Presidential Scholar Award Winners.

The awards are made to students achieving the highest level of academic performance combined with exceptional depth and breadth of interest and outstanding community service.  Andrew is the Director of Internal Communications for the Senior Class Cabinet, President of the Pre-Medical Society, President of the Diabetes Awareness Club, and a Group Leader for Ithaca College’s Relay for Life, which raises money for the American Cancer Society. Andrew also serves as a Teaching Assistant and Academic Enrichment Services tutor at Ithaca College for chemistry courses.

Posted by Nancy Pierce at 2:59PM   |  Add a comment

Haley Coleman (Biology ’14) received research support from the H&S Dean's Office for her project, “The Role of CART in arousal behaviors in larval zebrafish" under the supervision of Ian Woods.

I am specifically interested in how differences in behaviors are produced in the brain. Neuropeptides, small proteins that help neurons communicate, are implicated in behavioral regulation. Our lab studies a neuropeptide called CART (Cocaine-Amphetamine Regulated Transcript), which has proposed roles in anxiety, addiction, and arousal. In mammals, a single CART gene affects numerous diverse behaviors. Thus, elucidating the exact role CART plays in each distinct behavior is difficult. Larval zebrafish are a great system for studying the genetic and neuronal basis of behavior, as they develop transparently and it is relatively easy to manipulate their genes. Unlike mammals, five different CART peptides are encoded by zebrafish DNA. Based on discrete patterns of expression within the brain for these five CART genes, we hypothesize that the many roles of CART in mammals are subdivided by the multiple copies of zebrafish CART. The behavioral functions of CART in mammals, including appetite control, anxiety, locomotor activity, and reward-seeking behaviors, are united by their involvement in arousal within the brain. Thus we plan to dissect the role of CART in arousal behaviors in larval zebrafish Specifically, our research aims to: 1) Locate CART specifically within the zebrafish brain and compare it to other expression patterns of genes that possibly share a role in arousal pathways. This experiment requires the use of a specialized ‘confocal’ microscope that is not currently available at Ithaca College. 2) Analyze the behavior of transgenic fish that overexpress each of the 5 individual CART genes to study arousal behaviors given different stimuli.  

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