Biology Department News

Several Biology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors participated in Inquiry 2015, the annual celebration of student research and scholarship at Lebanon Valley College.  Students presented posters outlining their work on projects in the disciplines of genetics, ecology, immunology, animal behavior and neuroscience. Participating students included Connor McDonald, Josh Martin, Katelyn Wray, Lauren McCullion, Matt Blanke, Emily Spurlin, Brody Lipsett, Rebecca Wise, Bradley Krisanits, Timothy Monko, Emily Pipkin, Laura Misiewicz and Victoria Seader.  

Victoria Seader ('16), Rebecca Wise ('15), Emily Pipkin ('16) and Katie Wray ('15) presented posters at the 91st Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science.  

Seader, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Carey, also gave an oral presentation entitled "Using the Amorella trichopoda expansin superfamily to elucidate the history of Angiosperm expansins".

Wise and Pipkin, who work in the laboratory of Dr. Courtney Lappas, presented a poster entitled "The plant hormone zeatin riboside inhibits T lymphocyte activity via adenosine A2A receptor activation". 

Wray, who works in the laboratory of Dr. Rebecca Urban presented a poster entitled " Asexual reproduction of an invasive macrophyte grown over various sediment types". 

Dr. Courtney Lappas had a paper entitled "The plant hormone zeatin riboside inhibits T lymphocyte activity via adenosine A2A receptor activation" published in Cellular and Molecular Immunology (2015) 12, 107-112.  

Dr. Courtney Lappas
recently had a book chapter published. “The immunotoxicology of nanomaterials” was published in the Handbook of Nanotoxicology, Nanomedicine and Stem Cell Use in Toxicology. Edited by Saura Sahu and Daniel Casciano, Wiley.

Dr. Rebecca Urban recently had a paper published in the Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society: Titus, J.E. and R. A. Urban (2013) Invasion in progress: Utricularia inflata in Adirondack submersed macrophyte communities. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 140:506-516.



Matt Dwyer ('14) presented a poster entitled "Asexual reproductive strategies of an invasive macrophyte compared to native species" at the 90th Pennsylvania Academy of Science Meeting in Seelingsgrove, PA.  This work was completed in Dr. Rebecca Urban's lab.



Cameron Venable received $500 to help fund his independent research project entitled, “The effects of coarse woody debris on small mammal populations.”  This funding was provided by Sigma Xi’s Grants-in-Aid of Research Program.

 Sam Calbria ('14) and Matthew Dwyer ('14) presenented their work at the 16th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  Calabria presented work conducted with Dr. Kristen Boeshore entitled "Effects of methanandamide on learning and memory" and Dwyer presented work conducted with Dr. Rebecca Urban and Dr. Anderson Marsh entitled "The effects of zinc sulfide nanoparticles, capping agents and reagents on Spirodela polyrhiza".



Dr. Rebecca Urban recently had a manuscript published in Oecologia: Urban, R.A., Titus, J.E. and Hansen, H.H. Positive feedback favors invasion by a submersed freshwater plant. Oecologia, 172: 515-523. 

Dr. Courtney Lappas has had three recent manuscripts published: 

  • Weilnau, J. N.*, Black, S. E.*, Chehata, V. J.*, Schmidt, M. P.*, Holt, K. L.*, Carl, L.M.*, Straka, C. J.*, Marsh, A. L., Patton, W. A. and Lappas, C. M.  ZnS nanocrystal cytotoxicity is influenced by capping agent chemical structure and duration of time in suspension, Journal of Applied Toxicology, 33(3): 227-237 (2013).   *undergraduate co-author   
  • Lappas, C. M.  The effect of CGS21680 treatment on thioglycollate-induced peritonitis: An introduction to immunopharmacology.  Bioscene. 38: 3-9 (2012).
  • Lappas, C. M. and Lappas, N. T.  d-limonene modulates T lymphocyte activity and viability.  Cellular Immunology. 279: 30-41 (2012).

  Colbey Freeman (’11) and Dr. Rebecca Urban had a paper entitled “Sediment oxidation capabilities of four submersed aquatic macrophytes” published in the Journal of Freshwater Ecology.  This research was partly funded by Lebanon Valley College’s Wolf Biology Research Fund,  and a Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid of Research.

Alyssa Kulp ('12), Nathan Hepler ('13) and Sarah Black ('14) presented posters at the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 2012 Meeting in Allentown, PA.  Kulp, Hepler and Black work in the laboratories of Dr. Rebecca Urban, Dr. Robert Carey and Dr. Courtney Lappas respectively.

 LVC Biology students presented their work at the 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  Libby Cieniewicz and Patricia Cunfer presented a poster entitled "Comparison of the effects of nerve growth factor and spermidine in naive and primed PC-12 cells.” This work was completed in Dr. Kristen Boeshore's lab.  Alyssa Kulp and Amanda Jenkins presented a poster detailing work done in the laboratories of Dr. Rebecca Urban and Dr. Anderson Marsh; the poster was entitled “The effect of zinc sulfide nanoparticles on spirodela polyrhiza.”   Nathan Hepler and Sarah Beatty presented a poster entitled  “Expansins in algal and basal land plant lineages.”  This project was completed in Dr. Robert Carey's lab.

Dr. Courtney Lappas had a chapter entitled “Allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation followed by graft-versus-host disease: Role of adenosine A2A receptors” published in Stem Cells and Cancer Stem Cells: Therapeutic Applications in Disease and Injury, Springer Company. The volume, written for a target audience of clinicians and biomedical researchers, both explores the differences between tissue specific stem cells and embryonic stem cells, and details the applications of human pluripotent stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, and hematopoietic stem cells in cancer therapy and tissue and organ regeneration.


Dr. Rebecca Urban and coauthors presented a poster entitled “Positive feedback favors an invasive macrophyte”, at the 85th Ecological Society of America’s National Meeting in Pittsburg, PA.

Dr. Courtney Lappas, along with Veronica Chehata '11, Justin Weilnau '13 and Phil Domeier '10 had a paper entitled "Adenosine A2A receptor activation limits chronic granulomatous disease-induced hyperinflammation" published in Cellular Immunology.

Dr. Rebecca Urban had a paper entitled “Exposure provides refuge from a rootless invasive macrophyte” published in the international journal Aquatic Botany.

Dr. Dale Erskine attended the Health Care Executive Program sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and conducted at UCLA Anderson School of Management.  He attended as Chair of the Board of Directors of Alder Health Services, one of about twenty community-based health care programs selected to go to the workshop.  With the assistance of UCLA graduate faculty, Dr. Erskine and the CEO of AHS were able to refine a plan to expand the services of AHS to include primary care and mental health services for members of the LGBT community.  They also received mentoring on strategic planning and implementation of the plan to expand services. 



Phil Domeier '10, Veronica Chehata '11 and Dr. Courtney Lappas presented a poster entitled "Adenosine A2A receptor activation inhibits T cell activity in a murine model of chronic granulomatous disease", at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunologists.




Tiffany Zentz '10 and Dr. Allan F. Wolfe presented a poster entitled, "Microscopic Study of the Cuticular Setae on the Second Antennae of Male and Female Artemia franciscana", at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science.

Dr. Courtney Lappas had a paper entitled "Adenosine A2A receptor activation limits graft-versus-host disease after allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation" published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

 Paul Wolf

The Wolf Biology Research Fund was established in October 2008 by LVC biology alumni and faculty in honor of Paul L. Wolf, Ph.D., professor emeritus of the LVC Department of Biology. The endowed fund will provide ongoing support for research projects undertaken by students and faculty studying various disciplines of biology.

Donate to the Wolf Biology Research Fund

On October 11, 2008, LVC research students participated in the 11th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The symposium, which is sponsored by the national Institutes of Health, highlights interdisciplinary research in the areas of biochemistry, biology, cell biology, chemistry, computational chemistry & molecular biology. This year, Khevna Shukla (Biology '11) and Patricia Cunfer (Biology '11) won a second place award for their poster detailing work completed in the laboratory of Dr. Kristen Boeshore, titled "Modeling Neurite Regeneration in PC12 Cells".

 Dr. Alan Wolfe spent spring semester 2008 on sabbatical leave in the laboratory of an LVC alumnus, James Dillman III, at the Edgewood Arsenal, in Maryland as part of a research team studying inflammatory reactions in cultured cells using cell and molecular biology techniques.




 In April, Elizabeth Potts (BCMB '08) and Ryan Lucas (BCMB '08) presented a poster at the 22nd Annual National Conferences on Undergraduate Research at Salisbury University. Potts and Ryan work in the laboratory of Dr. Kristen Boeshore.



 Dr. Courtney Lappas and co-authors presented a poster entitled "In vivo bioluminescent imaging studies following in vivo gene therapy" at the 11th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene Therapy held in Boston, MA in June 2008.


Dr. Dale Erskine entered into contract with McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series to become co-author and eventually primary author of the AIDS Update series.

Dr. Rebecca Urban has two manuscripts in press:

  • Urban RA, JE Titus, WZ Zhu.  Shading by an invasive macrophyte has cascading effects on sediment chemistry.  Biological Invasions In Press. DOI 10.1007/s10530-008-9231-4
  • Titus JE, RA Urban.  Aquatic Plants: General Introduction.  Chapter in Encyclopedia of Inland Waters. G.E. Likens, ed . In Press.


Dr. Courtney Lappas has had two recent manuscripts published:

  • Srinivasan, S., Bolick, D. T., Lukashev, D., Lappas, C. M., Sitkovsky, M., Lynch, K. R. and Hedrick, C. C. Sphingosine-1-phosphate reduces CD4+ T lymphocyte activation in type-1 diabetes through regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor short isoform I.1 and CD69. Diabetes. 57(2): 484-493 (2008).
  • Dyer, K.D., Czapiga, M., Foster, B., Foster, P. S., Kang, E. M., Lappas, C. M., Moser, J. M., Naumann, N., Percopo, C. M., Siegel, S. J., Swartz, J. M., De Ravin, S., Rosenberg, H. F. The dblGATA enhancer in the promoter of the GATA-1 gene is notessential for eosinophil differentiation ex vivo. Journal of Immunology. 179(3): 1693-1699 (2007).