WCSU Returns to Normal, Reopening Information and Covid-19 Updates



Dr. Theodora Pinou will conduct a symposium, “Exemplary Practices in Herpetological Education” at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in July, 2020. (posted 08-25-19)

Jenny Kry (Biology ’18) and her faculty advisor, Dr. Joshua Cordeira, have published an article, Binge-eating Behavior in Socially Isolated Female Mice” in the Journal of Young Investigators (JYI), based on her Advanced Sr. Research project. (posted 12-06-18)

Dr. Theodora Pinou and collaborators have published an article in Diatom Research entitled “Craspedostauros alatus sp. nov., a new diatom (Bacillariophyta) species found on museum sea turtle specimens. (posted 11-13-18).

Dr. Neeta Connally and collaborators have published an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology entitled Impact of Wearing and Washing/Drying of Permethrin-Treated Clothing on Their Contact Irritancy and Toxicity for Nymphal Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) Ticks. (posted 10-16-18)

Dr. Edwin Wong has been awarded the Provost’s Award for Teaching and the Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Faculty Member award by the Student Government Association. (posted 09-19-18)

Dr. Rachel Prunier has been awarded the Board of Regents Faculty Research Award for WCSU. Congratulations! (posted 01-20-18)

Dr. Neeta Connally and Dr. Rayda Krell are part of a joint grant award from the U.S. EPA to WCSU and the Ridgefield Health Department to educate communities about tick management. Read all about it here. (posted 10-06-17)

Dr. Frank Dye has a new book out, entitled Dictionary of Stem Cells, Regenerative Medicine, and Translational Medicine, published by John Wiley. (posted 03-19-17)

Welcome. Dr. Hannah Reynolds joins us as our new tenure-track microbiologist. She comes to us from Ohio State University, and her research interests include fungal diseases such as White-Nose Syndrome that affects bats. (posted 01-21-17)

Dr. Neeta Connally was awarded a four-year $1.6 million grant from the CDC to fund a project — in conjunction with the University of Rhode Island and WCSU Psychology professor Daneil Barrett — to study tick management strategies. Read all about it here and here. (posted 10-10-16).

Welcome new faculty & staff. Dr. Kristin Giamanco joins us as our new tenture-track cell biologist. Dr. Devdutta Deb teaches Microbiology on a one-semester appointment. Ms. Pamela Veach expands her duties from purchasing manager to lab coordinator for BIO 100. Our new and returning adjunct faculty: Larry Marsicano, Kathleen Miller, Ashley Manari, Brian Ortman, Barbara Bogart, George Rogers, Akalushi Muthukumarana, Frank Dye, Chris Tait, Howard Russock, Debbie Johnson, Roger Martinez-Alcaz, Paul Nitti, Mike Murphy, Pano Koukopoulos, Susan Maskel, Rayda Krell (posted 08-26-16)

Dr. Edwin Wong and Larry Marsicano (Bio Dept adjunct instructor, along with being Director of the Candlewood Lake Authority) are collaborating to study cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms and the toxins they produce on Candlewood Lake. (posted 05-15-16)

Dr. Frank Dye published an article entitled, “Developmental Cell Biology”in Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine 2:118–143 (2016). (posted 02-15-16)

Dr. Neeta Connally and other authors published a paper entitled, “Testing practices and volume of non-Lyme tickborne diseases in the United States”in Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 7:193-198 (2016). (posted 01-23-16)

Congratulations to the 2015 Biology Department Award recipients: Matthew Monaco, Karen Velez, and Stacey Evans Houle. Matthew Monaco received the “Outstanding Graduating Senior Biology Major Award”, Karen Velez received the “Most Promising Underclassman Award”, and Stacey Evans Houle received the “Graduate Student Award.” (posted 02-20-15)

Dr. Rachel Prunier (with K. Holsinger & J. Carlson) published a paper entitled “Reconsidering a disjunct distribution: Molecular and morphological evidence for two evolutionarily distinct lineages in Protea mundii Klotsch.” South African Journal of Biology 95: 64-69. (posted 09-17-14)

Dr. Mitch Wagener published a paper — along with adjunct instructor, Larry Marsicano and former BIO chair Tom Lonergan — entitled “A laboratory examination of the effectiveness of a winter seasonal lake drawdown to control invasive Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)“. Lake and Reservoir Management, 30:4, 381-392. (posted 09-17-14)

Dr. Dora Pinou, with colleagues from Yale and The Citadel, published a paper entitled “Six degrees of separation in barnacles? Assessing genetic variability in the sea- turtle epibiont Stomatolepas elegans (Costa) among turtles, beaches and oceans” Journal of Natural History, 47:33-34, 2193-2212. (posted 09-17-14)

Welcome to our newest tenure-track faculty member, Dr. Joshua Cordeira. Dr. Cordeira received his PhD in neuroscience from Tufts University School of Medicine. (posted 08-27-14)

Dr. Ana Ribeiro, B.A., magna cum laude, Biology class of 1995, was the recipient of the WCSU School of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2014 Honors Convocation on Monday, May 5, 2014. (posted 05-11-14)

Dr. Mitch Wagener was awarded the “Outstanding Faculty Member in Arts & Sciences” by the WCSU Student Government Association. (posted 05-05-14)

Dr. Theodora Pinou was awarded the “Excellence in Teaching” Award by the WCSU Chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. (posted 04-29-14)

BIO 198 Introduction to Tropical Field Biology in Costa Rica. March 15-23, 2014. The YouTube video of the trip is now available. (posted 04-09-14)

Student Melissa Di Nino was awarded a scholarship from the Danbury Garden Club. (posted 04-08-14)

Dr. Neeta Connally has been awarded the Board of Regents Faculty Research Award for WCSU. Congratulations, Neeta! (posted 03-18-14)

WCSU Communications major, Joshua Riddle, a former BIO 100 student, has made a documentary highlighting the ecological threat to Candlewood Lake. Featured in the film are WCSU BIO faculty. See it here on YouTube. (posted 02-26-14)

• Two Biology majors have earned awards this year. Meghan Bresson has been awarded “Most Outstanding Graduating Senior”. Jake Lipinsky has been awarded “Most Promising Undergraduate”. Extend your congratulations when you see these two students. (posted 02-26-14)

• Drs. Mitch Wagener and Ed Wong, along with adjunct instructor Larry Marsicano and several WCSU Biology students—including Rebekah White and Jean-Luc Plante—are highlighted in a News-Times article describing research into the zebra mussel infestation in Lakes Zoar and Lillinonah. (posted 10-28-13)

• Dr. Neeta Connally has a paper published entitled “Selection of Neighborhood Controls for a Population-Based Lyme Disease Case-Control Study by Using a Commercial Marketing Database.” Neeta P. Connally; Kimberly Yousey-Hindes; James Meek. American Journal of Epidemiology 2013; doi: 10.1093/aje/kws464 (posted 04-23-13)

• Dr. Neeta Connally is highlighted in a News-Times article describing a project to study the effect of insecticide-treated mice on the incidence of Lyme disease. (posted 04-09-13)

• The “Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success” program — a collaboration between WCSU and area public schools — has earned recognition in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor RollBiology faculty involved with the Bridge program over the past four years include: Patrice Boily, Katherine Ierace, Thomas Lonergan, Salvatore Sidoti, Stephen “Mitch” Wagener, and Edwin Wong. (posted 03-26-13)

• The Zebra Mussel Monitoring Project — a joint effort between WCSU Biology and the Candlewood Lake Authority — has earned recognition in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor RollBiology faculty involved in the project include Stephen “Mitch” Wagener and Edwin Wong. A number of undergraduates, graduate students, and community volunteers are also involved in this project to assess the invasion or potential for invasion by this invasive species in the Housatonic River, Lake Lillinonah, Lake Zoar, and Candlewood Lake. (posted 03-26-13)

• Dr. Tom Philbrick has been elected as a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to promoting informed public discussion of science-related subjects and student interest in pursuing careers in the sciences. (posted 02-25-13)

• Biology graduate student Molly O’Leary, Dr. Dora Pinou, and other department students are featured in a News-Times story about environmental impacts of road construction on animals. (posted 02-25-13)

• A new musical video about field sampling ticks for the purpose of Lyme disease prevention research has been submitted to the Open category of the 2012 Entomology Society of America “YouTube Your Entomology” contest. Sung to the tune of “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith and Run DMC, the video was produced by the Tick Research Laboratory at WCSU (students Melissa DiNino, Chantal Ridlon, Esau Rojas, and Assistant Professor Neeta Connally). The video also earned a mention in the NY Times. (posted 10-26-12)

• WCSU Beekeepers is a new student club based in the Biology Dept. The club’s goal is to “create a new wave of young beekeepers, who can pass on knowledge to their communities and future generations.” For more information, contact club President Bruna Oliveira. (posed 09-18-12)

• Welcome to several new additions to the Biology Dept. family. Dr. Rachel Prunier is an Assistant Professor on a tenure-track appointment, and will be teaching Genetics this semester. Dr. Michelle Monette is an Assistant Professor on a tenure-track appointment, and will be teaching Anatomy & Physiology in Spring 2013. (posted 09-13-12)

• Former students Melissa Garafola, Ana Bortoletto, and Maria Bortoletto, and faculty members Dr. Ed Wong, Dr. Mitch Wagener, and Larry Marsicano were featured in poster presentations at the North American Lake Management Society New England meeting. Their research focused on the molecular and microscopic detection and monitoring of zebra mussels in western Connecticut waterways. (posted 09-13-12)

• The News-Times reports on the summer STEM camp sponsored by WCSU and Danbury Public schools. (posted 08-07-12)

• Dr. Neeta Connally and her student “Tick SWAT Team” are highlighted in the Ridgefield Press for their project to monitor tick populations in Ridgefield public recreation areas. (posted 06-29-12)

• Dr. Frank Dye has written a chapter on “Developmental Cell Biology” for the book, “Systems Biology: Advances in Molecular Biology and Medicine“, edited by Robert Meyers (2012; Wiley-Blackwell). (posted 06-20-12)

• Dr. Neeta Connally is highlighted in the Spring 2012 issue of the WCSU Cupola, describing her work with ticks. (posted 03-04-12)

• Dr. Mitch Wagener is highlighted in a news article about the recent Housatonic River Watershed Zebra Mussel Forum, along with nearly 60 environmental advocates and officials from government and academia. Dr. Wagener, Dr. Edwin Wong, and former WCSU students Melissa Garafola, and Ana & Maria Bortoletto are part of a joint WCSU/Candlewood Lake Authority pilot project to detect and monitor invasive zebra mussels in local waterways. Funding for this project was provided by the US Forest & Wildlife Service Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force and administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT  DEEP). (posted 02-17-12)

• Dr. Neeta Connally has been awarded a grant from the Connecticut Department of Health to support her research on tickborne disease prevention in the region. As part of this research Dr. Connally will be supporting three undergraduate students as research assistants. (posted 02-17-12)

• Dr. Frank Dye’s Dictionary of Developmental Biology & Embryology(Wiley- Blackwell) has been updated to an illustrated second edition. Take a look inside. (posted 02-10-12)

•Jacqueline Malecki, who graduated (BA in Biology) in 2010, is a coauthor — along with Dr. Tom Philbrick — of a paper describing a new plant species. Click here for more information. Philbrick, C. T., J. Malecki, H. I. Stevens & N. P. Tippery. 2011. A new genus of Podostemaceae from Venezuela. Novon 21: 475-480. (posted 01-16-12)

• Susie Fehrmann, a 2010 graduate of the M.A. in Biological & Environmental Sciences, has published her thesis work in the American Journal of Botany (AJB). Click here for more information on her work. Fehrmann, F., C. T. Philbrick & R. Halliburton. 2012. Intraspecific variation in Podostemum ceratophyllum (Podostemaceae): evidence of refugia and colonization since the last glacial maximum. American Journal of Botany 99: 145-151. (posted 01-16-12)

• Welcome to several new additions to the Biology Dept. family. Dr. Lori Benoit is an Assistant Professor on a one-year appointment, and will be teaching Genetics this semester. Sal Sidoti, a former graduate of WCSU, is returning to teach Ecology, as well as Concepts of Biology lab. Lisa Taylor joins us as the new Biology secretary. (posted 09-14-11)

• Jacqueline Malecki is the latest of several WCSU undergraduates in Dr. Tom Philbrick’s lab who are co-authors of papers in scientific publications. These projects represent independent studies conducted by the students under Dr. Philbrick’s guidance and supported by his grants from National Geographic and The National Science Foundation. To see a description of the papers and undergraduate researchers, click here. (posted 09-14-11)

• farewell to Dr. Tom Lonergan, who will be leaving as our chairperson to become Dean of Arts & Sciences at Davenport University, Grand Rapids, MI. Good luck, Dr. Lonergan! Dr. Mitch Wagener will serve as acting chairperson. (posted 09-14-11)

•Dr. Mitch Wagener & two of our students, Bruna Oliveira and Catrina Morgan, are highlighted in the Danbury News-Times for their work in testing local waterways for zebra mussel infestation. (posted 08-02-11)

•Dr. Dora Pinou and area grade school teachers ran the STEM summer camp this year from July 11-29. This year’s Event flyer and schedule, and news from last year’s camp are available. (posted 08-02-11)

• Dr. Tom Philbrick is coauthor on four recent papers:
– Ruhfel, B. R., V. Bittrich, C. P. Bove, M. H. G. Gustafsson, C. T. Philbrick, R. Rutishauser, Z. Xi & C. C. Davis. 2011. Phylogeny of the Clusiod Clade (Malpighiales): Evidence from the Plastid and mitochondrial genomes. American Journal of Botany 98: 306-325.
– Tippery, N. P., C. T. Philbrick, C. P. Bove & D. H. Les. 2011. Systematics and phylogeny of neotropical riverweeds (Podostemaceae: Podostemoideae). Systematic Botany 36: 105- 118.
– Philbrick, C. T. , C. P. Bove & H. I. Stevens. 2010. Endemism in Neotropical Podostemaceae. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 97: 425-456. (posted 08-02-11)
– Bove, C. P., C. T. Philbrick & W. J. E. M Costa. 2011. Taxonomy, distribution and emended description of the neotropical genus Lophogyne (Podostemaceae). Brittonia 63: 156-160. (posted 08-02-11)

• Dr. Neeta Connally spoke on a panel with other Lyme Disease experts at the Westport Public Library this past April. The story is reported in the Westport News. (posted 08-02-11)

•Dr. Richard Halliburton has announced his retirement from the Biology Dept. faculty. Dr. H has coordinated the graduate program for many years, and taught genetics, population genetics, evolution, and graduate courses. He retires to California with his wife, WCSU library technical assistant Meredith Halliburton, and will pursue his passion, outdoor photography. We wish you the best, Dr. Halliburton! Click here for farewell party photos and song. (posted 06-27-11)

• Dr. Howard Russock’s recent paper in the journal Behaviour has been highlighted in Science Daily. The original paper is entitled “An evolutionary interpretation of the effect of gender and sexual orientation on human mate selection preferences, as indicated by an analysis of personal advertisements”. (posted 04-20-11)

•Dr. Frank Dye’s manuscript “Developmental Cell Biology” has been accepted for publication in the Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, Wiley Press. It will be issued an an online update in August. The book should be following in early 2012. (posted 02-12-11)

– Dr.Neeta Connally joins us this year as a new full-time, tenure-track faculty member. Formerly of the Yale School of Public Health, Dr. Connally is a specialist in ticks & Lyme Disease. Let’s give her a big WestConn welcome. (posted 01-24-11)

• Dr. Dora Pinou was given the Connecticut State University System’s 2010 Norton Mezvinsky Trustees Research Award. (posted 10-12-10)

• Mark Fitzgerald won the Provost’s Prize for best student research poster at WestConn Research Day 2010. His poster, Microbial Metagenomic Analysis and Comparison of Candlewood Lake Sediments in Winter Drawdown and Shallow Submerged Shoreline Areas, was co-authored by graduate student Mary Alice Secola. Their project advisor was Dr. Ed Wong. (posted 05-18-10)

• The Biology Club was presented the WestConn Student Club of the Year award by the WCSU Student Government Association. Congratulations to Club president Heather Shepard and the rest of the club. (posted 05-05-10)

• Maria Ierace, Biology Class of 2010, has been accepted by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri at Columbia. (posted 05-04-10)

• Dr. Mitch Wagener and Dr. Frank Dye were featured in the Danbury News-Times for Earth Day 2010. Dr. Wagener wrote about the threat of climate change, while Dr. Dye wrote about the need to be responsible caretakers for our planet. (posted 04-28-10)

• The following students have earned departmental awards this year. Nominees must achieve a high GPA and be recommended by faculty. The Outstanding Graduating Senior Biology Major award goes to co-recipients Ana & Maria Bortolleto. The Most Promising Underclassman award goes to Carina Nido. Congratulations to these students! (posted 04-28-10)

• Dr. Ruth Gyure and Dr. Theodora Pinou, along with teachers from Barnard Elementary School for Environmental Studies in New Haven, CT, have been awarded a grant from the Toyota Tapestry program to study the environmental impact of retrofitting floodgates on the West River. (posted 04-06-10)

• Dr. Theodora Pinou has a new article in press. Pinou, T., Drucker, M., & Studley, E. (2010). An “HOLA” approach to learning science. In R. E. Yager (Ed). Science for Resolving Issues/Problems. NSTA Press, Arlington, VA. In press. (posted 04-05-10)

• Two environmental internships are available for graduate students interested in studying pollutant loading in Lake Kenosia in western Danbury. For more details, contact Dr. Theodora Pinou immediately. Deadline for applications is March 30, 2010. (posted 03-25-10)

• Dr. Theodora Pinou is highlighted in a talk to volunteers of the Connecticut State Animal Response Team. Read the article in the Danbury News-Times here. (posted 03-02-10)

• Dr. Patrice Boily has published a paper entitled “Role of voluntary motor activity on menthol-induced hyperthermia in mice“. Journal of Thermal Biology (2009) 34(8): 420-425. (posted 01-07-10)

• Dr. C. Thomas Philbrick, along with WCSU graduate Mr. Thomas C. Edson and Brazilian collaborator Dr. Claudia Bove published a taxonomic monograph in the journal Systematic Botany (see below). Their paper addresses the taxonomy and biology of plants that occur attached to rocks in river-rapids and waterfalls in central Brazil.
Philbrick, C.T., D. P. Bove & T. C. Edson. 2009. Monograph of Castelnavia (Podostemaceae). Systematic Botany 34(4):715-729. (posted 12-21-09)

• Dr. Maureen Kelly joins us this year on a full-time faculty appointment. Besides teaching, Dr. Kelly is a semiprofessional musician. Her office is located in Science Building 239. Telephone: 203-837-9038.

•Dr. Howard Russock has retired after 33 years of exemplary service to the Biology Department and the University as a whole. He will continue to teach part-time as emeritus faculty. Wish him the best of luck when you see him.

A time-lapse video of Dictostelium life-cycle has won a runners-up award for Arjumond Khan and Benjamin Woodhouse in The Scientist magazine Video Awards: 2009. The video was created in fulfillment of a senior research project in 2008 in Dr. Frank Dye’s lab (posted 08-04-09).

• Associate Professor Ruth Gyure is co-author of an article, “Co-selection of Mercury and Antibiotic Resistance in Sphagnum Core Samples Dating Back 2000 Years“, published in Geomicrobiology Journal (posted 06-20-09)

<• Associate Professor Pat Boily and collaborators from the University of New Orleans are co-authors of an article, “Exercise- and hypoxia-induced anaerobic metabolism and recovery: a student laboratory exercise using teleost fish“, published in Advances in Physiology Education. (posted 03-04-09).

•Associate Professor Ruth Gyure has been elected, in a national election, as Chair-Elect for the Educational Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. This position will allow Dr. Gyure to guide national decisions concerning microbiology education. (posted 02-12-09)

• Associate Professor Ruth Gyure is co-author of an article, “Using Microbial Ecology to Teach Experimental Design and Sampling Methods“, published in the MicrobeLibrary Curriculum Resource Library, American Society for Microbiology. (posted 02-10-09)

• Assistant Professor Theodora Pinou, and collaborators at a New Haven magnet school, have published a new article about teaching the scientific process to first graders. (posted 02-02-09)