Biology News Archive


  • Gum Nau presents research at SICB Conference

    Jan 1, 2024

    Gum Nau (BS Physiology, 2024) will give an oral presentation at the annual Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) conference in Seattle on Friday, January 5. His talk, titled "Trophic tinkle: Predator pee fails to frighten foragers and conifer chemistry depends on deer damage", will report work Nau did in collaboration with biology students Hannah McSwain (BS Ecology, 2024) and Kenzie Garrett (BS Physiology, 2024), and supervised by Professors Ryan Ferrer (Biology), Eric Long (Biology) and Baine Craft (Psychology). It is unusual for undergraduates to be selected for oral presentations at a national conference like SICB - congratulations, Gum!

  • Three Biology students present at the 2023 SACNAS conference

    Nov 11, 2023

    SPU was represented by three current and former Biology students at the 2023 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference, held October 26 - 28 in Portland, Oregon. Yennifer Gaspar Garcia (BS Physiology 2025) presented her project, "DNA barcoding reveals Salmon mislabeling rates in Seattle sushi restaurants", in collaboration with student Angelique Djekoundade and Dr. Tracie Delgado, Associate Professor of Biology. Krysta Reese (BS Ecology 2024) presented her project, "DNA barcoding of marine and freshwater goby fish, Negros Oriental and Palawan, Philippines", based on research she conducted as part of the Philippines International Research Experience for Students (Ph-IRES) in Summer 2023. Finally, Abhi Kancherla (BS Cellular and Molecular Biology 2023) presented "5-Nitroimidazole-resistance in Mycoplasma genitalium strains is associated with mutations in an NAD(P)H-dependent FMN reductase gene", which was work he did in collaboration with students Alessandro Rizzi and Cameron Weller, and Dr. Derek Wood, Professor of Biology.

  • Biology students represent SPU at annual Murdock Conference

    Nov 11, 2023

    14 students from the Departments of Biology and Chemistry & Biochemistry represented SPU at the annual Murdock College Science Research Conference, November 10 - 11, 2023 in Vancouver, WA. Students' presentations represented a broad spectrum of disciplines, including human physiology, genetics, neurobiology, chemical ecology, microbiology and organic chemistry. The Murdock Charitable Trust is one of the largest private funders of undergraduate research in the Pacific Northwest, and the annual conference attracts students from over 30 participating universities.

  • Dr. Delgado co-authors Commentary in Cell

    Nov 10, 2023


    Dr. Tracie Delgado, Associate Professor of Biology, co-authored a Commentary in the November 9, 2023 issue of the top-tier journal Cell.  The Commentary, "Eary career Latinas in STEM: Challenges and solutions", identifies factors contributing to the underrepresentation of Latina scientists in STEM fields, and proposes solutions to increase their representation and retention.

  • New study uncovers unexpected link between type II diabetes and obesity

    Aug 15, 2023

    Dr. John Douglass, Assistant Professor of Biology, is lead author on a new research study in the journal Cell Metabolism that uncovers an unexpected connection between obesity and type II diabetes. The study, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Washington and University of California, San Francisco, was a follow-up to previous work from Douglass's team demonstrating that fattening diets lead to activation of resident immune cells in the brain and overconsumption of calories. The new study examined glucose intolerance as an early marker of developing diabetes, expecting to show that brain inflammation would exacerbate the progression of diabetes. Instead, the new study shows that immune cell activation in the brain caused by high fat diet actually prevents hyperglycemia, which is very different than what occurs in peripheral tissues such as adipose and liver. This discovery has important implications for identifying drugs to treat both obesity and diabetes, particularly given the current media attention around brain-targeting medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro.

  • New study shows that hunting was not restricted to men

    Jul 6, 2023

    In studies of human foraging populations, a persistent belief has been that hunting activities were carried out by men, while women were gatherers who stayed close to the home. In a new study in PLoS ONE, Dr. Cara Wall-Scheffler, Professor of Biology, and a team of four alumni student authors, provide evidence that historically, women in many foraging cultures played an active role in hunting. The alumni authors include Abbie Anderson (BS Physiology 2022), Sophia Chilczuk (BS Applied Human Biology 2021), Kaylie Nelson (BS Applied Human Biology 2021) and Roxy Ruther (BS Applied Human Biology 2021). An NPR story about this research features an interview with Dr. Wall-Scheffler, and this study has been featured by other media sites, including CNN and Forbes.

  • Biology student is lead author on research study

    Jul 6, 2023

    Eloisa Nguyen (BS Physiology 2024) is the lead author on a new study published in the journal AMIA Joint Summits on Translational Science proceeding.  The study, "CRENO: An ontology to model concepts relating to culture, race, ethnicity, and nationality for health data, was a collaboration among multiple institutions and focused on establishing a standardized framework for defining concepts such as culture, race, ethnicity, and nationality in health data.  This research was part of Eloisa's internship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

  • 25 Biology projects among presentations at upcoming Erickson Conference

    Apr 28, 2023

    The Erickson Undergraduate Research Conference will be held Friday, May 5, 2023, from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM in Otto Miller Hall. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the conference, showcasing student research and design projects from all STEM departments and Health & Human Performance. The conference will begin with a keynote address from Dr. Gretchen Huizinga, a Research Fellow at AI and Faith, and an expert on the intersection of artificial intelligence, Christianity and ethics. Dr. Huizinga will speak on "Righteous AI: The Christian voice in the Ethical AI conversation". Student presentations will follow, including 25 presentations involving Biology students and faculty. Please see the Erickson Conference website for the full schedule of events. All are welcome!

  • Biology students are winners at the Social Venture Plan Competition

    Apr 22, 2023

    Biology students were part of the top two winning teams at Social Venture Plan Competition, held on April 19, 2023. The SVPC, hosted by the Center for Applied Learning, encourages entreprenuership among students who work as teams to develop sustainable products and services that address social issues. Elizabeth Horton (BS Ecology 2024) was part of the 1st Place team that developed the Nemo Institute, focused on coral reef restoration. Abhi Kancherla (BS Cellular and Molecular Biology 2023) was part of the 2nd Place Water Harvesters team, which developed a water collection device for use in regions without access to safe groundwater. More information about the Nemo Institute and Water Harvesters are available on the SVPC website. Congratulations to Elizabeth and Abhi!

  • Alumnus earns prestigious research fellowship

    Apr 11, 2023


    Dr. Elias Lunsford (BS Ecology and BS Biology 2013) is the recipient of a prestigious Human Frontier Science Research fellowship to fund his postdoctoral research at the Paris Brain Institute in Paris, France.  Dr. Lunsford earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2022.