Department of Biology

FALL 2013/SPRING 2014 SEMINARS

All seminars are in DSB 130 at 11:20 AM unless otherwise noted

Sept. 3 – Chris Herlihy, MTSU (tenure and promotion seminar)

Sept. 17 – Mary Farone, MTSU (tenure and promotion seminar)

Sept. 19 – Matt Klukowski, MTSU (tenure and promotion seminar)

Sept. 24 – Rob Brucker, Vanderbilt University

Oct. 8 – Kirk Zigler, University of the South

Oct. 22 - Wail El-rafai, Vanderbilt University

Oct. 24 – Elliot Altman, MTSU

Oct. 29 – Rob McFeeters, University of Alabama, Huntsville

Nov. 5 – Joel Harp, Vanderbilt University

Nov. 12 – Ken Spitze, Indiana University

Nov. 19 – Joey Shaw, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Nov. 21 - Jeff Leblond, Department of Biology, MTSU

Nov. 26 – Manoj Khadka, MTSU

Dec. 3 - John Niedzwiecki, Belmont University

Jan. 21 – Brian Robertson, MTSU (3rd year review seminar)

Jan. 28 – Iris Gao, MTSU (3rd year review seminar)

Feb. 4 – Shawn Crosnick, Tennessee Tech

Feb. 11 – Josh Dodson, Department of Biology, MTSU

Feb. 18 – Ivonne Garzon, MTSU

Feb. 25 –  Drew Sieg, MTSU

Mar. 20 -  Tiffany Guess, MTSU

Mar. 25 – Charles Chusuei, MTSU

Mar. 27 -  Bam Paneru, MTSU

Apr. 8  -   Mulugeta Wayu, MTSU

Apr. 10 -  Penny Carroll, MTSU

Apr. 15 -  Megan Stallard and Amy Shaffer, MTSU

Apr. 17 -  Nadin Almonsid, MTSU
Determining the Properties and Mechanisms of Anticancer Compounds Derived From Plants Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Recently drug discovery research has witnessed a revitalization of interest in natural products, and studying the biological activity of these products has attracted the attention of chemists, biochemists, biologists, and microbiologists. The discovery and development of novel anticancer agents has increased as the number of cancer cases has increased.  Natural products have been used for thousands of years to prevent and treat human illness and traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) have been recognized to be potent anticancer treatments in China for centuries.
The purpose of this project is to determine the mechanism of action of two oligostilbene isomers derived from plants used in TCM. This presentation will focus on in vitro cytotoxicity and oxidative stress studies that have been completed. Cytotoxicity was determined using the Alamar Blue cell viability assay, which easily distinguishes live growing cells versus dead non-growing cells, while oxidative stress, which is caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as free radicals and peroxides, was determined using high-content screening (HCS). The regulation of oxidative stress is an important factor in the development of anticancer therapeutics and many drugs with direct or indirect effects on ROS have proven to be effective as anticancer therapies. HCS is a powerful and automated tool that allows investigators to view and collect data at the cellular and sub-cellular levels based on the use of fluorescent dye and marker proteins.


Apr. 22 -  Julie Hosain, MTSU
Screening for Anticancer Compounds Derived from the Plants Used in Traditional Chinese Medicines
Screening for novel anticancer compounds derived from plants used in traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) has gained more and more popularity around the world as one of the most utilized alternative methods to develop new treatments for patients suffering from cancer. A great number of institutions and groups are now engaged in significant efforts to develop alternative medicines due to increasing reports on the effectiveness of TCMs in treating cancer.
The focus of this research is to find active anticancer compounds from TCMs and determine their mechanism of action. Initially we determine the cytotoxicity of potential anticancer compounds to both malignant and healthy cells. The compounds that have selective cytotoxicity to malignant cells but not healthy cells are then selected for mechanistic studies. It is well known that cancer cells proceed through the various stages of the cell cycle without arresting, which results in a loss of control and that a significant number of anticancer agents exert their effect by arresting cancer cells at a specific stage in the cell cycle. We used flow cytometry to monitor the changes in cell cycle phases by measuring the cell's DNA content. With this information we can determine the potency of potential anticancer compounds and how they affect the cell cycle of cancer cells.


Apr. 24 - Jennifer R. Mandel, Univ. of Memphis
Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics in Sunflower
My seminar will cover both conservation and evolutionary genetics in sunflower. The first part of my talk will address using population genetics to assess levels and patterns of standing genetic variation in rare and endangered sunflower species. Assessing these measures is an important step for evaluating rare or endangered species and determining appropriate conservation strategies. These strategies are particularly important for ensuring the preservation of rare genetic material in wild relatives of crops, which could provide beneficial alleles for plant breeding and improvement. The second part of my talk will discuss evolutionary analyses aimed at detecting the molecular signature of selection during crop domestication and/or improvement and how these analyses can be used to identify genes or genomic regions of likely agronomic importance. Through the joint application of molecular population genomic analyses and trait-based mapping approaches, we can identify promising loci for future functional studies aimed at understanding the molecular basis of sunflower evolution.


Apr. 29 - Bill Tansey, Vanderbilt