September 23, 2014

UMW Biology Professor Receives Fulbright Grant

Dianne Baker, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Mary Washington, has been selected to receive a 2014-2015 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant. Baker will conduct research at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo, Norway beginning in January 2015.

Professor Dianne Baker

Professor Dianne Baker

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program.

Baker is an animal physiologist who joined UMW’s biology department in 2006. As part of her Fulbright grant, Baker will employ molecular techniques to study the roles of neurohormones in brain development, using the Japanese rice fish. She will work alongside graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other visiting scientists from around the world. During her research period, Baker hopes to learn cutting edge techniques in physiological research that she can bring back to UMW.

While in Norway, Baker also will guest lecture on animal physiology at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. She also plans to attend the ninth annual European Zebrafish Meeting, hosted at Finn-Arne Weltzien’s lab in Oslo in 2015.

Baker received a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Washington.

UMW Showcases STEM Activities

Small drones buzzed overhead as more than 600 people viewed the latest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the Anderson Center at the University of Mary Washington on March 29 during the third annual  STEM Summit 16.

Click to view slideshow.

Showcasing the achievements of the region’s students, educators and businesses, the event featured more than 50 booths, including the UMW departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental science, geography, mathematics, physics and the admissions office. Germanna Community College, the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren and a variety of regional schools also showcased 3-D printers, experiments and robotics among other STEM-related technologies.

Missy Cummings, director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, delivered the keynote address. One of the U.S. Navy’s first female fighter pilots, Cummings discussed drone technologies and human-machine collaboration.

The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual event is sponsored by Central Rappahannock Regional Library (FredTech) and Lockheed Martin.

A few steps away in the Goolrick pool, five local school teams – from elementary to high school – competed in the regional SeaPerch competition. The SeaPerch program, funded by the Office of Naval Research, is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).

Teams guided their remote-controlled submersibles through a series of tasks, including navigating an underwater obstacle course and retrieving weights. Teams also presented to a panel of judges about the overall projects. Two teams, both from the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity Dahlgren School, won the competition and will go on to a national SeaPerch competition in Mississippi.

A different buzz could be heard further down Campus Walk during the 8th Annual UMW High School Calculus Tournament. Six local high school teams, consisting of 23 students, competed in a jeopardy-style competition and used individual buzzers to signal the correct answers.

The Paul VI High School team from Fairfax took home the championship title with team members Christina Wulff, Stephanie Ibanez and Stephanie Keener. The Mountain View High School team from Stafford finished second. Thomas Sheehan, also from Paul VI High School, earned the top individual score of the tournament. More than $600 in prizes were awarded to the student winners as well as the schools represented by the top two teams. The event was sponsored by Dynovis.

Up Close and Personal

Students had incredible encounters during a faculty-led trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Lift Off

Olivia Schiermeyer led fifth graders in a countdown as she manned a miniature rocket launcher at the “3…2…1 Lift Off” station. Several covered their ears in anticipation of the blast.

Lift Off

UMW honors students inspire young scientists.

In Search of Turtles

An uncommon reptile discovery will help shed light on the species in the Fredericksburg region.

Seeking Feathered Friends

For Andrew Dolby, a stressed-out bird is a big deal. Dolby, professor and chair of the biology department, is researching the stress response in birds, specifically, the Tufted Titmouse. During the spring semester he worked with three students to catch birds on UMW property and at sites in southern Stafford County. They took their measurements [...]

Andrew Dolby to Present “Bird Song: No Idle Chatter” at Belmont

AndrewBird Song: No Idle Chatter  

Sun, March 11, 2 p.m.
Illustrated Presentation
Dr. Andrew Dolby, University of Mary Washington Biology Department Chair and Virginia Society of Ornithology President will introduce the anatomy, physiology, and ecology of bird song and will explain the modern tools that biologists are using to decipher their hidden messages. Bird song may sound like nature’s pleasant background music to our ears, but for the birds, singing is serious business. The lecture will be held at Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont and is free for members of Friends of Belmont or included with regular museum admission.

Biology Professors Publish Article

Michael Killian

Michael Killian, senior instructor in biological sciences, and Jay McGhee, former visiting assistant professor in biological sciences at UMW, had their paper “A Habitat Model for the Detection of Two-lined Salamanders at C. F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area, Fauquier and Culpeper Counties, Virginia, ” published in the peer-reviewed journal Virginia Journal of Science.

This work was made possible through a grant by the University of Mary Washington and involved the participation of the following  URES students at UMW: Carly Byers, Sarah Almahdali, Jennifer Clary, Hillary Adams and Ramsey Hanna.

Andrew Dolby and Deborah O’Dell

Associate Professors of Biology Andrew Dolby and Deborah O’Dell were awarded a $1,000 grant by the Virginia Society of Ornithology for their joint project Enzyme immunoassay quantification of Heat Shock Protein 60 and its application to avian conservation biology.

At the Virginia Academy of Science’s Fall Undergraduate Research Meeting, held at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond in October, O’Dell’s student, Anum Shaikh, was awarded funding for undergraduate research. Anum will study the “Effects of Combined Vitamin E and C Treatment on Plaque Formation in Alzheimer’s Disease.”