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Honors Research

The Honors Program at Moravian College allows exceptional students the opportunity in their senior year to carry out an independent research project with a faculty mentor. This experience is excellent preparation for those students who are interested in pursuing graduate or professional studies.

Since the program's inception in 1960, the Department of Biological Sciences has the distinction of having sponsored more Honors students than any other at the College. Here are the most recent students who graduated with Honors in Biology, Biochemistry, Environmental Science, or Neuroscience, along with their faculty mentors and the titles of their projects:

Class of 2014

Shauna Abdouche (Felise) "Characterization of Small Molecule Inhibitors of Bacterial Virulence Protein Secretion"

Stephanie Christ (Felise) "A Potential Chemical Inhibitor of Bacterial Conjugation Systems"

Alex Huynh (Bevington) "A Characterization of Proanthocyanidins in Cecropia: Implications in Herbivore Defense Tradeoffs"

Rachel Johnson (Kuserk) "Native and Non-Native Leaf Decomposition in Urban and Rural Streams"

Chelsea Mursch (Fox) "The Neuroprotective Potential of Combined Antioxidant Therapy in a 6-OHDA Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease"

Mary Petrik (Johnson) "The Formation of Mathematical Concepts in Semantic Memory: Does Explicit Integration Facilitate Transfer?"

Anika Riaz (Jones) "Investigation of Visual Learning in Wild-type and Presenilin Mutant Drosophila melanogaster Larvae"

photo of 2014 Honors students

Class of 2013

Marla Bianca (Husic) – "Determination of the Impact of Heavy Metal Contamination on Plants at the Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge"

Caitlin Campbell (Husic) – "Barnegat Bay Explorer Program: Using Public Education in the Barnegat Bay Protection Effort"

Margaret DeOliveira (O'Connell) – "Inequalities in Health Care Access"

Jacob Donchez (Dunham/Dunham/Libby) – "Synthesis, Isolation, and Characterization of Dirhodium Compounds for DNA Binding Studies"

Sasha Halasz (Fox) – "Does DNSP-11 Have a Protective Role in the TaClo Model of Parkinson's Disease?"

Anna SantaMaria (Felise) – "Inhibition of Bacterial Pathogen Toxin Secretion"

Alexander Servin (Dunham/Dunham/Jones) – "Investigation of DNA Conformation Changes Caused by Antitumor Active Rhodium Compounds"

Haley Skymba (Johnson) – "The Effects of Aging on Memory Processes in Healthy and Alzheimer Populations"

Rianne Stowell (Fox) – "Is DNSP-11 Protective of Substantia Nigra Dopamine Neurons Against MPP+ in a Rat Model of ParkinsonŐs Disease?"

Class of 2012

James Bellush (Dunham) – "Design of a Fluorescently Labeled DNA Probe for Metal-DNA Lesion Analysis"

Diana M. Feldmann (Kuserk) – "Alterations in Stream Discharge Patterns in the Lehigh River Watershed"

Shaz Gangji (Swann) – "The Effect of Pheromones on EGR-1 Activation in GnRH-I Neurons in Male Rats"

Rania Hanna (Jones) – "Olfactory-Gustatory Associative Learning and Memory Differences Between Mutant Presenilin and Wild-type Drosophila melanogaster Larvae"

Nelson Knudsen (Dunham) – "Mass Spectrometry Analysis of DNA-binding of a Novel Dirhodium Compound"

Timothy A. Layng (Jones) – "Location of bang senseless, a Bang-Sensitive Gene, on the X Chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster"

Anna Meola (Husic) – "Using Ecological Monitoring and Citizen Science to Better Understand Climante Change in Easter Pennsylvania"

Anna Whetstone (Zaremba/Johnson) – "Sex Differences in the Ability to Learn and Localize Sound in the Rat Model"

Class of 2011

John Corbin (Kuserk) – "The Dynamics of Mammal Populations Following Bioremediation"

Molly DuVall (Kuserk) – "Heavy Metal Impact on Soil Microarthropod Populations along the Blue Mountain in Eastern Pennsylvania"

Jessica Grochowski (O'Connell) – "Physician Burnout: Structural Factors and Possible Solutions When Physicians Need Healing"

Nicole Hadeed (Fox) – "Dietary Selenium Protects Dopamine Levels and Improves Motor Behavior in the 6-Hydroxydopamine Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease"

Katherine Kercher (Kuserk) – "The Prevalence, Isolation, and Confirmation of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Collegiate Athletic Facilities"

Tara Latteman (Bevington) – "Herbivore Defense in Myrmecophytic and Non-Myrmecophytic Species of Cecropia from the Peruvian Amazon"

Lauren Lavelle (O'Connell) – "Breast Cancer Culture: The Commercialization of Disease"

Jennifer Mead (Kuserk) – "Effects of the Antibiotic Keflex on the Microbial Community in the Gastrointestinal Tract of Rats"

Ryan O'Donnell (Jones) – "The Effect of Multiple Bang-Sensitive Mutations on Drosophila melanogaster"

John Reese (Kuserk) – "Interactions of Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii) and Its Host Herbivores in Metal-Contaminated Successional Areas at Lehigh Gap Nature Center"

Jaime Renninger (Fox) – "Investigating the Impact of Lansoprazole on Cognitive Deficits in a Rat Model of Alzhemer's Disease"

Michael Solomon (Jones) – "Using φC31 Integrase-Mediated Gene Targeting to Study Alzheimer's-Related Mutations in the Presenilin Gene of Drosophila melanogaster"

Jacob Tazik (Jones) – "Mapping of the bas Gene in Drosophila melanogaster Using Deletion Crosses, Duplication Crosses, and Recombination Mapping"

photo of 2011 Honors students

Class of 2010

Alyssa Milano (Jones) – "The Effects of Rapid Cold Hardening on Courtship in Drosophila melanogaster"

Hadia Riaz (Dunham) – "Gel Electrophoresis Analysis of DNA Adducts Formed by Anti-Tumor Active Dirhodium (II,II) Compounds Using SYBR® Gold"

Class of 2009

Debra Evans (Dunham) – "Isolation and Identification of DNA Adducts Formed by Rhodium Antitumor Agents"

Tyler McCambridge (Fox) – "Does Dietary Selenium Protect Dopamine Levels and Improve Motor Behavior in the 6-Hydroxydopamine Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease?"

photo of 2009 Honors students

Class of 2008

Andy Goodbred (Fox) – "Selenium as a Neuroprotective Agent in a 6-hydroxydopamine Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease: A Behavioral Study"

Simon Tabchi (Jones) – "Genetic Mapping of the bas Mutation in Drosophila melanogaster" [.pdf file of poster]

Anastasia Yemelyanova (Jones) – "Transformation of Drosophila with Mutated Presenilin via φC31 Integrase-Mediated Cassette Exchange" [.pdf file of poster]

photo of 2008 Honors students

Class of 2007

Thad Miller (Mitchell) – "The Histological and Cytological Variance in Dental Follicles and Dentigerous Cysts"

LeeAnna Roberts (Jones & Kuserk) – "Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphyloccus aureus (CA-MRSA) among Division III Football Players at Moravian College" [.pdf file of poster]

Valerie Phillips (Dunham & Dunham) – "Characterization of DNA Adducts Formed by Dirhodium (II, II) Carboxylates"

Peter Slivka (Salter) – "Synthesis of a Potential Molecular Indicator: N-Azuleneiminodiacetic Acid"

photo of 2007 Honors students

Class of 2006

Sarah Mueller (Fox) – "Long-Term Selenium Administration as a Protective Agent in 6-Hydroxydopamine Lesion Model"

photo of 2006 Honors student

Class of 2005

Margaret Benny (Kurvink) – "Societal and Scientific Views of Human Genetic Difference"

Jana Havranova (Jones) – "Using RNAi to Investigate the Function of the Thiodredoxin Reductase Genes trxr-1 and trxr-2 in Drosophila melanogaster" [.pdf file of poster]

John Loughney (Jones) – "Characterizing the Phenotype of the slamdance Gene in Drosophila melanogaster Using RNAi" [.pdf file of poster]

Tara Kiss (Jones) – "Transferring the Presenilin Gene from Arabidopsis thaliana to Drosophila melanogaster" [.pdf file of poster]

Rachel Paroby (Kurvink) – "A Review of In Vitro Fertilization and Retrospective Evaluation of Z-Scoring as a Predictor of Embryo Morphology" (not pictured)

photo of 2005 Honors students

Class of 2004

Adrienne Kleintop (Jones) – "The Application of RNAi to the Study of the Drosophila melanogaster Presenilin Gene"

Renee Balliet (Kurvink) – "Mutational Analysis of Possible Breast Cancer Susceptibility Gene BRCC45 in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Negative Kindreds"

Nicole Sabaliauskas (Jones) – "Behavioral Characterization of the Drosophila Bang-Sensitive Mutant slamdance (sda)" [.pdf file of poster]

photo of 2004 Honors students

Class of 2003

Amrita de Zoysa (Jones) – "Can the Arabidopsis thaliana presenilin Gene Substitute for the Drosophila melanogaster presenilin Gene?"

Alyson Dobracki (Kuserk) – "Isolation and Identification of Chitinolytic Bacteria from the Northern Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia purpurea, and the Characteristics of the Related Enzymes"

Stephanie Gervasi (Mitchell) – "Effects of Artificial Lighting on Seafinding Orientation of the Hatchling Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)"

photo of 2003 Honors students

Class of 2002

Monica Bartholomew (Hosier) – "Studies in Continuous Quality Improvement at St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem, PA"

Douglas Becker (Kuserk) – "The Impact of Human Activity on the Diversity, Abundance, and Behavior of Shorebirds"

Class of 2001

Amy DePuy (Kuserk) – "GYN Care: A Disease-Based Management Program"

Class of 2000

Jane Knisely (Jones) – "The Effects of Presenilin Overexpression on the Development, Morphology, and Behavior of Drosophila melanogaster"

Christy Scholtes (Kuserk) – "Enumeration and Identification of Proteolytic Bacteria Inhabiting the Leaves of the Northern Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia purpurea"

Colleen Walsh (Hosier) – "Effects of Glutathione and Strenuous Exercise on Immunoglobulin Production in Female ICR Mice"