Biology Articles & Blogs

Olivia Barksdale sitting on a rock in the middle of a stream
December 8, 2017
Problems of Practice (POP) courses at Clark University allow undergraduate students to gain internship-like experience outside the classroom. This semester, students in Professor John Baker’s POP course on “Small-Scale Land Conservation in Massachusetts” connected not only with the great outdoors but with local...
Erika Schaper standing in the jungle in the Philippines
December 4, 2017
Since 1893, most biologists have accepted Dollo’s law, named for the Belgian paleontologist who hypothesized that evolution moves forward, never reversing. A living organism doesn’t regain a trait — an inherited characteristic, like a tail or limb – lost during its evolutionary development, Louis Dollo suggested. About...
Frank Abell reaches for a glass chemistry tube on a shelf
December 1, 2017
Frank Abell remembers the day his son visited his office on the first floor of Arthur M. Sackler Sciences Center. Abell, Clark University’s laboratory manager/chemical safety officer, sat at his desk amid filing cabinets and boxes of supplies as students and professors rotated through. Undergraduates sought to buy white...
Colin Sterling - Clark University
October 2, 2017
When Dr. Richard Pietras ’69 was a biology student at Clark University, he achieved two firsts that launched his lifetime of research: his first federal funding, a National Science Foundation undergraduate student grant, and his first scientific report, in neurobiology. “The study was focused on the potential role of...
Christie Joyce - Clark University
October 2, 2017
As an undergraduate biology major and chemistry minor at Clark University, Christie Joyce ’16, M.S.’17, worked in research laboratories on campus. She wanted to explore career options besides academia and research, as well as address a gap at Clark, so she founded a research journal managed, edited, designed and produced...
Students and faculty in the Summer Science Program stand on the steps outside Jefferson building
September 14, 2017
More than 40 undergraduate students participated in Clark’s Summer Science Research Program, which featured weekly lectures and mentorship by faculty. “One of the many positive aspects of this program was the bringing together of students, and faculty, from very different fields,” says Denis Larochelle, associate professor...
Sherief Eldeeb demonstrates how he attaches electrodes to the scalp of a young woman to test EEGs in the brain
September 8, 2017
In just three years at Clark University, Sherief Eldeeb ’18 has completed significant research projects in psychology. He’s examined topics ranging from the disparities in mental health care for Arab-Americans, to sleep problems and attention issues in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). About Sherief Eldeeb ’18...
Lucyna Kogut works in the lab - Clark University
September 5, 2017
Lucyna Kogut ’18 chose Clark University because “I knew I wanted to be surrounded by people who were passionate about something. It didn’t matter what it was.” In her first semester here, however, she hadn’t yet identified her passion — and especially never thought it would be science. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,”...
Nunnemacher Magazine - Clark University
August 30, 2017
Professor Rudolph Nunnemacher emerged from his office carrying the lens of a whale’s eye. The electricity to the biology building was temporarily out of service, and he had just the remedy to brighten the darkness. He said to me, ‘Come watch this,’ remembers Michael Rosenzweig ’85, who followed obediently to the door of...
Bernny Ramirez looking at earthworm through glass tank
August 24, 2017
Scientists often borrow from nature when developing some of their best ideas. Look no further than earthworms. Their squiggly, tunneling movements have already inspired researchers to dream up robots that could inch along the ground in military reconnaissance missions, or create devices that could thread their way through...
Students in John Gibbons' PoP class standing in lab
August 1, 2017
Five undergraduate and two master’s degree students who completed Clark University’s spring biology course titled “The Genome Project” have received the ultimate feedback for their research and coursework: vetting of their research by professional scientists and acceptance of their publication into the American Society for...
Jenna Libera singing with Counterpoints
July 20, 2017
As musical director of Clark University’s all-female a cappella group the Counterpoints, Jenna Libera ’18, has created arrangements that melodiously blend soprano and alto voices. In her academic work, she likewise has skillfully harmonized double majors in biology and psychology to pursue her interest in neuroscience....
Jenna Libera seated in front of microscope
July 20, 2017
What’s it like to be a young woman scientist in 2017? We asked Jenna Libera ’18, a double major in biology and psychology at Clark University, to reflect on the topic. Libera grew up in Charlton, Massachusetts, and graduated from Shepherd Hill Regional High School. She recently received Clark's Simon and Eve Colin...
Professor Chris Williams, geography, Clark University
July 10, 2017
Christopher A. Williams, associate professor at the Clark University Graduate School of Geography and adjunct associate professor of biology, will join the North American Carbon Program’s Science Leadership Group (NACP), nominated by members of the Carbon Cycle Science Interagency Working Group.
Amy Yeager talks in front of her artwork of internal organs from a cat dissection
May 31, 2017
After living in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Romania and Senegal, where she attended small international schools, Amy Yeager ’17 thought Clark University might be a good fit. “Clark was small with a significant international community, so I thought the transition wouldn't be so difficult,” she says. “When I got my acceptance...
Students looking at art exhibit in introduction to biology course
April 19, 2017
Not everyone learns by reading text or even experimenting. In fact, an oft-quoted statistic notes that a majority of us — 65 percent — are visual learners. Detail of students' depictions of cellular life. For more photos, visit Clark's Flickr account online. To learn about the diversity of life, students in a Clark...
Amiel Jaggernauth shows a test tube to his professor Neva Meyer in her lab
February 14, 2017
After graduating from high school in Fishers, Indiana, Amiel Jaggernauth ’18 headed to a large state university in New England to study neuroscience. The first day of class, he learned that a lead professor in the program was leaving — and taking his funding with him. Jaggernauth was disappointed, but instead of wallowing...
Donald Spratt sits at bench, with six students standing next to him, in laboratory
January 20, 2017
On the first floor of Clark’s Arthur M. Sackler Sciences Center, behind a locked door in a darkened room, sits a $2 million scientific instrument that chemists routinely use to analyze the purity and chemical structure of molecules. It’s a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer – a giant magnet enclosed in a 10-foot...
Yaya Wang, left, works with Professor Donald Spratt, right, at a bench in his lab
January 17, 2017
A doctoral candidate in biochemistry and molecular biology, Yaya Wang spends hours each day conducting research experiments at Clark University. She’s a steady, calm presence in a laboratory bustling with undergraduate students, working alongside Donald Spratt, Carl J. and Anna Carlson Endowed Chair and assistant professor...
Fred Kron - Clark University
December 22, 2016
It’s a scene that could play out at any hospital, any day: A young doctor nervously struggles to give a patient bad news. A doctor uses the MPathic-VR system to practice giving bad news to a patient. "Robin, you have leukemia,” he informs the johnny-clad woman. She sputters her disbelief, but his response is not comforting...
Clark University senior Courtney Pharr in an on-campus lab
December 12, 2016
Courtney Pharr ’17 is no stranger to acing a test or a serve, and this week she was honored for her ability to do both with remarkable consistency. Pharr was named an Academic All-American and selected to the College Sports Information Directors of America Volleyball third team. It’s just the fourth time in Clark...
Alumnus Christopher Palatucci talks to three students
November 22, 2016
“This has the potential to be big — really big.” So announced John Baker, professor of biology, as he helped kick off the Nov. 3 event for ClarkCONNECT, the new Clark University initiative that matches students with alumni, faculty, parents and outside partners for career mentorship and professional networking. Patrick...
Navid Hossain points to a computer screen while Professor Dresch looks over his shoulder
November 10, 2016
As a high school student in Milton, Massachusetts, Luke Nourie took a class in biotechnology and thought, “Wow, I love this. This is what I want to do.” He could see himself pu­rsuing a college degree tied to the field, which drives the booming economy of the Bay State and provides over 63,000 jobs. From left, Navid Al...
Rachel Orlomoski standing in the chemistry laboratory at Clark University
November 10, 2016
When Rachel Orlomoski ’17 entered Clark University in 2013 with the goal of studying biology, she was a little dubious about chemistry and math. You could say those weren’t exactly her favorite subjects at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. But after three years of studying and conducting research at Clark, Orlomoski has...
John Gibbons in his Clark University laboratory
October 13, 2016
As a biologist, Clark University’s John Gibbons deals with the big questions about DNA and the evolution of genomes. His research focuses on humans’ domestication of microbes such as koji, a 9,000-year-old mold used to produce soy sauce, sake, miso and other Asian delicacies. By studying alterations in the genes of such...

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