Biology Lab Upgrades

STAN_1_smaller STAN_2_smallerThis summer, thanks to the generosity of our School of Sciences donors, we were able to purchase a little over $8,500 in hardware upgrades for three high quality centrifuges to be used in our biology labs. In the natural and health sciences, centrifuges are used for isolating and separating suspensions and immiscible liquids. We now have three working high quality centrifuges that will be used for laboratory classroom instruction as well as student and faculty research in the sciences.

Featured in the top photo:
Dr. Stanley Eisen, Biology Professor and Director of Pre-Professional Health Programs and CBU student Patricia Brownsberger (Biomedical Science ’18). Patricia’s lab coat is covered with illustrations of parasites that were featured in a book created by the students in a Parasitology class. The student’s named the book Don’t Get Sick, Stan!

Welcome to Dr. Jennifer M. Hitt

hitt-jennifer-picThe School of Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Hitt as the new Director of CBU’s RN to BSN Nursing Program. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Hitt to CBU.

Dr. Jennifer Hitt is a registered nurse from Oxford, Mississippi. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Mississippi, a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Memphis, a Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and a PhD in Nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Dr. Hitt has worked in higher education for over a decade.  She is a certified Nurse Educator with the National League for Nursing.  In addition, she served on the faculty at the University of Memphis, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and University of Mississippi Medical Center-Ole Miss campus.  She previously worked as a medical/surgical RN, acute admissions RN, and hospital clinical educator.

Dr. Hitt is the Past-President of the Mississippi Nurses Association.  Dr. Hitt also served as the Vice-President of MNA, District president, ANA assembly representative for Mississippi, and served on the Board of the Mississippi Nurses Foundation.  She is currently on the ANA Nominations and elections committee and is the chairperson for the Tennessee Nurses Political Action Committee.  Dr. Hitt actively works on legislation and policy development at the state and national level regarding nursing practice.

She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Southern Nursing Research Society, and the International Society for Simulation in Healthcare.  Her research interests focus on educational delivery methods and student success.

Dr. Hitt is active in medical mission work, both locally and at the international level.  She frequently undertakes medical missions to Leogane, Haiti, and has developed medical study abroad programs for students.

When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her 9 year old daughter, Mary Carter.


Summer 2017

From the Dean


Greetings from the Cooper-Wilson Center for Life Sciences. As I write this, it is the last week of June 2017 and this Saturday will mark my one year anniversary as Dean of the School of Sciences at CBU. In the photo above, you see me pictured with LaSallian colleagues from all over the world. CBU is a proud member of the International Association of LaSallian Universities (IALU) and for two weeks in June I was fortunate to participate in this year’s IALU Leadership Program. The photo above was taken in front of the painting of St. John Baptist de La Salle. This painting depicts our founder teaching young students in France and is on permanent display in the Vatican Museum.

As we look forward to our future, it is important to always remember the care and dedication of those that proceeded us. This past March, it was my pleasure, on behalf of the entire School, to honor Dr. Johnny Holmes with a permanent plaque honoring his 19 years of service as Dean of the School of Sciences. Pictured below are Johnny and his wife, me, and the Vice President for Academics, Dr. Paul Haught.


In the remainder of this newsletter update, I want to share with you a sampling of some of the wonderful things that happened over the past year in the various departments and programs that make up the School of Sciences.

Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God as we pray:
          St. John Baptist de La Salle. Pray for Us.
          Live Jesus in our Hearts. Forever.

James W. McGuffee, Dean
CBU School of Sciences

Around the School of Sciences

Biology Department - Dr. James Moore (chair)


Biology Student and Faculty News

  • Nirali Patel (Biology ’17) was a featured Rally 2017 Speaker as part of the March for Science in Memphis event that took place on April 22, 2017. Her topic was “Improving Population Health: A Student’s Perspective.”
  • Drs. Malinda Fitzgerald and Randal Price attended the National Alpha Chi Honor Society Meeting in Louisville, Ky 6-8 April 2017 with three students. Dustin Higgins (Natural Science ’17) represented the CBU chapter as the voting member. Megan Huynh (Biomedical Science ’17) presented her research entitled “Uncovering novel candidate genes that modulate the effects of prenatal ethanol exposure in BXD mouse strains,” her co-authors were Dr. Kristin Hamre and Jessica Baker. John Buttross (Biology ’17) presented his research entitled “Quantification of amyloid beta in Alzheimers’s Disease mouse models,” his co-authors were Sarah Neuner and Catherine Kaczorowski. John Buttross won the Kathryn Hoyle Bradley Prize in Health Sciences for his presentation.
  • Br. Edward Salgado, F.S.C. (Biology), Saehymn Oh (Biochemistry ’18), Nirali Patel (Biology ’17), Antionette Wilson (Biomedical Science ’18), and Peter Kinsella (Biology ’19) spent their 2017 spring break at Haiti Medical Missions of MemphisClinque Saint E’Sprit. While there, the students shadowed pediatricians, midwives, nurses, and dentists.
  • Congratulations to Lynda Miller and Br. Thomas Sullivan, F.S.C. on the publication of their paper, ”Corticolous Lichens of Meeman Biological Station, Shelby County, Tennessee”, in the March 2017 issue of Evansia, the Journal of the American Bryological and Lichenological Society.
  • The following students won awards at the Western Regional Meeting of the Tennessee Academy of Sciences that was held on April 1, 2017
    • First Place in Organismal Biology: “A novel technique for assessing biomarkers of stress in snakes” Kyle Fioranelli*, Emily Lichtenberger, and Beth Roberts. Christian Brothers University (KF), Rhodes College (EL), Research & Conservation Dept., Memphis Zoo, Memphis, TN (BR)
    • Second Place in Organismal Biology: “Accumulation of heavy metals by chironomids in the Wolf River, Memphis, Tennessee”  Alex Wolf*, Lynda Miller. Memphis University School (AW), Christian Brothers University 
    • Third Place in Organismal Biology: “Effects of Microstegium vimineum competitive interactions on focal plant growth and local species diversity” Jacob Mann*, James E. Moore. Christian Brothers University (JM, JEM)
    • First Place in Health and Medical Science: “Quantification of amyloid beta in Alzheimer’s Disease mouse models” John B. Buttross, Jr.*, S. M. Neuner, and C. C. KaczorowskiChristian Brothers University (JBB) The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME (SMN, CCK)
    • Second Place in Health and Medical Science: “rAAV targeting GD3 synthase protects against MPTP-induced nigrostriatal destruction and Parkinsonian symptoms” Nuti M. Desai*, David F. Delotterie, and Michael P. McDonald. Christian Brothers University (NMD), University of Tennessee Health Science Center (DFD, MPM)
    • Third Place in Health and Medical Science: “Amelioration of high glucose induced apoptosis on retinal explants with adipose-derived stem cell conditioned media” Damian Kaminski* and Ramesh Periasamy. Christian Brothers University (DK) University of Tennessee Hamilton Eye Institute (RP)
    • First Place in Poster Session: “Brain responses indicate that task difficulty and distractor salience create competition for attention” Andrea Perez-Munoz*, Patrick Woody*, James W. Rogers*, Jamonte D. Wilson*, and Jeffrey J. Sable. Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee (APM, PW, JWR, JDW, JJS).
    • Second Place in Poster Session: “Lichens of the Ghost River State Natural Area, Fayette County, Tennessee” Hannah E. Schultz*, Thomas J. Sullivan, and Lynda R. MillerChristian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee (HES, TJS, LRM)
  • Dr. James Moore was featured in an article in the March 2017 issue of DeSoto Magazine regarding the environmental impact of floods.
  • Two of the CBU Honors presentations at the Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council conference in Tullahoma, TN on Saturday, February 17, 2017 were science themed presentations: “Barcoding the DNA of Cell Phone Bacteria” by Bawan Qaladize, Matthew Scott, Sydney Diehl, and Dr. Mary Ogilvie (Biology) & “Lichen or Not, We’re Here” by Hannah Schultz, Shane Talley, and Stephanie Allen.
  • Brother Edward Salgado, F.S.C. (Biology, Prof. Emeritus) gave a lecture to the Memphis Master Gardeners Club on November 10, 2016. The title of the lecture was “Fern Horticulture. A Challenge to the Masters.”
  • Tri-Beta’s annual Bowling for Uganda event on November 11, 2016 at Billy Hardwick’s was a huge SUCCESS! Twenty-four teams came out to support the Ishaka Health Plan in Uganda and to have a lot of fun — teams included alumni, faculty, ACS, Honors, Tri-Beta, MSA, MAA, Pi Kappa Phi, TLC, TKE, Kappa Sigma, BSA, Theta Tau, and Campus Ministry. Between spirit night, raffle tickets, GoFundMe, and bowling, Tri-Beta raised over $3000 for the Ishaka Health Plan.
  • Brother Edward Salgado, F.S.C. (Biology, Prof. Emeritus) published an article entitled “Does _Asplenium falcatum_ Exist in the Philippines?” in the Edinburgh Journal of Botany (October 19, 2016).
  • Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald (Biology) coauthored an article entitled “Stimulation of Baroresponsive Parts of the Nucleus of the Solitary Tract Produces Nitric Oxide-mediated Choroidal Vasodilation in Rat Eye” that was published in Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.
  • A paper coauthored by Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald (Biology) was accepted for publication in Neuroscience Letters. “Disinhibition of Neurons of the Nucleus of Solitary Tract that Project to the Superior Salivatory Nucleus Causes Choroidal Vasodilation: Implications for Mechanisms Underlying Choroidal Baroregulation” is coauthored with Chunyan Li, Nobel Del Mar, and Anton Reiner.


Chemistry Department – Dr. Dennis Merat (chair)

Chemistry News

  • The Christian Brothers University Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society was officially recognized in 2017 by the American Chemical Society with a National Award for their activities during the 2015-2016 school year.  The inscription on the award read “In recognition for your commitment and achievement this Commendable award is presented to the Christian Brothers University Student Chapter”.  The official name of the chapter is SMACS which stands for Student Members of the American Chemical Society.
  • CBU professor Dr. Anthony Trimboli (Chemistry) and Dr. Kimberly Kasper (Rhodes College) spoke on “The Science of Food” at High Cotton Brewery on April 25 as part the 1st Annual Taste of Science Memphis, which local scientists out of the lab and into local bars/restaurants to discuss their research in a comfortable and friendly setting.


Mathematics & Computer Science Department
– Dr. Pascal Bedrossian and Professor Cathy Grilli (co-chairs)


Br. Walter celebrates 50th Jubilee

On June 24, 2017, Br. Walter Schreiner, F.S.C.
(Associate Professor of Mathematics) celebrated his 50th Jubilee. This occasion marked 50 years of service for Br. Walter as a De LaSalle Christian Brother.


Br.Joel Day in Memphis (November 30, 2016)

  • Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland declared Nov. 30, 2016 as Br. Joel Baumeyer. F.S.C. Day in recognition of his many services to CBU and Memphis and in honor of his 80th birthday. Br. Joel is an emeritus faculty member in Mathematics and currently runs the Mathematics Tutoring Center



Student and Faculty News in Math & CS

  • The Pascal Fellowship in Computer Science & Mathematics is a scholarship program sponsored by FedEx designed for outstanding students who are seeking a major in Computer Science and Mathematics. Professor Cathy W. Grilli is the director of the Pascal Fellows program. In fall 2017, we look forward to welcoming our second cohort of Pascal Fellows.
  • Drs. Serge Salan and James McGuffee presented a tutorial on “Data Science with Python” at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, Midsouth Regional Conference that took place March 31-April 1, 2017 at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.
  • On March 30, 2017, the CBU chapter of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) hosted its first-ever Estimation – a competition where teams of four worked together to estimate certain values, such as the number of jelly beans in a jar.
  • As of Fall 2016, under the leadership of faculty advisor Dr. Serge Salan, CBU now has a student chapter of the ACM (the computer science professional society).
  • A paper coauthored by Dr. James McGuffee (Computer Sciences) was published in The Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges (October 2016). “Early Undergraduate Cybersecurity Research” was coauthored by Charles Frank and Cynthia Thomas.


Physics & Natural Science Department – Dr. John Varriano (chair)


Retirement of Br. Kevin

Br. Kevin Ryan, F.S.C., retired from teaching duties at CBU this spring.  Br. Kevin had been teaching at CBU since 1978 for the Department of Physics and Natural Science.  Br Kevin, CBU’s resident astronomer, routinely taught Introduction to Astronomy every fall semester and led countless sky observations for students and the entire CBU community.  In addition, he taught introductory physics lecture and lab courses earlier in his CBU career when he was teaching full-time.  Br. Kevin has a great interest in the history of science, a field in which he produced much scholarly work.  He was very active in the Tennessee Academy of Sciences, leading the session on the history of science at the Academy’s annual conference for many years.  Br. Kevin also coordinated the Shelby County Science Fair for several years, a great service to the Memphis community.  We all wish Br. Kevin the best and hope to see him at CBU on cloudless nights with his telescope.


Student News in Physics and Natural Science

  • All students earning a B.S. degree in Physics or Engineering Physics must perform a research project.  Some of our students participate in Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) programs at other colleges and universities during the summer.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsors REU programs at various institutions across the U.S.  Other majors work with faculty members at CBU during the academic year.  Often the materials for these projects are purchased with funds that come from donors.  For example, George Eason, who just graduated in May 2017 with degrees in Physics and Chemical Engineering, did his work at CBU.  George investigated the potential use of an inexpensive coil to anneal metals via inductive heating.  Luke Wade (Physics & Mathematics, 2018) was selected to participate in the REU program at California State University at Fresno during the summer of 2017.  Luke’s mentor at Fresno is working on projects involving Fourier transforms and eigenspaces, two areas where Luke can apply his interests in both physics and mathematics. Ali Crisp (Physics & Mathematics, 2018) was selected to participate in the Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program at Louisiana State University last summer in 2016.  Ali performed research in astrophysics that focused on the interactions of close binary stars.  Ali would like to continue studying astrophysics in graduate school.  Many of our majors continue their studies in graduate school with great success.  Brent Holmes, who graduated in 2013 with degrees in Physics and Mathematics, is working on his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Kansas.  Brent was awarded as the best graduate student in the program for the 2016-17 academic year.
  • Two CBU School of Science students were among the presenters at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (CUR) on April 14-16, 2017 at the University of Memphis. Ali Crisp (Physics ’17) presented “Analysis of Close Binary Stars Using the Dark Energy Camera.” Daniel Gabriel (Natural Science ’16) presented “Emotional Stimuli Reduce Distractibility to Irrelevant Stimuli.”

Natural Science Education BS degree

  • The Department of Physics & Natural Science in conjunction with the Department of Education has introduced a new degree path for teaching licensure in the sciences at the middle and high school level.  The B.S. in Natural Science Education degree allows students to earn a degree in Natural Science and receive teaching licensure in biology, chemistry, or physics in four years.  Previously, students seeking teaching licensure in the sciences earned a B.S. degree and then transitioned into the Master of Arts in Teaching program to take additional education courses.  While that path is still open to those students seeking Master’s degree, the new degree paradigm allows students to complete both the science and education content in four years.  The degree requires 124 credit hours, only two credit hours more than the usual 122 hours for most other degrees at CBU.


Nursing Program – Cecilia Garrison (interim director)

  • This past May, Dr. Sue Lehman-Trzynka retired as faculty member and director of our RN to BSN program at CBU. We are currently searching for our next director. Much appreciation and thanks to Asst. Professor Cecilia Garrison for serving as our director in this interim period.


Pre-Professional Health Programs – Dr. Stanley Eisen (director)


Many of our CBU graduates go on to pursue graduate degrees in the health sciences. Here is a sampling of what some of our graduates are doing.

  • Miranda Anderson (Biology ’16) – the Lincoln Memorial University DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Daniel Gabriel (Natural Science ’16) – Experimental Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Memphis.
  • Stephanie Allen-Winters (Biology ‘14) – the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Medical school.
  • Elton Banks (Biomedical Science ’14) – the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Auburn Campus.
  • In February 2017, Dr. Altha Stewart, M.D. (Biology ’73) was named president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association.


Physician Assistant Studies Graduate Program – Teresa Preston (director)

  • Christian Brothers University has applied for Accreditation – Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). CBU anticipates matriculating its next class in 2018 for the new program, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the September 2017 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation – Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. For more information about this exciting graduate medical program in the sciences, please see

Note from the Academic Vice President 4/16

Dr. James McGuffee will be the new Dean of the School of Sciences starting in July

Dr. James McGuffee will be the new Dean of the School of Sciences starting in July

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to announce that, beginning July 1, 2016, Dr. James W. McGuffee of Northern Kentucky University will become CBU’s new Dean of the School of Sciences. Dr. McGuffee is a computer scientist with degrees from Louisiana Tech University (B.S. 1989) and LSU (Ph.D. 1994). For the past three years he has served as the Computer Science Department Chair at Northern Kentucky University (greater Cincinnati tri-state region). From 2000-2013, he served as a faculty member at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. McGuffee’s teaching interests include computer ethics, operating systems, Internet programming, and comparative programming languages. The majority of his published academic work is in assessment and pedagogy in the computing sciences. Additionally, McGuffee has mentored over 45 undergraduate students in research and software development projects. He is currently working with students on creating a Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) project named AHOCHI. AHOCHI is a software system that allows a professional social worker to search the web to find relevant geographically constrained social services on behalf of a client. James, his wife Lynn, and their two young sons look forward to moving to the Memphis area. McGuffee states, “I am thrilled to have been selected as the next Dean of the School of Sciences at Christian Brothers University. I look forward to leading and working collaboratively with our faculty, staff, and students in the undergraduate programs in science and math as well as our professional health programs.”

This is a bittersweet announcement insofar as the School of Sciences has been served so superbly for nearly two decades by Dr. Johnny Holmes. Dr. Holmes’ tenure has coincided with the addition of the Cooper-Wilson School of Sciences building and enrollment growth across the school’s departments. His leadership will be missed. Fortunately, CBU students will continue to benefit from his outstanding teaching as he returns full time to the Physics faculty. Thank you, Johnny, for all that you have done for your students, for your colleagues, and for CBU. You have been a gift to this campus.

Editor’s note:  I hope you enjoy this newsletter.  With all of the events and happening in the School of Sciences, I feel like I am editing an encyclopedia!  There are several new things happening in addition to the many annual events:  the new Pascal Fellowships in computer science are really exciting and the new Chemistry in Cooking course is very innovative.  Both are the subjects of featured articles in this newsletter.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the many Science Faculty, Students, and Alums who have been so kind to me and have worked so hard over my 19 years as Dean.  I look forward to returning full time to the classroom (and lab) next year.

News of the Moment 4/16

Lily Elizabeth King

Lily Elizabeth King

Dr. Raena King, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, had her baby girl, Lily Elizabeth, on March 23 at 11:20 AM. She weighed 7 lb. 13 oz.

Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, had a paper accepted for publication:
Type-specific Photoreceptor Loss in Pigeons after Disruption of Parasympathetic Control of Choroidal Blood Flow by the Medial Subdivision of the Nucleus of Edinger-Westphal, by A Reiner, TT Wong, C.C. Nazor and N. Del Mar, and M.E. C. Fitzgerald has been accepted to Visual Neuroscience.  Ting Wong, Biology 2010, and Carter Nazor, Biology 2008, are both CBU grads and worked on the project.  Dr. Nazor is currently a neurology resident at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and Ting Wong graduated from pharmacy school and is studying for the board exam while working part time in Dr. Reiner’s laboratory.

Madison Cobb, Biology 2016, has been accepted to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s accelerated nursing program.

Alma Godoy Biology 2016, has been accepted to the Doctorate in Physical Therapy program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Nuti Desai, Biochemistry 2017, has been accepted into the 2016 Summer Research Scholars Program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Christian Lyons, Chemistry 2016, has been accepted into the Fall 2016 entering class of the School of Pharmacy at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

Becky Wauford presenting at the MAA meeting.

Becky Wauford presenting at the MAA meeting.

On March 25th and 26th , Becky Wauford, Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering 2016, attended the Southeast Section of the Mathematical Association of America in Birmingham, AL., where she presented her poster “Literally the Worst: An Analysis of a Modified Game of Chutes and Ladders.”

Christian Lyons, Chemistry 2016, Tiffany Rice, Chemistry 2016, and Thomas J. Summers, Biochemistry 2016, presented research papers at the Rhodes College 2016 Undergraduate Research Conference on February 20.  The title of Christian’s talk was “Synthesis of Isoquinoline Derived Pentadentate Ligands”, and this research was performed under the direction of Dr. Xuan Zhao at The University of Memphis.  The title of Tiffany’s talk was “Synthesis of Nitrogen-Rich Ligands and Cobalt Complexes for Hydrogen Production”, and this research was also performed under the direction of Dr. Xuan Zhao at The University of Memphis.  The title of Thomas’ talk was “Computational Examination of the Energetics of Biphenyl Dihedral Rotation within a Modified Threonyl-Transfer RNA Synthetase”, and this research was performed under the direction of Dr. Nathan DeYonker at The University of Memphis.

On February 17, the Society of Physics Students hosted a STEM game night.

Beta Beta Beta Induction

Beta Beta Beta Induction

On February 18, the Mu Tau chapter of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society welcomed new full and associate members. Several friends, faculty, and family members were present to witness this induction which was followed by refreshments.  The names of the full members are: Andrea Campos,Sam Elkhayyat, Olivia Evans, John Gillenwater, Richard Grambergs, Ben Kueter, Saehymn Oh, Elizabeth Parr, Prakruthi Phaniraj, Hozyer Saeed, Lance Silvis, and Devam Zalawadia.  The names of the new associate members are: Diana Abu-Obeid, Jamila Ahmad, Chanteal Boyd, Ashley Cavalier, Jazmin Castillo, Jerika Chambers, Brittany Nicole Crawford, Jennifer Davis, Daria Dyer, Gil Erwin, Christopher Feldmayer, Jeremy Goodwin, Jhakalin Kimmons, Peter William Kinsella III, Stephanie Lara-Montiel, Abraham Lin, Maribel Lopez Mata, Michael Mendez, Ragan Victoria Morton, Hung Nguyen, Janie Huong Nguyen, Daniel Orleans-Lindsey, Courtney Pendergrass, Fernando Salazar, Hannah Schideler, Kennedy Simmons, Logan Stewart, Alexandra Wakefield, Antoinette Wilson, and Lily Wong.  A big thanks goes to John Buttross, Lauren Jeu, and Thomas Summers for coordinating the event.

The Regional Science Olympiad was held at CBU on Saturday, February 27, this year.  Dr. Andrew Diener, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, is the Director.  We had eight registered High School teams and nine registered Middle School teams.  The participating schools were: Arlington High School (2 teams), Collegiate School of Memphis, Collierville, Southwind High School (2 teams) and White Station High School (2 teams) in the upper division, Bellevue Middle School, Collegiate School of Memphis, Memphis School of Excellence, NSA Homeschool, Kate Bond Middle School, Ridgeway Middle School, and White Station Middle School (2 teams).  Lausanne Middle School registered but withdrew before the day of the competition.

The competition consisted of 23 different events for High School and 23 for Middle School.  These events range from theoretical subjects like astronomy to applied engineering and construction.  In the more theoretical events the students take written exams.  In the more applied events students do things like test a bridge they have constructed for its weight bearing capacity or launch a projectile at a target.

This year we had 109 high school students participating and 76 middle school students.   This was a record number at the middle school level and very near the record (last year we had 111) for the high school students.  This year the CBU Regional had two invitations for high schools to go to the state tournament and three invitations for middle school. White Station High school placed first and Southwind High placed second, though there was a virtual tie between Arlington, Collierville and Southwind, with Southwind winning the tie breaker.   At the middle school level White Station Middle won first place, the homeschoolers were second, and Memphis School of Excellence won third.   So these were the teams invited to the State Tournament in Knoxville.

Ms. Miller's Herpetolpgy Class Field Trip to T. O. Fuller Park

Ms. Miller’s Herpetology Class Field Trip to T. O. Fuller Park

Throughout the week of March 14th, Beta Beta Beta (Honors Biology Society) partnered with Campus Ministry to help the homeless around Memphis. Members of Tri Beta and friends donated various items such as toothpaste, tooth brushes, hand sanitizer, band aids, body wash, and more. As a result, nine bags full of items were collected. At the end of the week, Tri Beta members gave the bags to the homeless on the streets of downtown Memphis. Responses from the recipients were very positive. It was a learning experience for everyone involved and definitely a start of a great tradition for Tri Beta. The opportunity to work with Campus Ministry in such a way serves as another reminder of the Lasallian mission that CBU proudly stands for.

On March 19, the Department of Chemistry and  CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society co-hosted the 2016 Local Exam for the Chemistry Olympiad and the 2016 Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society High School Competitive Examination.  Participating high schools included: Arlington High School, Bartlett High School, Bolton High School, Collierville High School, Germantown High School, Middle College High School, Memphis University School, Pleasant View School, and Saint Benedict at Auburndale.

Beta Beta Beta Trivia Night

Beta Beta Beta Trivia Night
photo by Megan Huynh

On March 30, Beta Beta Beta held its annual Trivia Night benefiting the Church Health Center. Seven teams across campus tested their wits to see who really knew the most about sports, entertainment, science, science fiction, history, and random facts. First place went to members of TKE Fraternity and second place went to members of the CBU Honors Program. However, the true winner of the night was the Church Health Center. Tri-Beta raised a little over $200. Thanks to Nirali Patel, Thomas Summers, Lauren Jeu, and John B. Buttross for coordinating an event that challenged the little gray cells.

Biology students presenting at the TAS meeting this year.

Biology students presenting at the TAS meeting this year.

On April 2, Rhodes College hosted the Tennessee Academy of Sciences Collegiate Meeting this year.  The keynote speaker was Dr. Rachel Jabaily, a Rhodes faculty member.  Her topic was: “What’s in a name? Using molecular systematics to recognize new genera in Goodenia s.l., a clade of charismatic Australian wildflowers”.  Eighteen students gave oral presentations and twenty students gave poster presentations.

CBU's Ecology students with their poster at the TAS meeting.

CBU’s Ecology students with their poster at the TAS meeting.

The CBU biology students that gave oral presentations were:  Biology section: Alma Godoy, Rachel Depperschmidt, Katherine Robinson, Ryan Tomlinson. Health and Medical Science: Madison Cobb, Ben Tansey, Chelsea Casaccia, Chandler Martin, Ellie Vo, Joe Krebs and Miranda Anderson.  Student poster section participants were Austyn Harriman, Megan Moiser, and Kelly Gaines Lynda Miller, Biology Lab Coordinator and Adjunct Biology Instructor, was co-author on the poster.  Dr. James Moore, Associate Professor of Biology, and Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, also co-authored student presentations.

CBU's winners at the TAS meeting this year.

CBU’s winners at the TAS meeting this year.

Best Paper awards were given: Katherine Robinson won first place in the biology section with her paper entitled “The effect of nephrotoxic drugs on fetal mesangial cell survival.” Coauthors: T. A. John, H. Soni, Randal K. Buddington and A. Adebiyi.  Chelsea Casaccia won first place in Health and Medical Science with her paper entitled “Anxiolytic effects by modulation of GABAa receptors in the basolateral amygdala. “Her coauthors were Y. Gao, and S. Heldt.  Madison Cobb won second place with her paper entitled “Common motor phenotypes in mouse models of dystonia.” Her coauthors were J. Xiao, and M.S. LeDoux.  All three students conducted their summer thesis research at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Pharmacology, Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Neurology respectively.  Katie participated in the Summer Research Scholars program and Chelsea received the Crane Vision fellowship. Katherine will start medical school the August at UTHSC and will get married in June.  Chelsea will start optometry school in August at NOVA in Florida.

On April 5 and 14, the CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society and the School of Science co-hosted the first 2 sessions of 2016 Memphis-Shelby County Science and Engineering Fair.  The Fair annually hosts a total of 250 to 300 middle school and high school science and engineering projects presented by approximately 260 to 330 total students from across Shelby County.  This Fair is a regional Fair affiliated with the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair; and the high school winner of this Fair will go on to represent Shelby County at the International Fair that will be held in Phoenix, Arizona May 8-13, 2016.  The top scoring 10% of the middle school participants are eligible to enter the national Broadcom Masters Competition to compete for a grand prize of $25,000.  For more information, please contact Dr. Dennis Merat at  See Upcoming Events for an image and information about the last two sessions of the fair.

Dr. Price with the Alpha Chi members at the convention.

Dr. Price with the Alpha Chi members at the convention.

On April 7-10, five CBU students and the two faculty sponsors traveled to Washington, D.C.,  to attend the Alpha Chi National Convention.   The students were:  Chandler Martin (president), Breeana Nikaido (VP), Carly Geis, Abigail Lockard, and Andrea Perez Munoz.  Faculty sponsors were Dr. Randal Price, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, who served as judges in computer science and health science respectively.  Alpha Chi is an interdisciplinary honor society that represents the top 10% in the senior and junior class at each participating institution.  There are over 300 chapters that are divided up into seven regions.  CBU is in Region III, which is the SE USA.  Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald has served as the president for the past two years and VP prior to that.  Over 500 students attended the conference held in the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center outside of Washington, D.C.

Dr. Fitzgerald with author Sonia Nazario

Dr. Fitzgerald with author Sonia Nazario

The theme of this year’s convention was Transcending Boundries and the keynote speaker was Pulitzer-prize winner Sonia Nazario.  She discussed her book, Enrique’s Journey, a story of a child’s journey to the US from Central America, just one of many children immigrants that travel unescorted to try and reunite with parents within the US.  Students also attended workshops and toured DC and museums as part of the convention activities.

Dr. Fitzgerald with Katie Robinson

Dr. Fitzgerald with Katie Robinson

The students presented papers in their disciplines and competed for awards (see titles below).  Unfortunately none of the student speakers won an award this year; however, Katherine Robinson had submitted a paper to compete for one of ten national graduate student Benedict Fellowships, named for the first
Alpha Chi president.  She won a fellowship and is the second to successfully obtain this honor in the past few years from CBU.  Additional winners have been first alternates to the Benedict Fellowships (Johnnie Huddleston in 2015) and undergraduate students have also obtained scholarships and awards from Alpha Chi in previous years.   The CBU chapter won a Star chapter award and students are preparing for the Alpha Chi student research poster session that will be help on April 19th in the Thomas Center at CBU.  The titles of the student presentations were:

Chandler Martin:   “Influence of Voluntary Exercise on Appetite and Obesity in the Paraventricular and Arcuate Nuclei

Breanna Nikaido:  “Code Puzzles”

Carly Geis“God, evil and suffering”

Abigail Lockard:  “The effect of optimism and stress on frustration”.

On April 13, the Society of Physics Students went on a tour of the GE Aviation plant in Batesville, MS., in conjunction with the engineers.

On April 14, Tri-Beta had a guest speaker at their meeting, Captain Coleman, who spoke  about the different branches in the military and scholarship opportunities post-graduation.

Upcoming Events 4/16

On Saturday, April 16, Tri-Beta will be taking a trip to the Tennessee Safari Park near Jackson, TN.  Admission into the park will be $10 per person (cash only). The park consists of drive-through and walk-through safari areas that allow you to be in the midst of various animals from around the world. This will be a fun opportunity that you do not want to miss!  We will be meeting in front of Cooper-Wilson at 9:00 AM.  It will roughly take an hour and a half to drive to the park.  All those who are interested in going or have any questions, please feel free to email Heer Patel (

Research Poster Session from last year.

Scene from the
Research Poster Session from last year.

Tuesday, April 19: The 20th Annual CBU Student Research Poster Session will be held in Sabbatini Lounge.

On April 20, the Society of Physics Students will be co-hosting another STEM game night, and on April 21 it will have its Paper Plane competition.

Volleyball game last year (2015)

Volleyball game last year (2015)

On Thursday, April 21, Beta Beta Beta is sponsoring the annual Youth and Vitality vs. Old Age & Deceit Volleyball Game with the proceeds going to the Church Health Center.


Science Fair 2016

From an earlier session of the Science Fair this year.

The last 2 sessions of the 2016 Memphis-Shelby County Science and Engineering Middle School Fair will be held on April 19 and April 26 on the campus of Christian Brothers University.  If you are interested in participating in the judging phase of the Fair, please contact the Science Fair Director, Dr. Dennis Merat, at

On April 21, the American Chemical Society luncheon honoring the top scoring students on the 2016 American Chemical Society Chemistry Olympiad Local Examination and the 2016 American Chemical Society Memphis Section High School  Competitive Examination will be held on the campus of Christian Brothers University.  This event is hosted by the CBU Department of Chemistry and sponsored by the Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society.

On April 23, the top scoring students on the Chemistry Olympiad Local Examination will return to the CBU campus to compete in the 2016 National Chemistry Olympiad Competition.  This day long exam consists of 2 written tests and a laboratory practical exam.  This event is cohosted by the CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society and by the CBU Department of Chemistry.  For more information, contact Dr. Dennis Merat at .

On April 28, Dr. Lekh Gautam from the Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will present a seminar beginning at 1 pm in CW105.  The title of his talk will be “Diversifying Complexity to Natural Products and their Bio-evaluation: Chemistry Beyond Nature” .   The Student Members of the American Chemical Society and the Department of Chemistry are co-hosting this meeting.   Pizza will be served prior to the start of the meeting and details of the new Biochemistry Club will be announced.

On April 30, the CBU Chemistry Department will host the Annual Chemistry and Biochemistry Undergraduate Research Conference in AH155 where our majors will  present the results of their research.  Presentations will begin at 9 AM and last until approximately noon.   Everyone is welcome.

Monday, May 2:  Last Day of Classes

Wednesday, May 4, through Monday, May 9:  Final Exams

Monday, May 9:  Transit of Mercury:  CBU Physics faculty will have a telescope with a solar filter set up outside the Cooper-Wilson Center in the morning for an hour or so if it is not cloudy.  You are welcome to stop by and look!

Friday, May 13: Baccalaureate at 7 PM at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
located at 1695 Central Avenue.  Students will meet at the Cathedral by 6:30 PM. (Undergraduates: Wear Regalia only, Graduate students: Regalia and Hood. Please do not bring your cap.) A reception for graduates and guests will be held following the Baccalaureate Service in Marion Hall. Families will have the chance to take photos with their graduates.

Saturday, May 14, Commencement on Signaigo Field.  The ceremony begins promptly at 10:00 AM. Reception to follow in the Canale Arena and Boshwit Courtyard. Graduates arrive by 8:30 AM. Gates for the general public open at 9:00 AM. Assisted transportation for the elderly and handicapped will end at 9:50 AM.

Alumni News 4/16

Page Pirkey, Psychology 2010 & University of Memphis M.S. 2013 – not a Sciences alum but she took a lot of courses in Science – announced her engagement to Marc Deason on January 24, 2016.  Page is currently working on her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Memphis.

Dr. Teri Sheppard, Psychology 2007 – not a Sciences alum but she took a lot of courses in Science – and her husband, Brian Barney, welcome their daughter, Sophie, born Feb 15, 2016.  Teri is an Optometrist at Vision Park Family Eye Care in Urbandale, Iowa.

Lauren D’Surney, Biomedical Science 2013 , has been accepted to law school and will attend the Indiana University Maurer School of Law starting in August, 2016.

Natalie Hart Guley, Biology major who was accepted early to the Ph.D./M.D. program in 2010, is finishing the Ph.D. portion of her M.D./Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.  She has taken the first two years of classes, passed part one of boards, had a baby, and is defending her dissertation this month.  She will rejoin the medical class this summer and complete her last two years.

Dr. Michael Herr,  Biology 2010 & UTHSC 2015, and his wife, Ashley, welcomed their baby girl, Hazel Grace, on February 20, 2016.  Also, Michael has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Russell Higgins, Biomedical Science 2014, has been accepted to Pharmacy school. 

Dr. Brett Prentiss, Natural Science 2007, and his wife, Dana Marie, welcomed their bundle of joy, Beckett Hilton Prentiss, in October 2015.  Brett says they are off to Phoenix, Arizona, in April.

Dr. David McKenzie, Physics 1989 & Ph.D. from U. of Delaware, currently a Research Associate Professor of Physics at Montana State University, has accepted a position with NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Cameron Volpe, Biology 2013, received the Jack Walther Leadership Award at the 2016 Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas. Vet students apply for the award and they select one 3rd year student per veterinary school. It’s a scholarship award, plus they paid for all the recipients to go to the conference these past few days (March 6-10 were the conference dates).  Cameron is a third year vet school student at Mississippi State University.

Here is what we know about our alums who are currently 4th year medical school students who “matched” in residency programs.
Mary Jane Dickey, Biomedical Science 2011, will be graduating from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and matched in family medicine in Jackson.
Catherine Gluszek Gooch, Biomedical Science 2012, will be graduating from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and matched at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in pediatric genetics.
Nick Watkins, Biology 2012, will be graduating from University of Mississippi and matched at LeBonheur.

Dr. Chris Sage, Biology 2005, says Hi!  He is now a pharmaceutical consultant  for Med Communications.  He is enjoying his new job and his two children (2 and 4 years old!).  He and his wife, Carrie, still live in Covington, TN.

Math Center Tutors: Joshua Faircloth and Rahul Reddy G.

A regular feature of the Sciences newsletters is one or two of the student Math Tutors in the Math Center.

Joshua Faircloth, Math Center Tutor

Joshua Faircloth, Math Center Tutor

Joshua Faircloth, originally from Fayetteville, NC., is a graduate of Cape Fear High School in Vander, NC. He graduated from Fayetteville Technical Community College before transferring to Christian Brothers University in the spring of 2015. Joshua  enjoys tutoring students in any and all mathematical disciplines. Although he loves math, he’s observed the intimidation it causes some students; therefore his goal is to make math less intimidating and more enjoyable for the students he tutors.  Outside of school, he has been married to his lovely wife, Candace, for almost 2 years and is an active member of Bellevue Baptist Church.  When not doing schoolwork, you can find him playing at the local basketball court, jamming away at his piano or playing video games.

Rahul Reddy G., Math Center Tutor

Rahul Reddy G., Math Center Tutor

Rahul Reddy G., a graduate majoring in engineering management at CBU, has been a tutor in the Math Center starting this semester.  He is a major in electronics and communications engineering in the graduate program. He tutors topics from basic math to calculus and his students find him very friendly and helpful.  Many return for repeat help.

NEW: Pascal Fellowship

PascalWe are pleased to announce the Pascal Fellowship in Computer Science and Mathematics sponsored by FedEx.  Christian Brothers University and FedEx have a strong history and a shared commitment to the Memphis community. In light of this, CBU will utilize a generous donation from FedEx to establish a program serving exceptional students from the region who have an interest in Computer Science and Mathematics. Combining significant scholarships with unique academic support and internship opportunities, the Pascal Fellows program will help identify and educate outstanding students who wish to earn a dual degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. These highly prized degrees will prepare CBU students for rewarding careers in major corporations.

Beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, two new awardees annually will receive full four-year scholarships to CBU, offsetting all tuition and fees. Additional awardees annually will receive significant scholarships as well as campus employment opportunities designed to offset their remaining tuition and fees.  Accepted students will follow CBU’s established CS/Math or CS/Math/ECE degree curricula. Both faculty and corporate mentors will support these students throughout their tenure at CBU.  Fellows will be expected to maintain a 3.20 GPA, be involved in peer tutoring, and hold leadership positions in departmental organizations.  Funds will be available for travel to discipline-related conferences.

In their senior year, Pascal Fellows will assist CBU faculty members with a real-world Computer Science/Math project at an area corporation. Projects will be identified by corporation executives in consultation with CBU faculty members.  By collaborating with faculty members on real-world projects, students will gain invaluable experience while providing research and development to improve the efficiency of Mid-South corporations.

Interviews were held in February for this competitive award.  Those invited to join the first cohort averaged 32 on their Math ACT.  They look forward to putting their imprint on this exciting program.  Dr. Anne Kenworthy, Vice-President for Enrollment, refers to the Pascal Fellowship as the most prestigious award on campus.  We hope that friends and alumni of the School of Sciences will publicize the program and help recruit future classes of Pascal Fellows.

CHEM 105 Chemistry in Cooking

by Dr. Anthony Trimboli, Associate Professor of Chemistry

This semester students have participated in CHEM 105: Chemistry of Cooking at Salud! Cooking School at Whole Foods Market in East Memphis. Every other week the students observe chemical reactions through the lens of the culinary arts and design experiments that facilitate the analysis of quantifiable data. And unlike the traditional science general education requirement, the results taste much better.

Students in CHEM 105

Students L to R: Carlee Darnell, Cristina Chaffin, Miriam Romero, Arash Zainaleain, Taylor Hildreth, Megyn Huyhn, Solomon Amiri, Ashley Hendrix

In the photo, students were quantifying the freezing point depression phenomena. As more ingredients are added to an ice cream base, the lower the temperature must be in order to solidify.

In our experiment dedicated to candy making, students measured the relationship between concentration of sugar and the boiling point of that solution, and ultimately how that affects the end product of various confectionaries.

Boiling point!

Boiling point!

Next up for the class is a trip coordinated through the International Initiatives department, to the gastronomic capital of the world, San Sebastian, Spain, for an 8 night experience.

Beginning the Summer Term of 2016 CHEM 105: Chemistry of Cooking will be available through the College of Adult Professional Studies (CAPS) for students looking to satisfy their science requirement.