Sciences Faculty Present at the 2017 International Symposium on Lasallian Research


Dr. Kristin Prien – Business
Brother Dominic Ehrmantraut, FSC
Dr. Anthony R. Trimboli – Chemistry
Cecilia Garrison – Nursing

The sixth annual International Symposium on Lasallian Research was held on September 24-26, 2017 at the Twin Cities Campus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. The symposium featured two different presentations by CBU School of Sciences faculty members.

Dr. Anthony R. Trimboli’s presentation “Perception and Success in a Hybrid Learning Environment” focused on the general education hybrid course, “Chemistry of Cooking”, and it’s relation to student success.

Cecilia Garrison’s presentation “The Memphis Immersion Experience: An Innovative Service-Learning Approach to Clinical Education for RN to BSN Students” described the service learning opportunity for our CBU Nursing students that includes the learning objectives of implementing community health nursing concepts, developing a deeper understanding of poverty, and utilizing leadership theories in the care and education of individuals and their families.


eclipsepromoWhat are these students doing?  Why, practicing for the eclipse of course!

As you may know, the first total solar eclipse to hit the U.S. mainland since 1979 is occurring on Monday, August 21.  The Moon will be passing between the Sun and Earth, blocking the light from the Sun.  While the eclipse is not total in Memphis, we still will see 94% of the sun’s diameter blocked at the peak of the eclipse.

All members of the CBU community are invited to view this celestial phenomenon at our Solar Eclipse Party, hosted by the CBU chapter of the Society of Physics Students, the Student Government Association, and the Office of Student Life.  We will have telescopes set up as well as a number of eclipse glasses with special filters that allow for direct viewing of the sun.  (Theses filters are absolutely necessary for direct viewing of the eclipse!  Ordinary sunglasses do not provide adequate protection!)

The party location is the Plough Sciences Courtyard, located between Assisi Hall and the Cooper-Wilson Center.  The eclipse begins in Memphis at 11:52 a.m. with the peak at 1:22 p.m. and the end of the eclipse at 2:50 p.m.  We will be out in the courtyard starting around 11:00 a.m.  Refreshments will be served near the peak of the eclipse.  Come out and enjoy the eclipse!  You won’t get another chance to see one in Memphis until 2023!

If you’d like to read more about the eclipse visit, hosted by the American Astronomical Society.

Dr. Moore Presents at Ecological Meeting

MooreDuring the week of August 6th 2017, Dr. James E. Moore (Chair and Associate Professor of Biology) is attending the Annual Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting in Portland, Oregon. At this conference he is presenting data on community succession titled “Effect of Disturbance Intensity and Frequency on Old-Field Community Diversity, Composition and Functional Groups.”

In addition to presenting his research, Dr. Moore also serves on the executive council for ESA.

In the photo, Dr. Moore is visiting with the team from PLOS. PLOS stands for the “Public Library of Science” and was founded in 2001 as an alternative to the growing constraints of traditional scientific publishing.

Welcome Jerad Henson

jerad_hensonJerad Henson joins the Department of Biology this fall as a full-time visiting faculty member. Jerad is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Memphis. The photo shows Jared in the field about to take a blood sample from a waterfowl. His research explores the interactions between physiology and environment.

This fall, Jerad Henson will be teaching an upper level elective Ornithology course with lab, several A&P labs, and the Senior Seminar course for our Natural Science majors.

Congratulations Dr. Tooley

gary_tooley_webGary B. Tooley, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA is the Director of Academics for and an Associate Professor in CBU’s Physician Assistant Studies program (our graduate program in the Health Sciences). Dr. Tooley recently earned his Doctor of Health Sciences degree from Nova Southeastern University. Two areas that Dr. Tooley focused on in his doctoral program include:

  1. The growing shortage of trained health profession educators. His research provided the data needed to start a new doctoral track at NSU specifically aimed at helping meet this shortfall.
  2. Cultural competency in health care.  As part of the doctoral program he completed an internship in Cote d’Ivoire. His practicum centered on culturally sensitive care of Muslim patients. He plans to continue this work by creating modules for other groups..

New Equipment for Chemistry

SoS_Chemistry_July2017Kaila Muhammad, a senior in the CBU Department of Chemical Engineering and President of the CBU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, and Tim Burchett II, a senior in the CBU Department of Mechanical Engineering and Founder of Absolution Hydroformance, are pictured in front of the new Refractive Index Detector recently purchased for the CBU Department of Chemistry.  Kaila and Tim are using the research facilities in the CBU Chemistry Department for the development of an energy source for the School of Engineering AIChE CHEM-E-Car Project.

For research on polymers synthesized by controlled free radical polymerization, the analysis of each synthesized polymer requires an instrument called a GPC. Prior to this summer, the CBU Chemistry Department had the GPC instrument but only one type of detector, a UV/VIS detector. Using a UV/VIS detector means the polymer must absorb visible or ultraviolet light. The problem is that the vast majority of polymers cannot be detected in the UV or visible spectrum. In order to detect the non-light-absorbing polymers a refractive index detector is needed. Thus, the addition of the refractive index detector to the GPC in summer 2017 allows much more extensive and robust research to take place. Additionally, the refractive index detector will be used in the hands on laboratory for the polymer class that Dr. William Peer (Chemistry) will teach in spring 2018.

We thank our generous donors to both the Chemistry Department and the School of Sciences funds that allow us to purchase this expensive yet very useful scientific equipment.

Alum Presents at National Meeting

SoS_MeganM_smallMegan Mosier (Ecology 2017) presented the results of her senior research at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists that was held July 12-16, 2017 in Austin, Texas.  During her senior year at CBU, Megan studied salamanders from both the Tennessee and Arkansas sides of the Mississippi river. Megan’s research poster described the population variation in two species of Ambystomatid salamanders that were separated by the Mississippi river.

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