Jesse Bragger selected for Chi Eta Award

Along with Skyler Post and Nicholas Pillarella, Jesse was named a Chi Eta Awardee by the Monmouth University chapter of TriBeta. The biology honor society selects students each year that embody the spirit of service to their chapter and field as well as excellence in research and academics. Congratulations, Jesse!

Dr. Phifer-Rixey and Cameron Gaines help organize event: Genetics, Genomics, and Racism

On April 8th, we held a virtual event to discuss the complicated relationship between genetics, genomics, and racism. We considered both the legacy of past genetic technologies and the future impacts of new genomic initiatives. Our distinguished speakers, Krystal Tsosie and Gabriela Corona Valencia discussed their research and Dr. Kiameesha Evans, MPH, MCHES,  from the Department of Health and Physical Education moderated the conversation.

Krystal Tsosie, MPH, MA, PhD Candidate, Vanderbilt University (she/her/hers), is already a leader in her field. Her voice has been critical in shaping policy on genomics initiatives in indigenous communities, particularly with respect to the ethics of consent and data sovereignty. Her research integrates both efforts to improve health outcomes for indigenous communities through genomics and efforts to address the ethics of obtaining and using genomic data.  

Gabriela Corona Valencia, MA, PhD Candidate, UCLA  (she/her/hers) is currently a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. Her dissertation research highlights the ways in which eugenicist ideologies continue to influence sex education curricula and initiatives that are implemented across South and East Los Angeles.

This event was organized by Dr. Megan Phifer-Rixey, Biology, and Dr. Jen McGovern, Political Science and Sociology, with support from student coordinator Cameron Gaines and the students of BY216-H1 Introduction to Genetics and SO101-H1 Introduction to Sociology. This program was made possible in part by the Diversity Innovation Grant program, which is supported by the Office of the Provost and the Intercultural Center and support from the School of Science and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Congratulations, Jesse!

Jesse Bragger successfully defended her honor’s thesis focused on differences in behavior among new strains of wild-derived mice. She will also be graduating in January. Jesse has contributed to nearly all of the projects in the lab during her time at Monmouth and we wish her well in all of her future endeavors. Congratulations!!

Jesse Bragger, Adaptation in House Mice

eDNA project kicks off

View from the R/V Seahawk

Despite setbacks due to COVID19, our new collaborative project studying communities in the Lower Hudson-Raritan Estuary has launched. The goal of the project is to better understand what factors drive variation in this urban estuarine community and what methods best assess variation. Dr. Keith Dunton and Dr. Jason Adolf, along with their students, have started cruises to collect data on fish and phytoplankton. They will also be collecting physical data like salinity and dissolved oxygen.

Our lab will be adding to the project by using a different method to assess communities–eDNA. eDNA is environmental DNA left behind by organisms. We will extract eDNA from water samples taken on the cruises and using next generation sequencing to help sift through the DNA and identify organisms that are part of the community. Students Cameron Gaines and Lilia Crew will be working on this project this semester. You can read more about the project here.