May 13, 2016

Several Oxy Biology students and faculty attended the Southern California Academy of Sciences (SCAS) conference on Friday, May 6, 2016.



Hannah Munkacsi's poster won for Best Student Poster Presentation of the Southern California Society of Parasitologists (SCSP) 2016 
Best Poster Presentation
Name – Hannah Munkasci
Paper No. – 75
Congratulations Hannah!


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April 14, 2016

Heidi Aronson and Emily Applewhite will present their Biology Honors projects on Tuesday, April 19th.

Heidi Aronson
The specific and exclusive microbiome of the deep-sea bone-eating snail, Rubyspira osteovora
Emily Applewhite
Living in the Hybrid Zone: Testing the Species Squabble with two Mexican Highland Birds
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April 7, 2016

The Spring 2016 Biology Seminar Series concludes with Dr. Kwasi M. Connor's talk: Omic Approaches to Understanding Life in a Fluctuating Environment.

April 1, 2016

The Spring 2016 Biology Seminar Series continues with Dr. Erin Brinton's talk: Drowning corn: Molecular responses of Zea mays ssp. mays to flooding

Flooding is the second leading cause of corn (Zea mays ssp. mays) crop loss in the United States and is further exacerbated by global climate change. While plants require water for growth, too much can impart multiple stresses, one of the greatest of which is limited oxygen availability due to decreased gas diffusion. This limits aerobic respiration, which when coupled with reduced photosynthesis, promotes unchecked carbohydrate consumption to offset inefficient ATP production. Some of the earliest studies of plant low-oxygen responses were undertaken in corn and included observations of changes occurring at multiple levels of gene regulation, from gene transcription through mRNA translation. However, very little has been reported at the genome scale of the responses of corn to...
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April 1, 2016

Come out and see the Biology Seniors present their senior comps projects!

Saturday, April 9th
Rivi Sacks 
Daniela Borquez
Anise Marshall 
Emma White
Olivia Jenkins 
Michaela Tsuha
Kory Hamane 
Laila Hamzai
Sadie Lindner 
Ryan Whalen
Eileen Lee 
Dave Miyamoto
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March 25, 2016

The Spring 2016 Biology Seminar Series continues with Dr. Gargi Kulkarni's talk: Bacterial hopanoids and their role in plant symbiosis

Symbiosis means "living together”, i.e. when two organisms live in close association to benefit each other. For instance, soil bacteria called rhizobia, like Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens, can enter into symbiosis with leguminous plants, like soybean. In this relationship, the plants provide the bacteria with a food source and the bacteria provide the plant with the essential nutrient nitrogen. Our recent research suggests that hopanoids or cholesterol-like lipids produced by rhizobia are required for proper growth of bacteria in both free-living soil and symbiotic plant states. More research into how hopanoids help bacteria to survive may aid in engineering of more robust agricultural strains that are resistant to harsher climates.

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March 25, 2016

Participate in the BioBlitz@Oxy event on April 2, 2016

The Bioblitz@Oxy is a citizen science event to document the biodiversity of Occidental College. During this one day event, we will identify as many species as possible on the Occidental College campus. These data will provide baseline knowledge about local biodiversity so we can measure how these species respond to future environmental changes.

To sign up and view more information, please visit the BioBlitz website:

March 17, 2016

The 2016 Spring Biology Seminar Series continues with Miguel Ordeñana's talk: #NatureinLA: Documenting L.A. Wildlife Using Cameras, Citizen Science, and Social Media

I will be talking about urban wildlife research projects that I have been involved in along the urban edge and core of the Los Angeles area. I will discuss how technology and citizen science has provided new opportunities to conduct research on elusive species in understudied ecosystems at new scales. Citizen science has also provided scientists and non-scientists with unprecedented access to extremely urban ecosystems made up of primarily private property. Together, citizen science, social media and new advancements in technology offer a bright future for urban wildlife research and the inclusion of non-scientists in the scientific process.
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March 11, 2016

The 2016 Spring Biology Seminar Series continues with Dr. Michael Wagner's talk: Nitrification 2.0: The discovery of Comammox bacteria in terrestrial and freshwater habitats

We love to study the hidden world of microbes and are particularly excited to investigate microbes directly in their natural environment. My team is interested in many aspects of the nitrogen cycle. Bioavailable nitrogen is essential for all organisms and is the main limiting nutrient for life on our planet. The process of nitrification — the oxidation of ammonia to nitrate by way of nitrite — links the gain and loss of bioavailable nitrogen and thus plays a central part in the nitrogen cycle. Since the first description of nitrifying microbes more than 100 years ago by Sergei Winogradsky nitrification was thought to be conducted by the joint activity of two groups of microorganisms. We recently discovered that complete nitrifiers exist that can oxidize as single...

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February 29, 2016

The 2016 Spring Biology Seminar Series continues with Aaron Aslanian's talk: Proteomic analysis of the DNA damage response

Faithful transmission of genetic material is essential for cell viability
and organism health. The occurrence of DNA damage, due to either
spontaneous events or environmental agents, threatens the integrity of the
genome. The consequences of these insults, if allowed to perpetuate and
accumulate over time, are mutations that can lead to the development of
diseases such as cancer. Alkylation is a one type of DNA lesion produced
endogenously as well as by exogenous agents including certain
chemotherapeutics. Mass spectrometry-based proteomics, in combination with
sub-cellular fractionation, was used to understand the cellular response
to DNA damage caused by the alkylating agent methyl...
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