February 5, 2016

Biologists have long known that the activity of proteins inside of cells directs the expression of genes. What we generally lack is a quantitative understanding of these regulatory interactions. For example, how does the amount of a regulatory protein determine the nature and extent of regulatory interactions? In this talk, Dr. Stoebel will explore answers to this question by studying how the regulatory protein RpoS, found in the model bacterium Escherichia coli, influences the transcription of all genes in the genome. Whole genome-studies reveal that the shape of the relationship between RpoS levels and level of transcription varies dramatically between different...

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January 28, 2016

Despite the fundamental importance of sleep, its function remains controversial. In recent years sleep research has expanded into non-mammalian model systems, with defined behavioral criteria that distinguish sleep from other quiescent states. Using these criteria, we have found that conditions that cause cellular stress can trigger sleep in the nematode C. elegans, a phenomenon we call stress-induced sleep, or SIS. In this talk I will present what we have learned about the genetic and neural components of SIS as well as our evidence that this sleep is beneficial. Last, I will briefly discuss very recent work in other systems that provides support for our speculation that SIS is part of a deeply conserved quiescence program with relevance to mammalian sleep.
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January 28, 2016

Two biology students have been awarded $300 ASP grants for the 2016 Spring semester. Congratulations are in order for the following students and mentors:

Jasmine Chen | Roberta Pollock

Isabelle Yuen | Cheryl...

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December 4, 2015

Occidental College Biology students attended the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research at Harvey Mudd College on Saturday, November 21, 2015. "The Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research provides a forum for the presentation of the best research, scholarship, and creative activities of undergraduate students in the region, and encourages communication of innovative achievements across disciplines," (SCCUR).  


November 16, 2015

Alexander Urry has been awarded a Richter-ASP grant for his project Guatemala City, Guatemala, 1/8-21/2016: An Examination of the Effects of Dicton Vitamin A Deficiency and Infant Mortality with project advisor Shana Goffredi. Congratulations Alexander!

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November 6, 2015



Seven additional biology students have been awarded ASP grants for the 2015 Fall semester! Congratulations are in order for the following students and mentors:

Morgan Bennett-Smith | Gary Martin

Madeline Gillman | Gretchen North


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October 30, 2015

Here is the full schedule for the Fall 2015 Biology Senior Comps Presentations:

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October 22, 2015

The 2015 Fall Biology Department Seminar Series concludes with Dr. Louis Santiago's talk: Assessing drought survival strategies in woody plant species

For centuries, scientists have studied how the environment affects plants. Only recently, with climate change threatening plant communities, have researchers begun to ask how plants affect their environment. My research examines the relationship between plants and their environment. I would like to understand how plant productivity is determined by the availability of resources such as water, light and nutrients, and how the complex variation of resources along environmental gradients combines to mediate vegetation processes. Understanding how plant processes are structured by environmental resource availability is critical for predicting the responses of plants to environmental change, as well as subsequent effects on natural resource use by humans. In our...

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October 14, 2015

The Biology Department Seminar Series continues with Kris Kaiser's talk: Urban impacts on herpetofauna: evidence from species from four countries and three continents

Urban landscapes are growing quickly: by 2030, and as a result, globally, urbanization has become one of the largest causes for habitat degradation and loss; habitat that remains is dramatically altered with respect to a variety of parameters, including light, noise, temperature, and precipitation regimes.  Here I present three sets of studies investigating these impacts on the behavior and physiology of reptiles and amphibians: 1) a field study of the impact of urban noise on tropical frog behavior; 2) a lab investigation of the impact of urban noise on tropical frog physiology; and 3) a combination of lab and field studies on the...

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