GREENpact: Forum for Sustainability and Environmental Research

The Forum for Undergraduate Sustainability and Environmental Research

notre%20dame%20regular%20logoWith the support of the Department of Biological Sciences and the University of Notre Dame, we are excited to announce the creation of The Forum for Undergraduate Sustainability and Environmental Research. This website, designed and administered by a group of undergraduate researchers, is dedicated to undergraduate students looking to become involved in research and/or share their research experiences. This website will also serve undergraduates looking to enter graduate school. Although there are websites relevant to research at individual universities, there is no forum committed to promoting interest in the topic of undergraduate research. We propose to fill this void with an notreinterdisciplinary website focused on environmental sustainability. 

The website will consist of four features:  

      1. Writings by undergraduate researchers from across the country describing their research experiences. Undergraduate students can use this resource to learn what research is really like from their peers. 
      2. Writings by graduate students about their experiences in undergraduate research and early graduate school. These contributions will be useful to undergraduate students looking to apply to and succeed in graduate school. 
      3. Listings of undergraduate research opportunities at universities in a user-friendly database. The writings described in #1 above will be posted in conjunction with the program for which the student is doing research. These writings will be viewed by other students looking to participate in the program in the future.  
      4. Weekly discussions of current issues and articles pertaining to sustainability and environmental research. This will expand students’ knowledge of the issues that shape their lives. This information would also help inform students about possible research topics.   

      We would appreciate your involvement in the development of our website. We ask that you identify undergraduate students interested in writing about various stages of their research. These writings could be about any aspect of research, from choosing a research project to initial discussions with a professor or, presenting at a conference. Students also could submit entries describing the personal aspects of research, such as the frustration and excitement of actually doing science.  We think that participation by your students would greatly improve our site. Your involvement in this website could make students more aware of research programs at your institution. We would appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Brian Argus, University of Notre Dame – 
Ashley Joseph, University of Houston – 
Kelsey Poinsatte-Jones, University of Notre Dame – 
Dr. Jessica Hellmann, University of Notre Dame – 
Dr. Dom Chaloner, University of Notre Dame –


LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowships

lsampbridge2009-2011 Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowships at UMBC

The University System of Maryland, the National Science Foundation, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Park, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Bridge to the Doctorate program seeks to encourage and support LSAMP students pursuing advanced degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) fields.

Graduate school is an important step in preparing for your professional career. The Bridge to the Doctorate Program can assist you in this endeavor by providing financial and academic support. Our staff is available to assist you in completing this application packet. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Dr. Renetta G. Tull
Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Development
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
(410) 455-1842,

For best consideration, please submit materials by
Friday, July 24, 2009.

For application and more info please go to:


Congratulations to Dr. Ihenetu, NACB Fellow!

IhenetuCongratulations to Dr. Ihenetu, one of our CS/AMP Faculty Mentors!

Dr. Ihenetu was just recently notified of his installation as a Fellow of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB).  The Fellowship will be conferred upon Dr. Ihenetu at the upcoming meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) in July. 

An Assistant Professor of Clinical Laboratory Science in the Department of Life Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Dr. Ihenetu’s laboratory research focuses on molecular techniques and using analytical tools in the identification of biomarkers and development of anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory treatments for cancer patients. Dr. Ihenetu’s promotion to NACB Fellow is express recognition of his contributions to the profession of clinical laboratory sciences.

Dr. Ihenetu is a self-described problem solver with experience in multinational projects involving research in the United States, United Kingdom, and Africa. After attending Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, Dr. Ihenetu moved on to East London University in the U.K. where he achieved an M.S. in 1994. The University of Hertfordshire eventually awarded his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 2003 and he has been with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi since 2006. His many years of experience as a lab scientist have certified him as a National Registry Clinical Chemist, as well as a Specialist in Clinical Chemistry. Dr. Ihenetu’s TAMUCC laboratory is currently focused on understanding how digoxin and digoxin-like immune-reactive factors exert beneficial effects in cancer patients. He is developing a predictive model for patients who are likely to benefit from methotrexate treatment.

For more information on Dr. Kenneth Ihenetu please visit his faculty webpage:

Article adapted from Will Piatt:

LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate

lsamp-bdLSAMP Fellows, are you considering Grad school beginning Fall 2009?

If yes, then the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation– Bridge to Doctorate (LSAMP-BD) Programs still have openings available and they offers you an ideal opportunity.

Benefits to Fellows accepted may include:
● $30,000 annual student stipend for each of two years
● Tuition and fee supplements
● Participation in research projects with faculty supervision
● Participation in professional meetings
● Preparation for successful application to PhD Programs

For more information and to apply, please see this listing:
LSAMP-BD listing 2009

Biophotonics in cancer detection and treatment: HRI Lecture Series


Please join us for our last HRI Weekly Seminar for the spring semester:

  • Friday, May 8, 2009
  • 3:30pm in HRI 127 (Conference Center)

The topic will be of interest to medical oriented scientists, engineers, and marine scientists.  I asked our speaker to give us a title relevant to the connection of biomedical engineering to marine sciences, and these are the two selections he gave me:

  1. “What does a laser, a nanoparticle, and a marine scientist have in common?”, Or
  2. “The Symbiotic relationship between marine scientists and biomedical engineers: the noninvasive detection of skin cancer”

Following is his real title, an abstract, and his bio.  Please inform students interested in medicine and bioengineering.  His work involves the cutting-edge detection and treatment skin cancers…the bane of older marine scientists who spent too much time enjoying the sun early in their careers!

Biophotonics in cancer detection and treatment
Dr. James W. Tunnell
Department of Biomedical Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

Our research focuses on developing minimally invasive optical technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It is widely believed that the greatest achievement that can be made in cancer management is the early detection and subsequent treatment of disease. Our approach combines biophotonic techniques such as optical imaging, spectroscopy, and nanophotonics to develop systems capable of combined diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This presentation focuses on two primary applications: 1) non-invasive detection of skin cancer and 2) nanovectors for the treatment of solid tumors. In the first application, we are developing fiber-based spectroscopic systems to measure tissue morphology and function for the non-invasive diagnose skin cancer. In collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center and UT Medical Branch, we have conducted an 80 patient clinical feasibility study to determine the performance of these systems. In the second application, we are developing multifunctional nanovectors for the combined imaging and treatment of solid tumors. We demonstrate novel strategies for studying the targeting kinetics and biodistribution of these vectors in murine models. These biophotonic solutions provide minimally-invasive strategies that may augment the current standard-of-care in the detection and treatment of cancer.”

Tunnell Bio:
James W. Tunnell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998 and a Ph.D. in bioengineering from Rice University in 2003. He was awarded a National Research Service Award from the NIH to fund his postdoctoral fellowship in the Spectroscopy Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2003-2005. He joined the faculty of the University of Texas in the fall of 2005.
Dr. Tunnell’s research focuses in the broad field of biomedical optics with a specific focus on using optical spectroscopy and imaging for disease diagnosis and treatment, particularly that of cancer. Dr. Tunnell has received the following awards/honors: Early Career Award from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation (Phase I and II, 2006 & 2008), Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (2007), National Research Service Award from the NIH (2004), and Best Basic Science Paper from the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (2000). He has served on the program committees for CLEO, OSA, and IEEE-LEOS, and he is the chair of 2009 CLEO subcommittee on Biological and Medical Applications. He is a member of OSA, ASLMS, IEEE-EMBS, and BMES.

  James Tunnell, Ph.D.
  Assistant Professor
  Department of Biomedical Engineering
  The University of Texas at Austin

Nicole Aston

Nicole Aston

  • LSAMP Research Fellow>>
  • Major: Biology
  • Mentor: Dr. John Fernandez
  • Current Research: “info coming soon”

Graduating Science Majors…Got Job?

prep-trifoldDr. Dave Niesel of UTMB will be available this Friday, April 17 to consult with students about participating in the NIH funded “The PREP: A program for BA/BS Graduates.”

This program is designed for  students who have received or will receive a BS or BA and have not committed to a career plan.  The program selects students to spend a year working in a research lab.  You will receive $20,000/yr + health insurance.  You will also receive a GRE prep course and skills training. Applicants should be from a group underrepresented in the sciences or economically disadvantaged or with disabilities.

More info about the program can be found in this brochure…>>

This Friday, Dr Niesel will be available to answer your questions from 1 to 3 pm in CS 104.  You can contact Dr Niesel at

FROM: Suzzette F. Chopin, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Regents Professor, Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi