Three Department of Biology students honored

Adrian Land
Adrian Land, at an SEP event with the project director’s son, was honored by the City of Bloomington. Photo: Shaila Mulholland/Courtesy of IU SEP Program

Former Holland Fellow recognized by City of Bloomington

Congratulations to 2004 Holland Fellow Adrian Land, who was honored at the City of Bloomington’s Black History Month Gala held February 26. Land earned the Commission on the Status of Black Males’ 2011 Outstanding Black Males Leader of Tomorrow Award. He served as a co-facilitator of workshops for the IU Men and Women of Color Conference.

Land is a member of the commission, belongs to the Crossroads Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, and has been active with various diversity programs here at IU, including the Graduate School and the Office of Diversity Education. He also has been a counselor for the department’s Lilly Scholars Program and the James Holland Summer Enrichment Program in Biology, which brings Indiana minority high school students who are interested in science to campus, where they attend lectures and partake in hands-on laboratory experiences.

“This award provides well deserved recognition for the many contributions that Adrian has been making (and continues to make) to the graduate programs at IU, and especially to the biology department graduate programs,” said Biology Chair Roger Innes. “I thank Adrian for his leadership and for his dedication to the IU microbiology program.”

Land, a member of Professor Malcolm Winkler’s research team, completed his PhD in May. Starting July 17, Land will work one last time as a counselor for the Lilly Scholars Program and the Holland Summer Enrichment Program. He then heads to Washington University in St. Louis, where he will be a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Petra A. Levin’s laboratory.

Biology undergrad named Goldwater Scholar

Kimberly Long is one of two Indiana University students to receive a 2011 award from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Long will receive $7,500 from the foundation to fund her senior year.

Long is earning degrees in biology and French. She spent the spring semester in Aix-en-Provence, France, where she took courses ranging from the history of the Industrial Revolution to sociolinguistics to literature. Long, who returned to the States at the end of May, said of the experience, “I really loved being in France. It was a great cultural experience, and the baguettes are to die for...but I definitely missed science!”

Long has conducted research in Associate Professor Greg Demas’ laboratory since 2008, thanks to her participation in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Integrated Freshman Learning Experience Program (IFLE). She says, “My research in the Demas lab has focused on two recently described neuropeptides, kisspeptin and RFRP, which have been shown to regulate reproductive function across vertebrate species. The summer before my freshman year (through the IFLE program), I worked on a project investigating the effects of the neuropeptide kisspeptin on the reproductive system of Siberian hamsters and the differences between male and female sensitivity to this hormone. After that project, I started investigating the interactions between kisspeptin and RFRP, and last summer I had the unique opportunity to work with a collaborator of Dr. Demas’ at UC Berkeley and analyze RFRP expression levels across the seasonal cycle of the hamster. Going into my senior year, I’ll be focusing on the effects of illness on sensitivity to kisspeptin in order to investigate how immune activation can interrupt reproductive function. The Goldwater Scholarship will help me continue this research.”

Long is the 14th student from the Department of Biology to have earned the Goldwater Scholarship. The scholarships were established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater. As indicated on the Goldwater Foundation website, “The purpose of the program is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.” Past recipients from the Department of Biology include Erika Anderson; Jennifer Kulow, Kaleb Naegeli, Ellen Weinzapfel, Aaron DeLoughery, Stephen Helms, Samantha Herbst, David E. Larson, Megan R. Sullivan, Neeraj Surana, Mark Wortinger, Eric Levens, and Denise Yoder Edmondson.