Plant Biology Alumni Newsletter
August 2017

From the chair | Honoring Professor Norman Cohn

It has been a busy year. In this newsletter you will find a few highlights from the past year. Before I note those, please see the first news item about our upcoming event in September – the Norman S. Cohn Research Symposium. We would be so pleased if you could join us Sept. 9 for a day of research –  past, present and future, with presentations and posters by alumni, students and faculty and of course remembrances of Norm as a scholar and mentor. More.

You’re invited | Norman S. Cohn Research Symposium, Sept. 9

Greetings PBIO Alumni and Friends! Please join us for the Norman S. Cohn Research Symposium on the Ohio University Campus in Athens on Saturday, Sept. 9. The symposium honors Dr. Cohn’s legacy by bringing together alumni, faculty and students to showcase current research in plant cell and molecular biology. More & RSVP.

New internship program at Wayne National Forest

Faculty news

Department welcomes new faculty member, Rebecca Snell

Dr. Rebecca Snell researches the way plants and plant communities respond to climate change, looking at changes in vegetation dynamics, succession, biodiversity and the impact on ecosystem functioning. More.

Brazil researcher names new species after colleague Harvey Ballard

Dr. Juliana De Paula Souza of Federal University of São João del-Rei in Brazil has named a new species of Latin American violet—Anchietea ballardii—after Dr. Harvey Ballard. More.

Wyatt, grad students present at International Space Conference

Dr. Sarah Wyatt and members of her research group presented their research—some of it resulting from their 2015 experiment on the International Space Station—at Plant Biology 2017. More.

Vis gets NSF OPUS grant for book on freshwater red algae

Dr. Morgan Vis received an NSF Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis (OPUS) award of $136,617 for her research on “OPUS: Synthesizing systematic research of freshwater red algae.” More.

Hermsen presents on understanding fossil record of the water clover family

Dr. Elizabeth Hermsen presented a talk on "Progress and pitfalls in understanding the fossil record of the water clover family (Marsileaceae)" at the 34th Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium. More.

Rosenthal authors article on soybean response to elevated carbon dioxide

Dr. David Rosenthal co-authored an article on "Leaf and canopy scale drivers of genotypic variation in soybean response to elevated carbon dioxide concentration" in Global Change Biology. More.

Rothwell, two alumni featured on cover of Botany

Research by Distinguished Professor Emeritus Gar Rothwell and two Ohio University alumni — Dr. Ruth Stockey, '74, and Dr. Alexandru Mihial Tomescu, '04, — was featured on the cover of the April 2017 edition of American Journal of Botany. More.

Showalter receives Baker Fund award for research on biosynthesis of Arabinogalactan-Proteins in Arabidopsis

Dr. Allan Showalter received a Baker Fund award of $12,000 for his research on "Glucuronosyltransferase Genes Involved in the Biosynthesis and Function of Arabinogalactan-Proteins in Arabidopsis: A Genetic Mutant Analysis." More.

Cantino article sheds new light on subfamilial classification of Lamiaceae

Dr. Philip Cantino, Professor Emeritus, co-authored an article on "A large-scale chloroplast phylogeny of the Lamiaceae sheds new light on its subfamilial classification" in Scientific Reports. More.

Alumni news

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Melanie Schori joins USDA's National Germplasm Research Lab

Melanie Schori , PHD '10, joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is working as a botanist with the National Germplasm Research Laboratory, which is part of the Agricultural Research Service. More.

Teacher based a varied career on Plant Biology degree

Todd Bean, '99, '13, now teaches in Athens County after a varied and interesting career, including politics and woodworking. More.

Courtney Denning has tasty career based on coffee and chocolate

Courtney Denning, '10, is a successful professional with a career that takes advantage of some tasty tropical plants at Winans Chocolates + Coffees. More.

Mark your calendar | Arts & Sciences Career and Networking Week

The college’s Alumni and Student Networking Reception brings together hundreds of alumni and students to practice the art of networking. Mark your calendars and plan to help fellow Bobcats get a jump on their careers. More.
If you’re interested in participating, contact Lisa Cohen at

Stop by A&S tent during Homecoming & sign up to win two nights at the Ohio University Inn

Come back to Athens Oct. 6-8 for Homecoming 2017. Stop by the College of Arts & Sciences tent at Tailgreat Park after the parade on Saturday, Oct. 7, and enjoy pre-game snacks and beverages with fellow alumni, faculty, staff and emeriti from all departments. Sign up at the tent to win two free nights at the Ohio University Inn.

Student news

Graduate students help elementary students extract strawberry DNA

The Plant Biology Graduate Student Association participated in family science night at the Coolville Elementary School, teaching students about basic biology concepts, including DNA extraction and how the Venus Flytrap "eats." More.

Undergrad explores peanut plants as natural fertilizer

Jordan Francisco, a junior in Environmental & Plant Biology, did not spend his summer like most college students. He used a Provost Undergraduate Research Fund grant to design and conduct a study of peanut plants' potential as a natural fertilizer. More.

Undergraduate searches for key to emerald ash borer resistance

The forest pest emerald ash borer, which kills ash trees, has been an issue in the United States since it was first detected in 2002, but Jeremy Held thinks there may be hope for the endemic trees. More.

Plant Biology garden fennel goes to Pork and Pickles

Student sown and grown produce from the Plant Biology Learning Gardens has found its way into yet another local business, Pork and Pickles, which commissioned 150 pounds of fresh fennel bulbs. More.

Welker presents poster on fruits from Tennessee's Gray Fossil Site

Undergraduate student Stacy Welker presented a poster on "Enigmatic four-chambered fruits from the Neogene Gray Fossil Site, eastern Tennessee" at the 34th Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium. More.

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