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School Department News

Biological Sciences

Monday, April 7, 2014 - 10:41am

Hattiesburg, Miss., April 7, 2014 - Pictured are William Carey University’s (left to right) Dr. Tyler Hodges, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Michael McNatt, assistant professor of chemistry and physics, who will present lectures at WCU’s Common Ground coffee shop for the NASA DEVELOP program Science Café on April 15 at 6 p.m. Dr. Hodges will present a lecture titled, “Marine Bacteria as a Source of New Pharmaceuticals,” and Dr. McNatt will present a lecture titled, “Finding Glomalin, Sequestering Carbon in Healthy Agricultural Soils and the Environment.” The NASA DEVELOP program is an interdisciplinary research program where applied science research projects are conducted under the guidance of NASA and partner science advisors. Students and the public are invited to attend.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 4:58pm

Hattiesburg, Miss., February 13, 2014 - The Pascagoula River Audubon Center will hold a clinic at William Carey University on Saturday, February 15, In Green Science Hall Room 105 at 10 a.m. Dr. Thomas Rauch, Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, will host the group as a presentation is given about the Great Backyard Bird Count and other Audubon Society projects. Basic bird feeding concepts to help attract more birds to backyards will be presented also.

Faculty, staff and students are invited to attend. The public is also invited to the free presentation. For more information contact Dr. Thomas Rauch at 601-318-6119.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 4:12pm

Hattiesburg, Miss., October 15, 2013 - William Carey University’s Dr. Kelly Caffery, instructor of biology and psychology, will be holding an Enrichment Day at the Hattiesburg Zoo for her animal behavior class on October 19 at 11a.m. They will be making and presenting enrichment items to several different animals at the zoo including the jaguar, tiger, servals, lemurs, and other primates.

“One of the activities includes making a deer out of cardboard and stuffing it with meat to present to the tiger,” Dr. Caffery said. “Last time I did this activity with my animal behavior students the tiger was especially interesting to watch!”

The public is invited to attend and observe. Admission to the zoo is $5 for adults, $4 for military/seniors, $3 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. They are open 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

“I think this will be a fun activity for my students, beneficial to the animals, and interesting for the public as well,” Dr. Caffery said. “I think anyone with children will especially enjoy watching the animals interact with the enrichment we make for them.”

For more information about the Animal Behavior Enrichment day, contact Dr. Caffery at (601) 318-6780 or kcaffery@wmcarey.edu. For more information about the Hattiesburg Zoo, call (601) 545-4576 or zooeducator@hattiesburg.org.

Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 11:27am

Hattiesburg, Miss., October 3, 2013 - William Carey University hosted a Molecular Biology Training Workshop for area high school teachers on September 21 in Green Science Hall on the Hattiesburg campus. This free workshop, which used resources from the Princeton University Satellite Learning Center, was made possible through the generous support of the Princeton University Department of Molecular Biology and organized by Dr. Tyler Hodges, assistant professor of biological sciences at WCU.

Kathy McKone, biology teacher at Enterprise Attendance Center and a trainee for the Princeton Satellite Systems program, led the workshop. She was named the National Association of Biology Teachers' 2013 Outstanding Biology Teacher for Mississippi, and for the Princeton Satellite Systems program. She trains high school teachers around the state and goes to individual schools  to conduct experiments with students.

For this workshop, the experiments included, “Transform Bacteria – Way to Glow! Transforming Bacteria with a Jellyfish Fluorescent Gene,” “Crime Scene DNA – Using Restriction Enzymes to Catch a Criminal,” and “PCR – The Wolbachia Rodeo – Identifying Insects Infected with the Bacteria Wolbachia by Roping with Primers.” Upon completion of this workshop, participants earned the right to borrow Princeton Satellite Program equipment and to order one commercial kit per year free of charge to perform an experiment in their classroom.

This workshop was the second in a series that allowed educators to earn professional development hours. The first was held at Enterprise Attendance Center on September 14. Participants came from Gulfport High School in Gulfport, Loyd Star Attendance Center in Brookhaven, Madison Central High School in Madison, Ocean Springs High School in Ocean Springs, and St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Ridgeland. Some WCU biology students took part in the workshop as well.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 3:00pm

Hattiesburg, Miss., September 18, 2013 - University of Mississippi Medical Center pediatrician Dr. Hannah Gay, who has gained worldwide recognition for finding a functional cure for an HIV-positive infant, presented the first University Lecture of the 2013-2014 academic year  at William Carey University on September 17 in Tatum Theatre. Following the presentation, Dr. Gay spoke to WCU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine students and conducted a question and answer session. 

Dr. Gay is known worldwide for helping to find a functional cure of HIV for a child that has been nicknamed “The Mississippi Baby.” This child, born in 2010, is now three years old and has been off of HIV medications for 18 months. Tests continue to confirm that there are no signs of the virus in the child’s system. The hypothesis she gave for this success story is that starting the baby on triple drug therapy at 30 hours of age helped prevent viral reservoirs (that contain the HIV virus) from forming. As Dr. Gay stressed to Carey’s medical students, “Benjamin Franklin’s quote that ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is the understatement of the century. If there is a way, always work for prevention!”

Dr. Gay, who is quick to admit she is the “shyest pediatrician in all America,” believes God must have a sense of humor to choose her to be a part of this discovery that led her to be named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” The Jackson native has spent the majority of her academic and professional career at the University of Mississippi, where she received her undergraduate and medical degrees and also met her husband, Paul, of 37 years. Except for the six years Dr. Gay and her husband spent working in Ethiopia as a missionary, she has devoted most of her career to helping babies and young children suffering from HIV. From her time in Ethiopia, she learned a phrase that she repeated in her lecture: “Let the glory go to God.” Dr. Gay is a firm believer that while this case brought about some amazing scientific discoveries, she is not the one who should take credit.

“I didn’t do it,” she said. “God did it. I just happened to be standing close by at the time.”
Dr. Gay will continue to visit various locations around the world to share her experience, including a lecture at the Oxford Union in Oxford, England.