Pictured above, left to right: Catherine Mageeney ’11, Melinda Harrison, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, Melissa Phillips ’12, David Dunbar, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, Trevor Cross ’14, and Deborah Moran ’14.
There’s a new phage in town, thanks to students’ and professors’ discovery.
Associate Professor of Biology David Dunbar, Ph.D., can hardly contain his excitement about science, and his enthusiasm spreads like wildfire among his students.
He is constantly collaborating with biology and non-biology majors on research, including one project that led to a particularly extraordinary accomplishment.
In 2011, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute sponsored an intense biology lab course on genetics at Cabrini.
Students, Dunbar, and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Melinda Harrison, Ph.D., researched identifying phage genomics, or groups of viruses that infect bacteria such as tuberculosis and leprosy.
After completing the course, students submitted their findings in the GenBank, a National Institute of Health repository of genetic information. Their findings led to the discovery of a mycobacteriophage that they named Marvin.
Students and faculty published “Mycobacteriophage Marvin: a New Singleton Phage with an Unusual Genome Organization” as the cover story of the May 2012 Journal of Virology.
This is just one example of faculty's influence on students. Dunbar and Harrison say they are highly involved in their students' academic progress, and as a result, their students generally excel in their studies.
Their students have presented their work in poster and oral presentations at the Pennsylvania Academy of Science and the National Council on Undergraduate Research Symposia.
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