Dr. Stephen Ebbs, Professor and Chair of Plant Biology, passed away on March 13, 2017 following a brave battle with leukemia. The Department, College, University, many colleagues around the world, and students throughout SIU from all disciplines on campus and extended through distance education will miss his presence in their lives. Dr. Ebbs received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1997. He possessed globally sought expertise on the transport, fate, and behavior of contaminants in plants. He was an accomplished researcher, with more than fifty peer-reviewed publications and substantial external funding. He performed significant professional service as the Editor-In-Chief of the International Journal of Phytoremediation and through his leadership role in Sigma Xi. Dr. Ebbs was equally dedicated to teaching, known to many students as “one of the best professors” they have ever had, and a pioneer of distance education in the state of Illinois. Dr. Ebbs had an enthusiastic lecture style, used modern means of information transfer, and was devoted to responding promptly to student needs. He mentored more than twenty undergraduate student researchers and directly oversaw numerous theses and dissertations during his career at SIU. In addition to research and teaching, Dr. Ebbs served SIU in significant ways through his long-term participation on Faculty Senate and the Core Curriculum Executive Council. In 2012, Dr. Ebbs became Chair of the Department of Plant Biology. As Chair, Dr. Ebbs was committed to ensuring the persistence of a small department known for creating a welcoming, secure, and opportunity-providing atmosphere for undergraduate majors in one of the most research active departments on campus. Dr. Ebbs will be remembered for his endless crusade to recruit more students to SIU, phenomenal expertise in plant physiology, passion for teaching, and willingness to serve SIU, every student individually, and our community. Our thoughts and hearts are with his family, friends, and colleagues.
Thompson Woods survey stirs further debate among campus community
Interview with PLB's Dr. Sedonia Sipes, published in the Daily Egyptian, on concerns about the ongoing Thompson Woods/Campus Lake survey in which understory and vegetation were defined explicitly as "annual and perennial weeds and grasses".
Congratulations PLB major and SIUC track/field athlete (high jump), Austin Weigle from Kennebunk, Maine, who recently received Honorable Mention for the prestigious 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholarship.
The Goldwater scholarship is considered the premier nationally competitive undergraduate scholarship award for Mathematics, Natural Science, and Engineering majors. Out of the 1150 nominations received for the 2016 competition, 252 Scholars were named and 256 Honorable Mentions were awarded.
Special congratulations to Dr. Aldwin Anterola, Austin’s research mentor and nominator.
Lauren Schwartz, Ph.D., Helping Farmers Increase Crop Production. Recent Plant Biology Ph.D. Alumna, Lauren Schwartz, was recently featured in the Huffington Post College edition for her work.
Ph.D. Candidate George Manning was featured on the front page of the Daily Egyptian performing a controlled burn at a school-owned prairie plot on campus.
This article was featured in the SIU News, and includes recognition of our very own: recent doctoral alumna Dr. Lauren Schwartz, Professor Dr. David Gibson, and Assistant Professor Dr. Karla Gage.
Did you know...the Department of Plant Biology recently launched an undergraduate specialization in conservation and protection of biodiversity. The specializiation will focus on major challenges facing humanity and help fill a predicted shortage of trained botanists and other biologists with botanical experience.
This information was featured in the Points of Pride in the SIU News
Congratulations to our most recent Plant Biology Graduates: (L-R): Bryan Piatkowski & Drew Scott, who graduated with their M.S. degrees, and Dr. Lauren Schwartz who graduated with her Ph.D. These students participated in the Fall 2015 Commencement Exercises held on Saturday, December 19th, 2015.
Also, congratulations to Plant Biology Undergraduate, Taylor Hand, (not pictured) who graduated the same day.
The EPA fire project being conducted by the Battaglia lab and collaborators at University of Alabama and Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve made the Corpus Christi, Texas news.
The Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship, started by one of our own, Dr. Karen Renzaglia, was featured in the November/December edition of the Friends of the Cache River Watershed newsletter. Read more about this program that is designed to transform the way teachers engage elementary and middle school students in science and math, as told by Noyce Project Manager, and PLB Graduate Student, Travis Neal.
This article features Plant Biology Emeritus Professor, Daniel Nickrent, who participated in a study that was recently published.
The mosaic above was constructed by Daniel Nickrent using EasyMoza software based on a public domain photo of plant earth. 367 images representing 360 introduced, naturalized, or invasive plant species worldwide were used as tiles to construct the mosaic.
Congratulations to 2015 REACH Recipient and Plant Biology Undergraduate, Austin Weigle. REACH, or Research Enriched Academic Challenge, is a highly competitive program, open to all disciplines, which offers up to 20 grant awards each year to full-time SIU undergraduate students to work on an independent research project with a faculty member. For more information, visit REACH's website.
Austin will be looking into gene expression in order to determine where certain isomers of tryptophan synthase occur in the indigo‐producing plant Isatis tinctoria, commonly known as dyer's woad. Indigo producing plants manufacture indigo dye as well as pink dye, known as indirubin, along the metabolic pathway for tryptophan synthesis. While indigo has exhibited carcinogenic character, indirubin has been shown to prevent the growth of and development of cancerous cells, as discussed in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This project aims to provide clarity to the tryptophan pathway in relation to where synthesis of indigo and indirubin are located within Isatis tinctoria to serve medicinal and commercial purposes, as well as to support future studies on the tryptophan synthase enzyme at a molecular level.
Faculty Mentor: Aldwin Anterola, Ph.D., Plant Biology
Another milestone has been reached regarding PhytoImages, the photographic database maintained by Dan Nickrent in the Department of Plant Biology. Image number 100,000 was uploaded to the server which was a photo of Nepenthes barcelonae (see above), an insectivorous pitcher plant from the Philippines. This plant is named for Dr. Julie Barcelona, a scientist in New Zealand who has studied the Philippine flora her entire career. PhytoImages is the repository for 45,000 photos from the Philippines, all of which are linked to Co’s Digital Flora of the Philippines, a continuously updated digital checklist of Philippine vascular plants. The rate of increase in photos uploaded to PhytoImages can be appreciated by noting that image number 20,000 was uploaded October 2010. PhytoImages will also be the repository of all the photos for the soon to be released Illinois Plants website.
Congratulations to our recent Plant Biology Graduates: Dr. Amelia Merced and Dr. Adam Chupp who graduated with their Ph.D.s on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Pictured with the graduates are: Scholar Excellence Award Recipient, Distinguished Scholar, Grand Marshall of the 2015 Commencement Exercises and Major Advisor for Dr. Merced, Dr. Karen Renzaglia; Plant Biology Department Chair, Dr. Stephen Ebbs; Major Advisor for Dr. Chupp, Dr. Loretta Battaglia; and Plant Biology Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. David Gibson.
Also, congratulations to our Plant Biology Undergraduates who aren't pictured, but graduated the same day: Vincent Colantonio, Caleb Coots cum laude, Nicholas Flowers cum laude, Shayla Gunn cum laude, Anthony Sabella, and Toby Warren magna cum laude.
SIU recognizes faculty and staff for exemplary work
Left: Dr. Karen Renzaglia was awarded the 2015 Scholar Excellence Award, earning herself the permanent title of Distinguished Scholar. Right: Dr. Sara Baer was awarded the 2015 Women of Distinction Award.
This elite group of seven includes two Plant Biology faculty members: Dr. Karen Renzaglia, who is being recognized for the Scholar Excellence Award, which earns her the permanant title of Distinguished Scholar. Also, Dr. Sara Baer, who is being named for the Women of Distinction Excellence Award. The awards will be presented on Monday, April 27th, 2015 at 3PM in Morris Library's Hall of Presidents and Chancellors. Please join us in congratulating these hard-working women.
The Plant Biology greenhouse is to undergo major renovations, a process that is slated to begin in July and last approximately 6 months. Renovations include interior and exterior renovations, including automated temperature and moisture control, as well as making sure the buildling is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Visit the Greenhouse Renovation page for more information.
Lauren Schwartz, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Plant Biology was one of 22 students accepted to attend a specialized workshop at the Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany.