In this issue: Highlights from NERIC, EAC and AAAS, plus new faces and more from Delaware's biomedical catalyst!
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November 2015                                                                                    Volume 3, Issue 3

Delaware INBRE Connection highlights efforts in the First State to bolster biomedical research. To suggest a topic for the newsletter, contact Kelly Bothum at or (302) 831-3521. Research reported in this newsletter was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Science of the National Institutes of Health under award number P20GM103446.

DE INBRE pilot projects spotlight EAC visit

Delaware INBRE's External Advisory Committee recently visited for its biannual update on the program. Research and scientific outcomes were the focus of the two-day visit, which included a lightning round of five-minute presentations by INBRE pilot project investigators.

EAC members also heard updates from the Education and Professional Development Core, Centralized Research Instrumentation Core and Bioinformatics Core, along with details about initiatives under consideration by Delaware INBRE.

AAAS panel checks out Delaware INBRE

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) review panel came to Delaware INBRE in October for two days of meeting to review the progress and impact of the program. They met with Delaware INBRE leadership, pilot investigators and other IDeA program officials during their visit. 

Here, members of the AAAS panel pose with INBRE Program Coordinator Dr. Cathy Wu and PI Dr. Steven J. Stanhope. From left, Dr. Shawn Levy, faculty investigator at the Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology; Dr. Amy H. Bouton, associate dean for Graduate and Medical Scientist programs and Associate Director for Education for the University of Virginia Cancer Center; Dr. Christine Burgess, senior program associate in the Research Competitiveness Program (RCP) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and Dr. Jeffrey N. Joyce, vice president for research at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.  

Summer Scholars dive into research 

INBRE Summer Scholars continue to boost the biomedical research pipeline here in Delaware. This year, their projects included topics ranging from concussions and gun violence to post-operative pain control and reducing torque on the lower back of golfers.

For 10 weeks, more than 50 students worked with mentors across the partner institutions - the University of Delaware, Delaware Technical Community College, Christiana Care Health System and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. They attended educational seminars, lecture series and learned how to put together - and present - a scientific poster.   

Most showed off the fruits of their labors at the sixth-annual Celebratory Symposium that marked the end of the 10-week program. Dunia Tonob, a student at the University of Delaware, was selected for the 2015 Leadership Excellence in Undergraduate Science Research Award. 

Perhaps the best description of this summer's work comes from Summer Scholar Karla Miletti, a computer science major at Delaware State University who shared some of her experiences this year on the Delaware INBRE
blog. She writes:

"I am glad to say I’m starting my research experience under the guidance of experienced researchers alongside aspiring ones."

INBRE Summer Scholars in action

Clockwise, from top: Dr. Steven J. Stanhope presents the Leadership Excellence in Undergraduate Science Research Award to Dunia Tonob. Right, Wesley College student Andre Jones presents his research at the UD Celebratory Symposium. Bottom right, UD student Naimisha Movva at the Summer Scholars Retreat in June. Bottom left, Summer Scholars who did their research at Christiana Care present their findings at the annual Scholars Research Day and Luncheon. Above left, Wesley College shows off their color-coordinated shirts and strong presence at the Celebratory Symposium in August. 

Industry experience 'invaluable' for inaugural Women Inspiring Women in STEM Summer Scholar 

Sarah Wong's summer research project at Siemens Healthcare focused on the test method characterization of an automated titration system. Like other Delaware INBRE Summer Scholars, Wong presented her results at the end-of-summer research symposium.
But her poster didn't include the other facets of her experience as the first Women Inspiring Women Delaware INBRE Summer Scholar. Just as important, Wong said, was the chance to work with Siemens biochemist Dara Morey, network and learn more about the opportunities available in industry. 

Morey helped Wong with her project, but also understanding the nuances of the business world. She arranged meetings to introduce her to other business associates at Siemens, which has about 350,000 employees worldwide in 167 countries. 

“I’m very impressed with how she has gone into the industry and figured out all these ways to get what she needs,” Wong said. “It’s really awesome to see such a strong figure. She holds her own. She keeps motivating. It’s impressive.”

In order to be selected for the internship, Wong had to complete the usual Delaware INBRE Summer Scholars application, then submit a second application with a different essay and also interview separately for the WIW program.

Best of all, the experience didn't end when the summer did. Pleased with her effort and abilities, Siemens extended her duties into the school year. Delaware INBRE officials hope the success of this inaugural industry program will spur other Delaware companies to participate.

Wong's original post-college plan was to go to medical school, but the Siemens experience has opened a door for her.

"I have learned more than I ever imagined and been exposed to experiences that I could not get anywhere else," she said.

DSU looks to the future with OSCAR lab

Delaware State University recently dedicated the Delaware Institute for Science and Technology’s Optical Science Center for Applied Research building. The $18 million OSCAR Building houses DSU's robust optics research program, which investigates a diverse range of novel applications of laser technologies.

The 28,000-square-foot, three-story building is specifically designed for optics research. It also is home to INBRE-funded researchers 
Dr. Qi Lu and Dr. Thomas Planchon.

Camaraderie, lessons at Inspiring Women in STEM

Career advice, public speaking tips, leadership development - there was plenty to soak up at the Inspiring Women in STEM Conference last month at the DuPont Country Club. The annual event has become a networking tradition for women of all ages who want to reach their potential professionally and personally. 

More than 230 people came out for the daylong event, which included panel discussions, smaller breakout sessions and additional time to meet other like-minded professionals. Delaware INBRE was a gold sponsor for the event, presented by by the Delaware BioScience Association, the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance and the Technology Forum of Delaware. 

Dr. Nancy Targett, interim president of the University of Delaware and 
Dean of the UD College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, offered a keynote address. A marine biologist and diver, her talk - "Five Lessons I Learned Underwater" - offered advice for landlubbers as well.  

She encouraged those in attendance to never let anyone else define them. "My path," she said, "was mine." 

Journal highlights plant cell image

This image of a plant cell created by Jeffrey Caplan, director of the University of Delaware Bio-Imaging Center - and member of the Delaware INBRE management team - was used for the cover of Developmental Cell journal earlier this year. The issue also included an article by Caplan detailing findings about the role of stromules in plant cell health. Microscopy access for this study was supported by Delaware INBRE.  

Delaware INBRE soars at NERIC

It was hard to miss the Delaware contingent at the 6th Northeast Regional Institutional Development Award Conference in Bar Harbor, ME. Seventy-six people from the various Delaware IDeA programs - including 49 from Delaware INBRE - attended the three-day event. 

The conference brought together IDeA programs from Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. 

The First State made a particularly big splash at the conference, with posters by Delaware INBRE pilot investigators, Summer Scholars and INBRE staff. Katia Sol-Church, director of the Centralized Research Instrumentation Core, facilitated an IDeA shared instrumentation meeting, while INBRE pilot investigators Rhonda Prisby and Michael Gitcho presented during scientific sessions. 

Women of Research highlighted at UD

The latest issue of the University of Delaware Research magazine boasts some pretty impressive - and familiar - cover models. 

Dr. Rhonda Prisby, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Applied Physiology and also an INBRE-funded investigator, and INBRE Program Coordinator Dr. Cathy Wu are among seven female researchers offering insight into their work. They also talk about some of the challenges they've faced and how they continue to advance in their field. You can check out the magazine online here

Governor's Bioscience Luncheon recognizes student research 

Courtney Shatley, a 2015 Delaware INBRE Summer Scholar from Delaware Technical Community College, was among three students honored with Delaware Governor's Bioscience Fellowship awards. 

Shatley, a senior at DelTech, studied the means for obtaining relative abundance in environmental samples through bioinformatics. Dr. Shawn Polson, associate director of the Bioinformatics Network of Delaware and member of the INBRE management team, was her mentor. 

Joshua Barton, of the University of Delaware, and Andrew Blake, of Delaware State University, also were recognized at the event, held in October at the Hotel DuPont. The fellowship program began in 2006 as a scholarship award to support students majoring in life sciences at the three schools.

Katie Lakofsky named EPD Core Director for DE INBRE


A belated welcome to Katie Lakofsky in her new position as director of the Education and Professional Development Core for Delaware INBRE.

Katie’s face is a familiar one in the Delaware bioscience community. Her office remains at Delaware Biotechnology Institute, where she also coordinates the education program for the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

Katie directs the Center’s outreach activities, including development of outreach materials and organizing events. Katie also provides the necessary logistics to the research faculty with regard to the graduate program coordination, planning, scheduling and other program-related activities.

In her role with Delaware INBRE, she is responsible for the outreach and coordination of the EPD Core activities across all partner organizations. This includes project management of all Delaware INBRE student programs and communication with partner institutions to ensure all program elements are addressed, as well as direct and coordinate undergraduate placements in academia, industry and government for research internship projects.

You can reach her at or (302) 831-6173. She replaces Dr. Rebekah R. Helton, who served as both Delaware INBRE Assistant Director and EPD director.

And some housekeeping ...


We offer hearty welcomes to the new faces on the Delaware INBRE team:
  • Dr. Derald Wentzien is a member of the Delaware INBRE steering committee representing Wesley College. He is a mathematics professor. 
  • Dr. Clytrice Watson is now part of the Education and Professional Development Core committee. She is a biology professor at Delaware State University and is currently serving as interim dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology.
  • Courie Foster is the new Delaware INBRE project coordinator at Delaware State University.

INBRE needs YOU! 

Are you interested in being a mentor to a Delaware INBRE Summer Scholar next year? INBRE mentors help energetic and scientifically curious undergraduates understand the research process, build problem-solving skills and discover if a career in biomedical research is for them. For more information, talk with your INBRE site PI or visit


Acknowledging Delaware INBRE

Help us out with an ongoing challenge - acknowledging the scientific research contributions made possible by Delaware INBRE. 

It's not just for vanity - it's a requirement of the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of General Medical Sciences. This includes acknowledging direct and indirect sources of INBRE funding, such as core facilities. Without adequate acknowledgement, Delaware INBRE risks losing critical funding from NIH. 

Here's a reminder about how and when to acknowledge Delaware INBRE. Have other suggestions for getting the word out? Let us know! 

Here's what you can write:
  • This publication was made possible by the Delaware INBRE program, supported by grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) P20GM103446 and the state of Delaware.
  • This project was supported by the Delaware INBRE program, with a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences - NIGMS (P20 GM103446) and the state of Delaware.
  • Please add when appropriate: Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.
  • For abstracts, a brief citation should be: Supported by a grant from NIH-NIGMS (P20 GM103446) and the state of Delaware.
The following are examples of support through Delaware INBRE that may have made publication of your work possible:
  • Direct support of research by Delaware INBRE;
  • Use of core instrumentation facilities supported by Delaware INBRE;
  • Use of bioinformatics resources supported by BRIN/ Delaware INBRE;
  • Participation in other Delaware INBRE-supported projects through its outreach and administrative cores, such as such as workshop attendance, travel support to conferences or hosting a Delaware INBRE undergraduate research intern.


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