GREENVILLE, Pa.—Assistant Professor of Biology Christopher Fonner, Ph.D., and Grant Milne ’19 are investigating the effects of a fungal pathogen known as kitchen fungus on amphibian behaviors as a part of the Greenville Neuromodulation Center Faculty/Student Research Institute at Thiel College, a leading liberal arts college in northwest Pennsylvania.
This summer’s work is the continuation of salamander and fungus research that Fonner has been doing for the past two summers. The research will likely be presented at the Western Pa. Graduate Biology Symposium and could also lead to publication, Fonner said.
Milne located and collected bacterial samples from red-backed salamanders in the woods in and around Thiel College.
“If there are bacterial species on the amphibian skins that are beneficial to the amphibians, then this could aid the conservation efforts in protecting not only amphibians around Thiel but also potentially amphibians across the country,” Fonner said.
“This is the perfect experience for what I want to do,” said Milne, a conservation biology major from Portville, N.Y. He is a 2016 graduate of Portville Central High School.
Fonner received his bachelors in biology from Gannon University in 2009 and his doctorate in biology from Duquesne University in 2015. He began teaching at Thiel in 2015 and serves as the department chair.
About the GNC Faculty/Student Research Institute
In 2015, Thiel College alumni Fred Haer ’65 and his wife, Jill (Shackett) ’66, launched the institute by pledging $400,000. It is open to all Thiel College faculty members and focuses on connecting science and the liberal arts. More than a dozen original research projects have been conducted as part of the GNC and have ranged from traditional research to a one-man stage production.
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