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Student-faculty research collaboration at Thiel College puts student in the woods and the lab

 

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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About Thiel College

Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 25 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio to more than 900 students. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016 and remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.


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