Harvard University biologist to discuss genetics, frog behavior


A Harvard University biologist will discuss methods of investigating genetic influences on social behavior in frogs during a presentation at 4 p.m. Oct. 24 in Room C309, Science and Technology building at East Carolina University.

Dr. Lauren O’Connell, Bauer Fellow at the FAS Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University, will discuss “Genomic Insights into Poison Frog Behavior and Diversity,” focusing particularly on parental care and mating strategies within a group of poisonous frogs from South and Central America that display elaborate, complex and diverse patterns of reproductive behavior.

A question and answer session will follow the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

“Dr. O’Connell is a leading expert in connecting variation in gene expression to variation in behavior, a difficult problem that has become more tractable with the development of rapid genome sequencing technologies and sophisticated methods of bioinformatics analysis,” said Dr. Kyle Summers, THCAS Advancement Council Distinguished Professor of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “She is also a leading expert in the experimental manipulation of behavior using specific gene products, such as oxytocin and other hormones.”

As a doctoral student at the University of Texas, O’Connell was trained in cell biology and molecular genetics. Prior to her tenure at Harvard, O’Connell held postdoctoral appointments at the University of Texas. She performed research on the evolutionary genomics of behavior in cichlid fish and mice, before concentrating her research efforts on Neotropical poison frogs, which show a remarkable diversity of behavioral strategies in the context of parental care and mating systems.

For additional information, contact Summers at 252-328-6304, or email summersk@ecu.edu.

Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the events.


ECU professor’s research honored

A research paper by ECU biology professor Dr. David Chalcraft was designated as one of 100 Influential Papers published in British Ecological Society journals.



The article, “Functional diversity within a morphologically conservation genus of predators: implications for functional equivalence and redundancy in ecological communities,” originally appeared in Functional Ecology.  Read the full paper.

The listing appears on the Festival of Ecology web site at http://www.festivalofecology.org/100InfluentialPapers/100InfluentialPapers.html#14/z



Sociology of religion scholar to deliver Jarvis Lecture

A top scholar in the sociology of religion will speak on Transformations in American Civil Religion and American Christianity at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Wright Auditorium, East Carolina University.



Dr. José Casanova, professor in the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University, will deliver the 2013 Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture, part of the Harriot Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series.

Casanova heads the Berkley Center’s Program on Globalization, Religion and the Secular.  He studied philosophy in Saragossa, Spain, received an M.A. in theology from the University of Innsbruck, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the New School for Social Research.

He moved to Georgetown from the New School, where he served as a professor of sociology from 1987-2007. Casanova has published works on a broad range of subjects, including religion and globalization, migration and religious pluralism, transnational religions and sociological theory. His critically acclaimed work, Public Religions in the Modern World (1994), has become a modern classic in the field and has been translated into five languages, including Arabic and Indonesian.

In that work, Casanova examines how religious traditions around the world, from Islamic fundamentalism to Catholic liberation theology, have made their way – often forcefully – out of the private sphere and into public life, resulting in the de-privatization of religion in the contemporary world. According to Casanova’s analyses, religious institutions no longer simply administer pastoral care to individual souls, but instead are increasingly challenging established social and political frameworks. In this respect, Casanova challenges post-Enlightenment assumptions regarding the relationship between modernity and secularization in religious movements throughout the world.

Casanova’s other publications include “Rethinking Secularization: A Global Comparative Perspective,” The Hedgehog Review (2006) and “The Long Journey of Turkey into Europe and the Dilemmas of European Civilization,” Constellations (2006). In 2012, Casanova was awarded the Theology Prize from the Salzburger Hochschulwochen in recognition of life-long achievement in the field of theology.

Complimentary tickets for the Jarvis Lecture are available to all attendees through the ECU Central Ticket Office, or by calling 252-328-4788.

For additional information on the Jarvis Lecture, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cas/voyages/casanova.cfm.

For additional information about the lecture series, http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cas/voyages/




ECU research awarded at conference

ECU graduate student Jessica Handloff, mentored by Dr. Christine Avenarious in the Department of Anthropology, received an award for the best research poster in a conference this month at Texas Tech University. (Contributed photos)

ECU graduate student Jessica Handloff, mentored by Dr. Christine Avenarius in the Department of Anthropology, received an award for the best research poster in a conference this month at Texas Tech University. (Contributed photos)

Research completed by faculty and students in ECU’s Department of Anthropology was named the best research poster presented at the Engagement Scholarship Symposium held Oct. 8-9 at Texas Tech University. ECU anthropology graduate student Jessica Handloff, a member of ECU’s Student Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy, designed the poster .

The research displayed on the poster was collected under the guidance of ECU anthropology professor Dr. Christine Avenarius, who developed the project proprosal and assisted Handloff in collecting data. Handloff then designed the poster based on the community engagement aspect of the project. She represented ECU, the Department of Anthropology and SEOSA at the conference.

The poster was titled “Community Participation in Risk Management: Exploring Suitable Adaptations to Storm Water Flooding in Nags Head, N.C.” Research focused on community response and communication styles among stakeholders seeking solutions to the flooding problems.

The SEOSA program for ECU graduate students is part of the ECU Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy, which pairs students with faculty to encourage the scholarship of engagement through workshops and research mentoring programs. For additional information about the academy, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/chancellor/Engagement-and-Outreach-Scholars-Academy.cfm.

Handloff accepts the best research poster award at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium at Texas Tech University.

Handloff accepts the best research poster award at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium at Texas Tech University.