Biology News


Natalie Flemming ’18 is the embodiment of the liberal arts.

A biology and art  major, she thrives in both the lab and the studio as she seeks a thorough understanding of creation.

Natalie hopes to become a medical or scientific illustrator — to produce accurate and visually appealing sketches for textbooks and other publications. 

"I think that inevitably studying both biology and art leads to a study of creation," she says. "And as we are able to study creation we can understand a little bit more about who God is by understanding the world he has made around us."

Natalie is also a member of the women’s club ultimate frisbee team and serves as a youth group leader at Wheaton Bible Church. Some of her works can be seen across campus, including a creative nail-and-string depiction of a monk displayed in the Smith-Traber residence hall.

Watch the video link below to learn more about how Wheaton has helped Natalie to combine her passions of science and art.


Inspirational Mural from Neurobiology Class Text

Zebra Mural
Dr. Nathaniel Thom taught a general education course entitled, "The Neurobiology of Stress" (BIOL 315) last semester to a host of different majors across campus.  One of the students was discussing their text, Sapolsky's Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers in her Community Arts class and they were inspired to create a mural depicting the topic of the book.  According to the students,  the mural " a reminder to rest and take care of our bodies, not letting stress rule them. Our aim is to be more like zebras by living in the present moment without fear of the future."  The mural is on display in Traber Hall.  


Dr. Thom and Biology Alumna Page Hayley, Attend the Society for Psychophysiological Research

Thom and Page 

Biology Alumna, Page Hayley, and Dr. Nate Thom presented their research data at the national Society for Psychophysiological Research meeting in Minneapolis. Their research looked at missionaries who had experienced extreme levels of stress. Thom and Hayley measured heart rate variability, a measure of autonomic function, as well several measures of behavioral health. Their preliminary results suggested that missionaries with high heart rate variability, which is indicative of a flexible and therefore healthy autonomic nervous system, is associated with good behavioral health.


Logan Treat, '17 REU Internship at Boise State

Shortly after the end of the 2015-2016 school year, I boarded a plane destined for Boise Idaho. Boise along with its surrounding area would be my home for the next ten weeks as I took part in a summer internship. This internship was known as an REU (research experience for undergraduates), a program funded by the National Science Foundation in conjunction with Boise State University. My program dealt specifically with research on birds of prey.

Logan Treat 2

For the duration of my internship, I was assigned to work with a group investigating Golden Eagle parasitology. Golden Eagles in southwest Idaho suffer from Mexican Chicken Bug infestation of their nests. Mexican Chicken Bugs are a type of bed bug that sucks baby Golden Eagles’ blood and can gravely endanger the eagles’ health. Our research explored whether adult Golden Eagles selected certain species of shrubs from their territories which, when placed in the nest, could serve to suppress bed bug infestation. This research involved surveying Golden Eagle territories to determine what shrub species were available to them and investigating their nests to ascertain what shrub species they were using.


My summer research had me doing more than just surveying eagle territories and looking at nests. I had multiple opportunities to band bird species ranging from Ferruginous Hawks to Calliope Hummingbirds. In addition to working with birds in the field, I spent many hours in the lab investigating the chemical arsenal of shrubs. Eventually, my findings were compiled into a poster which was presented at an undergraduate research conference and will again be presented at a nation conference for raptor research. My time at Wheaton prepared me well for navigating the research process. Classes at Wheaton’s science station in the Black Hills also accustomed me to long hours of field work.

Logan Treat 3 

After Wheaton I’m hoping to pursue a master’s degree in wildlife ecology. This internship will undoubtedly strengthen my applications to graduate schools. Beyond the professional benefits, this summer taught me to rely upon God in new and deeper ways. While in Boise I lacked the system of spiritual support that Wheaton provides, but this pushed me to depend on Scripture and prayer for spiritual encouragement. I foresee these devotional practices being extremely healthy for me after leaving Wheaton.


Charles Nystrom, Junior Biology major, Pre-Vet

Charles Nystrom 3

"This summer I worked part-time at a small vet practice in Arkansas run by a Christian vet and a single full-time vet tech. I came in a few mornings a week to do anything that needed to be done—walk dogs, prep vaccines, hold patients still, hold off the vein in the front paw during blood draws/IVs, laser therapy on dogs with arthritis, etc.

Charles Nystrom 1  Charles Nystrom 2

I was responsible for making sure things in the kennel area were clean and running smoothly. Most fun job—bathing dogs; least fun job—prepping fecal samples. I would definitely recommend working with/shadowing someone in your field of interest. I found I love animals even more, but would probably prefer a clinic with more variety, whether that be large animals, exotics, or something else."


Dr. Koo Attends ASM Microbe 2016 conference

Koo Conference 2016Dr.Koo attended the ASM Microbe 2016 conference, June 16-20 in Boston. It was a first joint meeting of the basic research branch of the ASM (American Society for Microbiology) and the clinical microbiology experts, which previously met at separate conferences. There were over 11,000 attendees and the Opening Session featured Bill Gates who addressed the issues of rising antimicrobial resistance and new emerging diseases, as well as the old infections that still need treatment. The topics presented at the conference ranged from most current understanding of Zika virus biology and possible vaccines, to influence of gut microbiota on  the health and immunity of infants, and many more. At the conference Dr. Koo had the privilege of connecting with the Biology department alum, Erik Swanson ’14, who is currently in his second year of a PhD program at the University of New Hampshire. Erik presented an excellent poster on his preliminary work on how Frankia sp. can degrade dioxin-like compounds.

Koo Conference 2016 Erik

Erik Swanson '14 (Biology Alum)


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