Fall Break: Campus Offices Closed Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

In observance of Rockford University fall break, campus offices will be closed on Friday, October 19, 2018.

Read the Full Notification
X

Chemical & Biological Sciences

Three Rockford University professors have received a $14,000 grant to study the spread of Lyme disease in northern Illinois from the Community Grants Program of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL).

Associate professors of biology at RU — Troy Skwor, Ph.D.; James Marshall, Ph.D.; and Chemical and Biological Sciences Department Chair Sean Beckmann, Ph.D. — are collaborating on “Lyme Ecology in Northern IL: From Voles to Birds to Humans.” Funded for two years by the CFNIL, the project is an expansion of Dr. Beckmann’s research into how rodents can spread the disease, which yielded two previously unknown carriers of Lyme — meadow jumping mice and 13-lined ground squirrels.

Rockford University Associate Professor of Biology Sean Beckmann, Ph.D., holds a trap with a ground squirrel on Friday, May 26, 2017, at Distillery Road Conservation Area in Belvidere. Beckmann and a group of undergraduates collected rodent specimens to test for Lyme disease. ARTURO FERNANDEZ/RRSTAR.COM FILE PHOTO

“Ticks themselves are not born with Lyme disease,” Dr. Beckmann explains. “They have to acquire it by feeding on the blood of another animal that is infected. We call this a reservoir. For Lyme disease the traditional reservoir has been the white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus. However, Lyme exists in areas and ecosystems outside of the range of this mouse.”

Reports of Lyme disease have doubled in northern Illinois in the last 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beckmann describes the region as “one of the hotspots for the disease in Illinois.”

“This increase in cases alone demonstrates a need to identify the reasons,” says Dr. Skwor, who wrote the grant proposal. “People who spend any time outdoors with prairie or wooded areas are at risk of acquiring Lyme disease, and with climate change the numbers could increase even more.”

In the majority of Lyme cases affecting humans, patients develop a bullseye rash with a fever, headache and chills. However, in 20 to 30 percent of instances, the rash is not detected, allowing the disease to progress with severe complications in the heart and joints, as well as neurological damage. Traditional medical treatments currently have little effect in the chronic stage of the illness, with symptoms known to arise even six months after the use of antibiotics.

Most studies involving Lyme, including previous research done by Rockford University’s professors, focus on identifying the tick-borne illness’ first or second animal carriers — typically the white-footed mouse and deer, respectively. Very few have expanded to test animal reservoirs’ blood serum for the presence of antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that indirectly causes the disease.

Rockford University Associate Professor of Biology James Marshall, Rockford University’s resident ornithology expert, conducts an ecology course in a state park during a class trip to Florida in January 2015. ROCKFORD UNIVERSITY PHOTO

The University’s research team will broaden its focus to birds with the hope of understanding how Lyme spreads within northern Illinois — whether birds are bringing the disease into the area and infecting ticks, or are being bitten and infected after arriving in the region.

“Little is known about what other mammals can serve as reservoirs of Lyme, particularly the role of birds,” Dr. Beckmann explains. “This is important, as birds can move from place to place and cover long distances much better than mice and may serve as mobile reservoirs.”

The researchers will partner with undergraduate students to trap and obtain blood and DNA samples from hundreds of animals to test for

the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi in the spring, summer and fall months over the next two years. With Dr. Marshall leading efforts to capture, test and release birds and Dr. Beckmann continuing his focus on rodent carriers while analyzing DNA and blood samples for the presence of Lyme-causing bacteria, Dr. Skwor will search for antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi in the animals’ blood. Trap sites will include Rockford University’s campus and Severson Dells Nature Center in Winnebago County, as well as Boone County’s Distillery Road Conservation Area.

Collaborating with Texas A&M University Lyme expert Dr. Jon Skare, professor and associate head of the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, Rockford University’s team will further explore whether robins — identified by the CDC as having only transient infections of Lyme — and potentially other species produce antibodies that could help make them immune to the disease. Dr. Skwor says although it’s “very hypothetical,” these birds’ natural ability to fight off Lyme could point to a potential human treatment.

Rockford University Associate Professor of Biology Troy Skwor, Ph.D., shows bacteria cells on a microscope slide in the lab at Starr Science Center in this spring 2017 file photo. ROCKFORD UNIVERSITY PHOTO

“We are thrilled to receive funding for this exciting project. It addresses Lyme disease in a holistic fashion, researching multiple vectors involved in the transmission of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi,” Dr. Skwor says. “Most studies analyze only one vector at a time from various parts of the world, making it difficult for scientists to understand the pathogen in a defined ecosystem. Our research study includes numerous vectors — some of them being new — as well as an additive feature assessing whether birds have been infected locally or outside northern Illinois.”

Rockford University is a four-year, co-educational institution founded in 1847 offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in traditional liberal arts and professional fields. The University offers approximately 80 majors, minors and concentrations, including the adult accelerated degree completion program for a B.S. in Management Studies. Through its Graduate Studies department, degrees are extended to include the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Education in Urban Education (MEd).

Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. RU is ranked as a Best Regional University – Midwest Tier One by US News & World Report and was named by the Princeton Review as a Best in the Midwest institution. The University currently serves approximately 1,260 full-and part-time students.

The mission of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois is to serve as a catalyst for giving in order to attract, preserve, and grow and endowment for the current and future needs of the people of Northern Illinois. Since its founding in 1953, CFNIL has granted more than $65 million for charitable purposes in the region.

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Two Rockford University assistant professors of chemistry—Gidget Tay, Ph.D, and Matthew Bork, Ph.D.—have been honored with 2018 awards from the American Chemical Society.

Gidget Tay

Dr. Tay received the Local Section Outreach Volunteer of the Year Award for the Rock River Section of the ACS, nominated both for her chemistry demonstrations at after-school centers and public libraries as well as her series of “educational videos that combine dance and chemistry to explain concepts that students find difficult,” according to the ACS.

Dr. Tay, who was a dance minor as an undergraduate, collaborated with Rockford University Performing Arts faculty and students to produce the latest video on her DanceChemistry YouTube channel. Her videos have tackled topics including stereochemistry, reaction rates, distillation and solubility, with the hope that this free content will “inspire a younger generation of future scientists” and “be used to improve scientific understanding from a creative viewpoint.”

Matthew Bork

Dr. Bork earned a Salute to Excellence Award from the Affiliated Chemical Society for his work revitalizing an annual Chemistry Olympiad for the Rock River Section of the ACS. Dr. Bork has coordinated the event for five years, adding a banquet to the yearly meeting and working to build relationships with local high schools.

Student Lounge

08/05/2016 3:42 pm

STUDENT LOUNGE

 

Looking for some help in chemistry or biochemistry? Visit our CBS Student Lounge in Starr 416 for free tutoring assistance. The lounge is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of university-wide breaks, including approved holidays.

Department Information

Chemical and Biological Sciences
Starr Science Building
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
815-226-4133
Fax: 815-394-5166

Matthew Bork Ph.D.
Dept. Chair Chemical & Biological Sciences/ Assistant Prof of Chemistry

 

American Chemical Society Approval Seal

Prairie Projects

08/05/2016 3:42 pm

PRAIRIE PROJECTS

The Hutchcroft Prairie, located just west of the Rockford University main entrance, is a project to reconstruct two acres of native tall grass prairie habitat for use as a “living laboratory” and “biological sanctuary.” Initial work on the project began in 2003, and the first stage of planting was done in May of 2006.

This all-volunteer project has been assisted by Rockford University students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the greater Rockford community. Major contributions to the effort have come from Rockford Area Boy Scouts. Boy Scout Matt Holm of Rockton, along with several troop mates and family assisted in the seeding in May 2006 as part of an effort to earn the Hornaday Conservation Award, and two Eagle Scout projects by brothers Daniel and John Lieb of Rockford resulted in the construction of planter beds for a butterfly garden and benches that will be placed around the prairie.

Though in its early stages, the prairie has already been the site of a Rockford University biology student research project, and has been used as a resource for several biology classes.

Department Information

Chemical and Biological Sciences
Starr Science Building
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
815-226-4133
Fax: 815-394-5166

Matthew Bork Ph.D.
Dept. Chair Chemical & Biological Sciences/ Assistant Prof of Chemistry

 

American Chemical Society Approval Seal

Alpha-Helix

08/05/2016 3:41 pm

ALPHA-HELIX

 

Alpha-Helix at Rockford University exists to bring students interested in all areas of science together to talk, learn more about their future careers and schools, and to help give back to the community. We seek to unify our students and work together to make Rockford University a better place. We welcome students from all sciences, of all ages, and working on any degree.

Goals

  • Integrate science goals and studies into future careers
  • Help students learn more about how they can get the careers they want and into the graduate/professional schools they want
  • Aid students in volunteer work to give back

 

Highlighted Events

  • BANG! The kick-off of April Weekend where Alpha-Helix members put on an explosion show and collect canned goods for the local food pantry.
  • Seedlings Project. We grow seedlings to eventually donate to the food pantry for fresh foods for families and individuals in need.
  • Visit UIC Pharmacy at Chicago in Rockford. Students go to UIC to learn about how to get into Pharmacy School and what it is like when you get there.

Alpha-Helix promotes the sciences within the Rockford University community and provides programs, services, and events of interest pertaining to the sciences. This group is dedicated to advancing the educational opportunities and experiences for students interested in pursuing health and science professions. Whether you’re familiar with science or just want to learn a bit more about us, Alpha-Helix is the place to be! The club meets on the third floor of Starr. We welcome everyone!

Advisors: Dept. Chair Chemical & Biological Sciences/ Assistant Prof of Chemistry Matthew Bork

Department Information

Chemical and Biological Sciences
Starr Science Building
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
815-226-4133
Fax: 815-394-5166

Matthew Bork Ph.D.
Dept. Chair Chemical & Biological Sciences/ Assistant Prof of Chemistry

 

American Chemical Society Approval Seal

Faculty

08/05/2016 3:40 pm

CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL FACULTY

Department Information

Chemical and Biological Sciences
Starr Science Building
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
815-226-4133
Fax: 815-394-5166

Matthew Bork Ph.D.
Dept. Chair Chemical & Biological Sciences/ Assistant Prof of Chemistry

 

American Chemical Society Approval Seal

Resources

08/05/2016 3:40 pm

RESOURCES

 

The Chemical and Biological Sciences Department maintains an extensive instrumentation lab including the following Instruments:

  • FT-NMR – Varian EM 60 with FT Upgrade
  • FT-IR – Mattson Galaxy 3020
  • UV/Vis Diode Array – HP 8452 with OLIS Upgrade
  • UV/Vis Scanning – Numerous Thermo Genesys 10 Spectrometers
  • GC/MS – Agilent GC’s with Gertstel Autosamplers
  • one Instrument with Agilent Quadrapole MS
  • Second Instrument with LECO Pegasus TOF MS
  • GC/FID Agilent 7980A with 16 position Autosampler
  • HPLC – JASCO Quad Pump HPLC with Single Channel UV/Vis
  • FPLC – BioRad Biological with Auto Fraction Collection – Refrigerated
  • Bomb Calorimeter – PAAR Adiabatic Bomb Calorimeter
  • Polarimeter – Jasco P2000 Digital Polarimeter
  • Atomic Absorption – Perkin Elmer AAnalyst 800 with Graphite and Acetylene Furnaces

 

The GC/MS Instrumentation is Provided in Collaboration with the following Groups:

 

Monitoring of Instrumentation Computers and Equipment by:

 

 banner_prtg_80x80

Alchemists and Biophiles
The CBS Department publishes and annual newsletter for Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry alumni. If you would like to update your fellow alumni, please email the department chair or contact the Rockford University Alumni Office.

Department Information

Chemical and Biological Sciences
Starr Science Building
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
815-226-4133
Fax: 815-394-5166

Matthew Bork Ph.D.
Dept. Chair Chemical & Biological Sciences/ Assistant Prof of Chemistry

 

American Chemical Society Approval Seal

Scholarships and Awards

08/05/2016 3:39 pm

SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS

 

Chemistry and Biochemistry

American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Analytical Chemistry
Sponsored by the Analytical Chemistry Division of the ACS, this award is given to the outstanding student in the field of analytical chemistry.

American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Organic Chemistry
This award is given for outstanding performance by an undergraduate chemistry major in the two-semester organic sequence offered by the POLYED division of the ACS.

Chemical Rubber Company (CRC) Award for Achievement in Freshman Chemistry
The CRC Award recognizes outstanding achievement during the first year of chemistry.

C. Robert and Elizabeth Hutchcroft Award for Achievement in Organic Chemistry
The award was established by Professor Alan Hutchcroft of the Rockford University Chemistry Department to honor his parents for their inspiration as teachers and for their belief in the importance of reading.

Alan Hutchcroft Endowed Scholarship for Chemistry/BioChemistry
This scholarship is to honor the memory of Alan Hutchcroft, who passed away in 2005. A 3.0 or higher GPA, or a 27 or higher ACT score is required plus the student must show an expressed interest in the field of study.

Justine S. Walhout Scholarship
Inaugurated in 1998, this scholarship honors the outstanding junior or senior chemistry student (or one who will be a junior the following fall). The scholarship was funded by friends and alumnae of Rockford University to honor Dr. Walhout, professor emerita of chemistry.

 

Biology

Larry Forman Memorial Biology Scholarship
The Forman Scholarship is given in memory of Larry Forman, professor of biology at Rockford University from 1969 until 2003. Scholarship recipients must be full-time students, majoring in biology, with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and in good standing with the University.

 

For more information on scholarships relevant to this department, please visit the Academic Catalog (pdf).

Department Information

Chemical and Biological Sciences
Starr Science Building
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
815-226-4133
Fax: 815-394-5166

Matthew Bork Ph.D.
Dept. Chair Chemical & Biological Sciences/ Assistant Prof of Chemistry

 

American Chemical Society Approval Seal

Careers and Internships

08/05/2016 3:38 pm

CAREERS AND INTERNSHIPS

 

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Rockford University chemistry and biochemistry graduates experience success in a wide variety of careers: in industry, as instructors at the high school and university levels, in medicine or pharmacy, or in other health professions.

Career Opportunities 
What can I do with a major in chemistry?
What can I do with a major in biochemistry?

Internship Opportunities
Rockford University works with a variety of companies and organizations in the Rockford area to provide internship opportunities for chemistry and biochemistry majors. Contact Dr. Sean Beckmann to learn more about these exciting internship opportunities.

 

Biology

Career Opportunities
Biology graduates have numerous career opportunities. Government positions can include wildlife management and environmental research. Private industry uses trained biologists in areas such as sales, management, research and writing. Many additional possibilities exist in the areas of medicine and allied health. Quite a few of our graduates have chosen to continue their education in biology at the graduate and professional school level.

Research Opportunities
The biology curriculum at Rockford University is designed to develop a strong educational foundation along with the practical skills to perform research in the biological sciences. These skills are further solidified during senior seminar, where our students are challenged to design and implement a research project of choice with the guidance of a faculty advisor.

To supplement research experiences on campus, many biology majors have completed research projects though the National Science Foundation’s ‘Research Experiences for Undergraduates’ program. Learn more about the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU).

Internship Opportunities
Rockford University works with a variety of companies and organizations in the Rockford area to provide internship opportunities for biology majors. Our students have done internships with Pierce Biotechnology, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, National Land Institute and Nature Conservancy. Students have taken advantage of internship opportunities for credit and to enrich their learning experience.

 

Where are they now?

Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Uei Lei ’02, MPH, EMT-P. Uei Lei is working at Loyola University Medical Center as the Regional Emergency Preparedness Coordinator working on HRSA Grants for bioterrorism and general all hazards preparedness. “Since I left Rockford College, I started and finished graduate school at Benedictine University with a Master of Public Health with an emphasis on Disaster Management; inducted into the Sigma Beta Delta in June 2004. I worked at Cook County Department of Public Health as an Emergency Response Coordinator doing projects such as the Strategic National Stockpile Distribution Plan, BioWatch, Biohazard Detection System (with the US Post Office), and numerous others. I then did some consulting work between that and when I got this position at Loyola. And I will be starting a Ph.D. program in Public Policy and Administration emphasizing on Homeland Security and International NGOs starting this Fall with Walden University Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Loyola University’s Emergency Medical Services System in Chicago.”
  • Dr. Ria Westergaard ’02. Dr. Ria Westergaard has finished her doctoral work in pharmacy at Midwestern University – Chicago College of Pharmacy. She now is in a residency with Medco. She writes, “My residency is an optional full-time postgraduate training opportunity that provides about three years of work experience within one year. I chose to do a managed care residency because I really enjoyed my time at Caremark during a six-week rotation and wanted to get a broader scope of experience in the field. Areas of focus include: drug information and formulary management, appeals decision coverage, and education and program development. I will have the opportunity for travel and will complete a research project over the course of the year.”
  • Matt Sheets ’03. Matt Sheets is nearing completion of his doctorate in chemistry at NIU. He just published a paper in the Journal of Organic Chemistry on the catalysis of allylation of aldehydes. He will also present three posters at the national ACS meeting in San Francisco in September.
  • Ramune Sileikis ’03. Ramune Sileikis is in dental school at the University of Manitoba in Canada. She writes: “It has been a busy summer for me. At present I’m doing my second year of summer research with Network for Oral Health Research (NORTH) and decided to get a B.S.C. Dentistry which I’ll finish this coming fall. As far as dentistry goes — it’s been as enjoyable and rewarding as I imagined it to be, but also very busy and challenging. As far as my future plans go, I would like to further specialize in Orthodontics and currently am applying to various postgraduate schools here in Canada and in the U.S. I do miss the great people that were able to be professors and friends at the same time. When you’re in grad school these things are a bit harder to come by.”
  • Jake Fulton ’04, Pharm.D. (biochemistry) completed his doctorate in pharmacy at the University of Iowa and is currently pharmacy manager at Wal-Mart in Geneseo, Ill. He lives in Davenport, Iowa. He and his fiancé, Courtney Kipp (’06), plan to marry next June. Jake was a star football player while here, but has shifted now to softball in his spare time.
  • Danielle (Miller) Faulkner ’05 (biochemistry) earned her master’s degree in public health from Illinois Benedictine Univ. in Lisle and is currently working toward her Pharm.D. degree at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Sara Johnson, ’05, O.D. (biochemistry) just graduated from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis and is moving to Colorado Springs to practice as a vision therapy specialist.
  • Cesar Kenaan ’06 (biochemistry) writes from graduate school at the Univ. of Michigan, “It’s been a very busy and productive academic year! I had successful public and private candidacy exams in January and May respectively, and recently co-authored a manuscript on protein conformational dynamics to be published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. I was also the recipient of a Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research award in March 2009. This past summer, I had the opportunity to mentor a talented undergraduate chemistry student and, as a result of the positive experience, I’m seriously considering academia as a future career.”
  • Andria Morud ’08 (biochemistry) will graduate next May with a master’s degree in bioethics and medical humanities from the University of South Florida, Tampa. She is planning to apply to dental school for next fall and will also be earning a college teaching certificate for a diversified resume. She would love to teach in a dental school.
  • Josh Ryan ’08 (biochemistry) is a product applications specialist at Cole-Parmer in Vernon Hills, Ill. He does technical support for their products, which range from peristaltic pumps to pH meters to GC-Mass Spec instruments. He’s he unofficial “go-to guy” for chemical questions; he works directly with the sales divisions in New Zealand and the UAE. He currently lives in Mundelein, Ill.

 

Biology

  • Meghan Porter ’08 was accepted to the physical therapy program at Creighton University in Omaha.
  • Beau Westin ’08 is enrolled in medical school at St. Matthew’s University in the Cayman Islands.
  • David Kaplan ’06 will be spending a year doing biomedical research in Bethesda, Maryland through the National Institute of Health’s Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award program.
  • Lucas Bradley ’06 is the education coordinator for the Natural Land Institute.
  • Jeannie Harrison ’05 will be in her 3rd year of veterinary school at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. She is also in the University of Illinois program for a master’s in public health.
  • Hanee Razick ’05 is a pharmaceutical sales representative with Forest Laboratories.
  • Eliona Andoni ’02 graduated with a D.O. from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University.
  • Christine Baumgardt ’05 works for Steris in St. Louis doing Research & Development.
  • Lori Culver ’02 is a sales trainer of pharmaceutical sales representatives for the Ross Products Division of Abbott.
  • Heath Morrall ’02 is working for Euclid Chemical a division of RPM International.  He is doing sales for the company which is a manufacturer of construction chemicals.

Department Information

Chemical and Biological Sciences
Starr Science Building
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
815-226-4133
Fax: 815-394-5166

Matthew Bork Ph.D.
Dept. Chair Chemical & Biological Sciences/ Assistant Prof of Chemistry

 

American Chemical Society Approval Seal

Programs of Study

08/05/2016 3:37 pm

PROGRAMS OF STUDY

 

Experiment with your options… not your future.

Earning your biology, biochemistry, or chemistry degree at Rockford means getting both sides of the equation just right: a foundation in the liberal arts that offers you critical thinking and effective communication skills along with intensive and innovative study in a field you love. We offer an American Chemical Society certified major in chemistry, an integrated major in biochemistry and three different tracks in our biology programs (cellular & molecular biology, evolution & ecology, organismal biology). Degree requirements for these programs can be found in the Academic Catalog.

Majors and Tracks/Concentrations:

Search Course Offerings and Descriptions

American Chemical Society(ACS)
1155 Sixteenth St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 800-227-5558
Fax: 202-776-8258
E-mail: webmaster@acs.org

Department Information

Chemical and Biological Sciences
Starr Science Building
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
815-226-4133
Fax: 815-394-5166

Matthew Bork Ph.D.
Dept. Chair Chemical & Biological Sciences/ Assistant Prof of Chemistry

 

American Chemical Society Approval Seal

reporting pixel for marketing campaign