Cleveland State University -engaged learning
header banner


June, 2009


Greetings from the College of Science!


bette bonder
Bette Bonder, Dean

Itís hard to believe that another academic year has come to a close. Graduation was held Saturday, May 16.

I am pleased to inform you that the University Valedictorian was Jonathan Schilens Ė a math major in the College of Science. Jonathan hopes to get a job teaching math this fall.

Of the May 2009 graduates from the College of Science, 198 were undergraduates and 91 were from graduate programs, including seven individuals completing doctoral degrees.

The 5th annual College of Science Research Day was held Friday, April 24th, 2009. Research Day is an opportunity for College of Science students (undergraduate and graduate) and faculty to present and share posters of their current research accomplishments. They reflect the strong commitment of our faculty and students to scholarship. Each year the posters demonstrate a wide range of exploration, from basic science to direct health care, from mathematical modeling to research on educational strategies. The work reflects not only the scholarly interests of individuals, but the close relationship between scholarly and educational endeavors. It is also a time for us to get to know more about the work of our collaborating colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic, Case, and the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

One of the posters was that of Dan Pastel (shown in the photo here), an undergraduate student who won an award from National Psych Chi to present his poster in the upcoming Midwest Psychological Association conference.

This year, more than 150 posters were presented. The day also featured a keynote presentation by Dr. John P. Smol, renowned researcher in the area of environmental studies.

We were pleased to present this yearís Outstanding Research Award to Dr. Bibo Li. You can read more about her and her research in this issue.

We say goodbye to four long-time faculty members who retired this past year. They include Lily Ng, Chemistry, Alan Silberger, Math, Paul Hambourger, Physics, and Keith Kendig, Math. We wish them well in their retirement.

Bette Bonder

Leading Edge Research

Dr. Bibo Liís Research Featured in Distinguished Scientific Journal, Cell

Being published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals such as Cell is a dream of every researcher that is seldom accomplished. Cleveland State Universityís Dr. Bibo Li has not only succeeded in having her research featured in the April 3 issue of Cell, she has captured the publicationís Cover with her recent paper "RAP1 Is Essential for Silencing Telomeric Variant Surface Glycoprotein Genes in Trypanosoma brucei," (

Offering New Hope for a Ravaging Disease

With an R01 grant awarded from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, Dr. Bibo Li has been studying telomere functions in Trypanosoma brucei (T. brucei), a protozoan parasite that has ravaged sub-Saharan Africa by causing sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in cattle.

These diseases are fatal, mainly because in the mammalian host, T. brucei cells regularly switch the variant surface glycoproteins presented on the cell surface so as to evade host immune attack. Such antigenic variation process is apparently essential for T. brucei pathogenesis, and its underlying mechanisms have been the focus of the parasitology field for three decades. Dr. Bibo Li’s Cell paper is a major breakthrough, providing direct evidences, for the first time, that the telomere structure is essential for the regulation of Variant Surface Glycoprotein gene expression. Telomeres are the specialized structure at the ends of linear chromosomes found in eukaryotic cells, such as human and T. brucei cells. Telomeres play an important role in the maintenance of chromosome stability. Hence telomere biology has been implied in cancer prevention and aging process and has been a popular research topic for a couple of decades. Dr. Bibo Li’s recent discovery further emphasizes the importance of telomere biology and broadens its implication.

Dr. Li has identified and continues to identify genes that influence antigenic variation and other aspects of trypanosome virulence in an attempt to interfere with the genes and lead to the remission of infection or better, the elimination of T. brucei.

To illustrate the importance of this work to humankind, the pathogen known as T. brucei is estimated to infect 300,000-500,000 people, making sleeping sickness the number one or two cause of human mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Southern Sudan.

And nearly as catastrophic to the region is the nagana epidemic occurring in the cattle population of West Africa. Nagana is considered to be the only disease that has profoundly affected the settlement and economic development of a major part of Africa.

ABOUT CELL PRESS: Cell Press is committed to improving scientific communication through the publication of exciting research and reviews. Each of Cell’s titles is viewed as a must-read by the scientific community it serves.
Cell Press primary research journals include the flagship journal Cell, as well as Neuron, Immunity, Molecular Cell, Developmental Cell, Cancer Cell, Current Biology, Structure, Chemistry & Biology, Cell Metabolism, Cell Host & Microbe, Cell Stem Cell and, new to Cell Press in 2008, The American Journal of Human Genetics. Also new to Cell Press this year are the fourteen Trends reviews journals, including Trends in Cell Biology and Trends in Neuroscience.

Cell Press’ mission remains to publish and develop journals that deliver the highest possible intellectual rigor, promote community trust, and are widely disseminated.

Recent Accomplishments in the College of Science


 Health Sciences:        

  • Assistant Professor Xiaoxing He has been awarded a Pfizer Medical and Academic Partnership (MAP) Scholar's Grant in Health Policy.  She will receive $130,000 over a two-year period to study the ways in which physician assistants contribute to healthcare service.


  • We are excited to welcome Dr. Andrew Resnick to our faculty. Andrew has worked at NASA and at CWRU Medical School, doing research in optics and biophysics.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Ulrich Zurcher and Jacqueline Vitali for their well deserved promotions to the rank of Associate Professor.

  • The article "Assessment of mixing in passive microchannels with fractal surface patterning" by Petru S. Fodor, Matthew Itomlenskis, and Miron Kaufman, will be published in 2009 in the European Physical Journal - Applied Physics.

  • Professor Miron Kaufman co-authored an invited chapter titled “Mixing Measures” in the book “Mixing and Compounding of Polymers: Theory and Practice” published in 2009 by Hanser Publications.

  • Collaboration project of Dr. Kiril A. Streletzky with researchers from Russia on studying the properties of nano-particles of boron nitride (BN) has resulted in an article in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds: “Destruction, amorphization and reactivity of nano-BN under ball milling,” J. Alloys and Compounds, in press (2009).

Biology, Geology, and Environmental Sciences:

  • Associate Professor Anton Komar has edited Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms.  To learn more about the book or to order it, click here.



Victoria Chmura (PSY/HSC) was selected as the College of Science Valedictorian. Additionally, Zavinta Maleckaite (HSC/PSY), Rebecca Riffle (HSC/PSY), Kyle Sochacki (HSC), and Brian VonBenken (HSC) were selected to receive the College of Science Outstanding Senior Awards for Fall 2008.


  • Krista Freeman (BS in Physics, 2011) has been accepted into the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron. During this 12-week long summer internship, sponsored by National Science Foundation, Krista will participate in a basic research project in the polymer physics lab of Dr. Sokolov at University of Akron. Krista’s project will address the protein dynamics in water: glycerol solutions and will be a collaboration with Dr. Streletzky’s lab at CSU.

  • Maxwell Orseno (BS in Physics, 2010) and Krista Freeman (BS in Physics, 2011), two officers of the CSU’s chapter of Society of Physics Students (SPS) participated in Physics Day, an outreach activity for high and middle school students, organized by the Physics Dept on May 1, 2009. Max and Krista developed and presented to the kids a set of physics demos and interactive physics games based on SPS 2008 Science Outreach Catalyst Kits: Makin’ Waves! The presentation had a great success among more than 50 visiting students and teachers. 

  • Matthew Itomlenskis (BA in Physics) has co-authored a paper that will be published in 2009 in the European Physical Journal - Applied Physics. Matthew presented this research in a poster at the 2008 COMSOL Conference in Boston. His research was supported by the Provost Office during the summer of 2008.

Biology, Geology, Environmental Sciences:

  • Ken Safranek, one of our Student Orientation Coordinators, was recently selected to be a Storm Water Summer Intern with the Ohio EPA this summer.  Of over 200 applicants, only 4 interns were selected with a very intense application process.   Ken will be working in NorthEast Ohio mainly doing permits and best management practices at construction sites.  As an environmental science major at CSU, this is directly Ken's career path.  He is hoping this will turn into a full-time job to fulfill his dream since 8th grade of working for the EPA.  Ken is scheduled to graduate from CSU in December 2009.

  • At its annual awards ceremony for its top graduating seniors for the past year, BGES added George Meszaros and Clara Antoury to the list of winners of the Doretta C. Thielker Award for biologists and Erin Huber to the list of winners of the Tarun K. Mal Award for environmental science. Erin has been instrumental in the Student Environmental Movement and in fund-raising for implementing the Green Roof on the Recreation Center.

Health Sciences:

  • Eight graduate students recently helped with speech and hearing screenings at Elite Academy.  Dr. Scott, the principal, was extremely impressed with the group and commented on how professional they were and how efficiently they got the job done! 

  • The OT students again exceeded the national average pass rate on the OT certification examination.



Alumnus Anthony Austin, PSY ’06, has been selected for a Fulbright Award.


Departmental news:


  • A 4+1 BS/MS track in the Physics program has been approved. This program provides an efficient path for qualified advanced undergraduate students from the BS in Physics program to complete both a BS and an MS degree in five years.

Biology, Geology, and Environmental Sciences:

  • Besides providing many information stands, food, and some loud music, the Student Environmental Movement's Earthday celebration also raised about $600 for the Green Roof to be built on the Recreation Center.  To make a gift to this initiative, please contact Carol L. Carbary, CFRE, at (216) 875-9992.

Alumni Benefits

As an active Viking for Life, you have access to a wide range of benefits and a whole calendar of alumni events.

Membership Benefits
Update your contact information, request a free alumni card, and become a Viking for Life. Through the alumni card, Cleveland State University graduates receive a variety of benefits including:

University Privileges
Free use of the CSU Library
Viking license plates
All kinds of discounts on:
Continuing education courses – 15 percent
Recreation Center memberships
Gifts and apparel at the Bookstore – 20 percent
Career advising and use of the CSU Career Line from Career Services
Use of campus facilities for private family functions and external organizations through Conference Services

Financial and Consumer Programs
No annual fee CSU Platinum Plus MasterCard ®
Group discount on life and health insurance plans from GradMed®, AlumniMed+®, ProtectorMed+® and AlumniTerm®
Group discount on home owner's and car insurance through Liberty Mutual®
Discount on subscriptions to Young Money magazine
Free membership in Who-How: The global knowledge network for sales and marketing professionals
Access to Cleveland State University CashCourse website
Access to the Ohio Educational Credit Union

Recreation, Travel and Entertainment
Discounts on:
Car rentals through Avis, Enterprise and Hertz
Long distance moving through Graebel – 57 percent
Moving through Atlas
PlayhouseSquare tickets for select shows
Sunset Shores Bed & Breakfast
John Roberts Spa – first-time visitors

Alumni Programs and Events
For a complete calendar of alumni events, visit

About Town – East and West
Alumni Admissions Program
Alumni Cabaret - Vikefest “A CSU Homecoming Tradition”
Alumni Campus Tours
Alumni Mentoring Program
Alumni Seminars and Forum
CEO Speaker Series
Distinguished Alumni Awards
Do-Gooder Day
Etiquette Dinners
Holiday Hoops
Life 101 – “How-To” Continuing Education Programs
On the Road
Professional Enrichment Workshops
TGIF Alumni Night Out
Viking Tailgates
Viking Watch Parties
And much more...

Get active now—no dues required!

The Cleveland State University Alumni Association is no longer a dues-paying organization. Membership now is open to all alumni without charge.

Get directly involved by becoming active alumni today and join the “Viking Crew”- FREE. Active alums are invited to events, given special recognition (plans are underway for an online directory) and receive discounts from CSU services and various CSU supporters. Sign up by simply updating your alum profile, making a donation, joining a chapter or attending an alumni event.

The Alumni Association provides access to a wide range of benefits and affords the opportunity to make connections within the regional business community through varied, frequent events. Alumni also have the chance to join alumni chapters, develop or refine their skills through Cleveland State’s Career Services Center, and mentor current and prospective Cleveland State students. Click here for details from CSU's Career Services Center.

Have a question about being an active alum (on the Viking Crew) or anything else about Cleveland State alumni? Contact the Alumni Affairs Office at 216.687.2078 or

The following are a sampling of benefits available to Alumni Association members:

Giving Opportunities

As a state-assisted public institution, Cleveland State University faces significant funding challenges. The College of Science is determined to provide the best possible education to our students. You can help by making a gift to your alma mater in support of scholarships, research, equipment, and more. For additional information, contact Carol L. Carbary, CFRE, Director, College Development and Alumni Relations, at (216) 875-9992 or or click here to make your gift online.

We want to hear from you!

What have you been doing since graduation? Have you moved or changed jobs? Have you had a life change (marriage, baby, retirement, etc.) or celebrated any recent accomplishments? Stay in touch and let us know! We’d also like to hear what you would like to read about in future issues of this e-newsletter. To submit or update your information, email or call (216) 875-9992.

Newsletter Archives

To read past issues of this newsletter, please click here.

To Unsubscribe

You are receiving this message because of your affiliation with Cleveland State University. College of Science Newsletter is sent to those alumni with e-mail addresses on record at CSU. If you do not wish to receive this e-mail, we apologize for any inconvenience. To be removed from the Newsletter list, reply to: with the phrase “Unsubscribe: Newsletter” in the subject line.

Cleveland State University | 2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-2214 | 216.687.2000