Tag: biology

Michael LaMarca 1931-2017: An enthusiastic teacher and distinguished scientist

A Head shot of former Lawrence University biology professor Michael LaMarca.
Michael LaMarca

Former Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science and Professor Emeritus of Biology Michael LaMarca passed away Feb. 9 of complications from a stroke. A resident of Rochester, Minn., where he made his home in retirement, he was 85.

A specialist in reproduction and developmental biology, LaMarca joined the Lawrence faculty in 1965 and taught with distinction until he retired in 1995. His career as a scientist and teacher was distinguished by his legendary commitment to the disciplined study of the living world. He was recognized with Lawrence’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1983.

From the study of amphibians to the exploration of human reproduction, LaMarca guided students for 30 years in both the technical and ethical investigation of biological science. His enthusiastic teaching style impacted thousands of students, especially those he mentored through independent study, many of whom went on to distinguished careers of their own as doctors, researchers and educators.

He served as the scientific director of the in vitro fertilization program at Appleton Medical Center from 1985-95 and his guidance was critical to the impressive successes of northeast Wisconsin’s first such program. Under LaMarca’s tutelage, numerous Lawrence students were able to begin their own research careers there.

LaMarca’s own research earned him a place of influence and honor in the scientific community and took him to laboratories and research centers around the country, including Argonne National Laboratory, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Harvard University School of Medicine, among others.

A photo of former Lawrence University biology professor Michael LaMarca in the laboratory.
Michael LaMarca taught in the Lawrence biology department from 1965-1995.

A native of Jamestown, N.Y., LaMarca was the first member of his family to attend college, earning a degree in biology from the State University of New York at Albany. He spent four years in the Air Force during the Korean War, serving active duty stateside as a meteorological officer while achieving the rank of lieutenant. He went on to earn his Ph.D in zoology at Cornell University and spent two years teaching at Rutgers University before joining the Lawrence faculty.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joan LaMarca, daughters Cathy Stroebel, Rochester, Minn., and Nancy Gordon, Eden Prairie, Minn., and four grandchildren: Ben, Hannah and Andy Stroebel; and Zach Gordon. He was preceded in death by his oldest daughter, Mary LaMarca.

The family has requested memorials be directed to the National Science Teachers Association or the National Academy of Sciences.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

David Cordie Receives Research Award at Parasitologists Conference

Lawrence University biology major David Cordie was recognized for the best undergraduate presentation at the recent Annual Midwestern Conference of Parasitologists (AMCOP) held at Purdue University.

David Cordie ’13

Cordie received the Raymond Cable Award for his presentation “Testing alternate hypotheses of parasitic communities and aquatic invasive species interaction in Green Bay, Lake Michigan.” The award included a $200 cash prize.

Seniors Briana Harter and Samantha Luebke joined Cordie at the conference as poster presenters.

Cordie’s presentation focused on research he began last summer on the round goby, an invasive fish species that competes with and preys upon native fish species, disrupting the food chain. Round gobies were introduced in the 1990’s though ship ballast water and have since established themselves throughout the Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan and the Fox River.

Specifically, Cordie investigated whether round gobies carry non-native parasites that could potentially be transmitted to native fish populations.

“I am so happy David received this award,” said Judith Humphries, assistant professor of biology, who served as one of Cordie’s research supervisors along with Professor of Biology Bart De Stasio. “It reflects the hard work he put into this project during the last year.”

Cordie’s project was supported by a Mielke Foundation grant and a research grant awarded by AMCOP in 2012. A 2013 magna cum laude graduate of Lawrence, Cordie will pursue graduate studies this fall at the University of Iowa.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

David Cordie Senior Experience Exhibited at UW-Fox’s Valley’s Weis Earth Science Museum

Mazon Creek fossilized fern frond.

As part of his Senior Experience, Lawrence University senior biology major David Cordie is curating an exhibition of fossils detailing climate change that will be featured at UW-Fox’s Valley’s Weis Earth Science Museum beginning Wednesday, May 8.

The exhibition features a dozen plant fossils from the Mazon Creek fossil bed in northern Illinois. Cordie also created several posters to accompany the fossils, explaining what they reveal about the region’s climate approximately 350 million years ago. It will be on display until mid-July. Cordie began the project last summer as part of an internship with Weis Museum director Joanne Kluessendorf.

“As director of the Weis Earth Science Museum, I want to take every opportunity to underscore the importance of the museum and its staff as a community resource,” said Kluessendorf.  “So, it was particularly enjoyable to share my expertise in paleontology as well as the museum fossil collections with a Lawrence student. David proved to be an excellent intern and I know that museum visitors will find his exhibit informative. I was also gratified that David chose to pursue a graduate degree in paleontology after this internship and has been accepted into the graduate program at the University of Iowa.”

The Weis Earth Science Museum is open Monday-Thursday, 12-4 p.m.; Friday 12-7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.