Beta Beta Beta (Tribeta) Biological National Honor Society Grants

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Beta Beta Beta (Tribeta) Biological National Honor Society Grants

December 11, 2017 • Communications

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Three Manhattanville biology majors, Cristina M. Commisso, Thimmy K. Garbenius, and Nicole Spruck recently received grants from Beta Beta Beta (Tribeta) Biological National Honor Society for their research projects.

Commisso and Garbenius worked collaboratively on research focused on a bacterium notorious for its role in causing nosocomial infections from the use of indwelling medical devices, such as IV catheters and prosthetic joint implants. They plan to examine the combination drug effect of rifampicin and D-limonene on biofilm formation of the bacterium Staphylococcus epidermidis RP62A. Their goal is to reduce the concentration of antibiotics needed for treatment when combined with essential oil components, such as D-limonene, to inhibit the growth of S. epidermidis.

Both Commisso and Garbenius are seniors in the department of biology at Manhattanville College. They work under the guidance of Dr. Anna Yeung-Cheung. Commisso has been the secretary of TriBeta Biological Honor Society from 2016 to present. She is active both inside and outside the classroom and laboratory, with a passion for fitness and health. She strives to continue her studies in nursing, in hopes of becoming a nurse practitioner. Garbenius, an international student from Sweden, is currently the treasurer of the TriBeta Biological Honor Society. He is also a member of the men’s ice hockey team. Between practices on the ice, Garbenius spends his time in the laboratory and would like to continue his studies to become a chiropractor/physical therapist.

Spruck is focusing her research on correlation between the size of bubble nest and tank size in the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens). In previous research at Manhattanville College, it was observed that aggressive males build proportionately smaller bubble nests than less aggressive males. The purpose of this study is to investigate a life-history trade-off between energy that is devoted to direct competition for mates and territory versus energy devoted toward building a competent nest to hatch eggs in and ensure survival of offspring.

Spruck is a senior majoring in biology and education with a double minor in American studies and studio art. Spruck works under the mentorship of Dr. Nancy E. Todd. Spruck will be completing the five-year BA/MAT program in order to teach biology. Her long-term goal is to get her PhD in marine biology in order to teach college-level classes. She is an active member of our Upsilon Sigma Chapter of Tribeta Biological Honor Society as well as Kappa Delta Pi, and is a tutor and supplemental instructor as well as a Duchesne Scholar.

Manhattanville College congratulates these students on their awards and wishes them success as they continue to make strides in their research.