BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
Academic Program at Centre College
Steve Asmus is H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. He has taught in the biology and biochemistry/molecular biology programs since 1996. He received the Kirk Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001 and again in 2016, and was named a Centre Scholar in 2011. Prior to joining the college, he held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University.
Asmus has special expertise in the field of developmental neurobiology, which focuses on how the brain develops. He describes his research as a study of the development of neurons, which are specialized types of cells found in the nervous system. The neurons produce chemicals known as neurotransmitters that make it possible for the neurons to communicate with each other.
Asmus is interested in how neurons produce the correct neurotransmitter during development. He has analyzed the neurotransmitters produced in developing sympathetic neurons, addressing the question of whether different target tissues influence this “decision” process during development.
Currently, Asmus is studying the neurotransmitters that are produced in the cerebral cortex of the developing and adult brain to examine whether some cortical neurons may change the neurotransmitter that they produce as they mature. Asmus uses a variety of cell staining and microscopy techniques in his laboratory research.
Asmus encourages Centre students to collaborate with him on research. His recent collaborators, all biochemistry and molecular biology majors, include Kaylind Batey ’17, Serena Gale-Butto ’17, Shannon Murray ’17, and Lexie Szalanczy ’18.
Asmus has published his research in journals including the Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy (2016), Brain Research (2008 and 2011), and the Journal of Neuroscience (2000). Asmus co-authored these research articles with numerous student collaborators.
Asmus earned a B.S. degree from Cleveland State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and conducted a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University before coming to Centre.
File last updated: 10/23/14
EXPERT: Cloning — Stem cells — Developmental neurobiology — Research on the development of neurons and neurotransmitters — Analysis of neurotransmitters, sympathetic neurons, and target tissues
Special expertise in the field of developmental neurobiology. Research on the neurotransmitters produced in interneurons of the cerebral cortex during development. Asmus frequently collaborates with students on his research. He has authored professional papers for journals including Brain Research and Developmental Biology.
Stephanie Dew is a professor of biology at Centre College, where she has taught since 1994. Dew was named a Centre Scholar in 2009, and has served as chair of the biochemistry & molecular biology program. Her teaching assignments are concentrated in biochemistry and molecular biology, including courses in biomolecular architecture and biochemical pathways.
Dew has pursued research since her own undergraduate days at Centre, focusing on the proteins and enzymes required for the transport and metabolism of vitamin A, especially in freshwater fish. In 1997, she received a grant from the Teagle Foundation for research at King’s College of the University of London. Dew worked with a team investigating the role of vitamin A in development.
At Centre, Dew seeks to involve her students in research. In her first four years at the college, she has directed seven independent study-research projects, including two students chosen for Centre’s prestigious John C. Young Scholars program. Brad Eilerman, a Centre student who collaborated with Dew on a summer research, won first place in the undergraduate division of the Kentucky Academic of Science for his presentation of the research.
An innovative teacher, Dew has been at the forefront of efforts to obtain and appropriately use technology in Centre’s science classes.
She earned a B.A. at Centre, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and completed a Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, where she was a University Graduate Fellow.
File last updated: 5/2/13
EXPERT: Undergraduate instruction in biochemistry and biomolecular biology — Web as a tool in undergraduate science — Research on vitamin A metabolism
Long-term research on the proteins and enzymes required for the transport and metabolism of vitamin A, especially in freshwater fish. Role of vitamin A in development. Collaborative research with students — two John C. Young Scholars in four years.
January Haile is an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology. She joined Centre’s faculty in 2008 and was named a Centre Scholar in 2012.
Before coming to Centre, Haile was a research mentor at Virginia Tech, and taught as a supplemental instructor at Emory and Henry College. In 2013, she received Virginia Tech’s Outstanding Departmental Recent Alumni Award for biochemistry. She was invited to attend the 56th annual meeting of the Nobel Laureates and Students in 2006.
She graduated summa cum laude from Emory and Henry College with a B.S in biology and chemistry, where she was President of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society her senior year. She earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Virginia Tech.
File last updated: 03/27/19
EXPERT: Biochemistry and the Investigation of Fermentation Conditions and Contamination
Peggy Richey is Ewing T. Boles Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.
Richey’s primary area of research interest involves the identification of novel chemical inhibitors of bacteria. She has engaged her Centre students in collaborative research on several research projects. Richey also has actively encouraged her students to pursue off-campus research projects, helping them earn placements with short-term or summer projects at major university laboratories throughout the United States.
Richey has published her research in academic journals including Phytopathology, Journal of Bacteriology, and Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology.
A magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Kentucky, Richey also holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in plant pathology from UK.
File last updated:1/14/14
Biochemistry, physiology, and molecular biology of plant disease; the identification of novel chemical inhibitors of bacteria — Long-term research on the testing of chemicals for antibacterial activity against a range of bacteria — Undergraduate science education and research