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Professor, student investigating immune system defenses against a pathogen and a parasite


GREENVILLE, Pa.—Director of the Greenville Neuromodulation Center Faculty/Student Research Institute and Assistant Professor of Biology Delbert Abi Abdallah, Ph.D., is conducting ongoing research with student researcher Beverley Kozuch ’17 into immune system defenses against health issues caused by a pathogen and a parasite.

Abi Abdallah and Kozuch are involved in two separate, but related, projects as a part of the institute. The first is a continuation of a project started last summer that looks at how the immune system fights a pathogen that causes a potentially fatal infection. The second involves cloning a parasite gene to potentially produce antibodies against the gene’s product.

Kozuch, a biology major from Templeton, Pa., is a 2013 graduate of West Shamokin Junior-Senior High School. She is responsible for data generation on both projects through planning and executing experiments. Their research goal is to identify ways to fight the pathogen and parasite, in order to enable the development of vaccines or other medical responses.

“This type of scientific research involving students helps them gain transferable skills that are crucial for their success in graduate and professional schools,” Abi Abdallah said. “Intense research [like this] is possible at Thiel College and is available to all students interested in furthering their education and in strengthening their [academic portfolios], as well as broadening their research experiences past what is required in classes.”

Abi Abdallah hopes to develop an ongoing research program that exists alongside Thiel’s academic offerings and allows undergraduate students to experience research opportunities any semester or year they wish.

Abi Abdallah earned a Bachelor of Science with a major in microbiology and cell science and a minor in chemistry from the University of Florida. He completed his graduate studies with a doctorate in immunology and infectious disease from Cornell University. He began teaching at Thiel College in 2014.

About the GNC Faculty/Student Research Institute

In 2015, Thiel College alumni Fred Haer ’65 and his wife, Jill (Shackett) ’66, pledged more than $400,000 to fund the institute from 2015-2017. It is open to all Thiel College faculty members and focuses on connecting science and the liberal arts. In its second year, six other research projects are part of the institute.

About Thiel College

Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a Master of Science in speech-language pathology, a Leadership Master of Business Administration and a Management Master of Business Administration. Both master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. The speech-language pathology program also has an accelerated 15-month graduate-level program. The M.B.A. program also has a 12-month post-graduate program. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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