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Nancy Morvillo, Ph.D.

Nelson C. White Chair in the Life Sciences

About Me

I was born and raised in New Jersey, where I still have very fond memories of my Advanced Placement (AP) Biology teacher and all my high school science classes.  I am grateful for the inspiration of my teachers, who fostered my love of science, and I was drawn to education because of them.  I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Delaware and my Ph.D. in Genetics from the University at Stony Brook.  At Stony Brook, I had the incredible opportunity to teach in several different capacities, and was offered a position at FSC where I could continue to help students explore the amazing world of Biology.  I have also been involved in the AP Biology program for many years, helping to craft the curriculum, design the exams, and grade the Free Response portions.  At FSC, I work closely with our pre-health students as the Pre-Medical Studies Coordinator, as a member of the college’s Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) and as the faculty advisor for Alpha Epsilon Delta.  I also help to direct our Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS) major.  I am currently the Chair of the Biology Department at FSC, where I have helped during a time of tremendous growth in the number of students and the number of majors we offer.  I teach courses in introductory biology, genetics, molecular biology and research.  I’ve been fortunate to have a wonderful group of colleagues to work with in the Biology faculty and staff!

Research Information

I did undergraduate research in cytogenetics, the study of chromosomes, which was such a great experience.  As a graduate student, I used Drosophila as a model organism to study the molecular triggers that allow the nucleus to disassemble during cell division.  When I arrived at FSC, I worked with Dr. Malcolm Manners and students to study the genetic relatedness of the beautiful roses we grow on campus.  However, in the past few years, other responsibilities have kept me from doing my own research, but I still work with students on various projects.  I often teach our capstone Research: Molecular Biology course, where students design and carry out their own original research. I love helping them in their pursuits!  I also occasionally work with Honors students on their research.  Meghan Lake, a rising senior, will be working in my lab this year.  Here is the abstract of what she hopes to accomplish:

Assessment of the Synergistic Effects of the Bacterial Pigments, Prodigiosin and Violacein, to Inhibit the Growth of Pathogenic Bacteria

Meaghan Lake

Serratia marcescens, a gram-negative opportunistic pathogenetic bacterium, has been found to produce antibiotic compounds that are effective against pathogenic bacterial strains. One of these compounds is the secondary metabolite prodigiosin, which gives S. marcescens a bright red color.  Chromobacterium violaceum is another gram-negative opportunistic pathogen that has a violet color resulting from the production of the secondary metabolite violacein, another known antibiotic agent. Prodigiosin and violacein are both effective in inhibiting a variety of different bacteria, including ESKAPE pathogens, and each has been shown to have synergistic effects when used in combination with commercially produced antibiotics. Little research has been done on whether the combination of both pigments would act synergistically against ESKAPE pathogens. In this project, the pigments will be isolated from environmental samples of S. marcescens and C. violaceum and will be used alone or in combination to test their ability to inhibit the growth of ESKAPE-safe relatives. The effectiveness of the pigments in combination with antibiotics will also be tested. Effectiveness will be determined by using a Two-Way ANOVA test to determine significance between fractional inhibitory concentrations (FIC) in each of the different trials.

Education

  • Ph. D., Genetics, State University of New York
  • B. A., Biology, University of Delaware

Publications and Exhibitions

  • Harding, S. Fletcher and Morvillo, N., Ed. Religion and Science: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies. Routledge, Ltd, UK. 2010.
  • Morvillo, N. Science and Religion: Understanding the Issues. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK. 2010.
  • Morvillo, N. An Introduction to RAPD-PCR. American Rose Annual, 2004. 114-117. Lewis, A., Caroniti, M. and Morvillo, N. Investigating the Identity of Rose Varieties Utilizing Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) Analysis. Proc. Fl. State Hort. Soc, 2004. 117: 312-316.
  • Manners, M.M., Morvillo, N., C. Frederick and A. Wagner. RAPD-PCR Answers Some Long-Standing Questions about Rose Identification. Acta Hort.2004. 634: 85-89.
  • Frederick, C., Wagner, A., and Morvillo, N. Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) Analysis of the Musk Roses (Rosa moschata). Proc. Fl. State Hort. Soc, 2002. 115: 117-119.
  • Wagner, A., Frederick, C., and Morvillo, N. Investigation of the Origin of ‘Champneys’ Pink Cluster,’ ‘Blush Noisette’ and ‘Napoleon’ Roses Using Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) Analysis. Proc. Fl. State Hort. Soc, 2002. 115: 120-122.

Honors and Awards

  • Miller Distinguished Professor Award - 2014
  • Nelson C. White Chair in the Life Sciences - 2012 to present
  • Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Teacher Award - 2009
  • Favorite Female Professor, Southern Superlatives Award - 2009
  • Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award - 2009
  • Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 2004 and 2005
  • Exemplary Teaching Award, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church - 2004/2005
  • Florida State Horticultural Society, Best Paper, Ornamentals Section - 2004
  • Florida State Horticultural Society, mentor for students receiving second place in the Best Student Paper competition, Ornamentals Section - 2001

Office Information

Location: Polk Science 126

Email: nmorvillo@flsouthern.edu

Office phone: 863-680-6240