Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Biology major and varsity golfer writes about his honors research with James Dearworth, assistant professor of biology

Steven Melnic ’09 (Allentown, Pa.) is performing honors research on the photoreceptors found in the retina of freshwater turtles under the guidance of James Dearworth, assistant professor of biology. Melnic, a biology major, is also a member of the College’s golf team.

My research will investigate the clear oil droplets and photoreceptors found in the retina of freshwater turtles under polarized light and document their attraction to different colors as well as different colored prey items.

The colored oil droplets specialize in absorbing longer wavelengths of light while blocking out shorter wavelengths. There are a total of seven types of cones found in the complex turtle retina, making it one of the most intricate cone systems discovered in vertebrates.

Previous research involving the electrical recordings from cells of the retina in the turtle have shown sensitivity to ultraviolet light, and scientists have been able to confirm that a subclass of the photoreceptors with clear oil droplets are sensitive to UV light. Previous UV light research and my current polarized light research have not been performed and investigated in the freshwater turtle retina.

I have been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to conduct previous research with Dr. Dearworth, as well as address my honors thesis with his continued assistance. Working with a highly knowledgeable professor in his specific field has enabled me to further understand the research and article-publishing side of the sciences.

My plans for after I graduate are to attend dental school. The research that I have been conducting will help me throughout my dental school education as well as after my formal education has ended. I believe Lafayette has prepared me for the challenges that I will experience throughout my future.

Categorized in: Academic News
Tagged with: ,