WWU Professor Awarded Immunology Travel Grant

Dr. Nick Pullen observes Amanda Marty as she gathers information for their research project.
Dr. Nick Pullen observes Amanda Marty as she gathers information for their research project.

Dr. Nicholas Pullen, assistant professor of biology at William Woods University, and his undergraduate research assistant are attending a five-day international immunology meeting. Pullen was awarded a travel grant covering 100 percent of their expenses.

The American Association of Immunologists Undergraduate Faculty Travel Grant provides funding for a faculty member and a student to attend the immunology meeting May 2-6 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Amanda Marty of Arnold, Mo., a senior double majoring in biology and equestrian science, accompanied Pullen to the meeting. A Cox Scholar at WWU, she has been accepted to study at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine after graduation from William Woods.

Pullen, who is serving as the Cox Distinguished Professor in Science this academic year, is conducting research that compares the effects of nitric oxide (NO) upon different kinds of cancer cells. While his past NO studies have examined brain cancers, this research looks at other types of cancer, such as B-Cell Lymphoma.

The Cox Distinguished Professorship was established by the Clark Cox Trust in 2008 to encourage faculty to conduct research projects involving students.

“Immunology is the premier meeting for the field, but also branches out to areas such as cancer and veterinary pathology,” Pullen said. “I find it to be among the best

Amanda Marty works in the lab.
Amanda Marty works in the lab.

scientific networking events: not only is it a time to catch up on data, ideas and theories with colleagues in the United States, but also fellow scientists from around the world.”

He added, “AAI is extraordinarily committed to including undergraduates and underserved populations, so I am especially excited about taking one of our students to this conference – to experience the full spectrum of science in practice.”

Before joining the WWU faculty in the fall of 2012, Pullen was a fellow in a National Institutes of Health-funded IRACDA program at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Va. IRACDA (Institutional Research and Academic Center Development Award) is a national teaching and research grant program partnering research universities with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Pullen taught biology and biochemistry at VCU and chemistry at Elizabeth City State University, as part of his fellowship. He was also a participant fellow in the National Science Foundation-funded Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching (FIRST-IV), and he received the AAAS/Science Program Award for Excellence in Science.

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., in 2005, Pullen went on to earn a Ph.D. in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology from VCU in 2010.

He has published and continues scientific research in two areas: mast cell biology (crucial players in allergy and asthma) and cancers of the central nervous system; most recently his activities have included education research related to undergraduate science education.