Press Release

April 15, 2024 | By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan students Jack Gensler (left) and Natalia Molotievskiy stand with the award-winning research posters they presented at the annual meeting of the Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. (Photos by Paul Vernon)

Science Success

Ohio Wesleyan Students Present, Earn Award at Statewide Microbiology Meeting

DELAWARE, Ohio – Five Ohio Wesleyan University students presented research at the annual meeting of the Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology, with two Bishops tying for the best undergraduate student poster award.

OWU students Jack Gensler and Natalia Molotievskiy shared the society's Allan A. and Jann. M. Ichida Award for their research posters. The award is named in honor of two former Ohio Wesleyan faculty members.

The Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (OBASM) meeting, held April 5-6 at Ohio Wesleyan, drew more than 130 microbiologists from across the state, including professors and high school, college undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students. Ohio Wesleyan last hosted the meeting 19 years ago, said OWU's Laura Tuhela-Reuning, Ph.D., an OBASM executive committee member and an assistant dean for academic affairs, part-time professor of Biological Sciences, and director of the Summer Science Research Program at Ohio Wesleyan.

OWU faculty member Andrea Suria presents research as an invited speaker at the 2024 annual meeting of the Ohio Branch of the American Society of Microbiology. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

In addition to the OWU students who presented posters at the two-day conference, Ohio Wesleyan professor Andrea Suria, Ph.D., was a featured speaker, sharing research titled, "Genetics of bacterial competition in Hawaiian bobtail squid reproductive symbionts."

An assistant professor of Biological Sciences, Suria's research examines how beneficial bacterial symbionts protect their host animals from infection. Her laboratory uses genetic mutations, in vitro bioassays, and bioinformatic tools to conduct the research.

Ohio Wesleyan students selected to present posters at the annual meeting of the Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (OBASM) and their research projects are:

  • Jack Gensler, a Microbiology major from Toledo, Ohio: "Enzymatic Activity & Detection of Nitrifying Microorganisms in Purple Pitcher Plants on Beaver Island, Michigan." Gensler completed his research during a National Science Foundation-supported Research for Undergraduates Experience (REU) at Central Michigan University in collaboration with Peter Kourtev, Ph.D., CMU professor of Biology.
  • Andrew Inamdar, a Microbiology and Pre-Medicine/Pre-Dentistry double major and a Chemistry minor from Lewis Center, Ohio: "Determining the role of a potential antimicrobial gene cluster in Hawaiian bobtail squid symbiont, Leisingera sp. ANG1." The research was conducted in collaboration with OWU's professor Suria.
  • Mindi Klaus, a Microbiology and Pre-Professional Zoology double major from Marion, Ohio: "The Role of Rps26-Deficient Ribosomes in Sugar Metabolism." This research was conducted in collaboration with Katrin Karbstein, Ph.D., professor of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at The Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology in Florida. (Due to illness, Klaus was unable to attend the event, but her abstract was included.)
  • Natalia Molotievskiy, a Microbiology major from Columbus, Ohio: "Feather-Degrading Bacteria: Screening and Characterization of Isolates from Microbial Collections." This research was conducted in collaboration with professors Suria and Tuhela-Reuning.
  • Ireland Nowak, a Pre-Professional Zoology, Pre-Medicine/Dentistry, and Biochemistry triple major and a Spanish and Chemistry double minor from Thousand Oaks, California: "Comparison of the gut microbiome of canines from residential homes and mill-bred dogs." The research was conducted in collaboration with Kiley Lewin, Ph.D., Ohio Wesleyan visiting assistant professor of Biological Sciences.
  • Ivan Vore, a Microbiology major from Lewis Center, Ohio: "Hawaiian bobtail squid symbiont interspecies competition is mediated by a diffusible antimicrobial and the type VI secretion system." This research was conducted in collaboration with OWU's professor Suria.

Tuhela-Reuning said she was excited to see two Bishops earn the OBASM award named after Allan and Jann Ichida, who served the university for nearly 85 combined years. Allan taught Botany-Bacteriology, and Jann served as an Environmental Health and Safety expert and adjunct professor of Botany-Microbiology. Both are deceased.

OBASM is part of the American Society for Microbiology, established in 1899, which has 36,000 members worldwide. From climate change, antimicrobial resistance, industrial, basic and applied microbiology, the society is a leader in scientific publishing, stands for open science, and advocates for evidence-based public policies.

Learn more about the American Society for Microbiology at and more about studying Biological Sciences, including Microbiology, at Ohio Wesleyan at

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature experience, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to understand issues from multiple academic perspectives, volunteer in service to others, build a diverse and global perspective, and translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience through internships, research, and other hands-on learning. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives" and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review "Best Colleges" lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at or learn more at