Westminster College Biology Alumna Gets Her Capstone Research Published in BIOS

Monday, November 11, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Kaylynn Coates, a Westminster College alumna who received her degree in biology in May,  recently published the results of her capstone research in BIOS, a quarterly biology journal and the journal of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Society.

"Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors are Required for Nesmate-Odor Memory Retrieval but not for Olfaction in Harvester Ants" discusses how the ability of social insects to distinguish between nestmates and non-nestmates is odor-based, learned and critical to the survival of the colony. The aim of the study was to further investigate the role of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in nestmate recognition in harvester ants. 

The paper was a report of Coates' capstone project which was supervised by her co-author, Dr. Katherine Robertson. At Westminster, the final component of liberal studies is a senior study, or capstone, course.  The capstone is a four-semester-hour (minimum) course within the major designed to provide an opportunity for students to evaluate and assess the strengths and limitations of their major field. The capstone experience permits opportunity for structured reflection on the value of education in and beyond the major and provides an opportunity to strengthen communication and problem-solving skills.

Coates also presented the research at the 50th Annual Animal Behavior Society Conference in Boulder, Colo., in July.

Coates is a daughter of Gary and Sally Coates of Greenville and a graduate of Reynolds High School.

Robertson, associate professor of biology, joined the Westminster faculty in 2005, earned an undergraduate degree from Paddington College, UK, and master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of London.

Contact Robertson at 724-946-7213 or email for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 378 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.