Dr. Marcus Wagner (Class of 2017) joins the Biology Department as a visiting assistant professor and secures donation of major equipment for Ursinus
As a Ursinus Alumna of the Class of 2017, Dr. Marcus Wagner has returned as a researcher and professor teaching Human Physiology, Human Physiology Lab, Cell Biology, and Cell Biology Lab. He participated in Dr. Beth Bailey’s lab on campus as an undergraduate student. Dr. Bailey greatly influenced his path to a career in higher education and his research focuses on heart pathology.
Performing his post-doctoral training at UPenn, he researched the genetic form of heart failure known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. This is a very common disease that about one in 500 people suffer from and the current treatment of lowering strenuous exercise has proved to be ineffective. Dr. Wagner’s previous research done in graduate school and post-doctoral training is continuing on here at Ursinus. His lab is looking to focus on how immune cell populations of the heart will change in response to the bodily effects exercise has with or without physiological stressors. Dr. Wagner shares, “The goal of [his] lab is to identify how immune cell populations in the cardiac and splenic tissue change in response to exercise.”
Coming back to continue his career at Ursinus, Dr. Wagner was instrumental in the donation of a piece of equipment called a Flow Cytometer, to the Biology Department from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Wagner shared that “…flow cytometry is really the only true cellular-based assay where we can visualize a singular cell and its key identifiers simultaneously in a high throughput manner. We can directly quantify the number and percentage of specific immune cell populations in the heart. Without this instrument, we would not be able to characterize individual cellular populations, but rather only demonstrate relative expression of the different markers … We will extract immune cells from these tissues and visualize these population dynamics utilizing the flow cytometer.”
Dr. Wagner and his lab team of seven students (Mackenzie Donatelli, Bailey Hann, Megan Aube, Jonah Kasznay, Alexa Fooks, Julia Rosenthal, Donatas Avellino) have already begun accomplishing their goals with the flow cytometer. Dr. Wagner and his lab are extremely thankful for the new equipment sharing, “…This will better help prepare my students, as well as future students at the college, to be well versed in a complex, time effective, and impactful assay that is largely being utilized in biomedical research programs. Ursinus having access to and housing this type of equipment is not only impressive but can greatly impact the trajectory of our research programs.” Dr. Wagner has come full circle with a Ursinus education and is making an impact on the students, department, and community on campus.