Springfield, Ohio — Students around Wittenberg University's campus are likely most familiar with Michael Condon, class of 2010 from Powell, Ohio, as a fleet-footed, hard-working midfielder on the Tiger men's soccer team. A three-year starter and now a team captain, Condon has made a name for himself on the pitch after playing a key role in the Tigers' run to the 2008 NCAA Division III Tournament.
That's just part of this student-athlete's story, however. An aspiring medical school applicant, Condon has given himself a competitive advantage for the future through his complex work in the biology laboratory. His research on giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches was published in a recent issue of the acclaimed scientific journal Symbiosis.
Condon collaborated on the research with Professor of Biology Jay Yoder. They published the findings about symbiotic interactions between two different organisms living together, specifically focusing on the Madagascar hissing cockroach and the effect of adding mites to the surface of the cockroach.
As Madagascar hissing cockroaches are frequently handled in classrooms, zoos and museums, Condon and Yoder realized the importance of removing the fungi-type mold that frequently accumulates on the surface of this particular species of cockroach. They focused on a way to decrease or eliminate the fungus and thus prevent mold allergies and asthma that sometimes develops among children interacting with these creatures.
"The importance of this research is that it shows that these mites can control mold allergy in humans," said Condon, a biology major. "As far as the cockroach is concerned, these mites likely remove fungal pathogens that could kill the cockroach so the cockroach benefits."
Symbiosis is one of the world's leading biological journals, particularly in ecology, with a focus on interactions that involve how two different organisms live together and any benefits that result. It is relatively unusual for undergraduates to be published in such journals.
Written By: Lizzie Amorello '09