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Interested in joining Phi Sigma?

Interested in joining Phi Sigma?

Membership in Phi Sigma is open to all students majoring in the biological sciences. Students are nominated for membership by the biology faculty based on their scholarship and research activities, then undergo an application and interview process. Contact us at if you’re…

Phi Sigma Tutoring Hours

Phi Sigma Tutoring Hours

Need some help with your Bio classes? Phi Sigma holds tutoring every Tuesday and Thursday 8-9 pm in the Biology Resource Room (Thompson 274)!

Phi Sigma Biology Honor Society

The Phi Sigma Biological Sciences Honor Society was founded at Ohio State University in 1915. We are a national organization devoted to the promotion of research and academic excellence in the biological sciences. The Puget Sound chapter, Alpha Phi, was chartered in 1948 by noted Puget Sound biologists including James R. Slater and Gordon D. Alcorn. Phi Sigma members participate in activities such as volunteering, social events, tutoring, and an annual research symposium.


Undergraduate Research Symposium - April 5th and 6th, 2019!

Keynote speaker:

Dr. Jennifer Adair, keynote speaker

Dr. Jennifer Adair, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center Clinical Research Division (more about Dr. Adair)

“Bringing Gene Therapy to the Table and Beyond”

April 5th, 5-6 pm, Thompson 175

Abstract: With the first Food and Drug Administration approvals of gene therapeutics in the United States in 2017, the field of gene therapy is exponentially growing and changing the landscape of how we treat disease. Because blood cells replenish daily, circulated to every tissue in the body and can be collected without surgery, they make an ideal target for gene therapy. Blood cell gene therapy in particular is being used to treat genetic, infectious and malignant diseases, with hundreds of clinical trials ongoing worldwide. This lecture will cover the current state-of-the art in blood cell gene therapy. Special attention will be paid to barriers that drive safety, feasibility and cost of this treatment approach. New technologies that reduce the costs of manufacturing and make these patient-specific cell therapies more attainable in clinics all over the world will be introduced. Finally, this lecture will cover the long-term outlook for blood cell gene therapy and the next generation of innovation required to get there.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

April 6th, 8:30 am – 5 pm, Thompson 175

Poster Session, Time TBA, Harned Hall 2nd Floor Colonnade

Listen to Puget Sound students give talks about their research!


Phi Sigma Officers, 2018-19

Jacob Shaffer

Position: President


Hi, my name is Jacob Shaffer and I’m a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology. I am the current president of the Alpha Phi chapter of Phi Sigma. I joined Phi Sigma to become more involved in the UPS Biology Department and give back through volunteering and tutoring fellow students in biology classes. My research interests include microbial ecology and genomics, and I am working as a biology tutor in the Center for Writing, Learning, & Teaching.

 Gabriel McHugh, Co-Vice President



Olivia Perotti, Co-Vice President

Gabriel McHugh

Position: Co-Vice President


I am a third-year student, my current work in Dr Ramakrishnan’s lab focuses on Parkenson’s models in Zebrafish. My previous research has looked at the impacts of Ibuprofen on the neuroendocrine system of Zebrafish, the effects of stress in the Zebrafish hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis, as well as measuring stress levels in developing Zebrafish embryos.  As CO-Vice President of Phi Sigma Biological Honors Society I coordinate new member initiation and registration with the national Phi Sigma Biological Honors Society.


Olivia Perotti

Position: Co-Vice President


I am a third-year molecular and cellular biology major with minors in politics & government and math. I work under Dr. Mark Martin and Dr. Stacey Weiss doing microbiology work related to the microbiome of striped plateau lizards. I am looking into the bacteria deposited on the outside of lizard eggs and the potential protective antifungal mechanism they may provide for eggs in the wild. I joined Phi Sigma because I wanted to be a part of a community of people who love biology and want to connect with others who do as well. As a co-VP, I manage the recruitment process and work to make new inductees feel welcome and comfortable. 

 Erin Nicholson, Secretary Erin Nicholson

Position: Secretary


I am a pre-med biology major with a neuroscience minor. I transferred to UPS in August 2017 and am graduating in May 2019 and taking a year off before applying to medical school. I joined Phi Sigma in the spring of 2018 to meet more biology nerds and I have been the secretary since then.

 Elena Fulton, Education & Social Chair

Elena Fulton

Position: Education and Social Chair


My name is Elena Fulton and I am a Molecular Cellular Biology major with a minor in Religious Studies. Outside of science, I love to rock climb, bake bread, and explore new coffee shops around Tacoma. I chose to join Phi Sigma because I was excited to have a community of people who were dedicated to both science and service, and I love having people to talk to about exciting concepts in biology!

 Sam Gonzalez, Symposium Co-Chair Samuel Gonzalez

Position: Symposium Co-Chair


I’m a molecular and cellular biology major working in the Saucedo lab. My current research looks at the role of PRL-1 (Phosphatase of Regenerating Liver 1), which has been shown to function as an oncogene and a tumor suppressor in different contexts, in the larval brain of fruit flies. I also studied fruit fly neural circuits at Fred Hutch last summer.  Furthermore, I have played on the men's soccer team at UPS for the last four years. I joined Phi Sigma to be closer to my fellow biology and MCB majors as well as to join an environment that loved to talk science.


Leah Ikenberry

Position: Symposium Co-Chair


My name is Leah Ikenberry and I am a biology major interested primarily in zoology and behavioral ecology. I joined Phi Sigma to be more connected to the biology department on campus and have more interaction with my fellow peers and biology faculty and staff.

 Nicki Bouché, Environmental Co-Chair


Emily Grahn, Environmental Co-Chair

Nicki Bouché

Position: Environmental Co-Chair


I really didn't have one specific reason for joining...I knew that I loved biology and every bio professor that I took a class with, but I didn't feel super connected to the biology department here at UPS. So I guess I joined as a way to feel more involved and connected with the department as a whole, and as a way to get to know other students involved in biology on campus on a deeper level than just having small talk during classes. It was a great decision because I definitely feel way more involved with the bio department and my love for bio grew even more!


Emily Grahn

Position:Environmental Co-Chair


I am a biology major going into Infectious Disease and Parasitism, hoping to achieve an MD/PhD. I joined Phi Sigma because it is a society of incredible people all dedicated to the promotion of science.  My role is to reach out and find others to help with our organization, something that is incredibly rewarding. The union of minds and the genuine care each person provides makes us a strong organization, one that I am proud to be a part of.

 Noah Dillon, Faculty/Alumni Relations Noah Dillon

Position: Faculty/Alumni Relations


The society was an opportunity to interact with a community of scientists to build a comforting environment that promotes discovery. This group has become an invaluable resource not only for the campus community but also for myself in academics. 


Kathryn White

Position: Faculty/Alumni Relations

 Nico Heyning, Social Media Chair Nico Heyning

Position: Social Media Chair


I joined Phi Sigma because I enjoy teaching others something I am passionate about. I have always love biology, particularly marine biology, and I love sharing my passion to others. Phi Sigma allows me to help others who need help.