Meet the Natural Science & Mathematics Faculty
Dr. James Murphy graduated from Manhattan College with a BS in Biology (Teacher Preparation). He earned a MS and PhD in Biochemistry from the Sackler Institute of the New York University School of Medicine, graduating in 1994. Dr. Murphy joined Bloomfield College the same year.
In the past Dr. Murphy has studied both the molecular biology of cancer and the molecular biology of parasitism in insects. These days he focuses on the chemical modification of proteins in peas. Specifically, Dr. Murphy is interested in the effects of deacetylase inhibitors on pea root meristems. This research has resulted in publications, numerous student poster presentations as well as a recent GenBank sequence report for the Vitamin B12 Independent Methionine Synthase mRNA, accession number “KJ890480” that can be found at the website for the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Bloomfield College students have been coauthors on all these reports. This sequence will allow Dr. Murphy’s group to infer the amino acid sequence of the Methionine Synthase and investigate chemical modification of its amino acids, such as acetylation.
Dr. Murphy usually teaches the General Biology courses, “Diversity” and “Cell.” As well as the upperlevel Biochemistry II and Bioseminar.
Grace Cook is currently the Freshman Mathematics Coordinator and an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Bloomfield College. She has been a part of the college since 2013. She is a member of the Mathematical Association of America, Golden Key, Kappa Delta Pi, and Delta Phi Epsilon. She also consults for ETS and the New York City Department of Education. She has previously taught at the high school and collegiate level and worked as a test developer, statistician, and engineer
Dr. Cook has a Ph.D. in General Education from Walden University (2014) Dissertation Title: A Case Study of Curriculum Based Organizational Change in an Elementary Teacher Preparation Program, a M.S. in Applied Mathematics, a Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics from Stevens Institute of Technology (2001), a B.S. in Mathematics, Minor in Literature from Stevens Institute of Technology (2001), and is a New Jersey and Maryland Certified Teacher in Mathematics.
Professor Greg Edens joined the Division of Natural Sciences and Math in September 2013 after having worked seven years in industry. Prior to that he had more than seven years’ experience teaching general, analytical, and instrumental chemistry.
Dr. Edens earned his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at Purdue University, his Masters degree in Chemical Engineering at University of Illinois, Chicago, and his Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.
Since his college freshman days, Edens has loved General Chemistry because of the breadth of topics covered. He enjoys learning new things each time through and strives to improve his teaching each year to inspire students, to give them a good foundation for upper level science courses, and particularly to prepare them for Analytical Chemistry and Physical Chemistry, which he also teaches.
In Summer 2015 he supervised two students in a research project to determine mercury in fish. The students found that chunk light tuna has less mercury than solid white albacore, while Ahi tuna has very high levels of mercury. With the support of a NASA grant, one of the students will study the geographic distribution of mercury as implicated by levels in fish.
He enjoys listening to classical music, playing the piano; and gardening, cooking and riding bicycles with his wife. Ask him about a book that has changed his eating habits and improved his health. He enjoys reading chemistry journals, as well as textbooks about physical chemistry and thermodynamics.
Dr. Leila Koepp is currently the Biology Coordinator in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and is a full professor at Bloomfield College. She has been part of the college since 1982. She has previously taught at several institutions including Montclair State University, Farleigh Dickenson University, and Upsala College. She held positions as a bacteriologist at several hospitals including Flow Memorial Hospital in Denton, Texas and Overlook Hospital in Summit New Jersey.
Dr. Koepp has a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology from Rutgers University, formerly University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ), Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (1982). Dissertation title: The Molecular Basis for the Biological Activity of the Slime Glycolipoprotein of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain BI, a M.S. in Microbiology from North Texas State University, Denton, Texas (1970), a B.A. in Biology from Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania. (1968).
At Bloomfield College she taught many courses including General Biology, Clinical Physiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Genetics, Developmental Biology and has developed an Immunology course which has been added to the curriculum and which she has taught in the past and continues to teach as needed. Presently she mostly teaches multiple sections of Microbiology to biology majors and nursing students. She also has transformed the genetics curriculum to reflect multicultural/multiracial issues and introduced a course for non-majors that deals with Biotechnology and Human Affairs.
Most of her research during her graduate studies focused on the investigation of the molecular basis for the pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa which has resulted in multiple publications in scientific journals.
She has investigated and cloned the SPO7 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with Dr. David Kabak at UMDNJ and has presented the results at several scientific meetings.
She has been involved with student research which focuses on bacterial leaf scorch (BLS) of oak trees in Northern NJ. The disease is caused by Xylella fastidiosa bacterium which infects the xylem of the leaves leading to leaf scorching and eventually death of the trees. Samples of oak leaves were collected and PCR analysis was conducted on these samples. The leaves were also analyzed by SEM with positive results for the bacterium.
In 2014 she published a book “Topics in Grief” which could be found on Amazon in honor of her late son David Koepp. She also has a blog TopicsInGrief.com
Demetris Nicolaides is a theoretical physicist and a book author.
In college, he enrolled in a five-year program that would allow him to earn his bachelor's and master's degrees in physics simultaneously. He obtained these degrees plus a bachelor's in mathematics (through a double major), cum laude, but in 3½ years. He continued his studies and earned a second master and a Ph.D. in physics from the City University of New York. He was first in his physics class and for it received the Paul Klapper Physics Award "as the outstanding physics major." He was also awarded Certificates of Honors in both physics and mathematics.
Dr. Nicolaides is now a professor of physics at the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics at Bloomfield College where he teaches physics and astronomy. He loves teaching and he is grateful to his students whose thirst for knowledge keeps him improving.
He has a passion for science and also philosophy. His scientific research covers a broad range of diverse topics. In physics he investigates the properties of matter near the critical point of a phase transition. In the philosophy of physics he examines, mainly, Presocratic natural philosophy and modern science in light of each other. He believes that all things in nature, even the apparently different, share a subtle underlying commonality, which he strives to find.
Professor Nicolaides has authored many scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented his research at conferences nationally. His book, In the Light of Science, a Library Journal bestseller, is an accessible presentation of the history of science and of science itself. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the International Association for Presocratic Studies.
Dr. Vogt is Professor of Chemistry. She obtained her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of WisconsinMilwaukee. Her specialty is Organic Chemistry and she has a minor in Biochemistry.
Between receiving her B.S. and M.S. degrees, Professor Vogt first worked as a research assistant at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the area of electron spin resonance spectroscopy (ESR). Subsequently, she worked as a Medical Technologist at Milwaukee County General Hospital, in the area of Special Chemistry.
Following completion of the Ph.D. degree, Professor Vogt spent four years as a Research (postdoctoral) Associate at the Ben May Laboratory for Cancer Research at The University of Chicago, investigating aspects of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Professor Vogt’s multiple research experiences resulted in a total of 45 scholarly, reviewed publications in journals including “Synthesis,” “Journal of Organic Chemistry,” “Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences,” “Cancer Research,” “Zeitschrift fuer Naturforschung”, and “Organic Synthesis,” among others.
After completion of the postdoctoral studies, Professor Vogt obtained a faculty position at Rutgers University Newark. Rutgers’ focus was on research, rather than teaching, resulting in her arrival at Bloomfield College.
At Bloomfield College, Professor Vogt teaches a number of courses. These include seminar classes, Organic Chemistry lectures/laboratories, Biochemistry lecture/laboratory, and the chemistry course required of nursing majors. After many years in research, her focus has turned towards providing the best possible education in the classroom. She feels it is impossible to do two things very well. One can either be an excellent researcher or an excellent pedagogue. Professor Vogt prefers to be in that “pedagogue” category.
At the College, Professor Vogt has sponsored numerous undergraduate research projects. Her areas of interest include instrumentation and method development of experiments to incorporate into the undergraduate laboratory experience. Her students have participated in numerous poster sessions and have obtained scholarships from the American Chemical Society and the Independent College Fund of New Jersey.
Professor Vogt spends a lot of her time teaching and helping students. Her office has been called “Grand Central Station.” She advises many science majors, including the chemistry, Preprofessional (medical, dental, podiatry, physical therapy, physician assistant, pharmacy), Allied Health Technologies, Medical Laboratory Science, Medical Imaging Science, etc. majors. However, she does have a life outside of the College. She and her husband love to travel. Favorites include Montana (in the summer) and Florida (in the winter). Travel generally does not include “touristy” activities. With her husband, she has been into mines, collected fossils/minerals, gone horseback riding and visited ghost towns, just to name a few. Her favorite memories include snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park and a visit to the Corning Museum in the Finger Lakes region of New York. When at home, her major interest is in “fussy plants.” She loves orchids and treating them with benign neglect to get them to rebloom.