Gannon University Biology Professor Receives HAPS Grant

Posted: March 6, 2015

Mary Vagula, Ph.D., associate professor of biology at Gannon University, has received a grant from the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS), which will fund the purchase of pulse oxymeters, small devices that measure the oxygen content of blood and other vital signs.

Vagula will use the devices in experiments she is designing to measure oxygen saturation of blood, blood pressure and heart rate in simulated underwater diving scenarios. Gannon University physiology students will simulate the effects of diving and measure responses using the oxymeters. In the future, the equipment can be used in studies on the effects of sleep apnea and asthma.

Vagula serves on the curriculum and instruction, animal use and safety committees of HAPS, which promotes excellence in teaching of anatomy and physiology and has over 1,700 members from secondary and post-secondary education, and businesses worldwide.

At the Society's 2014 annual conference, Vagula presented two posters, "Mapping the incidence pattern of some ailments and autoimmune disease among young adults from PA, USA using GIS" and "Innovations in instructional technology to enhance learning experiences of upper level biology students." The former presented the incidence pattern of six conditions (myopia, asthma, hyperopia, depression, acid reflux disease and eczema) in young adults living in Erie, Pa., while the latter reported the effectiveness of instructional technology in student engagement and learning of an upper level physiology course.

"I'm very happy to receive this grant and I feel it is an honor to purchase equipment for teaching physiology," Vagula said. "I've been involved in using technology for these laboratories, but mostly software tools, so this is a wonderful opportunity to expand our research."