Something is fishy in the dean’s office!

William Mueller/Upstate Medical University

Mark Schmitt is the dean of the College of Graduate Studies at Upstate Medical University in the State University of New York. His passions in life include the endoribonuclease RNase MRP and a 120-gallon saltwater reef fish tank containing a variety of fish and coral.

A blog post by his institution described the biochemistry and molecular biology professor’s tank as “home to more than 30 kinds of live coral and seven colorful fish – a purple tang and a hippo tang (think Dory from Disney), a pair of clownfish (Nemo), a coral beauty, a royal gramma and a very shy Mandarin that is rarely seen.”

Schmitt says: “There’s a lot of science involved in maintaining the whole reef tank, so, being a scientist, I find it to be very fascinating.”

Schmitt feeds the fish three times a week and says the tank, which is an ecosystem on its own, containing fancy equipment such as an ultraviolet sterilizer, a protein skimmer, a sump filter, a bioreactor and special lights, has a calming effect when the stress of grant deadlines and paper submissions begins to take its toll.

Samarpita Sengupta Samarpita Sengupta is a postdoctoral fellow in the pharmacology and neuroscience departments at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.