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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

JasonPictured is adjunct faculty member Jason Young, originally from Grand Rapids, MI, where he grew up gazing through a telescope year-round with his grandfather. He earned degrees in Physics and Astronomy with a minor in Latin at the University of Arizona, and a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State. Jason loves giving tours of the night sky, and has over 13 years of experience operating planetariums for public outreach programs. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening and bicycling. 

Jason is now a principle investigator in collaborative efforts with three astronomers at various institutions (Penn State, Georgia State, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory) studying low surface brightness (LSB) galaxies. This class of galaxy is so faint that they are nearly invisible and have been missed by many sky surveys, even though Jason’s group is discovering that they are actually very numerous. His team is working to answer the question of why these galaxies have so few stars even though they are near twins to normal spiral galaxies, like our Milky Way in terms of size, mass, and gas content.

Jason adds, “It is our aim to shed light on the process of star formation in general through an understanding of why LSB galaxies have produced so few stars. To this end, our project examines a sample of LSB galaxies with the aims of determining a) how fast they are producing stars, b) where in these galaxies star formation is occurring, and c) how current star formation compares to star formation in the past.” 

To accomplish this, his team will have to compare model galaxies against brightness measurements made in the ultraviolet, optical, and infrared portions of the spectrum. Jason mentions, “We've carefully chosen targets for which archival infrared observations already exist, and we're in the process of making ultraviolet and optical observations.”

His team was awarded four nights last November 2013 and recently awarded three nights this December 17-19, 2014, to make the optical observations at the McDonald Observatory in Texas. They were also awarded time on the Swift space telescope to make the ultraviolet observations; these observations are now complete.  Jason feels confident that this campaign will likely result in at least four publications, or more depending on their findings.

Additionally, Jason’s team has just received word that their proposal for radio observations on the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia was accepted for spring of 2015. Radio telescopes are ideal for detecting molecular gas, which is a key step in the formation process of stars. They hope that through these observations they can learn at what step the process of star formation is arrested in LSB galaxies.  Jason and his team plan to publish a paper on their findings and, depending on what are detected, possible proposals for additional radio observations. Congratulations to Jason Young and his team and we wish them luck in the future! 

Lauren

Alumni Lauren Sakowski graduated from the Mount in 2009 and is currently working on her PhD. in neuroscience at the University of Delaware. Ms. Sakowski is currently a graduate research assistant at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in the Department of Biomedical Research also works in the Neurogenetics Research Laboratory, characterizing a new mouse model of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease and working on pre-clinical trials to treat inflammation. She has created a blog called NeurocultureBlog to review "recent publications in neuroscience, mainly neurodegenerative disesase, and grad school life." Read about her experience and new pressing issues by clicking the link below and checking out Lauren's blog! The School of Natural Science and Mathematics want to congratulate Lauren in her success and wish his luck in the future.

Link: http://neurocultureblog.wordpress.com/

DelmonicoDr. William Meredith (on the left) is pictured above with Dr. Frank Delmonico (on the right), C'66 just before this year's #MeredithLecture on "Organ Donation, Human Rights, Social Justice, and the Declaration of Istanbul." Dr. Delmonico is a former Board member of the National Kidney Foundation and a recipient of the NKF’s David M. Hume lifetime achievement award. He was a co-recipient of the Prince of Asturias award on behalf of The Transplantation Society for his efforts in the establishment of the Declaration of Istanbul. He also is the recipient of the Shumakov Medal from the Moscow Institute of Transplantation and the Gold Medal of the Catalan Transplantation Society. As a former Councilor of the American Society of Transplantation, Dr. Delmonico was also a recipient of the AST’s Senior Clinician Award.  As an Alumnus of Mount St. Mary's, he was the recipient of the Founder’s Bruté Medal.

Dr. Delmonico has been an invited lecturer and Visiting Professor in numerous cities and universities in more than 70 countries throughout the world.  He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Pan American University of Mexico City. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 publications, including in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, the Journal of the American Medical Association and theNew York Times. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs including Nightline, Good Morning AmericaCBS Sunday Morning America, Bloomberg News and NPR News.

Although Dr. Delmonico is Professor of Surgery Harvard Medical School at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is Emeritus Director of Renal Transplantation, he still found time to come lecture at the Mount. If you were unable to attend, please view the link below to watch his full lecture: http://new.livestream.com/msmu/events/3509985  

Career Mentors NetworkDo you have expertise or experience that our students should hear about? Do you have some sage words of advice for young up-and-comers in your field? Or are you interested in talking to some undergraduates and helping them as they wrestle with decisions about careers and graduate schools? Then you might consider becoming a Career Mentor for the School of Natural Science and Mathematics!

The Dean’s Office is assembling a group of potential mentors to participate in a new Career Mentoring Network. Many students don’t have a clear understanding of the types of careers that are available or of the day-to-day realities of a chosen career. Furthermore, studies have shown that undergraduates who interact with role models are more likely to persist in the major and attend graduate school.

Mentors will fill out an agreement form which clearly lays out the time commitment, the preferred method of communication with students (e.g., phone, email, in-person), and whether you would like to initiate the contact yourself or if students can initiate it. Your name and brief biography will be added to our mentor list along with only the contact information you wish to provide. In-person meetings on campus will normally be arranged by our Office.

To kickoff the Career Mentoring Network, the School’s Board of Advisors had dinner with 15 students in early October while they were on campus for their semi-annual board meeting. The dinner was a great success – students had a great time talking with a group of our most involved alumni that included doctors, the owner of a software company, dentists, a toxicologist, and biotechnology leaders.

If you are interested in being part of the Mentoring Network, please contact the Dean’s Office and we will send you a Mentoring Agreement Form.

EricEric Sakowski C'08 (on right) is now a doctoral student in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware where his research along with his team is going to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). Eric is a part of a team of researchers that have discovered that an ancient gene- ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), which occurs in all cellular life- provides important biological insights into the characteristics of unknown viruses in the sea. The results of this research could potentially lead to a new set of tools for understanding the inner workings of marine microbial communities.

Eric explains, “When we’re studying these viruses, they aren’t viruses we can observe. We can’t grow them in a lab we can’t physically look at most of them, so the only thing we have to go on is the genetic sequence. And, then, if you don’t have the sequence data that you’ve seen before, it’s really hard to make conclusions about the virus that it came from.”  

Read more about this article at: http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2015/oct/rnr-virus-biology-101414.html

Patricia Yam was one out of two students chosen for a nurse residency program for the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. The program is designed for new graduates from the School of Nursing offering a three year commitment to work for the Hopkins hospital with an option to work part time in third year if the recipient decides to attend graduate school. This type of program serves as a pilot study and opportunity for Graduates to be trained and gain experience in specialized units. Historically, units such as PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) would only hire nurses with critical care experience or emergency department backgrounds. Patricia explains that “it’s super exciting to become a part of the unit as a new graduate.” 

As a part of this new exciting residency program, Patricia will be doing her last semester/ practicum in the PACU unit rather than starting after she graduates. This will give her the opportunity to learn more about and become more familiar with the unit. When asked about the application process Patricia added, “Submitting your resume, an essay, recommendation letter was the first round…They then selected students to proceed to interview with the nurse manager of the unit. The entire process took maybe a month! But waiting for an answer was definitely nerve wracking!” Congratulations to Patricia and we wish her luck in her bright future! 

RobA big thank you goes out to Mr. Rob Sabo for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his knowledge of Ecology Research with our students through our Undergraduate Seminar Series! Mr. Sabo presented his research to a sellout crowd on the third floor of the Coad Science building titled “Hydrologic and Biogeochemical controls of atmospheric nitrate export in a temperate forest watershed.” Mr. Sabo a proud Mount alumnus and current Ph.D. student for the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. His research primarily deals with nitrogen flux in forested and mixed land use ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. He has received multiple grants and fellowships to aid in his education and research including an EPA STAR Fellowship ($144,000), USGS Summer Fellowship ($6,600), and a National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant ($5,000). In addition to his graduate research activities, Robert is currently implementing a small watershed monitoring network to afford undergraduates greater research opportunities in the environmental sciences. Robert currently resides in Frostburg, MD with his wife (another proud Mount almnus), and their two year old daughter.

Presentation Description: How has acid rain impacted the N cycle in temperate forests? Why are stream nitrate concentrations in predominantly forested watersheds declining throughout the mid-Atlantic? Forests cover about 66% of the land area in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and provide clean water to downstream communities. Understanding the hydrology and biogeochemistry of these ecosystems will be instrumental in accomplishing Bay clean-up goals and ensuring the proper management/preservation of forests. The emergence of long-term datasets and the development of new stable isotopic approaches now offer insights into the storage, transformation, and transport of N in forests. These findings will allow the development of mechanistic models that predict future forest responses to acid rain, disturbances, and climate change. 

 
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