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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

Keyword: alumni

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! 

Carly Lay Geronimo, a 2011 graduate from the Mount, is a rising third year graduate student in the Molecular Biology Program at Princeton University. Last June, she joined the lab of Dr. Virginia Zakian, her advisor, and is studying telomerase regulation using budding yeast as the model organism.

Recently, she received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship award, which provides funding for Carly Lay for three years. Over 14,000 students apply and only 2,000 students are given awards. For more information about the program visit http://www.nsfgrfp.org/).

When asked about her research, Carly Lay replied with the following statement: "For my research project, I am investigating the role of the Pif1 DNA helicase as a negative regulator of telomerase using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the model organism. Telomerase is a specialized enzyme whose essential function is to maintain telomeres, which are the physical ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. In cells that lack telomerase activity, telomeres progressively shorten with each round of DNA replication, and when the telomere reaches a critical length, most cells senesce and die. Thus, telomerase regulation is imperative for proper maintenance of the cell because misregulation can lead to replicative senescense, apoptosis, and compromised genome integrity. Pif1 is an important negative regulator of telomere length because Pif1 is the only helicase in yeast that has been shown to directly and catalytically inhibit telomerase. Therefore, the main objectives of my research project are to determine how Pif1 gets recruited to telomeres and to elucidate the mechanism behind Pif1 inhibition of telomerase."

We congratulate Carly Lay on this prestigious award and we expect many great things from her in the future!

Throughout the semester, the School of Natural Science and Mathematics hosts speakers to present their research or provide an informative lecture on their field of study. These speakers are recommended by the current faculty or are alumni who come back and share their experiences after the Mount. Nicole Calabro C’11, presented in September to a group of students and faculty about her research surrounding an experimental biomaterial that could help heal wounds faster. She graduated from the Mount with a Biology degree and is currently pursuing a PhD at Yale School of Medicine.

 
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