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Prof Portier

The Mount is pleased to welcome Assistant Professor Rebecca Portier as the newest member of the Computer Science faculty. Professor Portier brings over 25 years of experience in...Read More...


The Women in Science has been a prevalent part of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics for quite some time. However, on August 25, the Women in Science changed their name to...Read More...

John AndjabaJohn Andjaba C’16 has earned a rare honor for an undergraduate – his research paper is going to appear in a premier chemistry journal, Chemical Communications. John, a senior Chemistry major, has been working on his research project since his freshman year under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher Bradley, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Bradley is one of the co-authors of the paper entitled, “Cp*Co(IPr): synthesis and reactivity of an unsaturated Co(I) complex” along with Jesse W. Tye (Ball State University), Pony Yu (Princeton University), and Iraklis Pappas (Princeton University) . The Chemical Communications Journal is in the top 10-15% of chemistry journals worldwide in impact factor and in the past year has published research from top schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Oxford. Dr. Bradley explains, “Undergraduates rarely end up publishing articles in such journals as the first (primary) author. This particular journal probably has 1-2 articles a year with undergraduates as the primary author.” This publication sets John apart from other chemistry undergraduates and will open up doors in his future.


John’s research, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation obtained by Dr. Bradley, is aimed at finding better catalysts for industrial chemical processes. Converting petroleum by-products to useful end products requires a chemical catalyst. One of the most effective catalysts, iridium, is also one of the most rare and expensive metals. John has been attempting to design and create a new catalyst using cobalt, a much more common and less expensive metal, in place of iridium. Not only did John successfully synthesize the molecule, he also was able to identify and describe a never-before-seen molecule, which was the focus of his publication.

Although John experienced many peaks and valleys during his research he explains, “The most exciting part of my research was watching Dr. Bradley’s reactions of joy when we got the final product.” Dr. Bradley and John having been working together for four years, Dr. Bradely explains "working with student’s like John on original research projects reinforces why I chose to work at an undergraduate institution. The ability to mentor someone with the drive and interest in science that John possesses makes it exciting to come to work each day." This publication could not have occurred at a better time as John prepares his applications for graduate school. In fact, a professor from Texas A&M, that watched him present his research at a conference in New York, reached out to John to invite him to apply to his lab. John plans to go into the Organic Chemistry field and is hoping to get accepted into a Ph.D. program. It’s safe to say that his publication will help give him the edge over other applicants for whatever path he chooses after the Mount. 


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.


This summer, Christopher Bradley, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, presented undergraduate research conducted by John Andjaba, C’16, at the International Conference on Organometallic Chemistry in Sapporo, Japan. Dr. Bradley was the only presenter from an undergraduate university in the United States at the conference, which hosted world leaders in the field of inorganic chemistry.

Andjaba described this research experience as one of the most rewarding parts of his undergraduate career. “It is definitely challenging and a big time commitment, but the amount of knowledge and experience acquired is fantastic,” said Andjaba. “To know that our research is being shared with the global community is a mind-blowing idea, because other individuals can learn from and utilize the research that we conduct.”

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Ariel Wirchnianski, C’13, is part of a team of international scientists whose research on a deadly virus similar to Ebola could help save thousands of lives. The deadly fever infection is called Lassa and is found primarily in West Africa. It causes an estimated 100,000 deaths annually and in March 2014 was diagnosed in an individual in the U.S. Wirchnianski works in the virology lab at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland.

Wirchnianski, along with three other team members studied the way Lassa virus infects healthy cells. They discovered the virus uses a two-step process when attacking the healthy cells. Their work confirmed similar studies by scientists at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Kiel in Germany and their findings were recently published in the prestigious journal Science.

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Over 40 8th grade students from the Mother Seton School travelled to Mount Saint Mary's to enjoy a day of science. The SNSM supported this day by providing activities for the students to participate in that would expand their knowledge into the world of science. Both students and faculty contributed to this learning experience by holding presentations and experiments for the 8th graders. The students learned about polymers, bones and muscles, and even had the opportunity to create GAK which is a cross between putty and jell-o. The students also learned about the profession of psychology from our very own psychology professors.

Our wish is that the students enjoyed their day of science and we hope to host the Mother Seton School students again in the future!

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