July 9, 2012 | The University
The City University of New York announced today its new team of award-winning “Science All-Star” students who have won National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, the most prestigious awards a graduate student in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) can receive. The awards recognize and support exceptional students who have proposed graduate-level research projects in their fields.
Chancellor Matthew Goldstein stated: “We are very proud of the extraordinary academic achievements of these student-scholars. A record 16 CUNY students in 2012 won National Science Foundation awards of $126,000 each for graduate study in the sciences. No other university system in the Northeast won more. In recognition of their success, the University has designed a new website with virtual ‘baseball cards’ crafted in their honor.”
“Ever increasing numbers of CUNY students and graduates are competing successfully for ‘major league’ awards such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, Rhodes and Truman Scholarships,” Chancellor Goldstein added. “They have earned special recognition for winning these highly competitive awards and by virtue of the prestigious graduate or professional schools that have accepted them for advanced study.”
By clicking here you can read more about CUNY’s 2012 Science All-Star team and learn why it is the “Pride of the City.”
Deborah Ayeni, City College
From the time her grandmother died of breast cancer in Nigeria, Deborah Ayeni has been hoping “to understand how it develops, progresses and moves in the body.” She will continue probing cancer-causing genes in her Ph.D. program in experimental pathology at the Yale School of Medicine, looking for “ways of interfering with cancer pathways, tumor regression and how cancers develop resistance to chemical agents.”
Vivienne Baldassare, Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College
Every billion years about 10 percent of fairly bright galaxies are involved in collisions of cosmic proportions. Vivienne Baldassare considers whether there’s a relationship between collisions and the detection of X-rays, which spew from the super-massive black hole at the nucleus of every galaxy. She’s about to start doctoral work at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor looking at mergers in ultra-luminous infrared galaxies – that is, in galaxies with an “active” nucleus that emits 1012 times the infrared light that our sun does.
Theresa Carranza-Fulmer, City College
We rely on the smartphones in our pockets, GPS in our cars and worldwide video conferencing in our computers, but most of us never consider the fragility of the satellite infrastructure they rest upon. A blast of solar wind – a stream of charged particles routinely ejected by the sun – could wreak havoc with Earth’s magnetosphere and fry the satellites that orbit within it. Theresa Carranza-Fulmer, now a pre-doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, is studying the magnetosphere, a bubble of space shaped by Earth’s magnetic field, the solar wind and the interplanetary magnetic field.
Charlie Corredor, City College
Nanotechnology is revolutionizing products, from self-cleaning windows to dazzling computer displays. There has been comparatively little attention paid to the potential hazards posed by nanomaterials, which are about the size of proteins and far smaller than the cells in our bodies. Discovering how they behave when they’re released in the environment is the goal of Charlie Corredor, who is now enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Zvi Fishman, City College
“Consciousness is perhaps the most important unanswered question in science,” says Zvi Fishman “and that’s the reason I got into neuroscience. What is it in the brain that makes us able to be aware of things, to see colors, to experience sensations?” He is seeking a path to that unanswered question in his doctoral research at Columbia University.
Andrew Fulmer, CUNY Graduate Center
Lots of animals hide food to eat later, but many won’t do so if another animal is watching because the other animal might try to steal the food. A chickadee, however, may cache food in the presence of another chickadee. “Do chickadees develop trusting relationships that supersede normal anti-theft behavior?” asks Andrew Fulmer. “And, if so, at what stages of development do they have to meet the other birds for that to happen?” He hopes to answer those questions while continuing to conduct research as a doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Belen Guerra-Carrillo, Baruch College
What physically happens in the brain when people learn and how do those changes affect academic performance? Belén Guerra-Carrillo, who is entering a doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley, will explore the physical aspects of learning and how they impact academic performance.
Jaeseung Hahn, Macaulay Honors College at City College
As an undergraduate, Jaeseung Hahn fabricated smart nanoparticles that could bind to cancer cells, enabling them to be seen via an imaging technique called immuno-surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Now he is heading to Harvard-MIT’s joint doctoral program in medical engineering and medical physics where he hopes to develop a nanoparticle that is therapeutic and diagnostic.
Kirk Haltaufderhyde, York College
After rotating through several labs, looking for the best fit as he began his predoctoral research at Brown University, Kirk Haltaufderhyde became intrigued with studies that probe the role of photoreceptors in the skin. He will conduct such research at Brown, looking at the role light sensitivity plays in skin cells.
Christopher Hue, Macaulay Honors College at City College
During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan thousands of troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries, often caused by improvised explosive devices. Christopher Hue, who is in the second year of a biomedical engineering doctoral program at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, is working to understand how explosions damage the brain and how such injuries can be treated.
Jemila Kester, City College
Jemila Kester is intrigued by the astounding estimate that a third of the world’s population is infected with latent tuberculosis. “They’re infected, but they’re not sick,” she says. “At any time, the disease could be reactivated, and they could become sick and contagious.” Kester, who is enrolled at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, wants to find out why some people infected with TB become ill and die and others don’t.
Stephen Ma, Macaulay Honors College at City College
Plastics are the backbone of countless devices that make the modern world function. But when these marvels of covalently bonded polymers break, for the most part they’re finished. What if they could be made self-healing, and if you could repair stress fractures too small to be seen with the naked eye just by shining a light on them? That is Stephen Ma’s goal at the University of Delaware, where he is trying to create plastics that can be repaired with light or that can fix themselves.
Carolina Salguero, Hunter College
Left unchecked, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a death sentence. Thankfully, drugs can prevent it from developing into full-blown AIDS, but the virus survives, ever waiting for the chance to emerge and wreak havoc. Carolina Salguero, a doctoral student in molecular and cell biology at Harvard University, hopes to deprogram the virus behind AIDS and render HIV harmless.
Jimena Santillan, Hunter College
Next time that you’re in a crowded restaurant, notice how you can focus just on your dinner companion’s banter, not on the chatter of the couple to your left or the waiter taking an order to your right. This is called selective attention. What happens in the brain’s neurons that allow this to happen, and can anything enhance this ability, such as bilingualism? Jimena Santillan plans to explore that possibility in a doctoral program at the University of Oregon-Eugene.
Christie Anne Sukhdeo, City College
As she starts a doctoral conservation biology program at the University of New Orleans, Christie Anne Sukhdeo will focus on the fragmentation of biomes in Madagascar due to human activities. Her research at CCNY set the stage for her upcoming doctoral work on the roles of species ecology and landscape history in shaping patterns of evolutionary diversification and genetic variability.
Vincent Xue, Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College
The body’s response to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, can contribute to malignancy and offer a pathway to treatment; turn off the tumor cells’ ability to adapt to hypoxia and you could kill the tumor. Vincent Xue, who is to begin doctoral work at MIT, will seek to bring knowledge of bioinformatics and computational biology to his research.
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