Greetings from the College of Science!
Itís hard to believe that another academic year has come to a close. Graduation was held Saturday, May 16.
I am pleased to inform you that the University Valedictorian was Jonathan Schilens Ė a math major in the College of Science. Jonathan hopes to get a job teaching math this fall.
Of the May 2009 graduates from the College of Science, 198 were undergraduates and 91 were from graduate programs, including seven individuals completing doctoral degrees.
The 5th annual College of Science Research Day was held Friday, April 24th, 2009. Research Day is an opportunity for College of Science students (undergraduate and graduate) and faculty to present and share posters of their current research accomplishments. They reflect the strong commitment of our faculty and students to scholarship. Each year the posters demonstrate a wide range of exploration, from basic science to direct health care, from mathematical modeling to research on educational strategies. The work reflects not only the scholarly interests of individuals, but the close relationship between scholarly and educational endeavors. It is also a time for us to get to know more about the work of our collaborating colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic, Case, and the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.
One of the posters was that of Dan Pastel (shown in the photo here), an undergraduate student who won an award from National Psych Chi to present his poster in the upcoming Midwest Psychological Association conference.
This year, more than 150 posters were presented. The day also featured a keynote presentation by Dr. John P. Smol, renowned researcher in the area of environmental studies.
We were pleased to present this yearís Outstanding Research Award to Dr. Bibo Li. You can read more about her and her research in this issue.
We say goodbye to four long-time faculty members who retired this past year. They include Lily Ng, Chemistry, Alan Silberger, Math, Paul Hambourger, Physics, and Keith Kendig, Math. We wish them well in their retirement.
Leading Edge Research
Dr. Bibo Liís Research Featured in Distinguished Scientific Journal, Cell
Being published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals such as Cell is a dream of every researcher that is seldom accomplished. Cleveland State Universityís Dr. Bibo Li has not only succeeded in having her research featured in the April 3 issue of Cell, she has captured the publicationís Cover with her recent paper "RAP1 Is Essential for Silencing Telomeric Variant Surface Glycoprotein Genes in Trypanosoma brucei," (www.cell.com).
Offering New Hope for a Ravaging Disease
With an R01 grant awarded from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, Dr. Bibo Li has been studying telomere functions in Trypanosoma brucei (T. brucei), a protozoan parasite that has ravaged sub-Saharan Africa by causing sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in cattle.
These diseases are fatal, mainly because in the mammalian host, T. brucei cells regularly switch the variant surface glycoproteins presented on the cell surface so as to evade host immune attack. Such antigenic variation process is apparently essential for T. brucei pathogenesis, and its underlying mechanisms have been the focus of the parasitology field for three decades. Dr. Bibo Li’s Cell paper is a major breakthrough, providing direct evidences, for the first time, that the telomere structure is essential for the regulation of Variant Surface Glycoprotein gene expression. Telomeres are the specialized structure at the ends of linear chromosomes found in eukaryotic cells, such as human and T. brucei cells. Telomeres play an important role in the maintenance of chromosome stability. Hence telomere biology has been implied in cancer prevention and aging process and has been a popular research topic for a couple of decades. Dr. Bibo Li’s recent discovery further emphasizes the importance of telomere biology and broadens its implication.
Dr. Li has identified and continues to identify genes that influence antigenic variation and other aspects of trypanosome virulence in an attempt to interfere with the genes and lead to the remission of infection or better, the elimination of T. brucei.
To illustrate the importance of this work to humankind, the pathogen known as T. brucei is estimated to infect 300,000-500,000 people, making sleeping sickness the number one or two cause of human mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Southern Sudan.
And nearly as catastrophic to the region is the nagana epidemic occurring in the cattle population of West Africa. Nagana is considered to be the only disease that has profoundly affected the settlement and economic development of a major part of Africa.
ABOUT CELL PRESS: Cell Press is committed to improving scientific communication through the publication of exciting research and reviews. Each of Cell’s titles is viewed as a must-read by the scientific community it serves.
Cell Press’ mission remains to publish and develop journals that deliver the highest possible intellectual rigor, promote community trust, and are widely disseminated.
Recent Accomplishments in the College of Science
Biology, Geology, and Environmental Sciences:
Victoria Chmura (PSY/HSC) was selected as the College of Science Valedictorian. Additionally, Zavinta Maleckaite (HSC/PSY), Rebecca Riffle (HSC/PSY), Kyle Sochacki (HSC), and Brian VonBenken (HSC) were selected to receive the College of Science Outstanding Senior Awards for Fall 2008.
Biology, Geology, Environmental Sciences:
Alumnus Anthony Austin, PSY ’06, has been selected for a Fulbright Award.
Biology, Geology, and Environmental Sciences:
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