Advanced Math/Science Research Update
by Dr. April Burch, Director of the AMSR program
January 15, 2013
Since our last update, Berkshire School hosted student researchers from Belmont Hill, and all-boys prep school outside of Boston, for a 1-day mini-symposium on Student Biomedical Research. The goal was to foster collaboration, communication and community outreach with our students. AMSR students Liza Bernstein '13, Sissi Wang '13, Lars Robinson '13, Elsie Guevara '13, Ernest Yue '13, and Nate MacKenzie '14, gave short talks about their work in the new Bellas/Dixon Math and Science lecture hall. The talks were followed up by break-out sessions where Belmont Hill students described their research projects and students discussed commonalities between the projects and future goals.
The second semester of AMSR started with some terrific news. The AMSR program was awarded a grant from The Chinchester Dupont Foundation for the purchase of an EVOS fluorescence microscope. This piece of equipment will expand the types of experiments and analyses that can be done by AMSR students this and future years. The microscope should arrive shortly, and Dr. Burch has invited everyone to stop in for a look next time they are on campus.
One new, exciting project that is underway in the winter season of AMSR in the afternoons is being spearheaded by Elif Kesaf '14. Elif is from Turkey and seeks to identify novel viruses of non-pathogenic strains of Legionella bacterium from travertines in Pamukkale. In collaboration with Dr. Sunny Shin at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, she will be working to isolate viruses of this bacterium with the hope of identifying new agents to combat Legionnaires' disease caused by a pathogenic form of Legionella.
Look for more news from Dr. Burch in the next issue!
Six Enter INTEL Competition
Sixth formers Chris Bowman, Jenny Grogan, Seyoon Lee, Penny Ni, James Steiner and Shiyu Zhu are this year’s Berkshire School entrants for the INTEL Science Talent Search Competition. The INTEL contest is the top science contest in the nation for seniors, and approximately 1700 students enter the elite contest. Students must submit a research paper based on research that they have done, usually under the supervision of a research scientist, and complete an extensive application form that requires them to write two major essays about their interest in science. “It’s a great group of students from our Advanced Math/Science Research Course,” comments Research Course Director Kurt Schleunes. "Also, to have six students enter INTEL from a school the size of Berkshire is pretty amazing.”
In the last two years, two Berkshire seniors were honored as INTEL semifinalists, joining an elite cadre of 300 of the nation's top high school science scholars. Click here to read more about Jenny Quilty '11 and Xiao Rui Guo '10, both of Massachusetts.
The student’s mentors, research sites, and projects are listed below:
Chris Bowman of Massachusetts: Nanobiology; Dr. Xie College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Synthesis of Alginate Hydrogel Microstrands for Creating Senescent Microenvironments
Jenny Grogan of New York: Zoology; Dr. Swoap of Williams College Torpor is not a Behavioral Choice in Mice
Seyoon Lee of Korea: Nanotech; Dr. Dr. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering A Novel Inorganic-Organic Hybrid White Light Emitting Diode Based on an InGaN-F8T2 Heterojunction
Penny Ni of China: Biomechanics; Dr. Strait of the University at Albany, SUNY Biomechanical Significance of Modern Human Mentum Osseum Examined Using Finite Element Analysis in Fossil and Modern Humans
James Steiner of Florida: Biomedical; Dr. Burch of the Wadsworth Center Examining the Interaction between the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and Transcription Factor Nrf2 through ARE-containing Plasmids
Shiyu Zhu of China: Genetics; Dr. Norman of Albany Medical College VAV-1 Regulates Nervous System Activity in the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
INTEL will announce the 300 semifinalists on January 11, 2012, and the 40 finalists on January 25, 2012.