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!
RKMP News: Fly Fishing Club
This past Sunday a dedicated group of Berkshire students got an early start to the fishing season. Although the waters have just started to thaw out and the fish have only just begun to actively feed, eleven students, accompanied by Mr. Nielsen and Mr. Bjurlin, made their way to the New Hartford stretch of the famous Farmington River and tried their luck.
The Farmington is world renowned as one of the best rivers in New England and is hailed for its extremely high fish density and incredible insect hatches. Although the group did see some early Stonefly and Mayfly hatches on the water, it is still a bit early to get a fish to make the effort to rise up from the cold depths and take a fly on the surface. In the end it was one of those days that had great fishing, but not a lot of fish. The Berkshire School Fly Fishing Club, however, was able to get a lot of interested new members out on the water to teach them about the techniques and skills that are required for the sport, as well as show them how a sport such as fly fishing can be seemingly effortless when mastered, but extremely tricky and, at times, frustrating to pick up.
Overall it was a very successful trip for the beginners in the group to get some time on the water so that when the middle of the season hits, and fish are jumping for anything, casting and fly placement won't be an issue. For the more experienced members, the trip was a great opportunity to shake the dust off of some of their more technical casts and to remember the ways that the water works. The club will be taking this next weekend off and instead practice on the tuft for some upcoming trips that will provide better conditions and potentially incredible fishing.
-- Quintin Pollart '14