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!

What We're Doing: Mr. Nielsen's Time in the Boundary Waters
Posted 08/19/2013 08:12AM



This summer some old friends, my younger brother, and I took a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This area encompasses over a million acres of wilderness in northeastern Minnesota along the border with Canada.
The area is famous as a fishing and canoeing destination for its solitude and for offering visitors a glimpse of what the wilderness of this region has looked like for generations. All of us agreed that as born-and-bred Midwesterners, this trip was a rite of passage. Everyone does a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters, right?
So despite our inexperience as overnight canoe travelers, we headed up toward Minnesota right after the Fourth of July to begin our journey. 

We spent six days and five nights camping and paddling along the interconnected lakes of the Boundary Waters. We caught more fish than any of us could eat. We saw lots of turtles and bald eagles. We jumped in the many available bodies of water often. With no shower, a good swim was the best we could do.

The trip wasn't without its challenges. We braved some serious rain storms.  The worst storm came upon us on our first night, at our least organized and prepared point. We struggled to get a stove lit for dinner and had to move our tent after it became clear we had pitched it in a flood zone. We ate wet carrots under a tree. All the while mosquitoes had a feast of their own on any of our skin they could reach. Oh, the mosquitoes...and the flies, those little buggers were active, and some nights it was just better to get in the tent and wait for morning. These trying moments were worth it for the lakes we had to ourselves, for the sunsets, and for the laughs we shared by campfire. It was a great trip, and I would recommend the Boundary Waters to anyone...just bring a mosquito net.

Berkshire School

245 North Undermountain Road
 |  Sheffield, MA 01257
 |  T: 413 229 8511

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