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!
Dr. Burch earned her B.S. in Zoology from Southeastern Louisiana University and her Ph.D in Pathobiology from the University of Arizona. Since 2005, she has served as a Tenured Research Scientist at the Laboratory of Microbial Genetics, Division of Infectious Diseases at The David Axelrod Institute, Wadsworth Center and as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at SUNY Albany.
She has an extensive teaching and research background and came to Berkshire in May of 2012 to head up our Advanced Math Science Research program.
Last week, she and Dean of Faculty, Ms. Connell, talked about that move, about what she brought with her and about what she's learned from working with the students in the AMSR program.
Watch her interview here:
Follow this link to Dr. Burch's students' blog: No One Said It Was Easy, about phage hunting - there's a new post! Read it here.