Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Research in Polymer Chemistry

AU students William Horn and Anna Falls

Senior biochemistry major Anna Falls and junior chemistry major William Horn spent nine weeks of summer 2013 conducting research directed by Dr. Perry Corbin, Associate Professor of Chemistry.  They worked on the chemical synthesis of a class of polymers known as amphiphilic star block copolymers.  These polymers have a hydrophilic (water-loving) portion and a hydrophobic (water-hating) portion, and, as such, assemble in water to form aggregates much in the same manner as soap molecules.  The new block copolymers have the potential to serve as drug-delivery devices, with a hydrophobic drug fitting into the interior of the micelle and the hydrophilic portion allowing interaction with and transportation in water.

Anna reports, “I have worked in Dr. Perry Corbin's research lab since June 2011, where I work on making and analyzing new types of polylactide (PLA) polymers.  The polymers that we make are star shaped, which potentially varies their properties in comparison to traditional linear polymers.  We have also been able couple star PLAs with polyethylene glycol (PEG), and these copolymers can aggregate into micelles (small spheres) for potential use in drug delivery.”  Anna and Will plan to continue their research with Dr. Corbin during the academic year.  This work has been supported by the National Science Foundation as well as the College of Arts & Sciences and the Provost's Office.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Three Environmental Science majors awarded competitive scholarships by Ohio EPA

This month we learned that three seniors majoring in Environmental Science have been awarded $2,500 scholarships by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for the 2013-2014 academic year.  The three students are Cassie Nix (EVS/Biology/Toxicology, AU’14), Mitch Ramsey (EVS/Geology, AU’14), and Zack Weilnau (EVS/Biology, AU’14).

“The scholarship program is administered by the Ohio Academy of Science. It is designed to motivate students to enter environmental fields of science and engineering and reward outstanding undergraduate students based on merit.” (Aug. 8, 2013 News Release from OEPA)

Cassie Nix (AU'14) with Mt. Hood, OR, in background.  Cassie plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology.

Criteria for selection include GPA, recommendation letters, extra-curricular activities, and ability to communicate effectively.  Students present evidence of “original research, scholarship, employment, volunteering or other unique contributions they have accomplished in environmental science or environmental engineering.”

In 2012, two Environmental Science/Biology majors, Kelly Sullivan and Amanda Kriner, were awarded this same scholarship for their senior year (2012-2013).  Altogether, the awards to these five students represent an outstanding level of success for AU Environmental Science students in recent years:

“Within the past year [2012-2013] Ashland University students have received more Ohio environmental science and engineering scholarships of the $63,500 awarded from The Ohio Academy of Science and the Ohio Environmental Education Fund than students at any of the other 15 Ohio schools with students receiving scholarships.” 
 --Dr. Lynn Elfner, CEO, Ohio Academy of Science

Congratulations to all!
Zack Weilnau (AU'14) plans to work in a wildlife/zoo setting and/or be a Physician's Assistant.
Mitch Ramsey (AU'14) plans to go to graduate school in meteorology.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Drs. Jandu, Simokat, and Meyers Join the Ashland Science Faculty

Dr. Narveen Jandu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology/Toxicology at Ashland University.  She teaches course in Cell Biology, Human Biology and Microbiology.  Her research focuses on defining the pathogenic mechanisms of gastrointestinal pathogens and the survival of these microbes in the environment.  Prior to joining Ashland University, Dr. Jandu was part of the Curriculum Fellows Program at Harvard Medical School, where she participated in both research and teaching activities.  Dr. Jandu received her PhD from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto in 2008.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with Honors from Wilfrid Laurier University (2002) and a Master of Science degree from the Faculty of Medical Science at McMaster University (2004). 

Dr. Kristin Simokat is joining the Department of Biology and Toxicology as a Visiting Assistant Professor.  She will be teaching courses in human anatomy & physiology.  She received her BA in Biology from Wesleyan University and her PhD in Cellular & Molecular Biology with a concentration in Developmental Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Dr. Simokat comes most recently from the Palouse region (University of Idaho and Washington State University) where she taught developmental biology, mammalian physiology, human anatomy & physiology, genetics, cell biology, and introductory biology.   Her current research interests include the integration of writing-to-learn strategies and technology to promote learning and understanding of science.
Dr. John Meyers is joining the Department of Chemistry, Geology, and Physics as a Visiting Assistant Professor.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Delaware in 2008 and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Kansas in 2013.  His doctoral dissertation focused on isocyanoarenes in organometallic crystal engineering and new azulene-based organometallics.  Specifically, this work involved the design, synthesis, and exploration of complexes relevant to molecular and optoelectronic applications.  Dr. Meyers will be teaching core courses including General Chemistry and Chemical Perspectives on Life. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Environmental Science alumna working in bioassessment

Environmental Science alumna Rachel  Day ('11) reports back that she will be completing her MS degree at Miami of Ohio this December and has already started a job with the Midwest Biodiversity Institute, an environmental assessment organization.  Rachel writes that:
My position as chemical crew leader assists with the collection of data for a bioassessment of the Great Miami River. Some of my work will include deploying a datasonde at each sampling site to acquire a profile of the water chemistry. I'll also be obtaining sediment and surface water grab samples to send to a lab in Cincinnati for testing.
Rachel mentions that the environmental sampling and assessment experience she gained in the Limnology course here at AU was a big plus when applying for this position.

Do you have news about a new career move?  Please let us know so that we can mention you on this blog, our Facebook page or electronic newsletter.