2015 McDonell Summer Fellows Program


Eight Adelphi students earn the chance to do scientific research as part of Adelphi’s Horace G. McDonell Science Research Fellowship program.

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Garden City, NY - July 2, 2015 - Eight Adelphi University students have been awarded the opportunity to benefit from full-time hands-on science research in biology, chemistry, and physics for 10 weeks as part of  Adelphi’s Horace G. McDonell Science Research Fellowship program. The Fellowship program started in 2011 through the generosity of Adelphi alumnus Horace G. McDonell, Jr. ’52, ’02 (Hon.), Adelphi trustee emeritus and a retired chairman and CEO of Perkin Elmer, Inc. The students receive a $4,000 stipend and work closely with a faculty mentor, conducting experiments in a research lab and gaining state-of-the-art training.

The eight students and their research projects are:

Emma Gazzara
Hometown: Flushing, NY
Biology major, Class of 2016
Mentor: Dr. Alan Schoenfeld, associate professor and biology department chair

An investigation of the relationship between PKC-epsilon and VHL-mediated cellular phenotypes in renal carcinoma cells

Von-Hippel Lindau (VHL) syndrome is an inherited renal cell carcinoma syndrome caused by mutations in the VHL gene. This project hopes to determine the interaction between the VHL tumor suppressor protein and another protein that has been shown to have similar cellular functions.

Sierra Beck
Hometown: Blackwood, NJ
Biochemistry major, Class of 2016
Mentor: Dr. Brian J. Stockman, assistant professor of chemistry
Pharmacophore Model for Adenosine/Guanosine Nucleoside Hydrolase Inhibitors

Trichomonas vaginalis is the causative parasite of trichomoniasis and upwards of 5% of cases show resistance to current drug therapies; driving the need for novel therapeutic mechanism. The parasite requires adenosine/guanosine nucleoside hydrolase (AGNH) to scavenge adenosine and guanosine nucleobases from the host. Twenty-seven inhibitory compounds, specific to AGNH, were discovered using the NIH Clinical Collection and this research will progress these compounds into the next stage of drug discovery by correlating structure with activity, determining the pharmacophore responsible for inhibition.

Tracy Paltoo
Hometown: Ridgewood, NY
Physics major, Class of 2017
Mentor: Dr. Matthew Wright, associate professor of physics
Detailed Characterization of Injection-Locking to a Microwave Frequency Side-band

Developing a new technique to create amplified, pulsed, rapid frequency chirped laser light at a large detuning by injection locking a laser to the frequency modulated side-band of a frequency stabilized reference laser.  The research goal is to develop the technique to generate rapid frequency chirps (1 GHz in 5 ns) for general atomic, molecular and optical physics experiments. 

Eda Gulu
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Biology major, Class of 2016
Mentor: Dr. Alan Schoenfeld, associate professor and biology department chair
An investigation of PKC-Gamma as a target of pVHL for ubiquitination in renal cells

Von Hippel–Lindau disease is a hereditary cancer causes which tumors in the brain, spinal cord, kidney and renal organs. It is caused by a mutation of pVHL a tumor suppressor gene. This project anticipates to successfully demonstrate that PKC-Gamma is one of the targets of pVHL. We hope to convey that pVHL is regulating the levels of PKC-Gamma in renal cells.

Chinelo Nnebe
Hometown: Queens, NY
Biology Major, Class of 2017
Mentor: Dr. Andrea Ward, associate professor of biology
Understanding how environmental conditions can affect skull morphology: a test case using retinoic acid

Retinoic acid, a biologically active derivative of vitamin A, is crucial for the development of a vast variety of organisms, including humans. However, when present in excessive amounts, retinoic acid becomes detrimental, even fatal, to developing vertebrates. This experiment analyzes the adverse effects that excess retinoic acid has on the skulls of developing zebrafish (Danio rerio) to better understand the threat that it poses to developing human embryos.

Diana Chaykina
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Chemistry Major, Physics minor, Class of 2016
Mentor: Dr. Justyna Widera, associate professor of chemistry

Development of photobiosensor based on Au/CdS/linker/enzyme hybrid for phenol detection

Working on the development of an electrode that will be able to detect and quantify phenol. The phenol will be oxidized to catechol with the enzyme as the catalyst, after which, the catechol will undergo a reversible redox reaction which can be detected by the electrode. It is important to develop new and sophisticated techniques with lower detection limits and quantification limits for this purpose because phenol is toxic and can be found in food, in the medical field and in the environment due to industrial wastes.

Yuhao Qiao
Hometown: Shanghai, China
Physics Major, Class of 2017
Mentor: Dr. Gottipaty N. Rao, professor and physics department chair
Development of Off-Axis Phase Shift Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy(PS-CRDS)

PS-CRDS is a relatively new technique in ultra-sensitive real-time detection trace gases. It has applications in medical, explosive detection, and monitoring (pollution). It makes use of lasers to determine up to several parts-per-trillion concentration of NO2 through the measurable phase-shift of laser light caused by absorption.

Nawal Shaikh
Hometown: Valley Stream, NY
Biology major, Class of 2018
Mentor:  Dr. Aaren Freeman, assistant professor of biology
Impact of water temperature on crab demographics. 

This research works to determine the reason why certain locations in the Long Island Sound are more prone to having native (Eurypanopeus) or invasive (Hemigrapsus) mud crabs. One of our prediction is temperature, thus we will alter the temperature in the lab to observe the impact of temperature on mud crab survival. 

In the fall, the eight students will be presenting the research they completed. To learn more about the sciences at Adelphi, visit here

About Adelphi University
New York’s Adelphi University is a nationally ranked, doctoral research university where students succeed by gaining the skills, knowledge and exposure to thrive as professionals and active citizens in an interconnected and fast-paced global society. Today, nearly 8,000 students from 39 states and 46 countries pursue degrees in person and online through Adelphi’s eight distinguished schools and programs—the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, the Honors College, the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education, University College, the College of Nursing and Public Health and the School of Social Work. Chartered in 1896, Adelphi is known for offering a personalized education—one is which students are mentored by talented and committed faculty members and readily find opportunities to initiate, innovate, explore and understand. With dynamic learning hubs on Long Island, in Manhattan and in the Hudson Valley, Adelphi serves communities, both regionally and globally, through the research and practice of its faculty, the collaborative initiatives undertaken by its centers and programs, the staging of distinguished cultural events and, most essentially, the education of future leaders and informed citizens.