NEWS

Mount undergrads showcase their research experiences

October 07, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -

Dr. Jason Adsit, president of Mount Saint Mary College, speaks with students Katherine Smith of Goshen, N.Y. (right) and Imaobong Umana of Yonkers, N.Y. (left) about their research project, “Underlying Factors That Influence Maternal Education and Infant Mortality in Developed, Underdeveloped, and Developing Countries.”

Dr. Jason Adsit, president of Mount Saint Mary College, speaks with students Katherine Smith of Goshen, N.Y. (right) and Imaobong Umana of Yonkers, N.Y. (left) about their research project, “Underlying Factors That Influence Maternal Education and Infant Mortality in Developed, Underdeveloped, and Developing Countries.”

More than 20 undergrads gathered in the Aquinas Hall Atrium at Mount Saint Mary College on Thursday, October 3 to showcase the results of the diligent research they have been compiling.

The symposium was the culmination of the Mount’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program, during which students work closely with professors, aiding them in hands-on research and often making meaningful contributions to their respective fields.

Presented research included a historical analysis of 17th century English recipe books, in which Annalise Hansen of Newburgh, N.Y. and Victoria Kuhr of Holbrook, N.Y. sought to learn about the decreasing Sturgeon population of England at that time and its effects on societal norms in England’s rigid class structure.

According to Kuhr, “Researching these books is interesting, because as we go through them, we can see the changing tastes of the social elite.” This research endeavor was pursued under the direction of Robert Wakeman, an assistant professor of English at the Mount.

Under Evan Merkhofer and Suparna Bhalla, assistant and associate professors of Biology respectively, Chandlir Radcliffe of Elka Park, N.Y. sought to uncover the effects of the ever-useful Ginko Bilboba plant on Pre-mRNA splicing, a key process in cell reproduction. The research focused entirely on Eukaryotic cells as the researchers hope to apply the findings to potential cancer therapies.

According to Radcliffe, Pre-mRNA splicing research “could be used for cancer cells to stop them from growing and reproducing.”

The event concluded with a humorous and inspirational keynote speech by Scot Gerber, co-director of the Center for Tumor Immunology Research at the University of Rochester, during which he recounted his journey from vet-tech to immunology researcher and discussed some of his work in helping develop new cancer therapies. 

Gerber is an early pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy, helping to develop the processes that led researchers to better understand the structure of malignant tumors. He received a BS from SUNY College at Fredonia and an MS and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.