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LaGuardia Students and Faculty to Present Findings at CUNY Research Scholars Program Symposium

Long Island City, NY—August 13, 2015—The first cohort of the CUNY Research Scholars Program (CRSP) at LaGuardia Community College has wrapped up research and presented their work at the 2015 CRSP Summer Symposium.

Fifteen students have been working under the guidance of nine faculty members at LaGuardia on various research projects throughout the last year through CRSP. The goal of the program is to encourage undergraduate participation in authentic research experiences, and to increase persistence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines within CUNY.

“Providing an interactive environment is central to the teaching and learning of science at LaGuardia,” said Dr. Burl Yearwood, chairperson of LaGuardia’s Natural Sciences Department. “The opportunities we provide for research helps our students become promising and inquisitive scientists.”

The CUNY Research Scholars Program Symposium, held July 22 at John Jay College, featured a keynote lecture by Dr. Charles Vörösmarty, director of the CUNY Environmental CrossRoads Initiative, professor of civil engineering at City College of New York, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Cooperative Remote Sensing & Technology (NOAA-CREST) distinguished scientist.

CRSP, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio through CUNY, provides stipends for undergraduate students to conduct research with a faculty member over a one-year period.

Dr. Ian Alberts and Dr. Janet Gonzalez teach chemistry at LaGuardia, and mentored two students on a project regarding the rapidly growing social dilemma of bacterial resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, such as penicillin.

Students Elainie Lendebol and Angela Shen and Drs. Alberts and Gonzalez are combining computer-based drug design with experimental approaches to develop new families of beta-lactamase inhibitors in order to extend and improve current treatments for countering resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics.

“CRSP has provided Elainie and Angela with a unique experience in leading edge, multi-disciplinary scientific research work with individual guidance and mentoring by dedicated faculty researchers in diverse fields,” said Dr. Gonzalez.

Another research project conducted at LaGuardia also has tremendous societal impact. Dr. Jennifer Vance is an assistant professor at LaGuardia and is currently leading her students through testing for metals and toxins in nearby Newtown Creek.

Under Dr. Vance’s guidance, students Cho Cho Aung and Ridima Pradhan collected data for nitrate, phosphate, lead, copper, dissolved iron and chromate levels in the water. Newtown Creek is one of the most polluted waterways in the United States, and has been a Superfund Site on the National Priorities List (NPL) of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since September 2010.

Additional research projects conducted at LaGuardia through CRSP include:

Student(s) Mentor Research Project
Lucilia De Jesus
and Navjot Guru
Dr. Onica Le Gendre Synthesis of Glycosylated Anti-Cancer Therapies
Amber Crockett Dr. Na Xu Histone H1-mediated Heterochromatin Formation
Launchy Espinal
and Sergio Velez
Dr. Olga Calderon Biodiversity of Nature’s Recyclers
Weily Lang
and Min Kyung Shin
Dr. Preethi Radhakrishnan Antioxidants Boost Male Fertility: The Role of Reactive Oxygen (ROS) in Modulating Fertility and Sperm Viability in Drosophila Melanogaster
Alzahra Ahmed
and Sebastina Sackey
Dr. Xin Gao Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer Using Fluorescence Spectroscopy

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About LaGuardiaCommunity College

LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.eduto learn more.


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