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Cancer research leads to publication and honors for Colgate students

June 28, 2014
Changchang Liu '15, works with biology Professor Engda Hagos on cancer research during a 2014 summer internship.

Changchang Liu ’15, works with biology professor Engda Hagos on cancer research during her summer internship. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Two Colgate students and their professor have been published in The Journal of Molecular Carcinogenesis for new research into the regulatory processes that maintains genomic stability, which is impaired in cancer cells. This could one day lead to new treatments.

Changchang Liu ’15, Stephen La Rosa ‘13 and Assistant Professor of Biology Engda Hagos received a grant from the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute at Colgate. Liu is the first author on the published paper, which Hagos says is huge for a student.

“In this field, it takes at least two or three, sometimes four, years to publish one paper. It’s not easy,” Hagos said.

For her published research, Liu was also one of 10 students nationwide to be awarded a Meritorious Honor at the ninth annual Undergraduate Students Caucus and Poster Competition of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Liu cited making new findings as the most exciting part of her research. “Doing the research and making this discovery is kind of like discovering a secret, like a treasure, that only you know, literally, because you just discovered it.”

In addition to Liu’s earlier research, she is now on campus for her third summer in a row working with Hagos. Under the mentorship of Hagos, Liu and two other students, Margaret Wolsey ’17 and Matt Szuchnicki ’15, are studying autophagy, a process by which a cell eats itself so that it can recycle its nutrients. This process has been implicated in many human diseases including cancer.

“He’s very patient and he really cares how you feel about your project,” Liu said about Hagos. “He makes sure you understand what you’re doing and the concepts behind what you are studying, which really helps me grow as a researcher. The close interaction is what made many of the ideas and the entire project possible.”

Liu will go straight from her research in the lab at Colgate to the world-renowned campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. As part of the Colgate NIH Study Group, Liu will take classes and study cancer cell multi-drug resistance in an NIH laboratory.

Hagos remarked, “She’s doing something important. She is one step ahead.”

Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute provides second round of funding to researchers

June 6, 2014
Sacred forest around Ethiopian church.

Researchers are investigating whether and how cultural and religious stewardship of sacred forests reduces negative impacts on these compromised ecosystems.

A second year of funding provided by the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute at Colgate will allow faculty researchers to further their exploration of the cultural and religious stewardship of sacred forest ecosystems in Ethiopia.

Damhnait McHugh, director of the institute, announced the award to Colgate professors Catherine Cardelús (biology), Eliza Kent (religion), Peter Klepeis (geography), Peter Scull (geography), and Carrie Woods (biology). They are collaborating with Izabela Orlowska and Alemayehu Wassie Eshete, both of Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia.

The $90,000 research award will allow the researchers to continue their assessment of Ethiopian forests maintained as sacred sites around Christian Orthodox Tewahido churches.

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Colgate seniors present research to leading scholars in Japan

April 16, 2014
J&M traveling_WEB

Jessica Huang ’14 and Michael Manansala ’14 presented their research at Kobe University in Japan and also had time for some independent travel.

Over spring break, Jessica Huang ’14 and Michael Manansala ’14 put the capstone on a research project that they’ve been working on for much of their Colgate careers. Traveling to Kansai, Japan, the seniors presented their research titled “Does observing or producing different types of hand gestures help second-language auditory learning of Japanese short and long vowels?” Read more

Colgate students say they are well prepared to pursue medical careers

April 9, 2014
Michael J. Wolk '60

Dr. Michael J. Wolk ’60, a noted cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, hosts a conference every two years at Colgate that provides real-world information for students exploring careers in medicine.

Members of the Class of 2014 seeking careers in the health sciences are now receiving offers of acceptance to medical schools around the country.

Brian Chernak ’14, of Rochester, N.Y., Nolan Cirillo-Penn ’14, of Bridgewater, N.J., Elizabeth Flory ’14, of Hanover, N.H., and Tue Nguyen ’14, of Vietnam, are just four of the latest students to be accepted into medical school, continuing Colgate’s proven track record of successfully preparing students who want to pursue careers in medicine.

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Colgate’s Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute funds two more research projects

March 24, 2014
Colgate professor Jonathan Levine and his collaborators are designing a novel mass spectrometer to try to better determine the ages of rocks on Mars.

Colgate professor Jonathan Levine and his collaborators are designing a novel mass spectrometer to try to better determine the ages of rocks on Mars.

Two interdisciplinary science research projects featuring collaborations among faculty from Colgate and from around the world have been awarded funding by the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute at Colgate.

The projects support the core mission of the institute, which aims to foster the creation of new knowledge that is obtainable only through the development of sustained interdisciplinary research.

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Major grants, Picker Research Fellowships help to support discovery at Colgate

March 12, 2014
Engda Hagos, assistant professor of biology, works with students in his lab.

Engda Hagos, assistant professor of biology, works with students in his lab.

Major grants and Picker Research Fellowship awards for 2014-15 are funding dozens of faculty research projects both on and off campus, with subjects ranging from Middle English punctuation to Russian climate science to the creation of an experimental documentary.

For biology professor Endga Hagos, his major grant funding will help continue research into the workings of the cancer-suppression gene Kruppel-like factor 4, a known tumor suppressor that plays a major role in the prevention of colon cancer.

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Voodoo Lily blooms (and smells rotten) in the Colgate greenhouse

February 13, 2014

The Colgate greenhouse welcomed the opening of one of its most repulsive residents: the Voodoo Lily (a k a Devil’s Tongue and Amorphophallus konjac).

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Kelsey Jensen ’14 spends three weeks with Colgate team studying forests in Ethiopia

February 13, 2014
Kelsey Jensen '14 (center), with Josh Hair '14 and Professor Carrie Woods, traveled to Ethiopia during winter break.

Kelsey Jensen ’14 (center), with Josh Hair ’14 and Professor Carrie Woods, traveled to Ethiopia during winter break.

(Editor’s Note: This post is by Kelsey Jensen ’14, a chemistry major from Williston, Vt. See more photos and read about her daily experiences in Ethiopia at her personal blog.)

During winter break I discovered that working on an interdisciplinary research project in a foreign country is one of the most interesting ways to learn about a new culture.

Research that combines natural science, social science, and humanities is rare to find, but Colgate is a university where collaborations like this happen, and I was lucky enough to get involved. Using the Alumni Memorial Scholarship granted to me upon admission, I spent three weeks of my winter break in Ethiopia working with Professors Catherine Cardelus and Carrie Woods from the Department of Biology, Peter Klepeis and Peter Scull from the Department of Geography, and Eliza Kent from the Department of Religion, studying the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Forests.

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Colgate students share experiences conducting research at National Institutes of Health

January 27, 2014

Colgate’s full-semester study group at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., offers students a rare opportunity to conduct research at one of the world’s foremost institutions of health science and discovery.

Now in its 21st year, the Colgate NIH Study Group continues to be a wellspring of scientific achievement and learning, and remains the only one of its kind. A new series of videos provides a snapshot of this immersive program, with students sharing their experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

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Brandon Fiegoli ’14 studying proteins and potential role in causing cancer

November 19, 2013
Molecular biology major Brandon Fiegoli, of Bedford, NY.

Molecular biology major Brandon Fiegoli, of Bedford, N.Y., has been conducting research with Professor Engda Hagos. (Photo by Natalie Sportelli ’15)

Colgate students are sharing their experiences conducting research with faculty members on campus and in the field. This post is by molecular biology major Brandon Fiegoli, of Bedford, NY.

Every day, you hear about an infamous disease called cancer. You are constantly reading about celebrities with breast cancer, kidney cancer, and many more. You may even have friends or family members fighting the disease. But what do you really know about cancer? Where does it come from?  Why does it occur and how does it harm us?

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3 alumni stay connected with Professor Frank Frey and get academic paper published

November 7, 2013
Elsie Denton '09, doing  research under the direction of professor Frank Frey, from 2009.

Elsie Denton ’09 doing research under the direction of Professor Frank Frey, from 2009.

Sometimes good science takes time, and when it comes to student-faculty connections and research at Colgate, there are never any time-limits. In one recent case, research conducted between 2006-2008 was recently published by three alumni who stayed in touch with Frank Frey, associate professor of biology and environmental studies, long after graduation.

While at Colgate, Andrea Berardi ’08 and Jessica Wells ’08 worked for a summer in Frey’s biology lab, and Elsie Denton ’09  worked on the same project a year later. Read more

Robert Fullilove ’66 discusses minority health issues

October 22, 2013
fullilove web

Robert Fullilove ’66, associate dean for community and minority affairs at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, speaks to students. Photo by Ashlee Eve ’14

A charismatic and larger-than-life personality, Robert Fullilove ’66 visited campus Friday to talk to students about his work in minority health and STD and HIV prevention.  Read more

PBS features worm research of Colgate professor Tim McCay and students

September 23, 2013

A new Mountain Lake PBS segment features the research of Colgate biology professor Tim McCay and four students who spent the summer studying invasive earthworms and their impact on native species in the Adirondacks.

“Its mission, to boldly go where few, if any, worm researchers have gone before; to seek out and identify earthworms of all kinds, wherever the professor and his intrepid students can find them,” said PBS host Ed Kanze.

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U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna meets with students, faculty, and staff during visit to Colgate

September 17, 2013
U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (right) talks with Professors Krista Ingram (center) and Randy Fuller (left) Monday.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (right) talks with Professors Krista Ingram (center) and Randy Fuller (left) Monday. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, connected with the Colgate University community Monday, meeting with faculty, administrators, and students, discussing issues ranging from natural-gas fracking to political gridlock and the federal budget sequester.

After hearing Michael Hayes, professor of political science, describe Colgate’s Washington D.C. Study Group, Hanna immediately handed Hayes a business card and said he wants to meet with students when they travel to the nation’s capital for the spring 2014 semester.

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Internship blog series: This intern makes the right diagnosis

August 30, 2013
MedLabs intern

The Department of Genetics and Molecular Diagnostics: (left to right) Katya Geltser ’12, Joe Spina ’14, Nick Mitilenes ’10, Alejandro Amador, and Ellen Hill ’13

Colgate students, who interned this summer at companies such as NBCUniversal, Hukkster, Nike, and Facebook, are sharing their experiences. This post is written by Joseph Spina ’14, who spent his summer with MedLabs Diagnostics.

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning as a lab assistant and technician in the Department of Genetics and Molecular Diagnostics at MedLabs Diagnostics in Cedar Knolls, NJ. MedLabs is the oldest privately owned clinical lab in New Jersey and serves about 1,000 patients per day from a four-state area.

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