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  CMNST News



New CMNST Cabinet announced for the 2015-2016 Academic Year

August 27, 2015 - Dr. Clytrice Watson, Interim Dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology, is pleased to announce the following persons as members of the re-organized leadership cabinet:

Assoc. Dean for Research & Analytics
Dr. David Pokrajac
Assoc. Dean for Students
Dr. Cynthia van Golen 
Sr. Management & Budget Analyst
Ms. Vanessa D. Nesbit
Director of Assessment
Dr. Andrew Lloyd 
Interim Chair, Dept of Biology
Dr. Charlie Wilson 
Chair, Dept of Chemistry
Dr. Cherese Winstead
Chair, Dept of Computer & Information Sciences
Dr. Marwan Rasamny
Interim Chair,  Dept of Mathematical Sciences
Dr. Nicola Edwards-Omolewa
Chair, Dept of Physics and Engineering
Dr. Mukti Rana
Director, Academic Advisement Center
Mrs. Jarso Saygbe 

College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology welcomes a New Interim Dean 

July 1, 2015 - As of July 1, the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology has undergone significant managerial and personnel changes. Most notably, Dr. Clytrice Watson, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and previously Associate Dean for Student Success in the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology, has been named Interim Dean for the College. Dr. Watson possesses a Ph.D., Microbiology/Food Microbiology from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD; an M.S., Biology, Delaware State University, Dover, DE and a B.S., Biology from Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA. She also received a Certificate of Academic Leadership from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, DC.

In addition to being a tenured faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences, Dr. Watson serves as Director of the Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) and the EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) undergraduate and high school summer research programs. Past positions of leadership include the Director of the Forensic Biology program, Associate Director for the MARC U*STAR program and the Director for Student Support and Scholarship. Her commitment to graduate and undergraduate research and mentoring is evident as numerous students have transitioned through her laboratory, thus making presentations at local, regional and national conferences. Dr. Watson was recently awarded the 2014 Excellence Award for Advising as a result of her dedication to advising and student success. Extramural funding includes the NSF Targeted Infusion grant, NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) and the NSF EPSCoR for the state of Delaware.

Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, formerly Dean of the CMNST, takes his post as V.P. for Research, Innovation and Economic Development on a full-time basis. (Dr. Melikechi is also Director of the Optical Sciences Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) program.)  A full national search to permanently fill the position of dean will be undertaken in the coming months. 


CMNST receives $300K donation from InterDigital Inc. for Mishoe Science Center lab renovations

April 7, 2015 – At a public press conference, DSU President Harry Williams announced that a new donation had been received by the CMNST from corporate sponsor InterDigital, Inc.. InterDigital’s CEO Mr. William Merritt, Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Senator Tom Carper were among the honored guests in attendance. The purpose of this donation is to assist DSU in expanding its creative research capacity as funds will primarily be used to renovate existing space for the natural sciences previously used for faculty offices into student teaching labs. For more information about the grant, please see this link.  


China research experience for LSAMP students

February 25, 2015 – For the 5th consecutive year, Delaware State University will send 10 Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) students to Ningbo University (NBU), Ningbo, Zhejiang, China to do research in the summer of 2015. Each student will conduct research in one of STEM areas at NBU. The goal of this program is to provide DSU STEM students with valuable research experience and immerse them in the Chinese culture, thus preparing them for the future global job market. Funds for this opportunity are provided by the Greater Philadelphia Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (Philadelphia LSAMP) through the National Science Foundation (NSF). The China Research Experience is organized by DSU LSAMP and the Office of International Affairs. Participants who complete all requirements of the China Research Experience will receive 1 Credit hour for Summer Session I, 2015.

Requirements to be considered for the China Research Experience:

  • Must be an LSAMP Member (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation).
  • Must be a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident.
  • Must be a rising Sophomore, Junior, or Senior STEM major.
  • Must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.

The tentative program dates are from May 18 to June 20, 2015. Applications are due March 27, 2015. Contact Ms. Christine Bissette for more information at ext 7869; Dr. Mazen Shahin (mshahin@desu.edu), Principal Investigator.

Download a flyer here

Printable Application is available here


Assistant Professor Michael Gitcho featured on WHYY talk about Alzheimer’s and “The TDP-43 Solution”

February 1, 2015 – Dr. Michael Gitcho, assistant professor in the Biological Sciences department, was recently featured on the January 30, 2015 edition of WHYY’s “First” newsmagazine to discuss one area of inquiry in the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.. Research being conducted in Dr. Gitcho’s lab focuses on the gene TDP-43, which has been observed to be present in 50-60% of all individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease. Desired outcomes of this research would demonstrate an ability to turn off and on this gene in mouse subjects and hopefully offer promise of future techniques to control and eventually eradicate this dreadful disease.

“First” is Delaware’s public media newsmagazine.”Each Friday night at 5:30 and 11 on WHYY-TV, First explores issues ranging from our economy and education to the arts and culture that make up the First State.” Click the following link to view Dr. Gitcho’s interview: http://whyy.org/cms/first/2015/01/30/first-for-friday-january-30-2015/     


Dr. Noureddine Melikechi receives Excellence Award for Youth Empowerment and Development in Africa

December 5, 2014 – Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, Dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology, and VP for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at DSU, recently received the Excellence Award for Youth Empowerment and Development in Africa at the Conference of the African Society for Engineering Management (AFRISEM), held in Istanbul,Turkey in November. This award was given in recognition of his work with the youth of his native country, Algeria. Read more here. 


CMNST Celebrates the 2014 Nobel Prizes












Above, from left to right: Dr. Thomas Planchon (Phys & Eng), Dr. Edward Dawley (French), Dr. A. Mohammad Khan (Phys &Eng), Dr. Murali Temburni (Bio Sci), and Ms. Ann Rhoads (Economics)

November 21, 2014 – On Thursday, November 20, 2014, the CMNST 2014 Nobel Prize Event was held at Delaware State University (DSU).  The College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Technology (CMNST)  sponsored this event at which five DSU faculty members presented, each in one’s own area of expertise, the research that was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prizes in the academic disciplines of: 1) literature, 2) chemistry, 3) economics, 4) physics, and 5) physiology or medicine.  The target audience was undergraduate students in CMNST, but this event was open to the entire campus community. The presenters, and the research that each presented, are listed below:

Edward Dawley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of French, DSU:
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature:
Patrick Modiano
For “the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies
and uncovered the life-world of the occupation."*
Thomas A. Planchon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, DSU:
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry:
Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell, and William E. Moerner
For “the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy."
Anne Rhoads, Lecturer in Economics, DSU:
The 2014 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences (in memory of Alfred Nobel):
Jean Tirole
For “his analysis of market power and regulation."
M. Amir Khan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physics, DSU:
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics:
Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura
For “the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.”
Murali K. Temburni, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, DSU:
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser, and Edvard I. Moser
For “their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain."
Dr. Stephen Taylor (Philosophy, CAHSS, and Professional Ethicist,CMNST) moderated the event. 
Note: *Each description is quoted from “The Official Web Site of the Nobel Prize.”


DSU Collaborates with Univ of DE on International Research Ethics Grant with National Academy of Engineering

Pictured here: (from left) Lindsay Hoffman, Ismat Shah, Robin Andreasen, Tom Powers, Mark Greene, Stephen Taylor (DSU), and Zoubeida Dagher. Not pictured: Michela Taufer and Bill Ullman. 

October 18, 2014 – Dr. Stephen Taylor, Professional Ethicist for the CMNST and Associate Professor of Philosophy for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, is part of a group of researchers from UD (lead institution) and DSU, collaborating with the National Academy of Engineering on an international research ethics project. Funded by the National Science Foundation, one of the major aims of the project is to “support the incorporation of international perspectives and resources for ethical reasoning and practice as well as social responsibility in science and engineering” (UDaily, 2014).  

Delaware State University students make a difference at the 2014 5K Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Rehoboth Beach 

October 8, 2014 – The “Hornets for a Cure” team, organized by Ms. Deidre Carter, a senior and president of the Biology Club, raised over $700 to support the Alzheimer’s Association.  Ms. Carter’s enthusiasm and perseverance led the way to motivate over 70  Delaware State University students to participate in the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s."  This was the largest team the Rehoboth walk ever had. Katie Macklin, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter said that DSU brought incredible excitement and energy to the event.  

Dr. Michael Gitcho, Biological Sciences and Alzheimer's disease researcher, was the faculty representative at the event.

Read more about the event

Fall 2014 Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Series Speakers announced

October 1, 2014 – The Fall 2014 speakers for the CMNST Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Series has now been released.

  • Oct. 7 @ 11 a.m. (SCN 139); 6 p.m. (SCN 139):  Dr. Jeffrey R. Johnson, Research Scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, Johns’ Hopkins University
  • Nov. 11 @ 11 a.m. (BOA 309); 6 p.m. (MLK Parlor C): Dr. Byung K. Yi, chief technology officer and executive VP, InterDigital Labs, Inc.
  • Nov. 18 @ 11 a.m. & 6 p.m. (BOA 309): Dr. Aprille Ericsson, deputy to the chief technologist, Applied Engineering and Technology Division, NASA Goddard Flight Center

For more information about any of these events or the series, in general, please visit the DDLS website. Or contact Ms. Diane Weller, dweller@desu.edu


Awards & Honors  

Associate Professor receives prestigious Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award

July 17, 2015 - Dr. Mukti Rana, Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Physics and Engineering and an OSCAR Scientist received the prestigious Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award of $359,359 for three years. Dr. Rana and his team will be developing uncooled infrared detectors with low thermal conductivity utilizing nano-machining techniques. This new research will help to improve the performance of uncooled infrared detectors which are primarily used in night vision cameras for surveillance, defense and security. Dr. Rana is one of the 35 ONR YIP recipients out of 383 proposals.


Associate Professor among researchers receiving State award from Department of Defense

July 8, 2015 - Dr. Renu Tripathi was one of two Delaware researchers announced by the Pentagon to have received the competitive Research Instrumentation Award from the U.S. Department of Defense this year. Dr. Tripathi, an associate professor in DSU's Department of Physics & Engineering, is one among 225 university researchers at 111 academic institutions selected to receive a total of $67.8 million under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. Read more about this award at http://www.delawareonline.com/story/delawaredefense/2015/06/04/delaware-academics-selected-dod-research-instrumentation-awards/28496771/.


Graduate Student receives prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program fellowship; First at DSU

April 8, 2015 – The Department of Biological Sciences and the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology would like to congratulate Mr. Sheed Itaman as a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) Fellowship for his research proposal entitled “Aging Neurons: The balance between Calcium Ion Flux and Cell Death”.  Mr. Itaman received his B.S. degree in biochemical and biophysical sciences from the University of Houston (2012) and is currently pursuing his M.S degree in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience under the direction of Dr. Michael Gitcho, Department of Biological Sciences. Mr. Itaman plans to achieve a PhD in neuroscience and establish his career in biomedical research. The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science and engineering. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering.

This is the first time a Delaware State University student has been the recipient of this highly competitive and prestigious award.


Mathematical Research Scientist awarded grant to further study in Biomedical Image Analysis

March 25, 2015 – Dr. Sokratis MakrogiannisAssistant Professor in the Mathematical Sciences Dept., was recently awarded a research continuance award by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This research project, entitled “Quantitative Image Analysis Techniques for Studies of Aging Phenotypes and Age-Related Diseases,” is a 4-year grant that will fund Dr. Makrogiannis' research in the field of biomedical image analysis.

Modern medical imaging technologies offer the opportunity to study the composition and morphometry of human body in ways that were previously impossible. These technologies can ultimately lead to early diagnosis of disease and more effective treatments. Nevertheless, these capabilities have created the need for automated image analysis techniques for identification and quantification of morphological patterns of anatomies. The development of computational techniques for morphometric analysis is the primary goal of this project.

Dr. Makrogiannis, together with graduate student researchers, will build upon recent advances in medical image computing to segment muscle, regional fat, and bone in clinical CT and MRI acquisitions; develop image registration procedures to achieve intra- and inter-subject correspondence; and combine information provided by multi-modal imaging data collected in clinical trials. After these methods have been developed, they will address the hypothesis that quantitative use of clinical imaging can increase the prognostic accuracy. More specifically, they will use their novel research tools to study the relationship between body morphological changes and age-related pathologies."


Mr. Yury Markushin Awarded SPIE Officer Travel Grant

February 2, 2015 – Mr. Yury Markushin, an Optics Ph.D. candidate in OSCPIEAR and the Department of Physics & Engineering, has been awarded the ‘Officer Travel Grant’ (~$ 2,000) from SPIE to attend the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco, CA in February 2015. Yury will have an opportunity to attend a student leadership conference, technical sessions, and will present his work on “Multi-Pulse Detection Technique to Improve Timing Resolution of a LADAR System.” He will represent Delaware State University as the vice President of SPIE Student Chapter at DSU. (Article contributed by Dr. Renu Tripathi.) 


Dr. Melikechi receives award from African Society for Engineering Management (AFSEM)

December 1, 2014 – Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, Dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, and Professor of Physics, recently was honored by the African Society for Engineering Management (AFSEM) for his work in the area of African development. He was recipient of the Award of Excellence of Youth Empowerment and Development in Africa (Algeria).  Read more on his work here.


Chemistry faculty member awarded NSF Targeted Infusion grant in Chemistry

August 20, 2014 - More congratulations go again to Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai for the $324,182 award  he recently received from NSF. The project supported by this award will create seminal knowledge related to chemistry taught in the context of green chemistry, environmental stewardship, climate change, and food security.

Societal benefits of this project include improved educational opportunities for training students to tackle tomorrow’s sustainable society challenges. The project aims to produce graduates ready to respond to an increasing need for sustainability awareness and related problem-solving capabilities. 


New NSF Major Research Instrumentation Grant arrives on DSU campus

Members of the team directing this initiative include Drs. Mukti Rana (PI), Dula Man, Wafa Amir, Hacene Boukari, and Theresa Szabo-Maas.

July 31, 2014 - A team of CMNST faculty researchers, led by Dr. Mukti Rana (Assoc. Professor, Dept of Physics & Engineering) was recently awarded a  Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant by the National Science Foundation. This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant, awarded to Delaware State University (DSU), provides funding for the acquisition of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). This high-resolution imaging microscope enhances the research and educational capabilities at DSU, especially for students majoring in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).  Thanks to this acquisition, DSU STEM students will gain “hands on” experience and training in this broadly-used technology. Further, the SEM is an impetus to stimulate new opportunities, and to develop new collaborative projects among DSU and non-DSU researchers.   Most particularly, it strengthens the mission of the NSF-funded Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology at DSU: the Optical Science Center for Applied Research.

The goals of this MRI project are: (1) to develop and design novel materials for integrated circuits and their applications, (2) to assess the efficiency of (Deoxyribonucleic acid) DNA delivery systems, (3) to characterize estrogen receptor subcellular localization using teleost model systems, and (4) to characterize and probe the nanoscopic structures of diverse biopolymers. In addition, the instrument provides other capabilities such as energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy microanalysis system and electron back scattered diffractometer, which can be used to determine the elemental composition and crystallographic orientation of a specimen.  Thus, the instrument contributes to the successful realization of various ongoing research projects at DSU, including: i) the development of ultra-low power Indium Arsenic Nitride semiconductor transistors, ii) the fabrication of a nanofiber in situ electroporation chip to deliver DNA into cells, iii) the study of membrane-associated estrogen receptors in the Mauthner cell circuit of goldfish, and iv) the characterization of tubulin nanorings.


Chemistry faculty member awarded grant with U.S. Department of Energy

July 23, 2014 - Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, and a member of the Renewable Energy Research and Education Center, was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $249,291 by the U.S. Department of Energy. The three-year award will fund the project titled: "Novel Silica Nanostructured Platforms with Engineered Surface Functionality and Spherical Morphology for Low-Cost High-Efficiency Carbon Capture." This is the first climate change-related research project at DSU and will contribute to reduction of carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuels.


Geophysicist faculty member receives NSF award to study elasticity of deep Earth materials at high pressure and temperatures

July 18, 2014 - Congratulations to Physics & Engineering Department professor, Dr. Gabriel Gwanmesia who received a three (3) year grant from the National Science Foundation in the amount of $300,000,  to, his own words, "...study the elasticity of deep Earth materials at high pressure and high temperature, in conjunction with synchrotron X-radiation." Combined with pertological and geochemical data, the results of the study could significantly enhance our knowledge of the mineralogical composition and structure of the deep Earth's interior.


Biology faculty awarded NSF grant to 'Expand Educational Cyber-infrastructure' at DSU

June 23, 2014 - Dr. Andrew Lloyd (pictured above at far left, with co-PIs), faculty member in the Biological Sciences Department, was recently awarded by the National Science Foundation for his proposal, "Targeted Infusion Project: Expanding Educational Cyber-Infrastructure at Delaware State University" ($399,908).

Dr. Lloyd said that the project "...will support the development and implementation of online teaching resources to enable faculty to deliver course content to students so that instructors can focus classroom time on active and problem-based learning."


SPIE Awards DSU Student Chapter President to attend conference

June 17, 2014 - Mr. Zachary Warren, an Optics Ph.D. candidate in the Optical Sciences Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) in the Department of Physics & Engineering, and newly-elected president of the recently-incepted SPIE Student Chapter at DSU, has won the ‘Officer Travel Grant Award’ (approximately $ 2,000.00) from SPIE to attend the SPIE Optics+Photonics conference in San Diego, CA in Aug. 2014.  Zach will represent DSU, participating in a student leadership conference, technical sessions, technical tutorials, and products exhibit at the conference.


Physics & Engineering Faculty Member awarded Research Technology Grant 

June 4, 2014 - Dr. Hacene Boukari, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Engineering, has recently been awarded a $175,000 grant from the Department of Defense to acquire a fluorescence correlation spectrometer. Read a full article on his grant here


Grad Student Yuriy Markushin awarded SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship 

June 2, 2014 - DSU Optics Graduate student Mr. Yury Markushin has been awarded a 2014 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics for his potential contributions to the field of optics, photonics or related field.

Markushin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Physics and Engineering at Delaware State University. His research is focused on design and implementation of a polarimetric scanning Laser Detection and Ranging System (LADAR). He is also a founding member and a Vice-President of SPIE student chapter at Delaware State University. “I am proud to accept the SPIE Optics and Photonics Educational Scholarship and honored to be a part of SPIE as a student member,” said Markushin. “That gave me a priceless opportunity to learn about the latest innovations and findings in the field of Optics and Remote Sensing“.

In 2014 SPIE awarded $353,000 in education and travel scholarships to 144 outstanding individuals, based on their potential contribution to optics and photonics, or a related discipline. Award-winning applicants were evaluated, selected and approved by the SPIE Scholarship Committee, Chaired by SPIE volunteer Kevin Leonard.

To date, SPIE has distributed over $3.5 million dollars in individual scholarships. This ambitious effort reflects the Society's commitment to education and to the next generation of optical scientists and engineers around the world. SPIE scholarships are open to full- and part-time students studying anywhere in the world. All scholarship applications are judged on their own merit, based on the experience and education level of the individual student. To view press releases of the Scholarship Recipients go to http://spie.org/x13360.xml.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 256,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent.

Article contributed by Dr. Renu Tripathi.

Dr. Murali Temburni awarded competitive NSF Research Initiation Award grant

April 28, 2014 - Dr. Murali Temburni, Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, received notification of award for funding by the National Science Foundation for his grant proposal entitled "Role of Astrocytes in the development of synchronized bursting behavior in neuronal networks." This two-year grant funds Dr. Temburni's ongoing work in the field of neurobiology. 

Neurons communicate in the brain by firing signals called action potentials. During synchronous activity, groups of neurons in the brain all fire action potentials at the same frequency. This synchronous activity is important during brain development for neurons to recognize and link up with functionally similar neurons – thus dividing the brain into functional modules. Abnormal synchronization can also occur in the awake brain leading to epileptic seizures. Unraveling the cellular and molecular basis of neuronal synchronization is necessary not only for understanding the development of neuronal networks but also for developing meaningful therapies for epilepsy. Currently there is no effective therapy for epilepsy. Glial cells (of which astrocytes are a subset) were traditionally thought to be support cells for neurons to grow, develop and survive. However, recent evidence shows that they not only help neurons survive and form connections, but also participate in neuronal communication. The current view of neuronal communication involves a “tripartite synapse” with a pre-and post-synaptic neurons and a peri-synaptic glial cell.

This project which received an overall rating of “excellent” was conceived and developed at DSU. Dr. Temburni, a molecular biologist studying synapse formation in the vertebrate brain using the developing chicken brain as a model system, came up with the idea for this proposal at DSU in collaboration with DSU scientists. According to Dr. Temburni, this project would not have been possible without input from his mentor, Dr. Melissa Harrington, a neurophysiologist and collaborator, Dr. Tomasz Smolinski, a computational neuroscientist and support from his Chair, Dr. Leonard Davis.

Dr. Temburni’s team of researchers – Karla Sanchez, a graduate student, undergraduates, Nkoli Agbazue, Jaskirandeep Kaur and Kasey Cosden are generating exciting data which confirms their initial suspicions – astrocytes are necessary for neurons to synchronize their activity. The team is currently working on unraveling the molecular pathways involved.

This NSF funded project will also involve high school students from the Early College High School at DSU. Dr. Judi Coffield, Director of the ECHS, is part of the team and will select high school students interested in research to work in Dr. Temburni’s lab. The selected students will participate in research under the guidance from Dr. Temburni, along with their peer undergraduate mentors. According to Dr. Temburni, “catching them early” is the surest way of hooking students on scientific research – and this project will help achieve that goal.

Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and Ms. Alissa Mezzacappa receive high honors from NASA for contributions to ChemCam Instrument Dvlpmt & Science Team  

April 24, 2014 - As members of the Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam Instrument Development & Science Team, Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and his student Ms. Alissa Mezzacappa, Ph.D. candidate in Optics, have received one of NASA’s Highest Honor Awards: the Group Achievement Award.  The ChemCam team has received this award “For exceptional achievement defining ChemCam’s scientific goals and requirements, developing the instrument and investigation, and operating ChemCam successfully on Mars.”

This NASA Honor Award is presented to a number of carefully-selected teams who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the NASA mission. 


Dr. Michael Gitcho receives Alzheimer's Association grant

Dr. Michael Gitcho pictured above with Katie Macklin, executive director for the Delaware region of the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter

April 16, 2014 - Dr. Michael A. Gitcho, Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences Dept , was recently awarded a research grant by the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. This award was granted into support of Dr. Gitcho's research, which focuses on a protein (TDP-43) that is critical to the normal function of the brain cell. 

When TDP-43 is altered, this results in the development of neurological diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and dementia. One of the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's accounts for 70 to 80% of all cases and the greatest risk factor is aging.  This progressive disease slowly destroys memory, thinking, and reasoning and over time it makes even the simplest tasks impossible to do.  Currently, there are an estimated 5.3 million people aged 65 and older with the disease and it is projected that over the next 10 years there will be an additional 10 million diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Dr. Gitcho and colleagues have observed that mice that are engineered to have Alzheimer-like symptoms, similar to those with Alzheimer’s disease, also have an increased level of abnormal TDP-43 (TDP-43 has been found to be altered in up to 50% of those with Alzheimer’s disease).  Dr. Gitcho is hopeful that his research will provide insights into the relationship between TDP-43 and Alzheimer’s disease which could provide us a better understanding of how this devastating disease progresses and, in turn, lead to the development of new therapeutics. 

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