Karen Castle

Karen CastleClimate Modeling of Terrestrial Planet Atmospheres

Our group is interested in cooling and heating mechanisms in the upper atmospheres of terrestrial planets.  We use laser spectroscopy as a tool to measure rate coefficients of relevant energy transfer processes that contribute to atmospheric heating and cooling.  Accurate knowledge of the important rate coefficients is necessary to correctly interpret data being acquired by NASA satellite missions such as TIMED/SABER (Earth-based) and the MAVEN (Mars-based).  The rate coefficients are also crucial input parameters in the aeronomic models being used to track long-term climate change.  Students working in this laboratory will gain experience using different kinds of lasers and other sophisticated spectroscopic equipment, acquiring and analyzing data, and assisting with experimental design. || Learn more about Professor Castle.

Charles Clapp

Charles Clapp Studies on Soybean Lipoxygenase

Lipoxygenases are enzymes that catalyze the incorporation of oxygen into polyunsaturated fatty acids. Lipoxygenases are widespread in plants and animals, and they are involved in membrane modification and in the synthesis of signaling molecules. Several human lipoxygenases are targets for drug design. Our lab studies soybean lipoxygenase-1 (SBLO-1), which is more stable than most lipoxygenases and therefore well suited for biochemical studies. Our work has three goals. The first is to understand the basic chemistry of how SBLO-1 binds fatty acids and catalyzes the incorporation of oxygen. The second is to discover and characterize substances that inhibit SBLO-1. These new inhibitors can help guide drug discovery efforts on human lipoxygenases. The third is to modify SBLO-1 so that it will catalyze reactions that natural lipoxygenases will not catalyze. This is done by modifying the DNA that codes for SBLO-1 and then producing protein from this modified DNA. STEM scholars will learn to carry out some of the common procedures used in our lab and will apply these procedures to contribute to achieving the objectives described above. || Learn more about Professor Clapp.

Ken Field

Ken FieldBioinformatics and Bats

The Field lab is using next generation sequencing to study the genes that are affected by white-nose syndrome in bats. This disease has killed millions of bats in North America since it emerged in 2006. We are using gene expression studies at the whole transcriptome level to determine how this fungal infection kills bats and why some bats are resistant. Students working on the transcriptome project should be interested in both biology and computer science. || Learn more about Professor Field.

Reggie Gazes

Reggie Gazes Cognitive Development in Primates

Our lab focuses on discovering what evolutionary pressures may have led to the development of cognitive abilities in primates. To answer this question, we explore how socially housed primates learn, remember, and organize information. By comparing cognitive abilities across individuals within a species and between members of closely related species, we can identify factors that have made cognitive skills advantageous and better understand the origins of our own minds and brains. Students who join the lab will work in the Bucknell University Animal Behavior facility with our non-human primate collection. In addition to coding and analyzing data, students will be involved with conducting behavioral observations and cognitive experiments using touch screen computer technology. Successful students will have an interest in working with animals, as well as experience (or interest in learning!) computer programming. Ongoing projects include comparative studies of learning, numerical cognition, spatial cognition, and memory. || Learn more about Professor Gazes.

Judy Grisel

Judy Grisel Study of Alcoholism

The goal of my research is to better understand the factors that predispose certain people toward excessive alcohol consumption.  Current projects are focused on the influence of sex-dependent factors (for example gonadal hormones and their neural and behavioral consequences) on the development of alcoholism. We use mice to study effects of these hormones on voluntary alcohol self-administration. The overall hypothesis is that females are more susceptible to the negative-reinforcing effects of alcohol (i.e., for them, alcohol alleviates a negative state) and therefore more likely to find this drug rewarding in or after particularly stressful situations. Males and females have somewhat different factors contributing to addiction, so a better understanding of these influences will promote more effective targeted alcoholic treatment and intervention. || Learn more about Professor Grisel.

Erin Jablonski

Erin Jablonski High Efficiency Emulsion-based Liquid-Liquid Extraction 

The Jablonski group has proposed an innovative device that combines milli-fluidic emulsion-based liquid-liquid extraction with a continuous passive emulsion separation technique recently developed in the Jablonski laboratory. These novel fluidic devices allow for the co-current laminar flow of immiscible liquids at the 10­-3 m to 10-­2 m length scale and can process liquids at rates of several mL/min. These co-laminar flow devices have successfully been used to passively separate organic-in-aqueous and aqueous-in-organic emulsions. Early experiments using these co-laminar flow devices for aqueous/ organic liquid-liquid extraction studies to accurately determine mass transfer coefficients have also been successful. The co-laminar flow technique provides an excellent method for determining mass transfer coefficients due to the well-defined interface between the immiscible liquids and the ability to sample the effluent streams immediately upon exiting the device. The proposed milli-fluidic extraction process has improved separation and decreased power requirements when compared with conventional liquid-liquid extraction methods. The proposed method will employ emulsion-forming and co-laminar flow milli-fluidic devices in series, and greater volumetric flow rates will be achieved by stacking several such two-device combinations to operate in parallel. || Learn more about Professor Jablonski.

Chris Martine

Chris MartineField Research: Woodlands Survey

This summer, the Martine Lab will be running a field-based project to assess the spread and impact of escaped cultivated varieties of plants. Specifically, we will survey woodlands throughout Pennsylvania for populations of American holly that have moved out of cultivation into natural forest communities. Participants in this study will spend much of their time outside and are expected to be tolerant of heat, sun, and "bugs" in the name of ecological discovery. || Learn more about Professor Martine.

Molly McGuire

Molly McGuireEnvironmental Impacts of Shale Gas Drilling and Coal Mining in Pennsylvania

The advent of hydraulic fracturing is resulting in rapid growth of shale natural gas production.  Hydraulic fracturing and its associated activities will likely produce contamination of surface waters from accidental spills or incomplete/improper treatment and disposal of the large quantities of flowback water that return from the wells.  In the specific case of the Marcellus shale play in Pennsylvania, the significant geographic overlap of the Marcellus with watersheds already affected by abandoned mine drainage (AMD) necessitates a thorough investigation of the geochemical consequences of these waters mixing.  We are particularly interested in how the colloidal phase – the very small particles that remain suspended - in AMD water are affected by the introduction of flowback water.  This project is part of a collaboration with Ellen Herman in the Geology Department and provides the opportunity to work as part of an interdisciplinary team in the environmental sciences.  The research involves a combination of sample collection in the field, analyses of AMD water samples, and laboratory investigations of mixing parameters. || Learn more about Professor McGuire.

Le Paliulis

Le Paliulis How Chromosomes Communicate with One Another over a Distance

The Paliulis group studies the key differences between metaphase and anaphase chromosomes, and one project concerns how chromosomes communicate with one another over a distance. A number of organisms have chromosomes that do not pair and stick together in meiosis I but almost always separate correctly from one another. Somehow the position of one chromosome is "communicated" to its partner chromosome. We have been studying this phenomenon in spiders (black widow and yellow sac), showing that partner chromosomes only complete meiosis I when they are correctly positioned relative to one another. We are currently examining Mesostoma ehrenbergii, a flatworm with multiple chromosomes that display distance interactions. || Learn more about Professor Paliulis.

Marie Pizzorno-Simpson

Marie Pizzorno-Simpson Rapid Isolation and Identification of Arthrobacterphage

Bacteriophage, or phage, are viruses that can use bacterial cells as their hosts. Infection of a bacterial cell with a phage usually results in the production of new virus particles, called a lytic infection. Lytic infections produce plaques in lawns of bacterial cells and isolating plaques is how new phage can be isolated. We are studying phage that can infect an Arthrobacter host species. Almost all of the phage we have isolated on this host have very small genomes of double-stranded DNA (~15kbp). The goal of this project will be to develop techniques for the rapid isolation and identification of Arthrobacterphage with more diverse genomes. The techniques will include growing bacteria, isolating phage using plaque purification, DNA isolation, restriction enzyme digests, agarose gel electrophoresis, and possibly polymerase chain reaction. || Learn more about Professor Pizzorno-Simpson.

George Shields

George Shields Mechanism for Formation of Secondary Aerosols

In a warming world, the biggest uncertainty in modeling global feedback mechanisms is the formation of clouds. Secondary aerosols form from ions and molecules in the atmosphere, and clouds form from aerosols. In general clouds are thought to be a negative feedback system for global warming, so that as cloud cover increases more incoming sunlight is reflected back into space, thus leading to a cooling effect. However, because the mechanism for secondary aerosol formation is unknown, there is still a very large uncertainty in the feedback mechanisms. The Shields group is using computational chemistry to model the formation of secondary aerosols, and collaborating with experimentalists to fill in the gaps in our uncertainty about these essential processes. || Learn more about Professor Shields, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Tom Solomon

Tom Solomon The Physics of Chaotic Mixing and Propagating Reaction Fronts 

In a forest fire, the dividing line between burned and unburned trees is called a front. The motion of this front determines how the fire spreads through the forest. Similar front dynamics characterize the spreading of a disease in society, as well as numerous chemical processing applications, biological processes in cells and developing embryos, and plasmas in fusion reactors. We are currently conducting experiments in the Department of Physics & Astronomy that explore how the motion of fronts is affected by fluid mixing, e.g., forced flows in a chemical processor, winds in a forest fire, or the motion of people in society while a disease spreads. Table-top experiments using a simple chemical reaction (the well-known Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction) focus on how fronts are affected by simple flow patterns -- vortices (whirlpools) and jets. We are currently testing theories of "burning invariant manifolds" that describe front behavior in simple two- and three-dimensional flows. There is a lot of "hands-on" work involved in this project, including the designing, building and testing of the experimental apparatus, mixing chemicals for the reaction, and doing numerous experimental data runs. The experimental work also involves a substantial amount of computer-aided image analysis, almost exclusively on Linux workstations running a program called IDL. || Learn more about Professor Solomon.

 Robert Stockland

Robert Stockland

Catalyst Design and Synthesis

A series of unique catalysts (metallopolymers) with novel architectures and multiple activating sites will be prepared through P-H activation reactions using alkynylmetal species as substrates.  This fundamental investigation will yield structure activity relationships that are critical for predicting the reactivity of organometallic intermediates and precatalysts with P-H donors.  A component of the work will involve the use of these catalysts in organic reactions. || Learn more about Professor Stockland.

Constance Ziemian and Ron Ziemian

Constance ZiemianRon Ziemian Computational Analysis of the Stability of Structures

This project is an extension of ongoing research that has established guidelines for the implementation of a novel computational method for the stability design of steel structures.  In contrast with previous practices of implementing adjustment factors, the developed methodology explicitly includes all significant factors, known to directly affect structural stability, within the analysis model.  In 2016, this computational method will be specified by the governing body for the design of steel structures, the American Institute of Steel Construction.  Current research is focused on developing, performing, and analyzing final validation studies.  A scholar who joins this effort should be interested in studying one or more of the interdisciplinary aspects of this project, including the mechanics-based analysis of structural systems (Mechanical/Civil Engineering), the implementation of computational analysis methods (Mechanical/Civil Engineering), and/or the further development of the graphical user interface needed to perform the analyses (Computer Science/Computer Engineering). || Learn more about Professor Constance Ziemian and Professor Ronald Ziemian.


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