RIT College of Science student Tessa DiDonato was awarded an American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
DiDonato, from Douglas, Mass., is a fourth-year biochemistry major and a student in the RIT Honors Program.
The competitive undergraduate fellowship is awarded to students like DiDonato, who are interested in pursuing graduate careers in microbiology. Award recipients receive a stipend of up to $4,000, a two-year student membership to the society and reimbursement for travel expenses to the 114th American Society for Microbiology General Meeting and the society's Capstone Institute in Boston.
Searching for solutions – one scientist's story
"To make a difference, you sometimes need to step outside your comfort zone and reinvent yourself."
It's this attitude that has got Dr Andrew Benowitz, a 1993 graduate of the RIT chemistry program, to where he is today – head of GSK's haemoglobin research centre in Upper Providence, Pennsylvania.
In 2011 Andrew – a bench-side chemist of 10 years at GSK - was inspired to investigate a new area of research by a colleague who was suffering from the genetic condition sickle cell anaemia. Sickle cell anaemia is caused by a defect in the structure of haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying compound in red blood cells. The resulting sickle red blood cells frequently get stuck in blood vessels, often causing unbearable pain.
2012-13 Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching
Christina Goudreau caught the teaching bug as an undergraduate and never waivered from her chosen career path. "I've never had a job in the real world," says the associate professor of chemistry in the College of Science and a winner of a 2013 Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching. "I went to college and then I went to graduate school and then I came here. I never left academia. I always say maybe I'll get a real job when I retire."
2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar
Tessa DiDonato, a junior Biochemistry major, will receive $7500 for her senior year. Tessa has been conducting biochemistry research since her freshman year in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science at RIT, under the direction of Dr. Suzanne O'Handley. Her research entails the study of diadenosine polyphosphatase / mRNA decapping enzymes of the Nudix hydrolase superfamily with a focus on those from M. tuberculosis and M. leprae, as potential novel antibiotic targets. She has presented her work at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the National Meeting of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) as well as local and regional meetings. Tessa has won an RIT Presidential Scholarship, a COS Summer Research Fellowship, ASBMB and ACS travel awards. She is also in the RIT four-year Honors Program and is an RIT Chemistry Research Scholar. Tessa is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Microbiology, and the American Chemical Society. She is also a resident advisor, tutor, teaching assistant, member of the RIT ASBMB student affiliates, and volunteer at the Rochester Museum and Science Center including involvement in the national program "Portal to the Public". Tessa plans to obtain her Ph.D. in Microbiology or Biochemistry, and plans for a research career in Infectious Disease.
John Wiley Jones Outstanding Students in Science
Joy Snyder is a fourth year Biochemistry major and an Honors student. Since starting at RIT in 2009, Joy has succeeded in the classroom and in the laboratory. Joy started research the summer before her freshman year, working with Dr. Matt Miri. That fall, Joy began her research project in Dr. Lea Vacca Michel's lab and has worked there ever since, including three full-time summers. In addition to maintaining a stellar grade point average throughout her undergraduate career, Joy has immersed herself in RIT life. She participates in research, works in the Dean's Office, and can be commonly seen at RIT hockey games (enthusiastically dressed in her tiger gear). For the last four years, Joy has brought energy, excitement, and unwavering commitment to her research. She has been fastidious, organized, and efficient in her bench work and data analysis, and her lab technique has improved exponentially. Joy has worked on a research project which is done in collaboration with the Rochester General Hospital Research Institute. When Joy graduates in May, she will have coauthored three peer-reviewed scientific publications and presented at four national meetings, including one for which she was competitively selected to participate in (Harvard University). Joy was recently inducted into the ASBMB national honor society and received one their summer fellowships. After graduation, Joy will head off to SUNY Buffalo where she will attend Pharmacy School..
Pasto Award Winners
Two RIT students have been awarded a David Pasto Co-op
Fellowship Award. The Pasto Award is given each year to
chemistry students who show an interest in conducting
Sofiya Hylnchuk '14, from Sloatsburg, NY, and Tri Nguyen '13 from Sa Dec Town, Vietnam were selected as the Pasto Award recipients for the 2012–2013 school year. The students will receive a $3,000 stipend and will spend an entire academic quarter conducting research full-time.
Associate Department Chair Dr. Paul Craig Wins NIH Grant
Scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology and Dowling College are engaged in a similar game with higher stakes. Instead of cards, they are matching the protein to the job it performs in the human body. Their research could lead to drugs that target proteins and switch on or off specific functions associated with various diseases.
College of Science Distinguished Alumnus Award
Each year, senior leaders select one graduate from each college who represents the best of RIT. This year, RIT will honor 10 distinguished alumni who stand out among the nearly 110,000 accomplished graduates. The awardee from the College of Science is an alumnus of the Chemistry Department and we couldn't be prouder!
When he was 11 years old, Daniel Mendelson (Chemistry'88) found personal and professional inspiration in his grandmother's end-of-life hospice care. Before entering medical school, Mendelson sought an undergraduate major that he was passionate about. He found that passion in his freshman organic chemistry class with former RIT professor Robert Gilman. Then he enrolled in the physician scientist graduate program at the University of Rochester. After earning a master's degree in biophysics and a medical doctorate, he went on to specialize in geriatrics and palliative care. He says he now strives to be the same kind of mentor that inspired him as he trains the next generation of doctors and health care workers. Mendelson co-founded the Geriatric Fracture Center at Highland Hospital in Rochester and he lectures worldwide on topics related to fragility fractures. He is the founder of the Palliative Care Consultation Service at Highland Hospital and helped establish the Palliative Care Consultation Service at Strong Memorial Hospital, also in Rochester. Mendelson is the medical director of Monroe Community Hospital, the Highlands at Brighton, Visiting Nurse Service of Rochester and Monroe County and the Baird Nursing Home.
Tuesday, September 30
A300 GOS 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science
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