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Meadville, PA, United States

Allegheny College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college in northwestern Pennsylvania in the town of Meadville, approximately 35 miles south of Erie. Founded in 1815, Allegheny is the oldest college in continuous existence under the same name west of the Allegheny Mountains. Allegheny is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the North Coast Athletic Conference, and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education . In Spring 2012, U.S. News ranked Allegheny as the #1 up-and-coming national liberal arts college. Wikipedia.


Ostrofsky M.L.,Allegheny College
Journal of Paleolimnology | Year: 2012

Historically, paleolimnologists have been cautious about interpreting sedimentary total phosphorus (P) profiles because of the well-documented post-depositional mobility of P. There is recent new attention given to the interpretation of component P fractions that are generally indicative of broad categories of chemical P species in sediments. Using homogenized sediments collected from 5 lakes with differing characteristics, the mobilities of total P, and of NH 4Cl-, BD-, NaOH-, and HCl-extractible P were measured in short term incubations (15-24 weeks). Almost all of the observed mobility of total P could be explained by the mobility of reductant-soluble BD-P, with a smaller contribution from NaOH-P. In contrast, HCl-P (apatite) and organic-P showed no significant movement. These results reaffirm that sedimentary TP profiles should be interpreted with caution, and that component P species, particularly NH 4Cl-, BD-, and NaOH-P are also prone to post-depositional mobility. In contrast, HCl-P and organic-P appear to be more reliable proxies for paleolimnological reconstructions. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 613.69K | Year: 2014

This S-STEM project at Allegheny College is providing scholarships for fourteen undergraduates in the Natural Sciences for four years. Through its support for the education and training of academically talented, financially needy students, the project is helping to meet local and regional employment needs in research and technical fields, as well as serving as a source of lessons learned for other institutions facing similar challenges.

Several features of the projects implementation stand out. Eligible students are being selected from a pool of high school applicants based on their interest in STEM fields, academic potential, and financial need. Scholarship students receive academic and cohort support, which builds on the Colleges existing support structure. Academic support includes a co-advising component by which each student has one of the principal investigators as an academic advisor in addition to one of the full-time professional staff from the academic support office serving as a co-advisor. Scholarship recipients are also participating in a one-week academic enrichment program prior to the start of classes. Cohort support is being structured around a Living and Learning Community (LLC), which includes housing on the same floor of a designated residence hall, regular lunches (biweekly during the first year and monthly thereafter) along with presentations from support offices, career services, science faculty and students, and other personnel. Each student is also having regular contact with the Director and the Assistant Director of Allegheny Colleges diversity office. These individuals also serve as members of the management team along with the two principal investigators, the director of the academic support center, and the director of financial aid.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Molecular Biophysics | Award Amount: 174.04K | Year: 2015

Title: RUI: Catalytic regulation of ribosome processing factors: Investigation of peripheral domain effects on the enzymatic capabilities of the DEAD-box protein Rok1p.

Ribonucleic acids, RNAs, play a critical role in a variety of cellular processes. In order for RNAS to perform their specific functions in cells they often need to be processed by protein factors. Protein processing is generally associated with structural changes that are very important to the processing protein function. This research project will develop chemical-based methodologies to identify and characterize the protein structural elements that can regulate the activity and initial structural state of essential RNA processing proteins. The second objective of this research is to provide an effective training environment for students interested in RNA-protein research. Undergraduate students will perform all investigations, including the synthesis and purification of all RNAs and proteins utilized in this study. To cultivate a rich learning environment, comprehensive multi-approach mentoring and Just-in-Time teaching of experimental research will be used. This mentoring infrastructure is designed to advance problem solving and critical thinking skills in experimental design and analysis, and it has been successful in the past. Thus, this project will not only further the understanding of protein regulation, but also provide a strong foundation for students in the sciences.

DEAD-box proteins constitute a large sub-class of putative unwindases essential in many RNA metabolic pathways. For example, Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) processing and assembly are highly regulated pathways requiring several DEAD-box proteins. This family of proteins couples cellular function to protein structural changes. In a subset of DEAD-box proteins, activity is mediated through additional peripheral elements/domains. The goal of this research is to understand the structural and thermodynamic nature of peripheral domain effects on the activity and conformational state of a model protein. Specifically, a DEAD-box protein model will be biochemically characterized and comparatively analyzed to evaluate the catalytic consequence of domain deletion variants. Equilibrium and kinetic methodologies will be developed to study the effects of initial conformations on nucleotide binding. Lastly, solvent-accessible and dynamic regions will be identified for the model system. Since the deregulation of the model protein and its human homolog has critical cellular consequences, the proposed research will further the understanding of (1) how DEAD-box proteins can bind early during processing and function in later events, and (2) how DEAD-box proteins and other RNA folding and processing accessory factors can utilize various conformations to regulate activity. Thus, the characterization of these states is important for any protein that utilizes ATP hydrolysis within a dynamic multi-factor complex.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: GeoPRISMS | Award Amount: 107.25K | Year: 2015

Alaska contains the largest number of active volcanoes in the United States and is one of the most volcanically active regions in the world. Most of the volcanoes in Alaska form a belt that includes the Aleutian Islands and extends landward onto the Alaska Peninsula, ending across the Cook Inlet from Anchorage. The Alaska Peninsula hosts more than 20 volcanoes with historic activity, five with major eruptions in the past 25 years, and includes the worlds largest eruption of the 20th century. This project will investigate the growth of the volcanic system on the Alaska Peninsula and evaluate the factors that influence the composition and behavior of volcanoes in this region. The results of this project will contribute to ongoing work of the U.S. Geological Survey and Alaska Volcano Observatory for understanding volcanic behavior in a region where there are roughly 30,000 people per day transported in commercial aircraft over the volcanoes and where eruptions can have severe impact on Anchorage (Alaskas largest population center) and along the Kenai Peninsula. The Alaska Peninsula is also one of the nations most important mineral resource regions; this project will provide an improved regional framework that will be useful for future detailed studies to delineate economic mineral deposits. Scientific advances made through this project will also contribute to the public-outreach mission of Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks, where several of the volcanoes of this study are located. This project will additionally provide high-level STEM training for undergraduate students. The project is highly cost-effective because it uses publically-available sample collections of the U.S. Geological Survey, building on past investments in federal funding.

Southern Alaska is one of the best places in the world to investigate long-term magmatism and crustal growth along a convergent margin, as recognized by the GeoPRISMS community who selected the Alaska/Aleutian subduction zone as the highest priority site for the Subduction Cycles and Deformation (SCD) initiative. This two-year project will benefit the GeoPRISMS community with an unprecedented synoptic study to evaluate temporal and along-strike geochemical trends for Eocene through Quaternary igneous rocks on the Alaska Peninsula. Data will include major and trace element, whole rock Nd-Sr-Hf and zircon Hf-isotopes, and 40Ar/39Ar and zircon U/Pb dating on volcanic and plutonic rocks. The results of this research will provide new constraints on the continental portion of Aleutian arc including: i) along-arc trends in magma chemistry and relationships with sediment flux and regional tectonics, ii) geochemical products of subduction over time and how these influence the composition of new continental crust, and iii) the timing of subduction initiation and relationship to Pacific-wide versus local tectonic processes. This work is in concert with the GeoPRISMS SCD initiatives to focus on long-term margin evolution and material transfer and the growth and evolution of volcanic arcs and continents and can be integrated with other projects (i.e., geophysical studies of the southern Alaska margin) to yield advances in understanding the regional controls on convergent margin magmatism.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 629.21K | Year: 2015

This National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) project at the Community College of Allegheny County, Allegheny Campus, will provide scholarships, academic support, and wraparound services to talented associates degree students majoring in Biotechnology, Bioremediation, and Math & Science (BioMaS) who demonstrate financial need. The project will address the need for biotechnology workers, as well as science and mathematics teachers, in the ten-county Pittsburgh region by training scholarship recipients for employment in these high-growth sectors, and providing the support scholars need to excel and become highly-qualified graduates in their fields.

BioMaS project goals will include (1) providing scholarships and critical wraparound services, including an onsite clinical social worker to assist students with barriers, internship opportunities, and the job search; learning community experiences; and tutoring to improve retention, persistence, graduation and employment rates; (2) strengthening pathways to employment; (3) connecting degree programs to regional industry by linking potential employers and college training to solidify and build sustainability through an employment pipeline; and (4) providing information on STEM training and jobs for high-school and college students, including veterans and underrepresented minorities. The BioMaS project will create pathways to biotechnology and bioremediation employment opportunities, or to further education for graduates, by leveraging well-established business and higher education partnerships. In addition, a partnership with Indiana University of Pennsylvania will provide a pathway for BioMaS Math & Sciences graduates to obtain bachelors degrees in middle-level education in math and science. Project goals will be evaluated via both qualitative and quantitative analyses of data such as scholar demographics, enrollment and completion patterns, background preparation, and course and program performance; scholar participation rates and feedback regarding optional program elements; and rates of employment. The project is ultimately expected to serve as a model for community colleges, particularly in terms of understanding of how to develop wraparound services for students that will support them as they prepare to contribute to a highly-skilled STEM workforce.

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