Boston, MA, United States
Boston, MA, United States

Emmanuel College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I.Since 1998, Emmanuel has been among the top five colleges in the Tompkins Table, which ranks colleges according to end-of-year examination results. Emmanuel has topped the table five times since then and placed second six times .Emmanuel is one of the wealthier colleges at Cambridge with a financial endowment of approximately £105m and net assets of £150m . Wikipedia.

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News Article | July 7, 2017

Despite intense nationwide competition, Emmanuel College faculty members won grants for each of the three projects they submitted for funding in NSF’s most recent application cycle. The resources will drive scientific discovery at Emmanuel by underwriting student research internships during the summer and throughout the academic year. These hands-on collaborations with distinguished faculty members prepare Emmanuel undergraduates exceptionally well for success in prestigious graduate programs and in science-related fields. At many other institutions, such experiences are available only to graduate students. “This is an amazing achievement,” said Josef Kurtz, professor of biology and Emmanuel’s dean for strategic program development and partnerships. “In today’s funding climate, the need for federal grant applicants to demonstrate both outstanding scientific merit and student engagement is greater than ever. Given the odds, winning even one NSF grant would have been remarkable. Our faculty was a perfect three for three.” The grants bring the cumulative value of federal research funds received by Emmanuel’s faculty to over $2 million, covering projects across biology, chemistry, mathematics, neuroscience and physics. In 2015, Emmanuel College ranked among Massachusetts’ top 10 primarily undergraduate institutions conducting research actively funded by grants from the NSF and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other institutions included Amherst College, Wellesley College and Williams College. Totaling $977,914, the latest NSF grants will fuel the progress of three groundbreaking research projects at Emmanuel: “These grants prove what we have long known: that the Emmanuel College faculty engages students in the very highest levels of scientific research,” said Dr. Sample. “The skills and experience they gain set them apart in whatever field or career they choose.” In recent years, Emmanuel graduates have gone on to top-ranked doctoral programs at institutions including Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Graduates have also applied their science backgrounds as professionals in areas such as the life sciences, technology, finance, business and education. According to Dr. Price, the NSF funding will expand opportunities for students to co-author articles in respected academic journals and present at national and international conferences. Recently, Emmanuel students have attended meetings of organizations including the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Microbiology, the Society for Neuroscience and the Beijing Association for Science and Technology. Dr. Price added that many faculty-student collaborations take place in the Wilkens Science Center. Dedicated in 2009, the facility offers leading-edge laboratories and equipment for both instruction and research. “Working in a funded research lab on campus at a liberal arts college is unique,” Price said. “There aren’t too many places you can get that kind of experience.” One reason for Emmanuel’s surging strength in the sciences is its location within Boston’s Longwood Medical and Academic Area, one of the world’s foremost concentrations of biomedical resources, knowledge and technology. For years students have participated in internships at institutions including Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In addition, Emmanuel faculty members are actively engaged in scholarly collaborations with peers at innovation powerhouses such as Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Tufts University School of Medicine. “I am very proud and thrilled with this achievement,” said Dr. Deighan. “I know it will make a huge impact on our student-scientists, and it affirms Emmanuel as a destination for inquiry-based learning and scientific discovery.” About Emmanuel College A dynamic co-ed, residential Catholic college in the heart of Boston, Emmanuel inspires students to dream big and work hard as they discover – and begin to fulfill – their life’s purpose. Home to more than 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students from across the nation and around the world, the College provides boundless opportunities for students to expand their worldview through rigorous coursework, collaborations with distinguished and dedicated faculty, participation in a vibrant campus community, and countless internship and career opportunities throughout the Boston area and beyond. Emmanuel’s more than 50 programs in the sciences and liberal arts foster spirited discourse and substantive learning experiences that honor the College’s commitment to educate the whole person and provide an ethical and relevant 21st-century education. For more information, visit

McCullagh E.,University of California at San Francisco | Seshan A.,University of California at San Francisco | Seshan A.,Emmanuel College at Boston | El-Samad H.,University of California at San Francisco | Madhani H.D.,University of California at San Francisco
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2010

In the Saccharomyces cerevisiae pheromone-response pathway, the transcription factor Ste12 is inhibited by two mitogen-activated protein (MAP)-kinase-responsive regulators, Dig1 and Dig2. These two related proteins bind to distinct regions of Ste12 but are redundant in their inhibition of Ste12-dependent gene expression. Here we describe three functions for Dig1 that are non-redundant with those of Dig2. First, the removal of Dig1 results in a specific increase in intrinsic and extrinsic noise in the transcriptional outputs of the mating pathway. Second, in dig1 " cells, Ste12 relocalizes from the nucleoplasmic distribution seen in wild-type cells into discrete subnuclear foci. Third, genome-wide insertional chromatin immunoprecipitation studies revealed that Ste12-dependent genes have increased interchromosomal interactions in dig1 " cells. These findings suggest that the regulation of gene expression through long-range gene interactions, a widely observed phenomenon, comes at the cost of increased noise. Consequently, cells may have evolved mechanisms to suppress noise by controlling these interactions. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Alfonso J.,Emmanuel College at Boston
Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse | Year: 2015

This study compared two Web-based alcohol programs in a sample of incoming freshmen on the reduction of drinking and related risks (N = 122). Participants were randomized to either a standard personalized normative feedback (PNF) intervention with descriptive social norms, or to a version of the program with personalized feedback only (PFO). At 3-month follow-up results indicated that both programs reduced drinking and related risks significantly, and that PFO resulted in greater reductions on all alcohol use outcomes, with comparable reductions on alcohol-related risk. Findings suggest that the use of PFO may be preferable to use with first-year college students. © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Allen B.,Emmanuel College at Boston | Allen B.,Harvard University | Nowak M.A.,Harvard University
PLoS Biology | Year: 2013

Microorganisms have been cooperating with each other for billions of years: by sharing resources, communicating with each other, and joining together to form biofilms and other large structures. These cooperative behaviors benefit the colony as a whole; however, they may be costly to the individuals performing them. This raises the question of how such cooperation can arise from natural selection. Mathematical modeling is one important avenue for exploring this question. Evolutionary experiments are another, providing us with an opportunity to see evolutionary dynamics in action and allowing us to test predictions arising from mathematical models. A new study in this issue of PLOS Biology investigates the evolution of a cooperative resource-sharing behavior in yeast. Examining the competition between cooperating and "cheating" strains of yeast, the authors find that, depending on the initial mix of strains, this yeast society either evolves toward a stable coexistence or collapses for lack of cooperation. Using a simple mathematical model, they show how these dynamics arise from eco-evolutionary feedback, where changes in the frequencies of strains are coupled with changes in population size. This study and others illustrate the combined power of modeling and experiment to elucidate the origins of cooperation and other fundamental questions in evolutionary biology. © 2013 Allen and Nowak.

Benenson J.F.,Emmanuel College at Boston
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2013

Throughout their lives, women provide for their own and their children's and grandchildren's needs and thus must minimize their risk of incurring physical harm. Alliances with individuals who will assist them in attaining these goals increase their probability of survival and reproductive success. High status in the community enhances access to physical resources and valuable allies. Kin, a mate, and affines share a mother's genetic interests, whereas unrelated women constitute primary competitors. From early childhood onwards, girls compete using strategies that minimize the risk of retaliation and reduce the strength of other girls. Girls' competitive strategies include avoiding direct interference with another girl's goals, disguising competition, competing overtly only from a position of high status in the community, enforcing equality within the female community and socially excluding other girls. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Allen B.,Emmanuel College at Boston | Allen B.,Harvard University | Gore J.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Nowak M.A.,Harvard University
eLife | Year: 2013

The emergence of cooperation is a central question in evolutionary biology. Microorganisms often cooperate by producing a chemical resource (a public good) that benefits other cells. The sharing of public goods depends on their diffusion through space. Previous theory suggests that spatial structure can promote evolution of cooperation, but the diffusion of public goods introduces new phenomena that must be modeled explicitly. We develop an approach where colony geometry and public good diffusion are described by graphs. We find that the success of cooperation depends on a simple relation between the benefits and costs of the public good, the amount retained by a producer, and the average amount retained by each of the producer's neighbors. These quantities are derived as analytic functions of the graph topology and diffusion rate. In general, cooperation is favored for small diffusion rates, low colony dimensionality, and small rates of decay of the public good. © Allen et al.

Banerjee G.,Emmanuel College at Boston
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Network | Year: 2011

As higher education moves increasingly to blended and fully online environments, smaller institutions often ask whether this is a desirable trend. They face many challenges in transforming their largely faceto-face didactic teaching traditions to the technology mediated learning environments. Learning effectiveness and student satisfaction are seen to be decisive in whether blended environments are a positive development or not. Using survey data from a liberal arts and sciences institution, we show that student satisfaction with blended learning depends largely on the challenges presented by the subject matter, the degree to which self-directed learning and problem solving are required, and the effectiveness of the chosen pedagogies by which face-to-face and online methods are combined. Blended environments that provide multiple modalities for learning, significant interactivity, familiar technologies, and sustained connections with teachers and peers are preferred by increasing numbers of students in this institution. Although many students and faculty remain skeptical about blended learning, there are others who are very satisfied learners.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 232.92K | Year: 2012

In this project, the PI will study how proteins that bind to specific sequences in DNA find their target sequences. It is known that some DNA binding proteins first bind non-specifically to DNA and then diffuse one-dimensionally along the DNA until they find their target sequence. The name facilitated diffusion is used to describe this process. Although this behavior is thought to be generic, it has only been observed in a handful of systems. In addition, single molecule observations of this process often occur in complicated environments involving shear flow and non-equilibrium fluctuations in the DNA, conditions which have not been adequately included in quantitative models. The PI will use two single molecule experimental techniques he has developed in order to detect and characterize facilitated diffusion of type II restriction endonucleases, enzymes which cleave double stranded DNA. The first technique is a flow stretching assay, in which a surface immobilized DNA is stretched out by fluid drag forces on a bead which is attached to the free end of the DNA. The second technique employs single molecule TIRF imaging of fluorescently labeled proteins diffusing one-dimensionally along tethered DNAs. Numerical simulations will be employed to explain the experimental results. The PI has developed a numerical simulation of tethered DNAs in shear flow. This simulation will be extended to include diffusing DNA binding proteins, and the numerical model developed will be validated against experimental results. This project will produce more realistic models of in vitro facilitated diffusion which will assist in translating experimental results in these systems to biologically relevant conditions. Additionally, the project will contribute to the understanding of reaction-diffusion behavior in flow conditions encountered in microfluidic cells, a problem relevant to lab-on-a-chip applications. Performing this research at an undergraduate institution, the PI will train and employ undergraduate students in his lab. These students will be mentored in research, in scientific presentation skills (through poster presentations at scientific meetings) and in scientific writing (through authorship on publications resulting from this project). In addition, the PI has developed a simplified DNA tethering protocol for use in pedagogy. Two experimental modules for use in laboratory courses will be developed that use this method. The first will be implemented in the PIs introductory physics course, and will examine tethered Brownian motion and the mechanical properties of DNA. The second will be used in an introductory molecular biology course, and will focus on the biophysics of restriction endonucleases. The PI will create a summer workshop for high school students. In this workshop, students will learn concepts from single molecule biological physics and participate in a hands-on demonstration of DNA tethering. The PI will also create a professional development course for high school teachers. In this course, teachers will learn how to perform DNA tethering experiments they can do in their classrooms. Teachers will receive materials and supplies for the experiments and the PI will visit their classrooms for demonstrations and to speak with students about single molecule biological physics.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOMATERIALS PROGRAM | Award Amount: 240.09K | Year: 2013

ID: MPS/DMR/BMAT(7623) 1306117 PI: Gerdon, Aren ORG: Emmanuel College

Title: RUI: Selection and assessment of biomimetic templates for mineralization

Technical: The purpose of this proposal is to support and mentor undergraduate students pursuing research in mineralization and biomimetics. Biomineralization of calcium phosphate and other solid materials in vivo exists at the interfaces between inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and materials science. This interface is central in research areas ranging from diatomaceous silica production in our oceans to materials production for advanced technologies. Practical relevance is also found in the prevalence of degenerative bone disease and dental caries, which suggest a need for the development of new restorative medical procedures. While knowledge of the bone formation and regeneration process is incomplete, research has identified hydroxyapatite (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2; HAP) as a material with potential in healthcare applications due to its close resemblance to the mineral phase of bone and teeth. This research aims (1) to elucidate the kinetics of HAP formation by developing integrative analysis methods that provide real-time quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) mass analysis, optical microscopy, and controlled microfluidic solution dynamics, and (2) to improve the availability of biomimetic templates by combinatorial identification of unique and conformational DNA aptamers that can enhance nucleation, growth, and crystallinity of mineralization. In working toward these goals, this project may yield: (1) the identification of a high affinity HAP-binding DNA aptamer, (2) a new template for HAP biomineralization, and (3) new analysis tools for biochemistry and bioengineering applications.

Non-Technical: The purpose of this proposal is to support and mentor undergraduate students pursuing research in mineralization and biomimetics. All research proposed here will be completed by undergraduate science students at a liberal arts institution with a record of training women scientists. A primary focus will be on mentoring and training undergraduate students as they enter into research at the freshman or sophomore level and on ensuring that these students contribute to and integrate with the larger scientific community. Students involved in research will be trained in numerous instrumental methods (QCM, optical and electron microscopy, FT-IR, and others), biochemical methods (PCR, electrophoresis, and others), and general research methods. This will broaden their opportunities to enter into the industrial workforce or graduate studies. The proposal will have a significant positive impact on sustainable research and the infrastructure of the science and education departments at Emmanuel College due to the cross-disciplinary nature of the project and by encouraging collaboration between the principle investigator and other faculty as well as between research students across the campus. Findings from this research will be made available on campus and off campus through local and national conference presentations and peer-reviewed publication. This work will impact high school students that come to the campus for Biomedical Research Symposium workshops related to this research and run by undergraduate researchers. One promising high school student will also be recruited to join the research group and work side-by-side with the undergraduates. Work in the summer will carry forward to impact first-year science students as they engage in a research experience lab in their general chemistry course, led by undergraduate researchers, with the goal of using research and discovery to engage and attract first year students to STEM education. Collectively, these studies have transformative potential for undergraduate students and will develop our understanding and control of the mineralization process.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ORGANIZATION | Award Amount: 266.00K | Year: 2015

The purpose of this project is to determine the role of two molecules, known as BDNF and pro-BDNF, that are produced by two distinct populations of cells called astrocytes and oligodendrocytes found in the vision processing area of the brain. The researchers hypothesize that these molecules regulate the development of the circuits that make vision possible. The expression patterns of the regulatory molecules will be determined at different stages of development in normal mice and in mice that show a progressive loss of vision during postnatal development. The expectation is that there will be reduced expression of the molecules in the sightless mice which, in turn, will prevent functional vision circuits from developing. The work has potential to provide a fresh perspective on how vision circuits are formed and organized during development. Undergraduates at three primarily undergraduate liberal arts institutions will receive training in molecular and cellular techniques and modern methods of cell imaging. High-resolution images of fluorescent labeled cells will be archived in an image data bank for use in teaching neuroscience classes for undergraduates and workshops for local high school science students.

Normal mice and mice exhibiting vision loss at developmental time points when vision exists, when it is deteriorating, or when it is lost will be used for the proposed studies. The mice have been engineered to express fluorescent biomarkers under the control of cell-specific promoters to enable identification of astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the brain. Fluorescence activated cell sorting will be used to isolate astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its precursor (pro-BDNF) mRNA and protein will be measured and visualized using quantitative RT-PCR, ELISA assays, and immunohistochemistry. Image analysis will provide information on changes in astrocyte and oligodendrocyte cell morphology that are predicted to be important in establishing and maintaining vision circuit microenvironments. Data will be made available to other researchers upon request.

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