Appleton, WI, United States
Appleton, WI, United States

Lawrence University is a liberal arts college and conservatory of music in Appleton, Wisconsin. Founded in 1847, the school held its first classes on November 12, 1849. Lawrence was the second college in the United States to be founded as a coeducational institution. The school is a member of the Colleges That Change Lives and one of the Great Books Colleges.In a study by the National Science Foundation, Lawrence ranked 28th nationally in the percentage of graduates who go on to earn doctorates. Wikipedia.

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Schreiber A.M.,Lawrence University
Current Topics in Developmental Biology | Year: 2013

The most asymmetrically shaped and behaviorally lateralized of all the vertebrates, the flatfishes are an endless source of fascination to all fortunate enough to study them. Although all vertebrates undergo left-right asymmetric internal organ placement during embryogenesis, flatfish are unusual in that they experience an additional period of postembryonic asymmetric remodeling during metamorphosis, and thus deviate from a bilaterally symmetrical body plan more than other vertebrates. As with amphibian metamorphosis, all the developmental programs of flatfish metamorphosis are ultimately under the control of thyroid hormone. At least one gene pathway involved in embryonic organ lateralization (nodal-lefty-pitx2) is re-expressed in the larval stage during flatfish metamorphosis. Aspects of modern flatfish ontogeny, such as the gradual translocation of one eye to the opposite side of the head and the appearance of key neurocranial elements during metamorphosis, seem to elegantly recapitulate flatfish phylogeny. This chapter highlights the current state of knowledge of the developmental biology of flatfish metamorphosis with emphases on the genetic, morphological, behavioral, and evolutionary origins of flatfish asymmetry. © 2013 Elsevier Inc..

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 282.39K | Year: 2016

An award is made to St. Lawrence University (SLU) to acquire a confocal microscopy system. Many modern cellular and molecular biology techniques use natural fluorescence, fluorescently tagged molecules, or fluorescent dyes to label specific cellular components. A confocal microscope is an instrument that uses lasers to produce high resolution images of cellular and subcellular components within living and fixed cells that have been labeled with one or more fluorescent molecules. In addition, 3D reconstructions of these fluorescent structures can be created using a series of images collected by the confocal microscope as it focuses down through a specimen. Consequently, this instrument has the resolving power to address many types of biological problems including identifying cell types, cellular localization of specific molecules, determining gene expression, and examining cell differentiation. The research faculty involved in this project require the enhanced flexibility of use and special capabilities (e.g., UV laser, spectral detector, and environmental chamber) of this confocal system to obtain quality images of their work for their contributions to their scientific fields, including publications, national and international meeting presentations, student training, and other applications. Thus, this award will broaden research, training, and teaching opportunities both at SLU and the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley Consortium. Acquisition of this instrument will expand the existing partnership between SLU and Clarkson University (CU), especially increasing summer fellowship projects for CSTEP and McNair Scholars; two programs that support students from populations underrepresented in STEM. In addition, the new microscope will fuel outreach activities for dozens of K-12 teachers, students, and community members in our economically disadvantaged, rural region of northern New York.

A Nikon C2+ spectral imaging confocal microscope system with wide field camera and environmental chamber systems and specialized capabilities will support and expand current and future research, teaching, and undergraduate training activities of STEM faculty and students at the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley (SLU, Clarkson, SUNY Potsdam, and SUNY Canton), a higher education consortium in upstate New York. The new instrument will augment the research and scholarly contributions of research faculty and enhance teaching and training activities of eleven faculty and science professionals in cell and developmental biology and ecology and evolution, including the PI and Co-PIs projects, which focus on the theme of subcellular trafficking and tissue localization of specific molecules during development. The acquisition of this confocal microscope will provide the flexibility important for all users to achieve successful imaging with their respective biological systems of study, while also being easy to use and having a relatively low cost infrastructure. In particular, this system will allow research faculty to explore the biological effects of cerium oxide nanoparticles; gene expression in cheilostome bryozoans; and the essential role of the evolutionarily conserved IME4 mRNA methyltransferase in metazoan development. High-resolution imaging is required to publish in high profile cell and molecular biology journals, and confocal microscopy is now the expected minimal standard for publishing microscopy-based research using fluorescence. Specifically, this instrument will positively impact the relatively new field of cerium oxide nanoparticles, as the new system will enable Drs. Erlichman and Estevez to characterize how the chemistry of cerium oxide nanoparticles influences their cellular trafficking and whether cellular localization influences pro-oxidant vs antioxidant effects. Body axes are determined multiple times during the bryozoan life cycle (embryogenesis, metamorphosis, and asexual budding). Using the proposed instrument, Dr. Temkin will acquire data on Hox gene expression during two different patterns of asexual budding. These data will provide a foundation to examine Hox gene expression at other points in the bryozoan life cycle. Lastly, a fundamental question in developmental biology is how cell fates are determined. To answer this, Dr. Hongay will employ the new microscope to perform high resolution confocal analyses to determine how a highly evolutionarily conserved RNA-modifying enzyme dictates cell fates and cell differentiation in Drosophila spermatogenesis.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 552.67K | Year: 2011

Technical Project Description
Research programs of at least six faculty members and their students will be expanded significantly by the acquisition of a confocal microscope at Lawrence University. Use of the microscope by students involved in Lawrences summer research program, honors research and Senior Experience programs will enhance and modernize their research training. Two research groups are using C. elegans as a model system, one to study the role of an RFX transcription factor in the maintenance of synaptic protein levels during aging and another to identify and characterize new genes involved in sensory-specific aspects of neuronal cilia. Putative new sensory-specific ciliary genes were first identified using a comparative genomic approach and their expression patterns are being characterized. Both research groups will use confocal microscopy to characterize gene expression patterns in particular tissues of the worm. Similarly, GFP-tagged Vg1/Gdf1 will be used to study the kinetics of production and secretion of this important signaling molecular during early development of the zebrafish. The time-lapse capabilities of the instrument will be key to the success of this project. A fourth research group is interested in the host-parasite relationship of snails and Schistosoma mansoni, the causative agent of schistosomiasis. This group has identified a neuropeptide that may regulate host physiology in response to infection. They will use the confocal microscope first to locate the expression of this peptide in the snail nervous system to determine its function and then track changes in expression upon infection. This group is also interested in mapping neurogenesis in the snail, a project that will require confocal microscopy. Identifying and localizing particular caspases involved in apoptosis in primitive plants is the goal of another group. Immunofluorescence and fluorometric tunel assays will be used to assess the magnitude of cell death and its key regulators. FRET analysis using the new microscope will be undertaken by another research group to elucidate the protein:protein interactions of human angiogenin, a protein implicated in tumorigenesis and blood vessel growth. Lastly, a group at UW-Fox Valley will use the instrumentation to study the cytoskeletal structure of newly evolved probiotic bacteria used to preserve wetcake, a by product of ethanol production that is fed to cattle.

Broader Significance and Importance
Confocal microscopy will greatly enhance undergraduate research training at Lawrence University and UW-Fox Valley. Lawrence is ranked 37th nationally in baccalaureate institutions whose students go on to earn PhDs in STEM disciplines, and thus contributes greatly to the pipeline of STEM researchers. Research programs of at least six faculty members and their students will be supported by new confocal microscopy instrumentation as follows. One research group is characterizing genes involved in building the structures involved in sensory perception in a variety of organs including the retina, kidney, and lungs. Another group will identify and characterize genes involved in maintaining nerve function during the aging process. Thirdly, students and faculty will characterize the role of particular nervous system proteins in the snail host of the human parasite that causes the human tropical disease, schistosomiasis. A fourth group will study the process of cell death in plants, an active recycling program that increases the efficiency, and allows proper development, of living things. The role of a particular signaling molecule needed to create the proper arrangement of internal organs during the early stages of development from fertilized egg through later embryo will be studied by another group. Lastly, one research group is working to understand the role of a particular protein in human tumor growth, specifically the mechanisms by which tumors obtain new blood supplies. A researcher at neighboring UW-Fox Valley will use the confocal microscope to study cellular structures of bacteria used as probiotics added to cattle feed.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 618.52K | Year: 2015

There is an established need in the United States to increase the number of American scientists in the workforce. The NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) project at St. Lawrence University (SLU) will address this need and contribute to the national effort to produce more STEM graduates by providing financial, academic, networking, and personal support to twenty (20) (two cohorts of ten each) academically-talented and financially needy students with majors in chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, physics, statistics, or a non-clinical track of biology at SLU. Students will be recruited into the program in their first-year, and can remain eligible for scholarships through their senior year. The investigators will pursue a promising approach towards recruiting, retaining, and graduating STEM majors with baccalaureate degrees by nurturing their interests and scholarly activities in the sciences, establishing a close and caring network of faculty and peer mentors, and creating enhanced educational opportunities. Special attention will be given to underrepresented groups, including women and minorities.

The goals of SLUs Liberal Arts Science (LAS) Scholars Program include: (i) increasing the numbers and percentage of SLU students from underrepresented groups who attain STEM degrees, and strengthening SLU academic support services for low-income and underrepresented students in STEM in the process; (ii) helping the Scholars find and develop their identities as scientists; (iii) creating and correlating a strong network of faculty and peer mentors and support services to help Scholars persist in the critical first two years of undergraduate study; (iv) building a strong sense of community among the Scholars through regular cohort-centered activities; (v) promoting and facilitating an appreciation and understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of STEM fields; (vi) introducing SLUs S-STEM Scholars to research, real world problem solving, and other enhanced educational opportunities; and (vi) exposing the students to a variety of careers in STEM fields as well as assisting them in transitioning from SLU to a STEM graduate program or career. To meet the goals of the project, the Scholars Program investigators will implement several interesting and innovative strategies, which include but are not limited to: (a) a unique orientation experience, STEM in the Adirondacks, for incoming Scholars; (b) a new first semester course on scientific discovery, complementary cohort courses, and a second semester seminar on statistical reasoning; (c) peer and faculty mentoring; (d) skill-building, professional development workshops, and workshops and seminars to expose students to a variety of careers; and (e) cohort-building activities and enhanced education opportunities to engage participants. These initiatives will work in concert with existing and strengthened support services at SLU. The investigators will research and assess the effectiveness of the various components of the project, considered individually and working in combination with each other. Their findings will add to the overall knowledge base of STEM education and will create a national model leading to productive student intervention strategies, especially related to understanding and improving successes of underrepresented and/or low income students, thereby broadening participation by expanding diversity in STEM fields that can be shared with other institutions, especially at liberal arts colleges. Program partners will help enhance student engagement in research and other endeavors. These partners include Clarkson University, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PLASMA PHYSICS | Award Amount: 165.00K | Year: 2012

A promising route to fusion power for electricity production is the tokamak - a toroidal (or bagel-shaped) magnetic confinement device that confines hot plasma composed of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons. Non-neutral plasma, on the other hand, which is composed of relatively cold particles all of one type (either positively or negatively charged), is typically trapped in a straight device that uses a combination of electric and magnetic fields. Such non-neutral systems are used to store antimatter and also serve as candidates for quantum computing elements and next generation precision time standards, among other uses. The project at Lawrence University, a four-year liberal arts college, might be characterized as lying between a clock and a hot place, as it uses a toroidal magnetic field (like the tokamak) to confine and study a pure electron (i.e., non-neutral) plasma. The apparatus, which was designed and constructed with prior NSF/DOE support, is uniquely positioned to explore untested fundamental aspects of the physics of charged particle collections in a curved and non-uniform magnetic field that closes on itself.

The project will provide research experiences (as well as scientific authorship and presentation opportunities) for undergraduate students. Undergraduate research experiences in this small college environment tend to provide more comprehensive research skills training than comparable experiences at larger institutions, thereby contributing in significant ways to developing the future workforce in technical fields. Thanks to Lawrences success in attracting women physics majors (27% of the physics graduates in the last 5 years) and increasing minority enrollment in the university (145% increase since 2000), the research will positively impact the engagement of underrepresented groups in the physics PhD pipeline. The apparatus will also be used to recruit promising high school students to the Lawrence University physics program and expose the campus and local communities to the subject of plasma physics.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: AON IMPLEMENTATION | Award Amount: 90.37K | Year: 2016

While scientists expect storms in the Arctic to get stronger with climate change they still are not all that clear on whether storms have actually become stronger or not. One of the problems these scientists have is a lack of widespread measurements of storm strength. Our project aims to measure storm strength in the Bering Sea area and generate a map showing storm strength over time. To generate these maps, however, we need to know when the storms happened and how far the waves rose on the land. To do this, we will measure old driftwood deposits that were left by past storms. Driftwood deposits are left on the land where the largest waves ended in a storm. To date when the driftwood was left on the shore we will develop a catalogue of Siberian Yupik names from Savoonga and Gambell, two indigenous villages on St. Lawrence Island. In their culture babies have been named after large weather events. If we could find names related to large storm events going back in time we may be able to match them with various driftwood deposits in order to make a map of storm strength over time. If the waves are rising higher on the land over time then we might be able to say that storms are getting stronger with climate change. The opposite may also be true.

Climate change scientists continue to have low confidence in their understanding of storm intensity in the Arctic. While it is likely that storm intensity has increased in this region and scientists expect storm intensity to continue to increase with additional climate change, more evidence is needed to decrease the uncertainty of the direction of storm intensity in the Arctic. This project aims to do that. Storm surge, how far waves rise on the land, will be used as a proxy for storm intensity. The height of driftwood deposits will be used as an indicator of a given storm?s intensity. This project aims to date driftwood deposits to show the direction of change in storm intensity over time. Driftwood samples will be collected and analyzed using standard dendrochronology techniques to date driftwood logs and estimate the age of driftwood deposits to within an estimated 20 years. Traditional ecological knowledge of storm events stored in the names of indigenous peoples in Savoonga and Gambell, Alaska will be used to identify the dates of large storms. These two Siberian Yupik villages name babies after significant events, like large storms, to retain knowledge of those events. This project catalogues the Siberian Yupik names of tribal members in Savoonga and Gambell to identify those names, and birthdates, of people named after large storms. Those dates will be used to narrow the date of driftwood deposits which will ultimately allow a measure of storm intensity over time.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SPECIAL PROGRAMS IN ASTRONOMY | Award Amount: 9.63K | Year: 2016

This proposal requests continued support for the highly-successful Undergraduate ALFALFA Team (UAT), which has over the past 8 years provided research-based educational opportunities for 253 students closely collaborating with 25 faculty from a diverse range of universities. Astronomy faculty from 20 institutions, predominantly small colleges in the northeast, carry out several related scientific programs that involve a radio survey of hydrogen in and around nearby galaxies. They obtain new data at several observatories and analyze catalog data obtained at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Undergraduates will be intimately involved in all aspects of the scientific program, including planning and carrying out the observations. They will attend an annual workshop at either Green Bank Observatory or Arecibo Observatory. This program serves as a prime example of the value of scientific collaboration, particularly for faculty and students at isolated schools, and of the importance of research as a component of undergraduate education. This exposure to front-line astronomical research enhances the educational infrastructure and the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) at a large number of schools. The program has an even wider impact through the curriculum and outreach materials they produce and share, and through broadening the participation of groups underrepresented in STEM. Most students who go through the program continue in STEM-related careers.

UAT projects will address major outstanding problems in astronomy and cosmology, such as the number and origin of optically-dark dwarf galaxies, the structure of large-scale filaments, pre-processing of HI gas outside clusters, and star formation in low-metallicity systems. All of these programs are enabled by and make use of the ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) HI survey, as well as new observations. The main components of the program are (1) an annual workshop at either Arecibo Observatory or Green Bank Observatory; (2) observing runs at these and other radio and optical facilities; (3) summer and academic year undergraduate research projects; (4) collaborative research among faculty and students at the member schools. The broader impact also has 4 main components: (1) enhancement of undergraduate education through direct involvement in research; (2) enhancement of educational infrastructure; (3) broad dissemination of curriculum and outreach materials; and (4) broadening participation of underrepresented groups.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: GEOBIOLOGY & LOW TEMP GEOCHEM | Award Amount: 39.61K | Year: 2016

To determine how future precipitation might change, it is important to have a baseline of how precipitation changed in the past. However, determining past precipitation, prior to the generation of instrumental records, has remained challenging and necessitates the use of precipitation proxies that are preserved in the geologic record. Biological proxies, such as leaf waxes, hold promise in this regard as the hydrogen isotopic composition of leaf wax primarily reflects that of precipitation. Therefore, leaf waxes preserved in lake sediments are a potential source of high resolution information about how precipitation and the water cycle have changed over geologic time. However, the transfer of modern leaf waxes to lake sediments appears to introduce offsets in hydrogen isotope values. This project will help define these offsets and identify the factors that control them, thus allowing for improved reconstructions of past hydrological conditions. Until these offsets are evaluated, and their influence measured, the quantitative link between sedimentary leaf wax and precipitation will remain limited. Identification of these factors will allow selection of lakes where the effects of these offsets are minimal. This is critical for constraining past changes in hydrology prior to the instrumental record and will help anticipate future hydrologic change. This project will benefit society by creating educational and research experiences for undergraduates through interdisciplinary collaborations with St. Lawrence University, a primarily undergraduate institution. This will improve STEM field retention by providing research and training experiences for undergraduate students to develop advanced research skill sets, expand scientific understanding, and strengthen preparation for graduate studies or a career in the geosciences. Finally, this research will promote a broader public understanding of the geosciences and appreciation of scientific research by expanding on museum exhibits in collaboration with the Cincinnati Museum Center, a large urban cultural institution.

Past precipitation remains a challenge to quantify. Biological proxies, such as leaf waxes, hold promise in this regard as the hydrogen isotopic composition of leaf wax primarily reflects plant source water (i.e., precipitation). However, quantitative paleohydrology, as inferred from precipitation hydrogen isotopic composition, is limited by a poor understanding of the taphonomic processes governing the source, integration, and transport of leaf waxes from plants to sediments. This project will address two significant gaps in our understanding of lake sediment leaf waxes. First, the investigators will determine how vegetation proximity influences leaf wax hydrogen isotope signals in lake sediments. Second, they will determine how important reworking of older leaf waxes via fluvial erosion impacts the apparent age of leaf waxes in lake sediments. This project examines these two processes in temperate lakes in the Adirondack Mountains, NY, USA. Research methods will include forest inventorying, modern leaf wax (n-alkane and n-alkanoic acid) molecular and isotope (hydrogen, carbon) characterization, lake sediment coring and dating (210Pb, 137Cs, 14C), and compound-specific radiocarbonanalyses of n-alkanes in lake sediments, catchment soils, and fluvial suspended sediments. The project will benefit society by 1) establishing partnerships with St. Lawrence University, a primarily undergraduate institution, to develop interdisciplinary collaborations and undergraduate research opportunities, create graduate student mentoring opportunities, and provide a hands-on isotope workshop for undergraduates; 2) improving STEM field retention by providing research and training experiences for two undergraduate students per year to develop advanced research skill sets, expand scientific understanding, and strengthen preparation for graduate studies or a career in the geosciences; 3) increasing the number of women in STEM fields by support of a Ph.D. student and an undergraduate students; 4) providing mentoring to enhance the educational and career development of undergraduate and graduate students, and improving the success of mentoring approaches through regular assessment and professional development; and 5) promoting broader public understanding of the geosciences and appreciation of scientific research by expanding on museum exhibits in collaboration with the Cincinnati Museum of Center, a large urban cultural institution.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 200.00K | Year: 2013

Intellectual Merit
Most animal and plant cells contain a network of small, tube-like structures, aptly named microtubules, that are involved in a variety of cell functions, including organization of cell components, transport within cells, and cell division. While microtubules in most cells have the same diameter (approximately 25 nm), some specialized cell types contain microtubules with different diameters. Cells implicated in mechanosensation in C. elegans, for example, regulate microtubule diameters to be 40% larger than microtubules in other cells in the same organism. One functional property of microtubules is their stiffness or rigidity. Physical theory predicts that large diameter microtubules should be substantially more rigid than small diameter microtubules. This research seeks to understand whether the mechanical properties (stiffness or rigidity) of microtubules with different diameters are significant enough to play a role in different biological functions. In particular, this work will measure the rigidity and diameter of single microtubules with very high precision to determine whether mechanical differences between microtubules with different diameters outweigh mechanical variations of microtubules with the same diameter. If so, the increased rigidity of large diameter microtubules is a candidate for biological function; if not, the heterogeneity of microtubule rigidities suggests that microtubule diameter is regulated for a non-mechanical purpose.

The research involves development of new light microscopy tools capable of following single molecules with nanometer precision as these molecules move through millimeter distances. While these tools will be developed to address the question of microtubule rigidity, they have applications beyond this work, potentially including long-distance cell motility and intracellular transport.

Broader Impact
The project will provide research experiences, scientific authorship, and presentation opportunities for undergraduates over three years, both during the summer and academic year. Students from the physical sciences and life sciences will work together, with an eye to developing a disseminatable model of interdisciplinary research at the undergraduate level. Because of Lawrence Universitys increasing minority enrollment (153% increase since 2000) and PIs record of mentoring women students, this research will positively impact the engagement of underrepresented groups in the PhD pipeline. The experimental apparatus developed will also be used to recruit promising high school students to the LU Physics and Biochemistry programs.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: TUES-Type 2 Project | Award Amount: 49.65K | Year: 2013

This project is convening a workshop of directors of Quantitative and Mathematics Support Centers (QMaSCs) from across a range of different types of institutions. Such centers serve tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of students across the country each year; and they are present at large universities, at liberal arts colleges, and at community colleges. While each center services a diverse set of needs at its specific institution, collectively they all share a common set of concerns and issues. Yet, there is currently no body of resources from which directors of QMaSCs and their staffs can draw. To fill this void, the PI team has set three principal goals for this workshop:

1) to begin a national conversation on directing QMaSCs, in support of this key aspect of the STEM infrastructure on campuses;

2) to establish a sustainable network of people involved in the work of QMaSCs in order to provide and share resources; and

3) to create a handbook of best practices for those who direct QMaSCs or those who may direct QMaSCs in the future.

Workshop leaders are working with the participants to formulate a framework for establishing such a professional organization for staff members of QMaSCs. In addition, the primary product of the workshop is a handbook for directors of QMaSCs, modeled after the Writing Center Directors Handbook (Murphy and Stay, LEA Publishers, 2006) used on campuses nationwide. The QMaSC handbook is expected to be a publicly available document geared at providing materials and proven practices for QMaSC directors, including chapters on the various shared aspects of directing a center and case studies that reflect the broad range of activities undertaken by QMaSCs.

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