Erie, PA, United States
Erie, PA, United States

Mercyhurst University, formerly Mercyhurst College, is a Catholic liberal arts college in Erie, Pennsylvania in the United States. Wikipedia.


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Mauro S.A.,Mercyhurst College | Koudelka G.B.,State University of New York at Buffalo
Toxins | Year: 2011

In this review, we highlight recent work that has increased our understanding of the production and distribution of Shiga toxin in the environment. Specifically, we review studies that offer an expanded view of environmental reservoirs for Shiga toxin producing microbes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. We then relate the abundance of Shiga toxin in the environment to work that demonstrates that the genetic mechanisms underlying the production of Shiga toxin genes are modified and embellished beyond the classical microbial gene regulatory paradigms in a manner that apparently -fine tunes{norm of matrix} the trigger to modulate the amount of toxin produced. Last, we highlight several recent studies examining microbe/protist interactions that postulate an answer to the outstanding question of why microbes might harbor and express Shiga toxin genes in the environment. © 2011 by the authors.


Jones C.D.,Mercyhurst College
Journal of Chemical Education | Year: 2011

A term-paper assignment that encompasses the full scientific method has been developed and implemented in an undergraduate science writing and communication course with no laboratory component. Students are required to develop their own hypotheses, design experiments to test their hypotheses, and collect empirical data as independent scientists in their personal laboratories-their kitchens. Motivating students to use food preparation as a chemical experiment does more than just provide them with adequate data for their term papers. Students develop a new awareness for experimental variables, acquire experimental planning and development expertise, and gain an enhanced set of independent thinking skills. This inquiry-based assignment requires students to treat edible ingredients as a chemicals and kitchen equipment as scientific instrumentation. Students are required to provide correctly formatted scientific terms for all consumables and equipment, and they are encouraged to bring experimental results into the classroom to gather statistical taste-test data. Students submit their term papers as communication-type manuscripts, formatted using the communication-style template for The Journal of the American Chemical Society. The details and outcomes of this assignment are described along with sample excerpts from student papers over the past few years. Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.


Schneider K.J.,Mercyhurst College | Williams J.D.,Mercyhurst College
Current Organic Chemistry | Year: 2011

In the study of thioanhydrides, a fast, simple, and cost effective means of producing thioanhydrides is necessary being that commercially available thioanhydrides are limited. A simple method of converting an anhydride into a thioanhydride involves the use of sodium sulfide. In general, this method of thioanhydride synthesis is effective in producing a substantial yield of thioanhydride from the conjugate anhydride. However, in the case of itaconic anhydride, this method seems to fail. By monitoring the reaction of itaconic anhydride with sodium sulfide using 1H NMR spectrometry, Raman spectrometry, and IR spectrometry, it is clear that the resulting product is not the expected itaconic thioanhydride, but is instead citraconic anhydride, an isomer of itaconic anhydride. While this isomerization reaction has been recorded using nitrogen-based compounds, this is the first instance in which sodium sulfide has been recorded as a catalyst in the isomerization of itaconic anhydride to citraconic anhydride. © 2011 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.


Ousley S.D.,Mercyhurst College | Jones E.B.,Smithsonian Institution
Human Biology | Year: 2010

Several hypotheses have been put forward about the origins and evolution of the inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands. Both Hrdlicka [The Aleutian and Commander Islands and Their Inhabitants (Philadelphia: Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, 1945)] and Laughlin ["The Alaska gateway viewed from the Aleutian Islands," in Papers on the Physical Anthropology of the American Indian, W. S. Laughlin, ed. (New York: Viking Fund, 1951), 98-126] analyzed cranial morphology and came to somewhat different conclusionsusing a typological approach and limited analytical methods. Subsequent investigations using morphological data have not significantly improved our understanding of Aleut prehistory. More recently, radiocarbon dating and mitochondrial DNA analyses have shed light on Aleut genetic variation and changes over time, but better morphological methods using multivariate statistical analysis have not yet been used. We analyzed craniometric data using multivariate procedures and found that Aleuts demonstrate significant changes in cranial morphology over time, and these changes correspond to Hrdlicka's observations but may not necessarily reflect in-migration. The morphological changes were concentrated in the very aspects of morphology that are easily observable and that Hrdlicka most often measured, namely, cranial length, breadth, and height, but they were obscured when craniometric variation as a whole was analyzed. Also, we found that the morphological changes over time were not related to the changes in haplogroup frequencies over time, suggesting that migration into the Aleutians did not play a significant role in producing the morphological changes. However, craniometric variability apparently increases over time, suggesting in-migration, localized selection, and/or greater environmental heterogeneity. Our results contradict Laughlin's observations but may be more in line with his hypothesis of in situ evolutionary changes absent gene flow. In addition to selection, gene flow, and gene drift, however, sociocultural changes must also be considered as a factor in why morphology changed over time. Copyright © 2010.


McBride D.L.,Mercyhurst College
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2012

It is commonly known that students have difficulty connecting the techniques they learn in math classes with necessary steps for solving physics problems. In this study, introductory-level physics students were given a set of pure math problems and a set of physics problems that required them to use the exact same mathematical processes. The students were then asked to pair the analogous problems and explain the pairings. Presented here are the results of that study, which support previous findings that students have difficulty determining how the two are connected and give some insight into what can be done to help scaffold that connection in the future. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.


Sorensen C.M.,Kansas State University | Mcbride D.L.,Mercyhurst College | Rebello N.S.,Kansas State University
American Journal of Physics | Year: 2011

The use of interactive engagement strategies to improve learning in introductory physics is not new, but have not been used as often for upper-division physics courses. We describe the development and implementation of a Studio Optics course for upper-division physics majors at Kansas State University. The course adapts a three-stage Karplus learning cycle and other elements to foster an environment that promotes learning through an integration of lecture, laboratories, and problem solving. Some of the instructional materials are described. We discuss the evaluation of the course using data collected from student interviews, a conceptual survey, an attitudinal survey, and the instructor's reflections. Overall, students responded positively to the new format and showed modest gains in learning. The instructor's experiences compared favorably with the traditional course that he had taught in the past. © 2011 American Association of Physics Teachers.


Johnson N.D.,Mercyhurst College | Lang N.P.,Mercyhurst College | Zophy K.T.,Gannon University
Journal of Geoscience Education | Year: 2011

Educational technologies such as Google Earth have the potential to increase student learning and participation in geoscience classrooms. However, little has been written about tying the use of such software with effective assessment. To maximize Google Earth's learning potential for students, educators need to craft appropriate, research-based objectives, utilize engaging student-centered learning techniques, and directly assess student learning. Several example activities are included to suggest how Google Earth-based geoscience lessons can be created and still maintain measurable learning outcomes. © 2011 National Association of Geoscience Teachers.


Fisher T.G.,University of Toledo | Weyer K.A.,University of Toledo | Boudreau A.M.,University of Toledo | Martin-Hayden J.M.,University of Toledo | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Paleolimnology | Year: 2012

Sediment cores collected from embayed lakes along the east-central coast of Lake Michigan are used to construct aeolian sand records of past coastal dune mobility, and to constrain former lake levels in the Lake Michigan basin. Time series analysis of sand cycles based on the weight-percent aeolian sand within lacustrine sediment, reveals statistically significant spectral peaks that coincide with established lake level cycles in Lake Michigan and the Gleissberg sunspot cycle of minima. Longer cycles of ~ 800 and ~ 2200 years were also identified that correspond to solar cycles. Shorter cycles between 80 and 220 years suggest a link between coastal dune mobility, climate, and lake levels in the Lake Michigan basin. Radiocarbon-dated sedimentary contacts of lacustrine sediment overlying wetland sediment record the Nipissing transgression in the Lake Michigan basin. Lake level rise closely mimics the predicted uplift of the North Bay outlet, with lake level rise slowing when outflow was transferred to the Port Huron/Sarnia outlet. The Nipissing highstand was reached after 5000 cal (4.4 ka) BP. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Breckenridge A.,Mercyhurst College | Lowell T.V.,University of Cincinnati | Fisher T.G.,University of Toledo | Yu S.,Tulane University
Journal of Paleolimnology | Year: 2012

The evolution of the early Great Lakes was driven by changing ice sheet geometry, meltwater influx, variable climate, and isostatic rebound. Unfortunately none of these factors are fully understood. Sediment cores from Fenton Lake and other sites in the Lake Superior basin have been used to document constantly falling water levels in glacial Lake Minong between 9,000 and 10,600 cal (8. 1-9. 5 ka) BP. Over three meters of previously unrecovered sediment from Fenton Lake detail a more complex lake level history than formerly realized, and consists of an early regression, transgression, and final regression. The initial regression is documented by a transition from gray, clayey silt to black sapropelic silt. The transgression is recorded by an abrupt return to gray sand and silt, and dates between 9,000 and 9,500 cal (8. 1-8. 6 ka) BP. The transgression could be the result of increased discharge from Lake Agassiz overflow or the Laurentide Ice Sheet, and hydraulic damming at the Lake Minong outlet. Alternatively ice advance in northern Ontario may have blocked an unrecognized low level northern outlet to glacial Lake Ojibway, which switched Lake Minong overflow back to the Lake Huron basin and raised lake levels. Multiple sites in the Lake Huron and Michigan basins suggest increased meltwater discharges occurred around the time of the transgression in Lake Minong, suggesting a possible linkage. The final regression in Fenton Lake is documented by a return to black sapropelic silt, which coincides with varve cessation in the Superior basin when Lake Agassiz overflow and glacial meltwater was diverted to glacial Lake Ojibway in northern Ontario. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Moore M.,RAND Corporation | Dausey D.J.,RAND Corporation | Dausey D.J.,Mercyhurst College
BMC Research Notes | Year: 2011

Background: Soon after the 2009-H1N1 virus emerged as the first influenza pandemic in 41 years, countries had an early opportunity to test their preparedness plans, protocols and procedures, including their cooperation with other countries in responding to the global pandemic threat. The Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance cooperation (MBDS) comprises six countries - Cambodia, China (Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces), Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - that formally organized themselves in 2001 to cooperate in disease surveillance and control. The pandemic presented an opportunity to assess their responses in light of their individual and joint planning. We conducted two surveys of the MBDS leadership from each country, early during the pandemic and shortly after it ended. Results: On average, participants rated their country's pandemic response performance as good in both 2009 and 2010. Post-pandemic (2010), perceived performance quality was best for facility-based interventions (overall mean of 4.2 on a scale from 1 = poor to 5 = excellent), followed by surveillance and information sharing (4.1), risk communications (3.9) and disease prevention and control in communities (3.7). Performance was consistently rated as good or excellent for use of hotlines for case reporting (2010 mean of 4.4) and of selected facility-based interventions (each with a 2010 mean of 4.4): using hospital admission criteria, preparing or using isolation areas, using PPE for healthcare workers and using antiviral drugs for treatment. In at least half the countries, the post-pandemic ratings were lower than initial 2009 assessments for performance related to surveillance, facility-based interventions and risk communications. Conclusions: MBDS health leaders perceived their pandemic responses effective in areas previously considered problematic. Most felt that MBDS cooperation helped drive and thus added value to their efforts. Surveillance capacity within countries and surveillance information sharing across countries, longstanding MBDS focus areas, were cited as particular strengths. Several areas needing further improvement are already core strategies in the 2011-2016 MBDS Action Plan. Self-organized sub-regional cooperation in disease surveillance is increasingly recognized as an important new element in global disease prevention and control. Our findings suggest that more research is needed to understand the characteristics of networking that will result in the best shared outcomes. © 2011 Moore et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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