Claremont, CA, United States
Claremont, CA, United States

Pomona College is a private liberal arts college located in Claremont, California, United States. Pomona is an exclusively undergraduate four-year institution and enrolled approximately 1,600 students in fall 2012.The founding member of the Claremont Colleges, Pomona is a non-sectarian, coeducational school. Since 1925, the Claremont Colleges, which have grown to include five undergraduate and two graduate institutions, have provided Pomona's student body with the resources of a larger university while maintaining the benefits of a small college.Pomona is ranked fifth out of all liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report and eighth out of all undergraduate colleges and universities in the USA by Forbes. It is the most endowed liberal arts college in the country on a per capita basis, the fourth most endowed school on a per capita basis, and the second most selective liberal arts college by acceptance rate. Wikipedia.

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Verma R.P.,Pomona College | Hansch C.,Pomona College
Chemical Reviews | Year: 2011

Quantitative structure-activity/property relationship (QSAR/QSPR) can be considered as a low-cost/high-return technique. The selection/utilization of an appropriate statistical methodology and structural descriptors is always vital in the development of a predictive QSAR/QSPR model that encodes the relationship between the structure of a molecule and its biological activity, chemical reactivity, or physical characteristics. The development of QSAR/QSPR models using 13C NMR chemical shifts as descriptor is usually referred to as the quantitative spectrometric data-activity relationship (QSDAR). An analysis of a total number of 74 QSPR reveals the most important form of the 13C NMR chemical shifts used as QSPR descriptor is the chemical shift of a C-atom common to all compounds. The application of the 13C NMR chemical shifts as descriptors for biological QSAR modeling is utmost important.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CHEMICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 228.69K | Year: 2013

The marine biological pump is one of the primary pathways via which anthropogenic carbon dioxide may be sequestered from the atmosphere and exported to the deep ocean as organic carbon. While the link between nutrient supply and high primary productivity in upwelling regions is well established, factors controlling the organic carbon export efficiency of upwelling ecosystems are not well known. Scientists from the University of Southern California and Pomona College plan to determine the factors that control the rates and magnitudes of two components of biological production, Net Community Production (NCP) and Gross Primary Production (GPP), as well as particulate organic carbon export efficiency, at the San Pedro Ocean Time Series, a coastal site in the California Borderland during periods of minimal and high upwelling velocity over a 2-year span. At this site, past and ongoing observations of hydrography and carbon rain will provide an historical context for interpreting results and mechanisms at work.

Rates of NCP and GPP will be quantified at different upwelling intensity, using dissolved oxygen to argon (O2/Ar) ratios and the oxygen triple isotope composition of dissolved oxygen (O2). The export of organic carbon will be established using 234Th (thorium) profiles in the water column, coupled with floating sediment trap deployments, and the development of a carbon isotope balance for the water column. Upwelling will be characterized using non-steady state budgets for atmospheric 7Be (beryllium) input and its depth-integrated decay, as well as estimating rates based on remote measurements of wind stress curl and budgets for dissolved inorganic carbon and silicon. Application of the O2/Ar ratio and the oxygen triple isotope approach will require depth-integrated profiles of these tracers to evaluate the impact of upwelling on mixed layer inputs and use of non-steady state models during seasonal transitions in upwelling. The comprehensive data set to be obtained should provide insights into the organic carbon export efficiency under variable upwelling regimes and help to relate the satellite-based measurements of chlorophyll to the organic carbon export of these highly productive ecosystems.

Broader Impacts: One graduate and one undergraduate student from the University of Southern California and two undergraduate students from Pomona College would be supported and trained as part of this project.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SEDIMENTARY GEO & PALEOBIOLOGY | Award Amount: 148.29K | Year: 2016

The Cambrian ?explosion? was a singular event in the history of life on Earth. This episode, which saw the origin and rapid diversification of almost all major groups of animals (phyla), serves to divide the entire geologic record into two parts, the Precambrian and Phanerozoic Eons. By far, the best records of this event come from a handful of exceptional fossil deposits that preserve the ?soft?, non-biomineralized tissues of organisms that normally leave no trace in the fossil record. Such deposits offer not only a remarkable view of the early patterns of evolution, but have helped to reveal the basic structure of the animal family tree. Recently, the most important Cambrian fossil assemblage discovered in decades was reported from the Burgess Shale near Marble Canyon.
This project seeks to provide baseline characterization of the new fossil assemblage and its geological and geochemical context though a multi-disciplinary approach, which will provide hands on training for undergraduates and a postdoctoral scholar. The goals of the project are: 1. to document the geographic extent and composition of the new fossil fauna by exploration and quarrying; 2. to use geochemical and sedimentologic methods to reconstruct the nature of ancient environments in which these fossil assemblages thrived; 3. to develop a strontium isotope chronology linking all Burgess Shale localities in relative time, and; 4. to determine the origin of the Cathedral Escarpment, an enigmatic topographic feature that is central to the Geologic history of the Burgess Shale.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: LAW AND SOCIAL SCIENCES | Award Amount: 75.00K | Year: 2016

Sociolegal scholarship has shown how law schools and training programs can serve as support structures that provide critical intellectual, social, and material resources for movements seeking to influence the law. While this scholarship establishes that these institutions are a necessary precondition for change, it leaves open an important question. Namely, are there types of support structures that are more or less effective at producing and facilitating the transfer of these valuable resources to and within movements? Contemporary legal movements provide a unique opportunity to address this question, as their patrons have, since the late-1990s, invested in support institutions representative of three different types - Leveraging, Supplemental, and Parallel Alternative Structures.

This study uses this variation to help forward two models for understanding and assessing the efficacy of different support structure strategies. It does this by collecting and aggregating institutional data from three law schools and one legal training program at the heart of these contemporary legal movements. PIs will supplement these data with evidence gathered from personal interviews, participant observation, and an original survey. PIs will analyze these data both qualitatively and quantitatively, with the primary methods involving interpretive data analysis and network mapping. This project will provide important insights for scholars and practitioners and will have at least two significant impacts. First, through the development of new models for understanding movements, this project will make a theoretical contribution to the scholarly literature on support structures, legal mobilization, and social movements. Secondly, policy activists who have learned that a support structure is necessary for legal change have little guidance from the literature as to what kinds of support structures will best facilitate the transfer of resources between their movement and policy demanders. This project will help inform this important policy and scholarly conversation.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Genetic Mechanisms | Award Amount: 197.04K | Year: 2016

The broad goal of this research project is to use the tools of topology and geometry to help molecular biologists and chemists better understand the structure and behavior of DNA, proteins, and complex synthetic molecules. The topological model under study would help molecular biologists by simplifying the analysis of the site-specific recombination mechanism for closed circular DNA molecules. The investigator also aims to identify the forms of knots, links, and non-planar graphs that arise in proteins, and to model how these complex structures may have occurred. This information may offer valuable insights into protein folding mechanisms and degradation pathways. Synthetic organic molecules are normally too small to see with an electron microscope; when chemists synthesize a complex structure they use data from nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to provide evidence that the molecular structure has a particular form. Since these structures are large enough to be somewhat flexible, both topology and geometry have to be taken into account when comparing the symmetry properties of the NMR data to those of a physical model. The investigator is working with organic chemists to identify different types of symmetries exhibited by complex structures and to design new structures with interesting symmetry properties.

In contrast with knots and links, whose topology depends exclusively on their embedding in the three dimensional sphere, the intrinsic structure of some graphs can affect the topological properties of every embedding of the graph in a given three dimensional manifold. For example, some graphs have the property that for any embedding G of the graph in a three-manifold M, there is no orientation reversing homeomorphism of the pair (M,G). Such a graph is said to be intrinsically chiral in M. The investigator will work on characterizing which graphs are intrinsically chiral in the three-sphere and in other three-dimensional manifolds, as well as determining other properties of embedded graphs which are independent of the particular embedding of the graph. The project draws on three-manifold results including Jaco-Shalen and Johannson characteristic decompositions, Mostows rigidity theorem, Thurstons hyperbolization theorem, and the classification of Seifert manifolds, as well as techniques from knot theory and the theory of tangles.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Systems and Synthetic Biology | Award Amount: 515.01K | Year: 2015

Beneath the surface of the earth are microbial communities that live independent from the sun-driven surface and are sealed off from the atmospheres oxygen. Because the subsurface is shut off from oxygen in the atmosphere, these microbes need to find alternative compounds to breathe (reduction), in order to carry out the energetic cycles necessary to drive life. Sulfur and oxygen share many characteristics, including their ability to serve as breathable compounds. To better understand sulfur reduction, this project will incorporate different studies that will look at sulfur chemistry; protein biochemistry; and the genetics of sulfur-based breathing (respiration) in a hot, petroleum-rich subsurface environment. Together, these studies will help with understanding how these living systems are able to develop deep in the earth, how life might have evolved on the early oxygen-free earth, and even how life might evolve in other places in the universe. Undergraduate researchers will conduct the studies, with experienced undergraduates mentoring young researchers through successful programs designed for the retention of underrepresented and lower income students in science; therefore creating a stronger multicultural scientific teaching and research community. These studies will also be integrated into undergraduate courses in Microbial Ecology and Bioinformatics, in which data obtained in the Microbial Ecology laboratory experiments will be analyzed by the students in the Bioinformatics course.

Sulfur-based respiration is suggested to have been one of the earliest energy conserving pathways for life on earth. It remains important to the sulfur and elemental cycles in the atmosphere, oceans, sediments, and deep subsurface. It is also of specific interest in petrochemical and other fields due to the extremely corrosive and toxic effect of microbially-produced sulfides. It is not at all clear which forms of sulfur contribute to the metabolism mechanisms of microbial sulfur respiration in situ, or how these enzymes mechanistically carry out this transformation. The relative levels of sulfur-reducing enzymes and microbes in many environments remain unknown. These overarching questions will be approached by focusing on a specific environment - a deep, hot, hydrocarbon-rich reservoir - and by integrating studies: (1) at the level of the microbial community by characterizing the microbes in the deep, hot subsurface environment and identifying sulfur-reducing microbes and enzymes through metagenomics and metatranscriptomics; (2) at the enzymatic level by determining the mechanisms of sulfur-reducing enzymes by kinetic and structural techniques; and (3) at the geochemical level by using cyclic voltammetry to determine the chemical speciation of sulfur in situ and during reduction by microbes and enzymes. A transformative aspect of this work is a way in which cyclic voltammetry will be used to obtain a snapshot of the entire range of sulfur species present during the reduction of sulfur by enzymes, isolated microbial species, and microbial populations. This work will also provide a view of the sulfur chemical species present in deep subsurface fluids in situ. Having a clear picture of sulfur metabolism in the deep subsurface will broaden our understanding of biogeochemical sulfur cycling, life in extreme environments, and evolutionary processes. It has been estimated that the subsurface environment contains 40-60% of the bacterial cells on earth, accounting for at least one third of the earths carbon biomass. However, because of its hidden nature, this huge reservoir of biodiversity has only begun to be explored.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Exploiting Parallel&Scalabilty | Award Amount: 297.59K | Year: 2015

Todays applications frequently feature massive and heterogeneous data and complicated computational requirements. There have been many efforts towards efficient parallel query processing and optimization. However, the full potential of parallelism has not been realized by existing techniques and frameworks in scaling to massive datasets, especially for applications that inherently demand recursive data accesses.

The project offers a theoretical methodology for tackling the problem of parallel query evaluation on massive data. The PI conjectures that to maximize parallelizability of generic queries, e.g., queries that are used frequently in analytical and transactional applications, one needs to examine queries that are inherently parallelizable as the basic unit of study. She identifies symmetric queries as a set of queries that are potentially highly parallelizable and will use such queries as a stepping stone to study parallelizable query languages and leverage the findings to design techniques for efficient evaluation of generic queries. In particular, the project focuses on three separate, yet highly related tasks: (1) design and study a set of query languages whose queries are symmetric, investigate the properties of these languages, and propose and prove theoretical bounds on the computational complexity of the languages, in terms of scaling and data skew; (2) investigate and propose data structures and algorithms for efficiently evaluating queries of these languages in a parallel manner; and (3) propose strategies including query rewrite and optimization techniques for efficient evaluation of arbitrary queries, based on the new data structures and algorithms that result from (2).

During the exploratory phase of this project, the PI is conducting research activities in key areas in all three aforementioned topics. These will build the theoretical foundation, form strong collaborations with experts in related areas, and lay the groundwork for an effort suitable for a full-size XPS project. The research result of this project will be beneficial to both the database and the parallel computing communities as a new way to approach the problem of integrating the techniques of each.

The research methodology and algorithms developed is to be integrated into the undergraduate- and graduate-level database courses the PI teaches, as course materials and topics for course projects. Graduate students are supported by the project as research assistants. The PI works with various initiatives to recruit and encourage undergraduate students to participate in research activities.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: WORKFORCE IN THE MATHEMAT SCI | Award Amount: 517.33K | Year: 2014

This award supports continuation of the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) program. The proportion of women, especially underrepresented minority women, in the mathematical sciences declines at each successive academic level. In response to this problem, the EDGE Program is designed (1) to increase the number of women PhDs in the mathematical sciences, especially those from underrepresented groups; and (2) to place more women in visible leadership roles in the mathematics community. The EDGE Program seeks to achieve these goals by providing a comprehensive mentoring program that supports the academic development and research activities of women in mathematics. The proposed activities target women in four different groups: new PhD students, advanced PhD students, postdocs, and junior faculty. Along with an annual summer session, EDGE supports an annual conference, travel for research collaborations, travel to present research, and other open-ended mentoring activities for each targeted participant group.

This project aims to impact the mathematics community by increasing the number of women, particularly from minority groups, who succeed in graduate programs in the mathematical sciences; who assume leadership roles in academia, industry, and government; and who ultimately diversify the mathematical community and provide a sustainable increase in the pool of available home-grown talent. Increased diversity in the mathematics community will ultimately strengthen U.S. competitiveness in mathematics and science and allow people from all backgrounds and cultures to thrive, advance, and contribute to the profession. Reducing the gender and racial disparities among faculty in the mathematical sciences will facilitate national efforts to increase the diversity of students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in mathematics.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES | Award Amount: 550.00K | Year: 2014

The Keck Geology Consortium, comprising 18 primarily undergraduate institutions, will offer summer research experiences for ~34 undergraduates each of three years, building on 23 years of successful programming involving over 1400 students. Students will be recruited from the 18 schools and from non-Consortium institutions. Summer research projects will be continued in the following academic year as independent study projects. All participating students will publish short contributions in the annual proceedings volume and will be encouraged to present their work at regional and national disciplinary meetings. The Consortium will run 5-6 projects per year for 28 undergraduate seniors and one project for 6 sophomore students from underrepresented groups in the Earth Sciences.

The proposed projects involve a mix of field and laboratory research experiences that will make meaningful scientific contributions in the areas of structural geology, paleontology and paleoecology, and paleoclimatology as well as igneous and metamorphic petrology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, volcanology, geomorphology and geoarchaeology. The yearlong Keck Consortium program enhances students scientific and geoscience research skills and provides a robust scientific experience culminating in presentation of results at the annual research symposium and publication in the proceedings volume. The Consortium encourages full participation by women and minority groups.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: LINGUISTICS | Award Amount: 62.23K | Year: 2014

How and why do languages vary? Studying closely related languages can tell us important details of the nature of human language, by holding most grammatical properties constant while varying others, across a set of languages. Understanding the limits on such variation?and how such differences arise historically?requires an accurate description of a group of related languages.

The heterogeneous varieties of Luyia, a group of Bantu languages of Kenya and Uganda, provide a laboratory for investigating such micro-variation in grammar. This project will produce the first comprehensive descriptions and formal analyses of four underdocumented Kenyan varieties of Luyia: Bukusu, Logoori, Tiriki, and Wanga. A series of monographs will be developed for each language which include a grammatical outline, a detailed description of the tonal system, in-depth studies in syntax, a collection of texts, and a dictionary.

The diverse tone systems of Luyia are a major focus of this work. Luyia tone has many notable features, including a rare process by which High tones spread leftward across and within words. Complex tonal patterns mark inflectional differences among verb tenses, and syntactically conditioned rules are also found in the phrasal tonology. A solid understanding of these processes bears crucially on theories of the phonology-syntax interface, which are concerned with what kind of syntactic information can be used by a phonological system. These theoretically and typologically interesting features of Luyia tone will be systematically investigated through targeted paradigmatic elicitation.

This project models team-based, data-rich and theoretically informed linguistic description and analysis. The Luyia team draws on the expertise of linguists in multiple subfields and brings together US-based and Africa-based scholars, enriching the practice of linguistics by each group. The monographs, text collections, and dictionaries produced by the project will be made freely available online, and relevant materials will be disseminated within the appropriate local communities.

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