Flushing, NY, United States
Flushing, NY, United States

Queens College, located in Kew Gardens Hills in the borough of Queens in New York City, is one of the senior colleges of the City University of New York. It is also the fifth-oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning. The college's 77-acre campus is located along Kissena Boulevard. Queens College opened in 1937 and is one of CUNY's largest senior colleges. Wikipedia.

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Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2017

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is a health informatics platform to affect self-management of chronic disease through non-pharmacological interventions. Currently 25% of Americans live with one or more chronic conditions. Yet they consume 86% of the national healthcare resource, which was estimated at $3 trillion in 2015. SIPPA Health Informatics Platform transforms the non-pharmacological intervention delivery model through personalized software services by incorporating a survey feedback loop. This improves patient experience and engagement, and contributes to collecting big data for linking motivation to behavioral therapy --- resulting in an effect essential to improving population health and advancing personalized precision medicine. The proposed project is the development of a health informatics infrastructure --- referred to as SIPPA Health Informatics Platform (SHIP). The objective is to determine the technical feasibility of SHIP for enabling the Information-Motivation-Behavioral skill (IMB) model to link software services to motivational strategies. Our approach is to develop and incorporate (1) a dynamic survey engine that encourages a collaborative approach to engage patients and providers to securely exchange health data, and to communicate clearly the action plan preferences of an intervention, and (2) a data analytics algorithm that will utilize dynamic survey feedback provided by a chronic patient, and the log data of software service usage, to identify critical determinants of motivation. An IRB approved pilot will be incorporated in this research to carry out empirical study to help caregivers gain insights into developing personalized healthcare and intervention plan, and to assist in developing a patient-centered collaborative model of care.

Dennehy J.J.,Queens College, City University of New York
Annual Review of Microbiology | Year: 2014

I pictured myself as a virus...and tried to sense what it would be like. -Jonas Salk Ecology as a science evolved from natural history, the observational study of the interactions of plants and animals with each other and their environments. As natural history matured, it became increasingly quantitative, experimental, and taxonomically broad. Focus diversified beyond the Eukarya to include the hidden world of microbial life. Microbes, particularly viruses, were shown to exist in unfathomable numbers, affecting every living organism. Slowly viruses came to be viewed in an ecological context rather than as abstract, disease-causing agents. This shift is exemplified by an increasing tendency to refer to viruses as living organisms instead of inert particles. In recent years, researchers have recognized the critical contributions of viruses to fundamental ecological processes such as biogeochemical cycling, competition, community structuring, and horizontal gene transfer. This review describes virus ecology from a virus's perspective. If we are, like Jonas Salk, to imagine ourselves as a virus, what kind of world would we experience? Copyright © 2014 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Chem Struct,Dynmcs&Mechansms A | Award Amount: 392.82K | Year: 2015

With this award, the Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms (CSDM-A) Program of the Division of Chemistry is funding Professor Jianbo Liu of CUNY Queens College to study the reaction of an excited form of oxygen with the guanine base of DNA. Oxygen damage to guanine is a key chemical step with biological consequences that range from photocleavage, mutagenesis and carcinogenesis to cellular lethality. Specifically, the oxidation products are involved in the basic chemistry of neurological disorders such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases. This project will investigate the oxidation mechanisms in different environments, and will determine the consequences of guanine oxidative modifications on base pairing and DNA-protein cross-links. The project also has a strong educational component, bringing undergraduate and graduate students into the research laboratory. This is expected to help broaden participation as Queens College serves a large number (40%) of first generation college students; about half of these are of minority background.

The project uses electrospray mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and guided-ion-beam scattering to probe the singlet oxygen oxidation of guanine and its derivatives in the gas phase. Reaction cross sections are measured as a function of collision energy for protonated/deprotonated guanine ions and for guanine ions clustering with water. Following the gas-phase experiments, the same systems are to be investigated in aqueous solutions using on-line spectroscopy and ESI-MS/MS. The other major experimental thrust is to study the consequences of guanine oxidation on its base pairing with cytosine and on cross-linking reactions with lysine. These experiments are complemented by electronic structure calculations of reaction coordinates, RRKM modeling of complex mediated pathways, and trajectory simulations of dynamics behaviors. These studies are directed at exploring and elucidating the mechanism of these singlet oxygen reactions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: DISCOVERY RESEARCH K-12 | Award Amount: 433.21K | Year: 2016

Professional development is crucial to supporting early childhood teachers ability to design and implement lessons that promote young childrens science literacy as envisioned by the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Yet few studies have examined the impact of professional development on early childhood teachers science knowledge and skills and in turn, how changes in teachers knowledge and skills relate to student learning. Set within the context of a diverse district in the New York City Public Schools, this professional development project engages a sample of kindergarten and 1st-grade teachers in a series of Saturday workshops. During the workshops teachers work individually and together to design and test new lesson plans that enhance teachers abilities to help young children think and act like a scientist. Moreover, teachers work individually and together to construct lessons that connect science content to young learners cultural backgrounds, interests and prior knowledge. This project is important intellectually because it adds to the knowledge base of how to engage young children in scientific inquiry. In practical terms, the project offers teachers a set of field-tested outcomes and products demonstrating how to effectively embed science-learning experiences into early childhood curriculum, instruction and assessment.

The Discovery Research K-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects. This project uses an iterative process where teachers work on their own and collaboratively in Professional Learning Communities (PLC). Over the course of 2 years, these PLCs: (1) collaboratively design, field test and refine science-integrated lessons before implementing them in their classrooms; (2) participate in face-to-face and virtual meetings with other participating teachers and research project staff; and (3) receive mentoring and support to further reinforce their learning for NGSS teaching. Pre- and post-project measures will assess the professional development programs impact on 10 kindergarten and 10 first-grade teachers who serve a diverse array of 200 students in one of the nations largest public school systems. Specifically, the project will examine: (a) teachers lesson plans; (b) implementation of their lessons in the classroom; (c) samples of student work; and (d) students learning behaviors. Qualitative and quantitative measures will be used to determine the projects anticipated outcomes which include: the characteristics of effective professional development for early childhood teachers; improved NGSS- based knowledge, skills and dispositions of kindergarten and first-grade teachers; and improved student science learning. In this way the project has the potential to catalyze new approaches to STEM learning, teaching and assessment at the early childhood level.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 395.00K | Year: 2015

With this award, the Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanisms (CSDM-A) Program of the Division of Chemistry is supporting Professor Cherice M. Evans at CUNY - Queens College and Professor Gary L. Findley at the University of Louisiana-Monroe to undertake complementary experimental and theoretical studies of the role of solvent structure in important chemical reactions. Their work seeks improved understanding upon which to base better, more efficient, and less environmentally invasive chemical manufacturing and processing. It is congruent with the aims of sustainable chemistry, including the principles that the use of solvents should be made unnecessary wherever possible, and solvents should be innocuous when used. By involving graduate and undergraduate students from CUNY as well as undergraduates from Louisiana - Monroe (many of whom are from low-income families and are first generation college students), the work makes available exciting research opportunities intended not only to advance science, but to retain student interest and expand capabilities in STEM fields. Some of the research utilizes synchrotron facilities at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices in Baton Rouge, LA, allowing all participating students to interact with scientists from a high caliber user facility, while introducing CUNY students to new aspects of United States culture in a Living/Learning community environment. The requirement that Monroe participants present their research results at Queens College ensures that these students will be exposed to a major urban environment -a first for many of these students.

The research specifically focuses on solvation of quasi-free electrons as probes of the solvent structure in the target media across the broad temperature and density range represented by these solvents. The systems chosen for study include supercritical carbon dioxide, high temperature water, and supercritical water. These solvents are targeted because their solvation properties can be adjusted by small changes in temperature and pressure, potentially enabling product isolation and solvent purification in a single step. A free electron in solution makes an ideal probe of local solvent structure, and will help illuminate reactivity in these important media. Electrons with low energies are produced by field-enhanced photoemission from electrode surfaces in the solvent and the resulting current is detected with a second electrode. Experiments are being conducted at a new synchrotron facility at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices in Baton Rouge, LA, and the resulting data are used to develop empirical models for the microscopic structure of the supercritical solvent systems.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ALGORITHMIC FOUNDATIONS | Award Amount: 398.91K | Year: 2016

Many basic physical principles, like conservation of mass or momentum for a fluid, are captured mathematically as systems of algebraic differential equations. Simplifying and solving these systems (which means reducing the number or complexity of the equations, and finding inputs that satisfy all equations) are fundamental to applications in many areas, including cellular biology, approximation for chemical reaction systems, combinatorics, and analysis. The theoretical and algorithmic study of such systems spans more than a century, using three methods: purely symbolic, numerical, and hybrid symbolic-numeric.

Symbolic methods (the quadratic formula being the simplest example) give the strongest guarantees of reliability, at a high (even exorbitant) cost in computational time and memory, since the same algorithm solves both mathematically hard and easy instances. Numerical methods (the basis for computational simulation) allow small errors or approximations for speed; small intermediate errors produce corrupted outputs on singular and ill-conditioned (that is, nearly singular) input instances. In this project, a hybrid symbolic-numeric approach will be developed. Hybrid algorithms are more adaptive and have lower complexity than symbolic algorithms, and can avoid the errors of numerical algorithms.

In more technical detail, the three investigators apply existing and develop new methods of symbolic-numeric computation and differential algebra, producing algorithms that run on all inputs. They bring together existing methods of numerical algebraic geometry and software packages, such as Bertini, with recent theoretical results in differential algebra that provide upper bounds needed for guaranteed results. New near-optimal root isolation techniques are developed, implemented, and applied to solve systems of differential equations with finitely many solutions. The work spans from theory to producing practical tools.

As part of this project the three investigators mentor and train students in symbolic and numeric computation at CUNY (noted for serving minority and low-income students) and NYU, and more broadly in New York City and Long Island, by activities ranging from developing a Symbolic-Numeric Computing course for graduate students at the Computer Science program of the CUNY Graduate Center and NYU, to advising high school students in projects.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS | Award Amount: 142.72K | Year: 2016

Nontechnical Abstract:
The scattering of waves, whether acoustic, radio or optical, is an inescapable part of our environment. When this environment is disordered the wave can scatter along many different paths and this can impair our ability to communicate or to image or excite electronic circuits. This project will study the propagation of waves through disordered media using a combination of experimental approaches supplanted by theory and simulations. The effort is a collaboration between the PI and the group of Patrick Sebbah at Bar-Ilan University as part of the NSF/DMR-BSF program. The work will focus on developing a universal description of wave propagation in finite random media and will provide an excellent training ground for students. The results of this work will also have a broad impact on a range of interdisciplinary problems in condensed matter physics, acoustics and optics.

Technical Abstract:
The proposed research extends the range of a universal description of wave propagation from the reflected and transmitted wave at the boundaries of disordered media into the interior of the sample and from samples many times thicker than the mean free path to samples so thin that propagation is nearly ballistic. Phenomenological properties of transmission, such as the extrapolation length, upon which the scaling of transmission depends, will be related to universal parameters such as auxiliary localization lengths of different transmission eigenchannels. These parameters depend only on the ratio of sample length and the localization length and the eigenchannel number. An important aspect of the research is finding the relationship between the transmission eigenchannels, modes of waves in the medium, and solutions of a generalized diffusion equation with a position-dependent diffusion coefficient. The relationship between these approaches provides key clues to the control the wave within random media and disordered metamaterials. Such control of the wave inside disordered media provides a path towards improved imaging, resource exploration, local heating within the body, telecommunications, and low-threshold random lasing. The characteristics of a new class of quasi-one dimensional scattering sample, in which the local density of states vanishes in the interior of the sample, is investigated to understand the relationship of the density of states and localization. This provides new pathways to localizing waves and isolating regions from the surrounding environment.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 371.06K | Year: 2015

The Freshman Year To Geoscience Career project addresses the important national goal of recruiting, retaining, and preparing the next generation workforce in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, with specific focus on increasing diversity in the geosciences. Today, nearly 45% of all college students begin their undergraduate education at a community college; for underrepresented minority (URM) college students, the community college starting point is even larger (54%). These students are often underrepresented in the geosciences, underprepared academically, and burdened by unique obstacles due to socioeconomic status and family responsibilities. Few are aware of geoscience as a possible career. If these students transfer successfully into a bachelors degree program, they are often delayed in completion of their degrees because of inadequate math preparation and missing prerequisites, as well as the common necessity of working 20-40 hours/week to support themselves and their families. Many drop out of the pipeline, either because they are unable to complete the rigorous degree requirements or because they feel isolated and a sense of not belonging. Even if they complete their degrees, many of these students are first in their families to go to college and have little idea of how and when to plan for what follows graduation. To address these obstacles, this project is creating a seamless, supportive path from the time a student chooses a college major to when s/he enters graduate school or employment as a geoscientist.

This multi-campus partnership between Queens College, a 4-year college in the City University of New York (CUNY) system, and LaGuardia and Queensborough Community Colleges guarantees help for students from unusually diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, regardless of where they first enter the education pipeline. Innovative strategies in this effort address transitions at four key points at which students make or confirm the decision to pursue a career in Geology or Environmental Science, or to drop out of the STEM pipeline: 1) Starting a geoscience career path at a community college; 2) Transfer from a 2-year to 4-year college; 3) Completing a rigorous geoscience major; and 4) Transition to graduate school or geoscience employment. Through customized workshops and outreach at the community colleges, students are building the skills needed for a science career and being provided with information about career options and salaries in the geosciences. Coordinated multi-campus recruiting and advising by peers and faculty from all three campuses are helping students make strategic coursework choices that better articulate with the degree requirements at the 4-year institution. A unique geoscience learning community spanning all three campuses is helping to make the transition from 2-year to 4-year seamless. New majors have an opportunity to mingle with advanced students and faculty from the Queens College campuses before and throughout the academic year at academic (colloquia, field trips) and social events. By the time they transfer from their community college, students know the Queens faculty and the best path to degree completion. Modest stipends are being provided that make possible a geoscience service-learning culture for superior students, saving travel to and from off-campus jobs unrelated to their career goals. Stipend recipients serve as teaching aides and tutors in introductory courses, helping others understand basic concepts while deepening their own understanding. Some tutees will become the next generation of geoscience majors and tutors. Because calculus is known nationally as one of the major obstacles to completing a geoscience degree, free tutoring is being provided by Time 2000, a Queens College initiative that trains students to become high school math teachers. To better prepare students for their lives after graduation, the project is offering a series of workshops, starting in the freshman year, that help individuals choose job or graduate school; write resumes, personal statements, and application letters; and learn interview skills.

The principal intellectual merit of this project is to test two innovative models for improving student engagement, academic performance, and retention: 1) a unique discipline-specific learning community spanning three urban campuses - two Associates (community college) and one Bachelors-Masters college, and 2) a service-learning approach to engaging students that removes or lessens the need of financially challenged geoscience majors to work off-campus at jobs unrelated to their professional goals. Although the Freshman Year to Geoscience Career project is designed specifically to increase the number and diversity of geoscience students at the participating CUNY system campuses, the problems it addresses are endemic and the solutions it offers can serve as a model across all academic institutions and disciplines.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 1.20M | Year: 2016

The Queens College, City University of New York, Noyce STEM Academy is a five-year project dedicated and designed to motivate and encourage both talented students majoring in the STEM disciplines and STEM professionals to become successful science teachers in high-needs public schools in New York City. This project aims to recruit 24 STEM majors and 24 STEM professionals in order to produce 48 new, highly qualified STEM teachers. The significance of the STEM Academy is founded on its commitment to promoting science progress through the advancement of science awareness and a more scientifically informed public. This project resonates with the Noyce Programs mission, which seeks to improve the lives of students by strengthening science instruction provided within K-12 educational systems. The STEM Academy will respond to the well-documented need of preparing highly qualified science teachers who will serve in disadvantaged, high-needs schools. The significance of this project is its commitment to attract STEM majors and professionals from culturally diverse backgrounds, to retain them as outstanding teachers, and ultimately to improve student achievement by recognizing the link between out-of-school science experiences and those in formal classroom settings.

The goal and scope of the STEM Academy will be to support 48 STEM individuals in the greater New York City metropolitan area to serve in high-needs schools. The STEM Academy will include two tracks: one designed for talented undergraduate students (N=24) to receive scholarships for two years as they complete requirements for their dual science and education majors, and another designed for candidates who are STEM professionals (N=24) seeking initial teacher certification in science. The STEM Academy will accomplish its goals through the following methods and approaches: 1) providing prospective, talented science educators with a carefully crafted year-long, clinically-rich induction and mentoring program that integrates learning experiences in community-based science learning centers with preparation in formal high-need partner schools; 2) increasing capacity of STEM teaching majors from culturally diverse communities; 3) providing a career transition for STEM majors and STEM professionals; 4) providing a well-developed curriculum that enhances students science content knowledge, teaching pedagogies, and research experience; 5) studying effective teaching practices and behaviors through apprenticeships with master teachers in host schools; and 6) providing sustainable, integrated support during the candidates first two years of teaching. In addition to producing 48 outstanding science teachers, the STEM Academy anticipates the following potential benefits and contributions: (1) building of knowledge regarding the importance of mentor relationships on the training and retention of talented STEM professionals from culturally diverse backgrounds in the field of science education; (2) developing greater understanding of the context in which science learning occurs in both informal and formal settings; and (3) increasing the capacity of highly qualified science educators for high-needs schools who will advance scientific literacy in their classrooms. The results of this work have the potential to assist other like-minded teacher preparation programs across the country.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: LINGUISTICS | Award Amount: 269.17K | Year: 2016

This project aims to further the study of New York City English (NYCE) - the varieties of English particular to New York City and the surrounding region - through the development and use of an innovative audio-aligned and parsed corpus of New Yorkers speech. The project will combine recent advances in speech corpus development tools with the special talents and backgrounds of undergraduates at the City University of New York (CUNY), to create the first such corpus of New York City English (the CUNY-CoNYCE). The CUNY-CoNYCE will be based on interviews with New Yorkers across the five boroughs and Long Island, conducted by CUNY undergraduates from Queens College, Lehman College (The Bronx), and the College of Staten Island. Because our student populations draw predominantly from neighborhoods across the five boroughs of New York City and Long Island, they are uniquely able to collectively gather and produce large quantities of speech data from all over the region. The ultimate product will be an on-line, freely accessible, ~1,000,000-word audio-aligned and grammatically annotated corpus of NYCE speech, which will be accompanied by a full set of digital, text-searchable recordings of the speech signal from which the corpus is transcribed.

In addition to answering questions about language variation and change in NYCE, the corpus will further research in all areas of linguistics, especially in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis. The use of oral history and sociological measurements of ethnic affiliation components in data collection will also make the CUNY-CoNYCE a useful tool for sociologists and anthropologists examining lived experience in urban settings, inter-ethnic relations, and near-term history of New York life. The project will also provide transformative research experiences for dozens of CUNY undergraduates, giving them unique research opportunities. Additionally, users of the corpus will develop an understanding of and appreciation for the grammar of non-standard dialects, and functions of non-standard speech as necessary linguistic resources for social integration.

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