Saratoga Springs, NY, United States
Saratoga Springs, NY, United States

Skidmore College is a private, independent, liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York. Approximately 2,500 students are enrolled at Skidmore pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in one of more than 60 areas of study. Skidmore is currently ranked 37th in National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 17, 2017

ADCS Clinics ("ADCS") announced it has completed the acquisition of Dermatology Associates Inc, a practice owned by Dr. Anita Pedvis-Leftick in East Greenwhich, RI. Dr. Anita Pedvis-Leftick graduated from Skidmore College in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Chemistry. She went to McGill Medical School in Montreal, Canada. She subsequently did an internship in pediatrics followed by a year in internal medicine. Dr. Pedvis-Leftick then went to the University of Illinois and completed a three-year training program in dermatology. Dr. Pedvis-Leftick is board-certified in dermatology both in Canada and United States and was in private practice in Canada from 1980 until 1997 until she moved to Danville, Illinois where she was on staff at Provena Hospital. In January 2000, Dr. Pedvis-Leftick moved to Providence, Rhode Island and joined the dermatology department at Roger Williams Medical Center, where she was involved in the training of dermatology residents. In 2013, she went into solo practice with a particular interest in psoriasis and contact dermatitis. Dr. Pedvis-Leftick supervises dermatology residents at Brown University in a contact dermatitis clinic. Dr. Matt Leavitt, Founder and CEO of ADCS, said, "We are thrilled to have the talents of Dr. Pedvis-Leftick and her team as a part of ADCS. They have a great following in the area and are dedicated and committed to the care of their patients.” "This is our first acquisition in Rhode Island as we continue to expand our presence in the Northeast to provide patients with better access and care to our doctors." said Dave Morell, President & COO of ADCS. ADCS, founded in 1989 by Dr. Matt Leavitt, is a dermatology-focused practice with over 180 clinics in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia and Wyoming providing clinical, cosmetic, surgical and pathology services. ADCS also provides billing and coding management services for almost 90 third-party dermatology practices across the nation under the Ameriderm™ trade name.

The anomalously low oxygen isotope ratio (δ18O values) of tropical cyclone rainfall can transfer proxy information about past tropical cyclone activity to stalagmite oxygen isotope records. Isotopically distinct stormwater reaches the growing crystal surface as a coherent slug, or after attenuation by mixing with isotopically normal vadose groundwaters. A high-resolution micromilled stalagmite stable isotope record from Belize shows that residual tropical cyclone water from Hurricane Mitch masked the oxygen isotope record of a major El Niño event. On decadal time scales, measured δ18O values are affected by changes in local tropical cyclone frequency. Despite the tropical cyclone masking effect, the structure of the "missing" El Niño event is preserved in the ATM-7 carbon isotope ratios (δ13C values). In tropical cyclone-prone regions, the fidelity of stalagmite oxygen isotope proxy data to recording background climate signals is modulated by temporal variations in local tropical cyclone rainfall, and the sensitivity of individual stalagmites to tropical cyclone masking varies with hydrology. Speleothem δ13C values, unaffected by tropical cyclones, can preserve the underlying structure of climatic variability. For low-latitude speleothems with C-O isotope covariance, intervals in which the δ18O values are significantly lower than δ13C values predict may indicate periods when local tropical cyclone masking of isotope-derived precipitation records is enhanced by greater infiltration of tropical cyclone rain. The temporal structure in stalagmite C-O isotope covariance has paleoenvironmental meaning that may be revealed by exploring factors associated with independent behavior in each isotope ratio, respectively. Tropical cyclone masking presents new challenges to paleoclimatology and a source of hypotheses for paleotempestology. © 2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Cellular Dynamics and Function | Award Amount: 382.67K | Year: 2015

The colonization of land by green algae 450 to 500 million years ago and their evolution into land plants represent important events in the natural history of the planet. These terrestrial (land) plants have caused major changes to the Earths biochemistry and biosphere. Land plants evolved from green algae called charophytes, a small but diverse group of freshwater and terrestrial organisms. Central to the success of the charophyte colonization of land was the extracellular matrix (ECM) that surrounds their cells. This ECM is made up of a wall that covers the outside of the cell and the gel-like substances that are secreted from these organisms. This project will provide a comprehensive understanding of the formation and function of the ECM of the charophyte being tested, Penium. This organism will be grown under various environmental conditions, including water stress and extreme dryness. The ECM and its related biosynthetic processes will be studied using cutting edge technologies that were previously funded by the National Science Foundation. This research will provide insight into the mechanisms that were important to initiate survival on land by ancient charophytes, as well as mechanisms that are still used by many land plants today. This information will be used to devise models of how plants adapt to life on land and how they tolerate non-biological stresses such as drought. This project will also provide opportunities for post-doctoral training and summer undergraduate research, initiate external summer programs for local high school students, and serve as a basis for future course development.

The goal of this project is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and its biosynthesis dynamics in the model charophyte, Penium. It will examine the changes that occur in ECM processing when cells are placed under desiccation stress. The ECM and its biosynthetic machinery will be studied using molecular, biochemical, and high resolution microscopy technologies previously funded by the National Science Foundation. This will provide insight into mechanisms that were important to survival on land by ancient charophytes and continue to be used by many land plants, including those exposed to drought. Specific areas to be studied include: (A) polar cell growth in Penium, with an emphasis on pectin and cellulose production during wall expansion; (B) the secretion of ECM components involving two distinct pathways, the cell wall polysaccharides delivered to specific expansion zones along with extracellular polymeric substances extracellular (EPS) targeted to transitory secretion sites; (C) changes in cell wall architecture; and (D) EPS targeted production and delivery that are critical for tolerating abiotic stresses. The results of this project will be of significance to the fields of plant evolutionary biology, cell biology, molecular biology, and developmental biology. This project will also provide significant opportunities for outreach and student training.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 76.92K | Year: 2016

Carbon is fixed into organic matter by phytoplankton growing in the surface ocean, and is naturally sequestered in the ocean interior when particles and organisms sink: a process called the biological pump. Because of its recognized influence on the global carbon cycle, ocean scientists have studied the biological pump for decades. However, we still do not have a sufficient understanding of the underlying processes to accurately quantify and predict carbon cycling. Much of this uncertainty stems from an inability to directly link specific plankton in the surface ocean with the types of particles sinking out of the surface ocean. To address this missing link in biological pump research, this work will directly observe how plankton are transported out of the surface ocean using novel, particle-specific observational approaches embedded within an interdisciplinary field program that will finely resolve upper ocean plankton groups and the resulting amount of sinking carbon across space and in time. The genetic identity of organisms within different types of sinking particles will be determined by sequencing the genetic contents of individually collected particles. This new application of a molecular method will definitively link surface plankton with sinking particles at five locations across the Pacific Ocean. This work has the potential to transform our understanding of the biological pump by identifying previously unknown links between surface ecosystems and sinking carbon particles. Because this work is embedded within an interdisciplinary field program, including biogeochemical modelers and remote sensing scientists, these data will feed directly into new models of the biological pump, improving our ability to quantify and predict carbon uptake by the ocean. This project will train 1 graduate student and at least 2 undergraduate researchers. Findings will be communicated to the non-scientific public through blogs, videos, and the public communication channels of participating institutions.

Accurate prediction of the global carbon cycle requires an understanding of the specific processes that link surface plankton communities and sinking particulate carbon flux (export) out of the surface ocean, but current methodological paradigms in biological pump research do not directly observe these processes. This project will comprehensively determine who is exported from the surface ocean and how using new, particle-resolving optical and molecular techniques embedded within a sampling scheme that characterizes export events at high time and space resolution. The investigation suggests that different plankton types in the surface waters are transported out of the surface ocean by distinct export pathways, and that an understanding of these connections is critical knowledge for global carbon cycle modeling. If successful, this work has the potential to transform our conceptual understanding of the biological pump by directly identifying mechanisms that link surface plankton with particle export, without relying on bulk sampling schemes and large-scale correlation analysis. Particle export environments will be studied at five open ocean locations during a cruise from Hawaii to Seattle in January-February 2017. The surface plankton communities will be characterized by a combination of satellite observations, sensors attached to a free-drifting, continuously profiling WireWalker, an in situ holographic camera, microscopy, and by sequencing 18S and 16S rRNA gene fragments. Exported particles will simultaneously be captured by various specialized sediment traps and their characteristics will be directly related to their sources in the surface community by identifying the genetic contents of individual particle types. Individual particles will be isolated from gel layers and the 16S and 18S rRNA gene fragments will be amplified and sequenced. This work would, for the first time, combine molecular approaches with particle-specific observations to enable simultaneous identification of both which organisms are exported and the processes responsible for their export.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Genetic Mechanisms | Award Amount: 315.49K | Year: 2016

The goal of this research is to understand why certain bacteria employ two distinct routes for preparing the amino acid asparagine for protein synthesis. The results will provide insights into the evolutionary origin of these alternate pathways and how they may confer adaptive physiological advantages to bacteria growing in different natural environments, i.e., in soil versus inside a mammalian host. Undergraduate students, including members of underrepresented minorities, will be trained in laboratory research through the project. The impact of the training will be measured by the presentation of the research at scientific meetings, student co-authorship of peer reviewed articles, and future student placement in the workforce and in graduate programs. In addition, the project will allow studies arising from the research to be integrated into an experimental biochemistry laboratory course, training additional undergraduate students in hypothesis driven biochemical research. To expand scientific literacy and retain more students from underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines, the project will provide outreach to middle school students.

Translation of a genetic message into the amino acid sequence of a protein is essential for cellular life. The fidelity of the process is dependent on the formation of the correct adaptor molecules, aminoacyl-tRNAs. Attaching an amino acid to the right tRNA is carried out in cells primarily by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. Each tRNA synthetase is specific for one amino acid and only ligates the amino acid onto a certain set of tRNA molecules. However, in many bacterial genomes asparaginyl-tRNA synthetase that directly attaches asparagine to its cognate tRNA is not encoded. Instead these organisms synthesize asparagine on the tRNA via an indirect two-step pathway. First they use a non-discriminating aspartyl-tRNA synthetase to aminoacylate tRNA with aspartate. The tRNA-bound Asp is then amidated by the amidotransferase GatCAB to form asparaginyl-tRNA. A number of bacteria, including Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus halodurans, encode both routes for asparaginyl-tRNA synthesis. A subset of bacteria encoding both routes acquired an archaeal non-discriminating aspartyl-tRNA synthetase for tRNA-dependent asparagine biosynthesis. The objectives of this project are to use biochemical and microbial genetic approaches to elucidate why so many bacteria retain both routes for asparaginyl-tRNA formation and why certain bacteria acquired an archaeal non-discriminating aspartyl-tRNA synthetase for the task. Results are expected to shed light on the evolution of a process that is crucial for the accuracy of protein synthesis.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CHEMICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 137.49K | Year: 2017

There is considerable need to understand the biological and ecological processes that through net primary production fix dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) into organic matter in the upper ocean, and the processes that subsequently transport this organic carbon in to the oceans interior. Most of the particulate organic carbon flux to the deep ocean is thought to be mediated by sinking particles. Ultimately it is the deep organic carbon transport and its sequestration that define the impact of ocean biota on atmospheric CO2 levels and hence climate. Currently, various methods are available to measure the amount of particles in the ocean that sink over a specified period of time commonly referred to as particle flux. Unfortunately, all of these methods are used independently of each other with very little intercomparison, leaving some uncertainty as to which approach provides the most accurate estimates. This study seeks to be the first concerted effort to standardize particle flux measurements. Seeking to keep the cost modest, the researchers are taking advantage of a collaboration with scientists in the United Kingdom to participate in an already scheduled research cruise. The proposed research will have much greater impact that merely standardization of particle flux measurements because it will provide the science and modeling community the ability to quantify the transfer of carbon throughout the surface ocean. Also, this project provides a variety of mentoring and training opportunities for students. A PhD student at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute will get their first sea-going experience and will learn all of the processing steps for the study of an isotope of thorium (234Th). Skidmore College will have an undergraduate participant in the research and the results from the cruise will also be an excellent additional component for undergraduate oceanography classes.

Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Skidmore College, in collaboration with a scientist from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton will inter-compare direct, tracer, and optical-sensor methods used to determine sinking particle fluxes in the surface ocean. To do this, they will firstly conduct a comparison of two types of neutrally buoyant traps and one surface-tethered, drifting array. Secondly, measured trap fluxes will be compared to predicted 234Th fluxes from a 3D time-series of data. Lastly, optical sediment trap measurements will be compared to particle size distributions in the water column and gel traps, as well as size-fractionated particles on filters from large volume pumps. With this research, global ocean models, particularly carbon, will have greater accuracy and stronger conclusions will be able to be drawn from them.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CHEMICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 122.57K | Year: 2014

Particles settling to the deep ocean remove carbon and essential trace elements for biological processes from the surface ocean and contact with the atmosphere over short time scales. Currently available technology is only able to resolve this flux at timescales of 24 hours to a few days and the methods are both labor- and time-intensive. Given the limited spatial and temporal scale of these flux measurements, it has been difficult to determine the processes that control the fate of particulate organic carbon (POC).

Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will use an optical, transmissometer-based method to obtain particle flux observations from autonomous, biogeochemical profiling floats. Initially, a laboratory-based sensor calibration experiment will be carried out to determine the detection limit of the system and evaluate its sensitivity to particle size. This will be followed by a field effort wherein data obtained from the floats will be compared against direct sampling from sediment traps. Lastly, the system will be deployed for about a year in the North Atlantic during which data will be returned via satellite from the biogeochemical float. This year long deployment will be the first of its kind to collect nearly-continuous, hourly-resolution proxy measurements of particle flux. The data is expected to yield new insights into the factors that influence variability in POC export. A potentially transformative aspect of this proposal will be the broad application of a newly developed method that cuts labor and ship costs while generating high resolution data.

Broader Impacts: Given the components for this system are readily commercially available means others in the science community have the opportunity to use this technology to make similar measurements. One postdoc would be supported and trained as part of this project. In addition, undergraduate students will be involved in the research via the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Summer Student Fellow and Minority Fellow program.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 33.04K | Year: 2015

New Computer Science Faculty Teaching Workshop

This project is a collaboration between University of California-San Diego, Skidmore College, Stanford University, and Georgia Tech. The experienced PI team will develop a workshop for new computer science (CS) faculty, based on evidence-based instructional practices. Most other STEM disciplines have some form of teaching-specific workshop which addresses faculty teaching practices, informs new faculty about evidence-based instructional practices, and encourages educational research. This project will develop such a workshop model for computer science. In addition to developing the workshop itself and running it three times, the project team will form a Community of Practice among the workshop participants which will help them develop teaching competence, enhance their view of teaching as a scholarly activity, and encourage them to use evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching practices. The long term impact of this project can be substantial given the large number of students who will likely be taught over the teaching careers of the workshop participants. This project will be funded by the Division of Undergraduate Education through the IUSE program.

The workshop will itself be built around a number of teaching practices that have already been shown to be successful, thereby giving participants firsthand experience as students with practices they can later employ in their own classrooms. Workshop participants will work with underlying theory about ways that effective teaching can draw out student preconceptions, the importance to students of deep foundation knowledge and a conceptual framework, and the development of metacognitive abilities. The workshops will also draw on theory about growth and fixed mindsets and the development of expertise. The specific pedagogic practices utilized will be peer instruction and flipped classrooms, with additional use of live coding, pair programming, discussion of how best to use teaching assistants, and discussion of how technology can support learning. Online community support and the development by each participant of a teaching portfolio will help solidify use by participants of the practices they learn in the workshops. Project evaluation will be carried out by the Western Michigan University Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education. This will focus on the extent to which the project positively impacts the participants? teaching expertise, to what extent the in-person workshop and online community contribute to the development of a community of practice, and how participation helps moderate the barriers that often dissuade faculty from focusing on teaching.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 478.73K | Year: 2013

Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) is an essential tool for cell and molecular biology research in the Biology, Neuroscience and Health and Exercise Sciences programs at Skidmore College. Training and hands-on experience with state-of-the-art CLSM is an essential facet of undergraduate training at Skidmore College. This shared instrument supports faculty and faculty-student collaborative projects in diverse areas, such as plant biology, neuroscience, mammalian physiology and microbiology. Furthermore, it directly contributes to active research collaborations between Skidmore scientists and researchers from around the world.

The Olympus Fluoview 1200 confocal laser system attached to a BX-61 light microscope is being used in multiple research projects, including a comprehensive investigation of cell wall dynamics in green algae, an elucidation of various dynamic processes in model animal systems, including zebrafish and C. elegans, a study of muscle atrophy, a study of cellular mechanisms involved in cerebellar ataxin-1 function, and an analysis of biofilm formation in bacteria under metal stress. The instrument enables current users and new faculty to implement more sophisticated experiments via its advanced optical and software attributes (e.g., spectral imaging, SIM scanner). This microscope is also a core resource supporting multiple collaborative research projects involving Skidmore faculty and researchers from institutions, including Cornell University, Albany Medical College, University of Copenhagen, and National University of Ireland. Furthermore, the Fluoview 1200 provides superb opportunities for students of Skidmore to gain hands-on CLSM experience in the classroom/laboratory and in a collaborative setting with their faculty mentors in independent research and summer collaborative research, better preparing them for employment or advanced study opportunities after graduation.

The Fluoview 1200 Confocal laser system serves several outreach objectives. First, data obtained and protocols devised in this project are being used in several courses, including Advanced Light Microscopy, Plant Biotechnology and Cell Biology and the S3M Summer Transitional Program (focused on STEM underrepresented groups) as well as for independent student based research. Second, the microscope is also used for community outreach programs, including the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, the Skidmore Scholars in Science and Mathematics, Camp Northwoods, the Skidmore Science and Math Open House, and SMIC Day. These programs provide opportunities for students from grades 1-12 to engage in hands-on science and include schools with large numbers of underrepresented groups. Furthermore, notice of the availability of this instrumentation and news regarding the research facilitated by it will be distributed throughout the greater Capital Regions academic and biotechnology community through the Colleges membership affiliation with Bioconnex.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Genetic Mechanisms | Award Amount: 303.71K | Year: 2013

Intellectual merit: Life requires the production and use of proteins. Proteins are polymers of amino acids, and the amino acid sequence of a protein is encoded in a gene. To translate the genetic message into the proper amino acid sequence requires the presence of adaptor molecules, aminoacyl-transfer RNAs, in a cell. Twenty amino acids are commonly used in proteins. Each of the twenty amino acids has a corresponding pool of transfer RNAs (tRNAs). For an amino acid to be used in translation, it must be attached to its corresponding tRNA. For the amino acid asparagine, nature has evolved two distinct pathways for forming asparaginyl-tRNA used in protein synthesis. In the first pathway, asparagine is directly attached to the tRNA. In the second pathway, asparagine is synthesized on the tRNA itself. Computational analyses predict that Staphylococcus aureus and Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus each encode both pathways in their genomes. These studies will combine biochemical and molecular genetic techniques to verify that both pathways are used in these two bacteria, and to determine how dual routes for asparaginyl-tRNA formation are integrated into the life cycles of these bacteria. The research will provide insight into the evolution of asparaginyl-tRNA synthesis and the physiology of S. aureus and B. bacteriovorus.

Broader Impacts: The project will provide three undergraduates each summer and academic year the opportunity to take part in scientific research that challenges them to synthesize biochemical data with bioinformatics and molecular genetics. The work will therefore provide them a strong foundation for success in graduate or professional school in the biomolecular sciences. The principal investigator will work closely with Skidmores S3M and Schupf programs to recruit students from underrepresented groups. The project will also allow development of an experimental biochemistry laboratory course at Skidmore enabling additional undergraduates to take part in research. To expand scientific literacy and retain more women from underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines, the principal investigator and Skidmore undergraduates will meet with and mentor students from the Brighter Choice All-Girls Middle School in Albany, NY.

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