Schenectady, NY, United States

Union College at Schenectady
Schenectady, NY, United States

Union College is a private, non-denominational liberal arts college located in Schenectady, New York, United States. Founded in 1795, it was the first institution of higher learning chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. In the 19th century, it became the "Mother of Fraternities", as three of the earliest such organizations were established there. After 175 years as a traditional all-male institution, Union College began enrolling women in 1970.The college offers a liberal arts curriculum across some 21 academic departments, as well as opportunities for interdepartmental majors and self-designed organizing theme majors. In common with most liberal arts colleges, Union offers a wide array of courses in arts, science, literature, and foreign languages, but, in common with only a few other liberal arts colleges, Union also offers ABET-accredited undergraduate degrees in computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. Approximately 25% of students major in the social science; 9% in history; 10% in psychology; 11% in engineering; 10% in biology; 10% in the liberal arts; while some 5% design their own majors. By the time they graduate, about 60% of Union students will have engaged in some form of international study or study abroad. Wikipedia.

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Olberg R.M.,Union College at Schenectady
Current Opinion in Neurobiology | Year: 2012

Interacting with a moving object poses a computational problem for an animal's nervous system. This problem has been elegantly solved by the dragonfly, a formidable visual predator on flying insects. The dragonfly computes an interception flight trajectory and steers to maintain it during its prey-pursuit flight. This review summarizes current knowledge about pursuit behavior and neurons thought to control interception in the dragonfly. When understood, this system has the potential for explaining how a small group of neurons can control complex interactions with moving objects. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Our ability to understand the full complexity of climate change and forecast future regional trends requires that we extend the available instrumental records into the geologic past. Over the past several decades paleoclimatologists have developed myriad proxy indicators of past regional climate that are recorded in natural archives such as ice cores, cave deposits, and lake sediment, among many other archives. Proxy paleoclimate records from the tropics are particularly important because this region is the ?heat engine? of Earth. Long- and short-term changes in ocean-atmosphere circulation that are manifested in such phenomenon as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the mean position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, and the response of the tropics to high latitude climatic ?events? are critical to understand because these phenomena can have a profound impact on regional water balance, which directly affects potable water supplies, hydroelectricity generation, and agricultural productivity.
The longest continuous records of climate change in the tropics are limited to those derived from the relatively few old lake basins in the region. Lake Junin, the largest lake located entirely within Peru, is among the oldest lake basins in South America. It contains a sediment record that is at least 200 m long that may extend more than 250,000 years. Lake Junin is exceptional in the length of record that it contains, but also in the climate signals that it records. Considerable prior research has documented that Lake Junin records the waxing and waning of nearby alpine glaciers and changes in regional water balance through the isotope geochemistry of calcium carbonate deposited on the lake bottom at a rate of approximately 0.2 to 1.0 mm/yr. This research will develop these and other proxy climate records for the full length of recovered core; the records generated will comprise one of the longest continuous records of climate and environmental change from the inner tropics.
The Lake Junin Drilling Project has several broader impacts. These include the joint renovation of an abandoned lodge for future shared use as the first shoreline outpost for officials of the Junin National Reserve, as a visitor center, and as a lake access point for ecotourism. Capacity building activities in the Junin Project include collaboration with Peruvian universities, training of geoscientists, as well as Peruvian and American student training. A specific team will be responsible for the organization of lectures at villages in the region to inform citizens about the significance of the drilling, and will work closely with the national park service to instruct the rangers on how to use the science to promote conservation efforts around the lake. During the drilling, a team will facilitate interactions with local and international media. The team expect to involve U.S. and Peruvian students in all aspects of Junin drilling, and much of the paleoecological research related to the Junin cores will be conducted by graduate students. Training opportunities during the drilling phase of operations are also planned for geoscientists from Peruvian universities. Numerous U.S. undergraduate and graduate students, and one postdoctoral fellow will be involved in all phases of the proposed research. The material collected during this project will set the stage for significant future research. LacCore, the National Lacustrine Core Facility at the University of Minnesota, will facilitate this by overseeing the long-term storage, curation, and access to data and samples obtained in this project.

Technical Explanation
Lake Junin, located at 4000 m asl in the inner-tropics of the Southern Hemisphere, is a prime target for drilling because it contains a thick (>200 m) sediment package deposited at a high rate (0.2 to 1.0 mm/yr). Abundant research conducted on and around Lake Junin provides a compelling rationale for deep drilling. Moraine mapping coupled with cosmogenic radionuclide dating indicate that paleoglaciers reached the lake edge, but have not overridden the lake in as much as one million years. Lake Junin is one of the few lakes in the tropical Andes that predates the maximum extent of glaciation and is in a geomorphic position to record the waxing and waning of glaciers in nearby cordillera. Sediment coring of Lake Junin began in the 1970s; two cores spanning the past 50,000 years reveal that sedimentation has alternated between clastic sediments deposited during peak glacial periods and authigenic calcite (marl) precipitated from the water column during interglacial times. The lake also contains ideal sediments for multiproxy analysis that can be reliably dated using both the radiocarbon and U/Th methods. The oxygen isotopic composition of marl and ostracod carapaces demonstrate that authigenic calcite in Lake Junin primarily records the isotopic composition of precipitation and secondarily the degree of evaporative enrichment of lake water. Lake Junin contains a continuous record of tropical hydroclimate over interglacial and interstadial intervals for much of the past several hundred thousand years that is both comparable to, and an extension of stable isotope records from regional ice cores and speleothems. New organic geochemical proxies compliment the marl isotope record and offer the potential for a truly continuous isotope paleoclimate record through glacial and interglacial intervals alike. Lake Junin is ideally situated, both from logistical and scientific standpoints, to provide continuous high-resolution, independently-dated, long-term records of glaciation, and the variability of phenomena such as ENSO, the South America Summer Monsoon, and the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Because of the strong, demonstrated U/Th dating potential of Junin marl, we will be able to address critical issues regarding the synchrony of climate change in the tropics with that in high latitude regions of both hemispheres, the rate and timing of ecosystem response to climatic perturbations, and the dynamics of the geomagnetic field from a tropical perspective. Lake Junin is a scientifically mature site that will yield critical scientific insights that only drilling coupled with analysis can unlock.
The primary objective of the proposed research is to develop the first continuous, high-resolution, absolute-dated late Quaternary record of climate change, water balance (P/E), glaciation, vegetation, and paleomagnetic secular variation for the tropical Andes. The well-dated Junin record will allow the team to develop proxy records spanning >200,000yr, which will document the timing of wet/dry cycles, glacial advances/retreats, and the impacts of climatic phenomena such as the changing strength and variability of ENSO, the South America Summer Monsoon, and shifts in the location and range of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. In addition, this study will provide an opportunity to date (via U-Th) the >40ka sections of both the Titicaca and Sabana de Bogota records through correlation of pollen, stable isotope, and paleomagnetic time series. This study will also enable important insights into the response of tropical vegetation to climate change in the upper Amazon Basin, and will provide a rare southern equatorial perspective on the evolution of Earth?s geomagnetic field.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 614.75K | Year: 2014

The Union College SUCCESS Scholars program is further broadening Unions inclusive recruiting strategy by building relationships with small, rural under-resourced public high schools in order to attract and retain talented students to STEM fields. SUCCESS scholars are selected from all science and engineering disciplines, with four-year scholarship support for two cohorts of ten students. The project is helping participants achieve success by meeting the educational and financial needs unique to their situations and backgrounds. The overall goals of the project are to: 1) increase the number of applications and admissions of academically-talented students from under-resourced rural high schools; 2) improve retention and success of these students in STEM fields at Union by specifically addressing the challenges faced by students from small, rural high schools with limited academic opportunities; 3) increase the number of women in engineering, physics, mathematics and computer science, and underrepresented groups in all disciplines; 4) provide students with opportunities to enhance their education through early introduction to research opportunities, internships, study abroad, and leadership training; and 5) improve recruiting and undergraduate educational experiences and promote professional advancement by facilitating fruitful mentoring relationships. Intellectual merits of the project are reflected in the comprehensive nature of the program specifically targeting under-resourced rural high schools. Broader impacts are two-fold: (1) The SUCCESS Scholars program is designed to produce talented, energetic STEM professionals from diverse backgrounds and the approach will be transferable to educational institutions across the country. (2) SUCCESS scholars trained as leaders and capable of propagating transformative mentoring skills will positively impact this nations workforce.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 34.16K | Year: 2016

The Alpine Conference on Algebraic and Applied Topology will take place August 15th through August 21st in Saas-Almagell, Switzerland. The conference will bring together experts in both the theoretical aspects of algebraic topology and the growing range of scientific applications of topology. The conference program will consist of lectures by the invited plenary speakers, together with contributed talks from other conference participants. The plenary speakers will inform participants about recent advances in their fields, and provide insight into possible directions for future work. All participants will have the opportunity to discuss their work with and receive feedback from others experts in the field, to continue existing and form new collaborations, and to learn more about potentially useful tools and techniques outside their areas of expertise. This award will ensure that the US algebraic topology community is well-represented at this important conference, and, in particular, that early-career topologists from the US have the opportunity to participate.

The invited plenary speakers for the conference are Agnes Beaudry (Chicago), Andrew Blumberg (UT-Austin), Pedro Boavida de Brito (Louvain-la-Neuve), David Chataur (Lille), Cristina Costoya (Coruna), Emanuele Dotto (MIT), John Greenlees (Sheffield), John Harer (Duke), Lars Hesselholt (Copenhagen), Marc Hoyois (MIT), Nitu Kitchloo (Johns Hopkins), Vidit Nanda (Penn), and Vesna Stojanoska (UIUC). As evidenced by the choice of plenary speakers, the conference will cover a broad spectrum of subjects within algebraic topology, including chromatic and stable homotopy theory, manifolds and functor calculus, K-theory, homotopy theory and algebraic geometry, equivariant stable homotopy theory and commutative algebra, applications of homotopy theory to group theory, and operads and rational homotopy theory. In addition, this conference will feature an emphasis on the use of techniques from algebraic topology in applications, including data analysis, shape recognition, and networks. This conference will enable researchers to survey the state of the art in algebraic topology, provide theoretical algebraic topologists a forum in which to learn about recently developed applications of topology, and give applied topologists an opportunity to become acquainted with the latest theoretical results and methods.

Additional information the conference can be found at the conference website:

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SPECIAL PROGRAMS IN ASTRONOMY | Award Amount: 215.32K | Year: 2016

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

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

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 379.13K | Year: 2015

An award is made to Union College to acquire a high-resolution micro-computed tomography (µCT) system. µCT provides a nondestructive method to visualize complex internal structures of a sample ranging from micro to macro scales. Analysis of µCT images can address fundamental structure-function questions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The accessibility to structure-function relationships combined with the lack of complicated sample preparation makes µCT research a clear entry point to engage undergraduates in meaningful STEM research. This project will have broad impacts on STEM fields. First, it will enhance both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary STEM research at Union College that will influence external researchers and build future collaborations. Second, the project will provide 18 undergraduate research opportunities across STEM fields each year. Access to research training will increase student interest in pursuing graduate STEM study and improve the scientific and technical research infrastructure of our country. Third, each year approximately 260 Union College students will interact with cutting-edge µCT technology and its capabilities through a wide variety of STEM classes. Finally, Union College has established K-12 outreach programs aimed at encouraging students from traditionally underrepresented groups to enter STEM fields and an undergraduate program (DUE-1356398) that provides scholarships and intensive cohort mentoring with educational enrichment activities to increase undergraduate retention and achievement in STEM disciplines. This project will enhance the work of these groups by leading students through exciting, hands-on µCT imaging with associated 3D printing modules. The goal of these outreach activities is to help students see themselves as future scientists and engineers.

Union College biology, computer science, and engineering faculty have developed collaborative and integrative research across diverse STEM fields to understand how structural properties at one level of organization affect organismal function at another. The µCT will enable researchers to nondestructively visualize complex internal anatomy and provide insight into how organismal structures: 1) impact developmental physiology, 2) respond to external mechanical stimuli during bone fracture healing, 3) lead to speciation through visual communication, 4) inform development of biomimetic soft robots, 5) support the evolution of morphogenesis, and 6) explain water balance in plants critical to the global carbon cycle. Furthermore, when combined with Unions multi-material 3D printer (CMMI-1337768), researchers can isolate interior regions of a µCT scan, generate a volumetric model in the µCT software, and print a corresponding physical model in a matter of hours for further analysis. These diverse projects represent just the beginning of the innovative µCT STEM research at Union College. Furthermore, since the closest similar µCT is located over three hours away, Union is poised to be a regional µCT center that fosters innovative collaborations with investigators at nearby institutions.

Emory University, Mercer University and Union College at Schenectady | Date: 2015-07-08

This disclosure relates to solenopsin derivatives, pharmaceutical compositions, and therapeutic uses related thereto. In certain embodiments, the disclosure relates to compounds of the following formula:

Union College at Schenectady | Date: 2016-03-31

A system and method for enhancing cognitive function of an individual during exercising use stationary exercise equipment to self-propel the individuals avatar or avatars point of view through a virtual pathway while interacting to complete a cognitive task including registration of the task, verification of discrimination of basic learning, and performance of manipulation of the cognitive task.

The present disclosure relates to patient-specific bone implants and methods for designing and making such implants. A method includes obtaining an image of a bone having an injured, diseased, or degenerative portion; determining in the image the margins at each end of the injured portion of the bone; transforming the image into a three-dimensional model; conducting a virtual surgery to remove the injured portion of the bone and create a virtual bone gap in the image; designing a patient-specific implant to fit the virtual bone gap, wherein the designed implant includes a framework having a porosity sufficient to allow blood entry through the framework and having mechanical properties similar to that of bone; and fabricating an implant based on the designed implant. Optionally, bone regeneration material is placed within the framework.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INFO INTEGRATION & INFORMATICS | Award Amount: 64.34K | Year: 2015

This is a collaborative research project involving SUNY Stony Brook and Union College, an undergraduate institution. With the massive availability of data, the need to understand and be comfortable with data has gained increasing importance. There is now a great demand for individuals that have the skills to extract meaning from data. Academic programs in data science been created in many institutions, but going back to school to formally study this topic is not possible for a large segment of the population. In addition, not everyone really needs to become a formal data scientist to be competitive in this increasingly data-centric society and workplace where it can be of great benefit to become more data literate. Visualizations, such as the bar charts, line plots, maps, etc. that most people are familiar with, are helpful in explaining data. However, todays data sets often combine many different kinds of information and are, therefore, too complex to be represented with these basic visualizations. The goal of this project is to develop a visualization system that can represent data in such a way that a user can make sense of complex data without extensive training. This will involve advances in visualization techniques as well as novel approaches to presenting visualizations in an engaging way. The ANTE (Appeal, Narrate, Transform, Engage) system developed in this project has good potential to help increase the ability of citizens to become more knowledgeable participants in an increasingly data-centric society. The project provides research training for graduate students at SUNY Stony Brook and undergraduate students at Union College. The visualization tools and games will make an excellent environment for teaching both data and visual literacy, at all education levels.

The ANTE framework seeks to achieve its goal by developing novel solutions that address these four complementing elements: Appeal, Narrate, Transform, Engage. ANTE will appeal to the users existing visual literacy by defining new powerful techniques that can faithfully transform complex high-dimensional data into simpler representations. One such representation is a novel 2D contextual data map that unlike other maps of this kind can maintain all relationships in the data matrix -- data to data, data to attribute, and attribute to attribute. Another is an interactive 3D shaded display that replaces the complex scatterplot matrices that are in standard use for high-D visualization. ANTE will use natural language to narrate the visualizations it produces. ANTE will also use animations to show how different representations of the data set can be transformed into each other. The project will investigate the use of such animations for teaching users to interpret more advanced visualizations. Finally, ANTE entices user engagement into data by offering (1) support for story authoring by ways of visual causality analysis; (2) capabilities for designing compelling infographics by fusing data with contextual images retrieved with web-scale image databases; (3) a narrative interface that uses learning from analogy to teach users more complex visualizations from familiar ones; and (4) a framework that employs techniques gleaned from gamification to incentivize engagement in user evaluation studies for all of our proposed techniques. Further information, research paper and developed artifacts, such as web interfaces to the visualization systems, data, video links, etc. are available at the project web site (

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