A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

2008 Research

The following research projects were conducted in 2008:  

  • Associate Professor of Biology Matthew Pelletier and two student assistants, Rebecca Dix and Hannah Stoveken, conducted research on the expression of thrombin in plants.  Continuing 2007 summer’s research, the team worked on making the recombinant DNA molecule necessary for expression in plants. They also attempted to do transient expression of a recombinant DNA construct in tobacco plants, as this system will likely initially be used to analyze whether functional protein can be obtained in a plant system.
  • Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Wei Hu, and students David King and Roger Cherry conducted research on understanding the relationship between HIV sequence mutations and drug resistance. With large public databases of HIV sequences, the group used the techniques of machine learning to study this relationship.      
  • Aaron Sullivan, assistant professor of biology, and students Bretta Hixson and Marc LeMaire studyied chemically-mediated predator assessment in plethodontid salamanders. Research determined whether salamanders respond to chemical cues from predators and injured conspecifics in a threat-sensitive manner. The team accomplished their study by exposing salamanders to different concentrations of chemical cues derived from predatory garter snakes and injured salamanders and measuring the defensive responses exhibited by the test subjects.
  • Professor of Biology James Wolfe, and students Steven Crance and Caitlin Loftus investigated the limnology of Star Lake in the northwestern Adirondack Park, specifically looking at the role of nutrients (Phosphorus and nitrogen) on lake productivity and health. Their research was presented to the Star Lake Protective Association at their annual meeting in late summer.                                                      
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, Brandon Hoffman, and students Daniel Ballard and Phillip Lloyd travelled to Cornell University to collaborate with Shefford Baker, professor at the Cornell Center for Materials Research. The group used X-ray diffraction and various electron microscopy techniques to study thin silver films used in nanotechnology. Applications range from tiny microchips in personal computers to the huge mirrors used by NASA.
  • Mark Yuly, professor of physics, collaborated with researchers from MIT, the University of Kentucky, and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) on a series of nuclear physics experiments at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE). Their experiment explored the structure of the atomic nucleus and the behavior of the strong nuclear force responsible for holding the nucleus together.
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry Karen Torraca, along with students Thaddeus Kwan and Heidi Putnam, worked toward the development of a “green” synthetic method for the conversion of alcohols to ketones or aldehydes. The current standard synthetic process requires large amounts of heavy metals and generates large quantities of hazardous environmental waste. Along with developing a “green” process, the team adapted that process to make it amenable to large-scale use where it will have the greatest environmental impact.