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  • School of Science Research Spotlight:  Drs. Naik and Moehring – A Chemistry Collaboration

    At the end of the 2015-2016 academic year, Dr. Naik stepped down from roughly two decades of academic administration to return to the Department of Chemistry and Physics and resume the role of a full-time faculty member.  Since then, a natural collaboration with Dr. Moehring that stretches across the School of Science with faculty and students has evolved.    This collaboration is a wonderful example of tenants significant to what the school aims to accomplish: elevating the student experience and research innovation within the school.  In this installment we take the time to get to know them and their work.

    Q:  Introduce yourselves.

    A:  Dr. Greg Moehring is in his 35th year as a chemistry faculty member and his 13th year at Monmouth.  Dr. Moehring has a PhD in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University in Indiana.  Dr. Moehring has been married for 31 years and has two sons.

    Dr. Datta Naik is in his 51st year as a chemistry faculty member and his 47th year at Monmouth.  Dr. Naik has a PhD in inorganic chemistry from University of Notre Dame in Indiana.  Dr. Naik has been married for 52 years and has one daughter and one son.

    Q:  What do you like about being in the school of science?  What brought you here?

    A:  Both of us appreciate the research support from the School of Science and the opportunity to work with a notable community of scholars.  We also value the opportunity to work and publish with our undergraduate student research colleagues.

    Q:  Tell us about your research.  What inspired you to be in a role that includes doing research?

    A:  A few years back, Dr. Naik noticed a research paper which described a molecule containing rhenium and an unusual component known as an alkylcarbonate group.  The paper noted that the molecule adversely affected certain cancer cell lines (the molecule was cytotoxic).  Both of us were intrigued by the alkylcarbonate group and were interested in exploring its chemistry.  As our students began transformations of the alkylcarbonate-containing molecule into new molecules, Dr. Jeffrey Weisburg, from the Biology Department, offered to test these new molecules against oral cancer cells.  Some of the new molecules significantly impact oral cancer cells while others only have moderate or zero impact on cancer cell viability.  At the same time, Dr. Tom Emge, the X-ray crystallographer,  Rutgers University Chemistry Department, was kind enough to determine the structure for one of our new molecules (Figure 1).  Dr. Massimiliano Lamberto, in our Department of Chemistry and Physics, also provided us with a reactant that had been prepared in his laboratory.  We were able to incorporate Dr. Lamberto’s reactant into a new rhenium-containing molecule and test it against oral cancer cells as well.  Our work, which will be submitted for publication shortly, indicates that differences in the cytotoxic properties of the various new molecules are due to some process or processes which occurs after the molecules have entered the cancer cells.

    A space-filling representation of one of our group’s new complexes that was tested against oral cancer cells.  White spheres represent hydrogen atoms, gray spheres represent carbon atoms, red spheres represent oxygen atoms, blue spheres represent nitrogen atoms, orange spheres represent bromine atoms, and violet spheres represent rhenium atoms.

    Towards a better understanding of how our molecules adversely impact cancer cells, we have developed new ways to make molecules related to our original set of molecules.  One of the properties that we have incorporated into our next generation of molecules is the ability to emit visible light when exposed to ultraviolet light (Figure 2).  Emission of light from the rhenium-containing molecules may allow us to identify where such molecules accumulate in a cell when the molecule has an adverse impact on that cell.

    Both of us became involved with research because we enjoy intellectual challenges.  It is a pleasure to apply our skills, knowledge and experience, along with reports from the scientific literature in efforts to better understand the world around us.  It also gratifying to learn new things and develop new skills as we explore the world around us.  It is stimulating to work with novice researchers and share our experiences in research with them.

    Q:  Do you include collaborators including students?

    A:  While we have a broad set of skills and knowledge between us, we often rely on collaborators with different skill sets and knowledge in order to make progress in our research.  We also make it a point to work on projects in which undergraduate students can contribute meaningfully to the project while developing or improving their skills.  Some of the skills that students in our research group develop include inert atmosphere synthesis techniques, the measurement and interpretation of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra, data analysis, and assorted other spectroscopic or electrochemical techniques.

    Q:  What are your research plans for the near future?

    A:  In the near future we would like to make further progress on our synthetic routes to potential cytotoxins.  We are also looking to better understand what happens to the cytotoxic molecules after they enter cancer cells.  Ultimately, we would like to use that progress to support a proposal for external support to continue this work.

    Q:  Do you have any advice for students that are interested in doing research?

    A:  Students who are interested in doing research should speak with faculty research mentors about their projects.  (Faculty members love to talk about their research so you are not bothering them by asking.)  Students should also talk with other students who are involved in a research project as well to get a different perspective.  Find a mentor, a group, and a project that is a good fit for you and then make a commitment to the success of the project and the success of your colleagues.

  • Doug Tallamy to Speak at Monmouth University

    On Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, at 7 p.m. in Pollak Theatre

    Doug Tallamy, Ph.D., photographed by Rob Cardillio

    The School of Science is proud to host best-selling author Doug Tallamy, Ph.D., professor of Entomology at University of Delaware and author of Nature’s Best Hope and the Nature of Oaks will present on what you can do in your own yard or balcony to fight climate change, create climate resiliency, and create beauty in your own backyard. Fighting Climate Change at Home: Homegrown National Park will present listeners with a road map on how to fight climate change and create a more ecologically resilient landscape.

    Today, there are more than 44 million acres of turf grass in the U.S., an area larger than New England. Turf grass is the worst plant choice for fighting climate change because it is the worst option for sequestering carbon. Our parks, preserves, and remaining wildlands—no matter how grand in scale—are too small to sequester the amount of carbon needed to impact climate change. Moreover, they are also too small and separated from one another to sustain the native trees, plants, insects, and animals on which our ecosystems depend. These systems must be resilient if we are to have climate resiliency. We now must store carbon outside of parks and preserves, largely on private property, where we live, work, shop, and farm. Thus the concept for Homegrown National Park: a national challenge to create diverse ecosystems in our yards, communities, and surrounding lands by reducing lawn, planting natives, and removing invasive plants, and, in so doing, fight the biodiversity crisis and climate change simultaneously. 

    The talk will be followed by Q&A and a book signing and a reception. The public is encouraged to bring their own copies of Tallamy books for signature. This will be the first presentation of the 2024 Climate Crisis Teach-in and the School of Science. This event is co-sponsored by the Schools of Social Work and the Leon Hess School of Business. The reception is co-sponsored by Monmouth Conservation Foundation.

    Parking is available to the public in the Main Campus Lot. One Community and Urban Forestry CEU is also available for attendance at this event, (with sign in).

  • Changes in Pre-Health Advising

    Dr. Bernadette Dunphy steps down after nearly 15 years of involvement with Pre-Health Advising at Monmouth University.

    Dr. Bernadette Dunphy

    Dr. Dunphy (DPT) is currently a Senior Specialist Professor in Biology teaching Anatomy and Physiology and Biology First Year Seminar. Dr. Dunphy is Owner, Director, and Clinical Coordinator of Dunphy’s Physical Therapy in Red Bank, New Jersey.  She has have been in involved in Pre Health Advising since 2010.   She was on the PHA committee for three years.  She moved on to Co –Director for next two years. For the last eight years, Dr. Dunphy has been Director of Pre Health Advising. Under her direction four affiliation agreements were initiated or renewed, seven new student clubs for students interested in pre-health careers were created, new internship and scribe opportunities for students were identified, and many, many students received thoughtful letters of recommendation from Dr. Dunphy.

    We thank Dr. Dunphy for her many years of fine service to our students and all of her accomplishments!

    Monmouth University will now be using a committee model in our pre-health advising. Drs. Catherine Duckett, Dottie Lobo and Jonathan Ouellet from the School of Science are joined by Dr. Polina Amburg and Specialist Prof. Stephanie Lynch. Donna Volpetti will continue with her administrative support of the program under the direction of Interim Director Duckett.

  • Featured Alumna, Mary Grace Baker, MD, ’10

    In her own words: After graduating from Monmouth University, I earned my medical degree from the University of Virginia. I then completed my Internal Medicine residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital, followed by a fellowship in Allergy & Immunology at Mount Sinai. During fellowship, I fell in love with the field of food allergy, leading me to join the faculty of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai after finishing training.

    Dr. Mary Grace Baker

    As a pediatric allergist at an academic medical center, I see patients, conduct research, and teach. My clinical practice involves caring for children with a variety of allergic conditions, and I have a special interest in food allergy and food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). I am an investigator on several clinical trials to advance our ability to diagnose and treat food allergies. I am particularly excited about a NIH-funded study designed to learn more about the immunology underlying FPIES and how best to conduct food challenges for this condition. When I’m not treating patients or conducting research of my own, I enjoy teaching and mentoring trainees interested in research.

    Looking back, I can clearly see how my love of teaching had its roots at Monmouth University, where I encountered some of the first and best examples of true mentorship and genuine commitment to students. As a Spanish major concurrently completing pre-medical coursework, I faced unique challenges immersing myself in two very different disciplines. The dedicated faculty of both the Department of World Languages and Cultures and the School of Science were incredibly supportive of this path and invested in my academic and professional success. The individualized attention to students was instrumental in helping me develop mastery of the material and the critical thinking skills that I would carry forward throughout my medical training as well as the language proficiency to converse with my Spanish-speaking patients.

    Additionally, Monmouth University’s extracurricular opportunities helped me discover a love of research. I was fortunate to conduct my first bench project with Dr. Dorothy Lobo and a fantastic team of fellow students. (See photo at left with student colleagues presenting a poster), and the Pre-Health committee connected me with a summer internship that showed me how clinical research can link science to patient outcomes. These early research experiences helped shape my decision to pursue work in academic medicine and laid the groundwork for a fun and fulfilling career. (Photos courtesy of M.G. Baker).

  • High School Hawk Hack Returns this February 2024

    Monmouth University’s Computer Science and Software Engineering Department welcomes high school students to participate in Monmouth University’s Hawk Hack; a hackathon for high school students pursuing a career in tech.

    Join us at Monmouth University’s main campus this February 16th for the 2024 High School Hawk Hack. Monmouth University’s ACM/IEEE club will host this competition of teams from local high schools as they solve a series of programming challenges. Programming challenges will require a working knowledge of the Java programming language. The top three teams/schools will receive prizes and recognition on Monmouth University’s Computer Science website.

    Each team may be comprised of 2-3 students

    Schools may have up to two 3-person teams compete

    To participate in this year’s competition, schools must register no later than Friday, February 2nd. For more information, please contact Professor Rolf Kamp, Specialist Professor Computer Science & Engineering:

  • Senior Joe Furmanowski Wins UPE Scholarship

    A white man wearing glasses photographed in front of a collonade.

    Senior Joe Furmanowski was recently awarded the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) scholarship. UPE is an international honor society focusing on Computing and Information Disciplines whose mission is to recognize academic excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Computing and Information Disciplines.

    Furmanowski was required to submit a comprehensive application, including transcripts, adviser recommendations, and statements describing his contributions to University activities, such as his participation and leadership in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers/Association of Computing Machinery (IEEE/ACM) club. Since becoming a member, Furmanowski has been instrumental in reviving the high school programming competition, the very event that originally introduced him to Monmouth University and fostered his love for computer science. As vice president, he is undertaking the organization of an Internship Roundtable event, where undergraduate students hear from senior computer science students who will share tips and offer advice on job and internship applications as well as interview preparation. Furmanowski is also a tutor at the CS Tutoring Center on campus, providing support for courses in Java, Data Structure and Algorithms and Computer Architecture.

    Furmanowski is committed to raising awareness about the computing profession and the endless opportunities it holds. His goal to become a software developer stemmed from an ongoing internship with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, where he gained experience in agile software development, researched programming languages and techniques, and built software from scratch. “In short, my long-term plans are to continue as a software developer specializing in mobile and web applications or to choose a career in cybersecurity. I am taking Dr. Weihao Qu’s Cyber Security course this semester and have become interested in the subject.”

    Upsilon Pi Epsilon was first organized at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, in 1967. The international organization now consists of chapters in various colleges and universities in North America and overseas.

    For more information on the IEEE/ACM club at Monmouth, or any of the events listed in this article, please visit the Computer Science and Software Engineering page.

  • As You Sow: Invest Your Values: Part of the Climate Crisis Teach-in

    Weds. Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m. | Hybrid, In-person (Edison 201) and Zoom, School of Science and Climate Crisis Teach-in Event

    As You Sow (AYS) is the nation’s non-profit leader in shareholder advocacy. Founded in 1992, AYS harnesses shareholder power to create lasting change by protecting human rights, reducing toxic waste, and aligning investments with values. The As You Sow mission is to promote environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. The As You Sow vision is a safe, just, and sustainable world in which protecting the environment and human rights is central to corporate decision making. Corporations are responsible for most of the pressing social and environmental problems we face today—As You Sow believes corporations must be a willing part of the solutions. We make that happen. As shareholder advocates, AWS directly engages corporate CEOs, senior management, and institutional investors to change corporations from the inside out. Kiplinger rated As You Sow number one of the nine most useful tools for ESG Investors.

    As You Sow has created a series of easy to use web tools for investors to invest their values including Fossil Free Funds, and As You Vote. Fossil Free Funds analyzes the fossil fuel exposure and carbon footprint of thousands of U.S. mutual funds and ETFs. We make it easy to know what you own, so you can align your investments with your values. As You Vote is a tool that you can empower to vote every ballot item: director nominations, auditors, CEO-pay, and shareholder resolutions according to your values. Both of these web tools will be showcased in this presentation by Diana Myers and Grant Bradski. Diana Myers is a research assistant with As You Sow’s Say On Climate Initiative, which focuses on cutting corporate green house gas emissions and evaluating companies’ environmental progress through a climate scorecard. Grant Bradski coordinates As You Sow’s 401(k) Sustainability Scorecard, which rates corporate retirement plans based on their exposure to environmental and social issues. He works to empower employees with the tools and resources to invest in a climate-safe retirement.

  • Featured Alumna: Jennifer Lee ’16

    In her own words: After graduating from Monmouth , I pursued an MS in Physician Assistant Studies at Thomas Jefferson University. Prior to applying to graduate school, I worked as a medical assistant in a cardiology clinic that saw approximately 500 patients daily for around 2 years. During this time, I gained valuable hands-on patient care experience and deepened my exposure to medicine. I was fortunate to be the first medical assistant onboarded into a cardio-oncology program within the same company, allowing me to work closely with patients and their cardiovascular and oncology treatments.

    I began my journey as a Physician Assistant at a COVID testing center in Princeton, NJ, where I served as the sole provider overseeing 3-4 medical assistants. At the peak of testing, we were handling an average of 120-140 patients daily. Later, I transitioned to my first full-time position in a specialized vascular and facial palsy surgical office. Here, I pursued my interest in becoming a surgical Physician Assistant, working in collaboration with Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Ear Eye Nose Throat Hospital in New York City. As the sole advanced practice provider in the office, I had the opportunity to gain extensive hands-on skills and exposure that exceeded my expectations. This included 1st and 2nd assisting in surgeries, post-op discharges and follow-ups, international telemedicine consultations, in-office laser procedures, and administering Botox injections. Approximately a year later, I took a position in an urgent care setting, where I continue to work today, seeing an average of 40-70 patients as the sole provider at the office. During my career as a PA, I explored other avenues, including working as a sub-clinical investigator. This experience was incredibly insightful, allowing me to work with an extremely knowledgeable dermatologist and clinical investigators in a different area of medicine.

    Currently, I have successfully completed an intensive 24-week full-stack software engineering program in preparation for a career as a software engineer/software developer. I made this decision after recognizing the integration of technology into our healthcare system and observing the vital role played by software and programs such as Electronic Medical Records/Electronic Health Records (EMR/EHR) in providing and tracking care. I felt there was significant room for improvement, sparking my interest in creating change and making an impact in this field. Balancing a full-time school schedule while juggling two part-time jobs as a physician assistant was challenging, but having completed my program successfully, I now have a stronger sense of drive and motivation. My plan is to apply my software engineering degree to the emerging healthcare/tech field!

    My experience and education at Monmouth University have prepared me for continuous education and exploration of my curiosity. During my time at Monmouth, I actively participated in various clubs and activities, including serving as a peer mentor for both the honors school and the school of science. This allowed me to strengthen my ability to guide and teach aspiring students by sharing my knowledge and experience. Additionally, my three years as a research assistant instilled in me the determination to persevere, even when research did not go as expected, and helped me become more comfortable with public speaking through symposiums and presentations to colleagues, professors, and industry professionals in the field of science. Monmouth University provided me with numerous opportunities to express myself and push my boundaries, which I will continue to leverage in my future careers and endeavors.

    When I’m not working in the clinic or coding, I enjoy challenging myself with various activities such as running, hiking, and snowboarding. Whenever the weather is good, you will definitely find me outdoors. On days when I prefer to stay in, I enjoy cozying up inside with a good book or spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking.

  • Science Seminar Series- Food Allergy: Current Understanding and Hope for the Future 

    Nov. 10, Friday at 11 am in Edison 201, Dr. Mary Grace Baker will present “Food Allergy: Current Understanding and Hope for the Future”.

    Dr. Mary Grace Baker MU’10 is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy & Immunology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She attended Monmouth University for her undergraduate studies, where she was enrolled in the Honors School, majored in Spanish, and completed her pre-medical coursework. She then earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Dr. Baker went on to pursue her residency training in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she graduated with the Clinician Educator Distinction. She then completed her fellowship training in Allergy & Immunology and MS in Clinical Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Baker sees patients with a variety of allergic conditions, with expertise in food allergy and food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). She also oversees clinical trials aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of food allergy and FPIES and enjoys mentoring trainees interested in research.

  • Monmouth Students March to End Fossil Fuels

    On Sunday Sept. 17, Monmouth students lead by School of Science Associate Dean Catherine Duckett and joined by School of Education professor Ai Kamei marched in New York City to protest the use of fossil fuels and to call attention to the worsening climate crisis. Students from the Marine and Environmental Policy Club and the Outdoors club participated in the march along with friends. School of Science Student Richard Robinson said about the march, ” Being able to participate in the March to End Fossil Fuels was an experience that allowed me to voice my worries and frustrations for the future of our planet. Marching through the streets of New York City alongside my fellow MU peers, chanting with signs in hand made me feel a sense of unified discontent at the effects that fossil fuels have on our personal lives. The small part I played in the march made an impact as without the combined voice of every individual person, there would be no thunderous cry for change.”