SSM Summer 2016 Newsletter

Learn about our students’ successes this year and see what some of them have been up to this summer!










SSM E-newsletter Summer 2016


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Chemistry Supports Undergraduate Summer Research Students

Chem_Summer_2016For the third summer in a row, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is hosting 45 undergraduate students in faculty research labs.  Twelve faculty members are mentoring students this summer on a wide variety of projects such as tracking the chemical fate of pharmaceuticals or nanoparticles in the environment, the synthesis of polymeric nanoparticles for medical imaging, and design of better solar cells.  Students are funded from a wide array of external funding agencies such as:  the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the American Chemical Society, Research Corp, NASA, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.  In addition, some students are funded by the College’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities office or from endowed research funds, such as the Blalock-Stephenson-Stirling, Horatio Hughes, and  W. Frank Kinard funds.  In addition to College undergrads, the Department is also hosting six high school students who are preparing for their college careers.

The School of Sciences and Mathematics is dedicated to providing hands-on research experiences for our undergraduate students. The status of co-author on a paper published in a peer reviewed journal is favorable when applying for entrance to graduate and PhD programs or medical school.  In 2015-16, twenty-nine students published papers with chemistry faculty members based on their research projects. Grants and private donors funds provide students with the financial means to focus on research rather than working in an unrelated field.

NASA Provides Funding to Support Pharmaceuticals Research

Cory_Summer_2016_ResearchDr. Wendy Cory’s research group is collaborating with space medicine scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center to study medications recently stored on the International Space Station. Thanks to funding from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute undergraduate research grant, students Ginny James, Jessica Moon, Alisha Lamas, and Katrina Mangiaracina are spending ten weeks this summer analyzing these medications in the lab to determine if their potency is affected by the more extreme storage conditions on the International Space Station. These results will be reported back to NASA and used by space pharmacologists to determine what medications are safe to include on future deep space missions.

Individuals interested in supporting academic experiences like these should contact Erica Rabhan, Senior Development Officer for the School of Sciences and Mathematics,

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New College of Charleston program connects computer science students, local firms

The college’s computer science department is trying out a new way of running seniors’ capstone course. Instead of working on open-source code like previous seniors did, 27 students this year were assigned projects that companies and organizations around Charleston wanted to get done. Sebastian van Delden, who is in his first year as the department’s chair, said the new format is meant to retool the senior project students are already required to do and give them experience and connections in Charleston before they graduate.

Encouraging College of Charleston students to stay in the area after they graduate is another goal of the course’s new structure, van Delden said. As the tech industry here has boomed, finding trained workers to fill jobs has sometimes proven difficult, and the so-called “talent gap” is regarded as one of the biggest challenges facing the area’s tech community.

Read the full article in the Post and Courier.


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SSM Students and Alumni Awarded Hydrography Scholarships

Out of the nine scholarships The Hydrographic Society of America (THSOA) awarded this year, four went to recipients from the College of Charleston. Two CofC students, geology majors Victoria Houston ’17 and Ryan Hawsey ’18, were awarded $4,000 each toward their undergraduate education, and two alumni – geology major Christina Maschmeyer ’13 (now studying at the University of South Carolina) and marine biology major Shannon Hoy ’12 (now studying at the University of New Hampshire) – received $3,500 each toward their graduate education.

These CofC recipients are from the College’s BEAMS/CARIS program, which is headed up by Associate Professor of Geology Leslie Sautter and involves geophysical seafloor mapping. Sautter also directs Project Oceanica at the College.

RELATED: Read more about Sautter’s work and the oceanography opportunities available at the College.

THSOA scholarships were established in order to provide financial assistance to students who seek a degree in hydrographic surveying, ocean mapping, geomatics, ocean sciences, geographic information systems, ocean engineering, electrical engineering or other related field.

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School of Science and Math Acquires T-Rex Exhibit

TREX4“Bucky” the Tyrannosaurus rex, has taken up residence in the Atrium of the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building located at 202 Calhoun Street. The mounted skeleton is on loan from The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (TCM). Drs. Phil Manning and Victoria Egerton are new appointees to the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences who made arrangements for the loan while working with TCM on several outreach and research projects. This loan marked the beginning of a relationship between TCM and the College which will take students and faculty on expeditions to the Jurassic Badlands of Wyoming and Cretaceous of South Dakota.

The skeleton weighs one ton, is 41-feet long, and stands 13-feet tall. It will be on display throughout the 2016 calendar year. Visitors are encouraged to also visit the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History, located on the second floor, open 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily, except Wednesdays.

View the time-lapse video of the assembly.


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SSM Supports Minority Participation in STEM Fields

Twelve students presented at the SCAMP Undergraduate Research Banquet which took place on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.


The South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation is partially funded by the National Science Foundation, the School of Science and Mathematics and the Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services.  SCAMP gives incoming minority students an opportunity to start their college program in the summer, participate in undergraduate research during their sophomore and junior years, and attend conferences and career orientations in their first year at the College of Charleston.

Students  presented on an array of research in areas such as neuroscience, computer science, biology, and chemistry. The evening’s complete program is listed below.

Presenter: Bravada Hill
Understanding Functional differences of the Brain in High and Low Risk Social Drinkers Using FMRI and MID Task
Mentor: Dr. Jane Joseph, Medical University of South Carolina

Presenter: Needhee Patel
Central Nervous System Neuroanatomy of the Snapping Shrimp, Alpheus angulosus: Towards a Model of Adult Neurogenesis
Mentor: Dr. Chris Korey, College of Charleston

Presenter: Omorose Aighewi
The Cell Cycle and Survival Status of Erythroid Precursors in the Nan Mouse Model
Mentors: Dr. Luanne Peters, Dr. Daniza Nebor, The Jackson Laboratory

Presenter: Jessica Mack
Web Development/Design for CIRDLES Lab
Mentor: Dr. Jim Bowring, College of Charleston

Presenter: Neha Muppala
Photodegradation of Bupropion
Mentor: Dr. Wendy Cory, College of Charleston

Presenter: Kola George
Have Short Stamens Lost Their Function in Selfing Plant?
Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Connor, Michigan State University

Presenter: Sandy Pang
Sex Related Differences in the Effects of Estrogen on Axon Regeneration Following Peripheral Nerve Injury
Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Wilhelm, College of Charleston

Presenter: Aliya Dumas
Synthesis and Direct Conjugation of Thiolated Ligands and Gold Nanorods for Targeted Photothermal Therapy
Mentors: Dr. Sivaramapanicker Sreejith, Dr. Yanli Zhao, Nanyang Techological University; Dr. Frank Alexis, Clemson University

Presenter: Joyce Biaco
Lewis Acid-Catalyzed Minisci Reactions
Mentor: Dr. Timothy Barker, College of Charleston

Presenter: Sierra Small
The Impact of Demographic Variables on the Acquisition of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Mentor: Dr. Michael Hemphill, College of Charleston

Presenter: Victoria Edmund
Combined Effects of Ibuprofen and its Degrand on Southern Toad Tadpoles
Mentor: Dr. Allison Welch, College of Charleston

Presenter: James Solomon
Pharmaceutical Analysis
Mentor: Dr. Wendy Cory, College of Charleston

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NSF Blog Highlights the Broader Impacts of SSM Faculty Project

The Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a new feature on their blog this week, “Focus on Broader Impacts.” Proposals submitted to IOS require both an “Intellectual Merit (IM)” and a “Broader Impacts (BI)” section. IOS plans to use this feature to highlight awardees with unique and/or creative approaches to Broader Impacts. The first subject of the new blog was unPAK, a project that engages students in scientific discovery as they gather phenotypic data on thousands of Arabidopsis mutants.

Read More



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New Field Stations To Enhance Studies

The two long awaited Field Stations at Dixie Plantation are now open and ready to accommodate faculty and students beginning Fall 2015.

These two field research laboratories serve biology, geology, ecology, environmental studies, and archaeology research as well as providing education opportunities for all other sciences. A commitment to the International Living Building Challenge Recognition Program, Field Stations will implement innovative renewable energy and water technologies to achieve net zero energy consumption and extremely low potable water use.

Innovations include:

  • Passive cooling design with solar chimney and operable windows turned to prevailing breeze
  • Daylight design to provide diffused, filtered sunlight to all spaces without increasing heat gain
  • Resilient design with barn doors serving as retractable hurricane shutters
  • Rainwater catchment with cistern sized to provide non-potable fresh water
  • Geothermal HVAC to provide quiet, renewable energy that minimizes impact to wildlife
  • Architecturally integrated solar photovoltaic array to offset energy demand for current Dixie Plantation facilities

This project was made possible by support from a generous grant from the Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation

Click photos to enlarge:

Dixie Field Station Photos-1Dixie Field Station Photos-5Dixie Field Station Photos-3Dixie Field Station Photos-7 Dixie Field Station Photos-6












Faculty interested in reserving Field Stations should contact Lisa Calvert, 843.953.6566 or by email.

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Computer Science major is ‘Bucking the Trend’

IMG_8844Joye Nettles just graduated with a degree in computer science. Before she left the College she founded the Women in Computing club, served as student president of SCAMP, and designed a program that will help girls learn computer programming through fashion. As part of the inaugural ICAT class, she developed the Android app called “SpotIt,” which allows users to book parking spots in downtown Charleston. Her team won the top prize: $10,000. Shortly after graduation Joye began her dream job as an associate consultant at ThoughtWorks, a global software development firm.

Read: ‘Bucking the trend’: College of Charleston Senior Joye Nettles is computer science star

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Dr. Scott Harris Awarded Fulbright Hosted by National and Kapodistrian University in Athens

Dr. Harris’ core research will allow for quantitive and qualitative analysis of coastal change in response to varied sea-level rise scenarios across a complex landscape in the North Euboean Gulf of Central Greece. Data gathered, analyzed, and interpreted through this project will also inform several major Bronze Age archaeological sites about their submerged paleolandscapes along the Southwestern edge of the gulf. The research site covers the marine portions of the ancient sites of Kynos, Mitrou, and Halai and from modern Arkitsa to the Theologos Peninsula about two hours north of Athens. The derived scientific products and interpretations will not only inform the maritime aspects of the terrestrial sites, but will also assist in the identification of submerged sites before, during and after the significant periods of seafaring in the Bronze Age along this major seaway. While many studies of the submerged portions of Greece focus strictly on submerged cities, specific shipwrecks, or the deep sea, this collaborative project will form a coherent regional investigation focused on paleolandscapes and coastal changes throughout antiquity. The broader context of the study will influence disciplinary thoughts on the preservation of ancient landscapes, of coastal deposits, and of submerged archaeological sites along an important ancient maritime seaway.

Submerged paleolandscGreece 2apes hold a record of antiquity that informs us about past coastal conditions and human adaptations. Understanding the influence of how variable local sea-level changes have influenced the preservation potential of submerged coastal systems is crucial to understanding these interactions. Working with host faculty and two other Greek universities, we will map the seafloor between Theologos and Arkitsa Greece to answer questions of preservation potential in a natural experiment of differential sea-level change in this actively tectonic and rich Bronze Age maritime region.   The scholar will bring expertise in coastal dynamics and advanced seafloor mapping techniques while the host institution provides expertise in understanding ancient sea-level histories in this region.


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