9 posts categorized "Environmental Science"


First Look: Beginning SEA-PHAGES at USciences

CrossHello USciences Community,

My name is Trevor Cross and I will be helping to pilot the HHMI SEA-PHAGES program in the Biological Sciences curriculum. What is HHMI SEA-PHAGES you might ask? HHMI stands for Howard Hughes Medical Institute and SEA-PHAGES means Science Education Alliance- Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science. It's a mouthful, but this is a collaboration between HHMI and many other colleges, universities, and even high schools across the nation as well as some locations overseas, a collaboration that USciences is now happily a part of!

What does this mean for USciences? It means that the Biology Department will be piloting a discovery-based undergraduate research course where a group of first year biology majors will have the opportunity to isolate and characterize their own unique bacteriophage from their own soil sample. By participating in this class, students will get to experience what it's like to do research by having their own project, contribute to a growing public database of phages and genomic information, and have a scientific discovery to call their own! As someone who has been a student in this class and a TA/peer mentor for this course, I can say from experience how AWESOME it is and how excited I am to be a part of this initiative as it unfolds here at USciences!

We will be starting our pilot section of this course in the Fall so as the students work hard to find their phages and characterize them, I intend to share the class' story here as it unfolds.

See the links below to the HHMI SEA webpage, the USciences press release, and phages database to see where students' phages are proudly displayed and accessible to other researchers, viewing one of my own sequenced phages as an example of what students will have at the end of the course.

I can't wait to begin this journey at USciences!

Trevor Cross
Laboratory Technician


VIDEO: 6abc Highlights Students, Faculty at USciences Research Day

6abc showcased the diversity and growth of research pursuits at University of the Sciences during its 12th Annual Research Day and 27th Annual John C. Krantz, Jr., Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, April 10. Research Day recognizes and highlights the research efforts of faculty, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, to encourage and promote communication and collaboration among researchers.
USciences distinguishes itself by offering undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research early in their academic careers. The diverse research activity that was on display spanned several aspects of the University’s scholarly pursuits, including:
  • Determining occupational therapists’ role in working with pediatric cancer patients
  • Discovering the personality traits that cause adolescents to kill
  • Using yoga to improve quality of life for patients with anorexia nervosa
  • Identifying predictors of successful post-secondary transitions for autistic students


The Biggest Mistakes Transfer Students Make

Viggiani_aimeeChoosing which college to attend is a huge decision for students. Whether they’ve earned their associate’s degrees from community colleges and ready to move on to earn their bachelor’s degrees, or currently enrolled in four-year schools that aren’t the right fit, one-third of all students transfer at least once before earning a degree.

Aimee Viggiani, associate director of transfer admissions, was recently featured in two articles which provide helpful tips for transfer students. She said, "All too often, students wait until too late in their college careers to ask why a certain class didn't transfer. Even if you don't need the credit right away, you may need it in the future. So ask transfer credit questions as soon as possible."


P. Roy Vagelos to Speak at University of the Sciences

The mission of Mayes College is to insure that students and graduates are prepared to become
leaders, innovators, communicators, and collaborative practitioners in
disciplines and careers related to healthcare business, health policy, and
public health.   The Lois K. Cohen Endowed Lecture Series in Global
Health,  endowed by alumna  Dr.  Ilene Warner-Maron (PhD ’07), supports that mission.

Dr. Lois K. Cohen is a world-renowned advocate for public health, particularly in oral health.  She began her illustrious career as a research sociologist in the Division of Dental Health of the Department of Health and during her 42-year career, published more than 120 professional articles and authored four books on the social sciences and dentistry.    Dr. Warner-Maron’s donation serves as a means of paying tribute to the life achievements of Dr. Cohen by hosting an annual symposium addressing critical issues in global health and provide a meaningful forum for their discussion. 

This year’s topic, lecture, Biopharmaceutical Industry Impact on the Developed and Developing World will be presented by Dr. P.  Roy Vagelos, chairman of the board of Regeneron and former Chairman and CEO of Merck.     

During his career, Dr. Vagelos has been recognized for his contributions as a scientist, clinician, and philanthropist.  In addition to his work in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Vagelos is also serves as chairman of the Board of Advisors at Columbia University Medical Center and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.    Under Dr. Vagelo’s leadership at Merck, the company developed the Mectizan
Donation Project
 which saved the lives of millions in South Africa suffering from river blindness.  

 This is the fourth year of the symposium, with previous lecturers being Dr. Mirta Roses-Periago, former director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Sonia Sachs, director of the Millenium Villages project and Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies

This year’s program is scheduled for Thursday, September 26th, 2013 from 5:30-7:30PM.  Attendance is free.  Please register here.


DEA Drug Take Back Day - April 27 2013 - Proper Disposal of Medications

Do you have excess prescription or non-prescription medications laying around?  Failure to dispose of unused/unwanted medications, particularly controlled substances, presents a significant risk for drug diversion.  Get rid of excess medications at the upcoming DEA Drug Take Back Day, scheduled for April 27th, from 10AM-2PM. See the website, www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/ for locations near you.

If you can't get there, at least follow these simple directions:
1. Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
3. Throw the container in your household trash

For most medicines, DO NOT FLUSH them down the toilet. There are a few you can flush down the toilet - check with your pharmacist to see if yours is one of them.


Brand Name and Generic Drug Manufacturers Teaming Up? Proper Drug Disposal as the Common Thread

Brand name and generic manufacturers are finding a reason to team up...against a local California municipality.  Alameda County passed a law requiring drug manufacturers to establish, and fund, a mechanism for consumers to properly dispose of their medications.  Proper disposal of medications will help minimize the environmental exposure to potentially harmful chemicals such as hormones, antibiotics and other drugs.  Most experts agree that a majority of the medications get into the environment through human and animal urine/feces containing the drugs or their metabolites.

Currently, sewage treatment plants are not designed to remove these substances so another strategy is to limit the exposure by preventing the drugs from getting into the environmnet.  Drug take-back programs, such as the one called for by Alameda county, are costly.  A similar program in British Columbia costs about 1/2 million dolllars a year to run, for about a population of 4 million people.  If this catches on, this would be a costly venture for drug manufacturers, to say the least

PhRMA, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the Biotechnology Industry Organization are jointly filing a lawsuit in the United States District Court in Oakland on Friday.   Only time will tell how this shakes out.  For more information, see the New York Times article . 


Proper Disposal of Medications - New Law in New Jersey

Governor Christie recently signed a bill put forth by Somerset County Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-Somerset), requiring the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue recommendations for the proper disposal of unused medications. Further, the bill requires health care institutions to submit to the Department of Health and Senior Services and the DEP a plan for proper disposal of unused prescription medications. Failure to implement these rules will result in fines for the health care institution.

Remember the following guidelines when disposing of personal medications:

1. Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;

2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and

3. Throw the container in your household trash For most medicines, DO NOT FLUSH them down the toilet. There are a few you can flush down the toilet - check with your pharmacist if yours is one of them.


Unique partnership will promote sustainability training for pharmacists

The issue of pharmaceuticals in the environment is multifaceted—ranging from the excretion of animal and human waste, to improper disposal like flushing, to residues transferred from skin (e.g., sunscreens, ointments).

Pharmacists serving in the role of public health advisor are in a unique position to educate patients and providers on strategies to decrease the amount that gets into the environment. This partnership couples Practice Greenhealth’s known expertise in this area with the knowledge and expertise of the nation’s first college of pharmacy to provide outstanding educational opportunities for pharmacists to learn themselves and how to educate others. 

The partnership is designed to develop educational modules for pharmacists working in community/retail settings, hospital settings and long term care settings. Further, the intent of the partnership is to develop educational programming for students in colleges of pharmacy and public health programs to learn about this important issue.

-- Andrew Peterson is dean of Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy


Research Day Showcases Faculty and Student Research

090402_research_day_300 From metabolic engineering to computational chemistry and from structural prediction of proteins to rational design of new therapeutics, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia showcased the diversity and growth of research pursuits on campus during its 7th Annual Research Day starting on Thursday, April 2, 2009. Posters representing approximately 120 topics were on display.

Research Day recognizes undergraduate and graduate student research efforts, and highlights aspects of faculty scholarly activity to encourage and promote communication and collaboration among investigators. The University is distinctive in that most undergraduate students conduct research with faculty early in their academic careers.

The diverse research activity on display spans several aspects of the University’s scholarly pursuits, including:

• Biological Sciences: Dr. Jennifer Anthony’s research involving the metabolic engineering of E. coli for the production of vitamin A.
  • Chemistry: Dr. Randy Zauhar’s use of computer-aided drug design to identify new antimicrobial lead compounds.
• Pharmaceutical Sciences: Dr. Bin Chen’s evaluation of the effects of vascular-targeting photodynamic therapy on prostate cancer metastasis.
• Physical Therapy: Dr. Therese Johnston’s usage of treadmill training for children with cerebral palsy.
• Social Sciences: Psychology major Mark Paullin’s (Philadelphia, Pa.) study of mild cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease.
• Health Policy: Master in public health major Sekinat Kekere-Ekun’s (Deptford, N.J.) work on the descriptive epidemiology of viral hepatitis in methadone maintenance clients.
• Pharmacy Practice: Doctor of pharmacy students Neha Patel (Fairless Hills, Pa.), Puja Patel (Hillsborough, N.J.), and Isha Shah’s (Bensalem, Pa.) analysis of the usage of ondansetron in non-chemotherapy patients at a community teaching hospital.

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