Macaulay Honors College
CSI students are involved in many areas of research, including in wireless technology, breast cancer, autism, early childhood development, and public finance. For a more on research and awards, click here or check out the exciting list of recent topics click here.
Hosea Mak, Chemistry and Music Major
I am a chemistry major student who is also an undergraduate research assistant to Dr. Ralf Peetz; his laboratory focuses on polymers that fluoresce. These have potential applications in the fields of consumer electronics and solar technology. We formed these polymers from monomers that were made from scratch. Some processes used in purifying the compounds include column chromatography and recrystallization. In order to confirm the final products needed were formed, we used GPC, NMR, infrared, UV/Vis spectroscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy. Additionally, we observed their physical properties. By working in this lab I was able to learn how to work in a professional environment and how to apply what I learned in class to real-life experiences. Outside of the lab, I tutor first-year Macaulay students in honors chemistry.
In addition to chemistry, I am considering a double major in music. I have been a pianist for thirteen years and am currently taking music courses such as music ensemble and music theory. I also find time to improvise and practice the piano. I have found further inspiration for music through Macaulay Honors College Director Charles Liu, who has both a passion for the sciences and for music.
Christina Vicidomini, Psychology Major
I am focusing on the research aspect of Developmental Psychology and am considering a career in medicine. The smaller class sizes at the College of Staten Island have allowed me to develop a connection with my professors. This made it easy for me to find a Neuroscience research mentor as early as my sophomore year of college.
I am currently an Undergraduate Neuroscience Research Assistant in Dr. Dan McCloskey’s lab, and am actively involved in a project investigating how maternal hypothyroidism affects brain and behavioral development in the offspring of rats. When we’re finished, we hope that our results can improve our understanding of the effects of developmental thyroid insufficiency. This may account for some developmental disorders whose causes are unknown, such as autism.
I was given the chance to enhance my research experience at the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR), a New York State research facility located next to the College of Staten Island campus; CSI's Center for Developmental Neuroscience and Developmental Disabilities partners with IBR to conduct research on developmental disabilities such as autism and Alzheimer’s disease. Being a part of this research collaboration has been an amazing experience for me.
Working in a lab as an undergraduate has given me invaluable skills and knowledge and has helped me to prepare for a career in medicine. I was able to present my work at an undergraduate research conference at the College last spring, and will be credited as a co-author of papers that are published on this research in the future.
The staff of Macaulay has advised, prepared, and encouraged me in a very individualized manner, and I can truly say that I have benefited from the opportunities and advantages of this esteemed program. I am now able to conclude my last year of undergraduate work with pride in what I have accomplished in the past and a confident and knowledgeable attitude about what lies ahead.
Kaitlin Kelly, Biology Major
The Macaulay Honors College has allowed me to explore my interest in science and challenge my academic abilities. In my sophomore year the Macaulay Honors Seminar “Science and Technology in New York” opened the door to research for me. Biology Professor Jimmie Fata helped me to complete my seminar research and invited me to work in his breast cancer research laboratory. In his lab I learned how to isolate and culture primary mouse hepatocytes, cells from the main tissue of the liver, as well as mammary epithelial cells. We conducted research on the environmental effects of different concentrations of benzene, a known carcinogen, on the cultured cells. I had the opportunity to be part of a group which presented this breast cancer research at the Undergraduate Research Conference at the College of Staten Island.
My experience researching breast cancer led to an opportunity to participate in a cervical cancer study with the Biomedical Laboratories for Integrative Cancer Research, a joint venture between the Dr. Fata’s lab at the College of Staten Island and Staten Island University Hospital. Being part of the CSI-SIUH group was a great experience, and the clinical knowledge of doctors helped advance the research. As part of this research we study the role of primary human fibroblasts in cervical cancer. I specifically focused on primary human fibroblasts that undergo senescence, which means that cells have stopped proliferating but do not undergo cell death. These cells can secrete proteins that can harm other cells or degrade normal cell tissue. My summer research was focused on the study of the senescence of fibroblasts and the detection of secreted MMPs from fibroblasts. High concentrations of Matrixmetalloproteinases (MMPs) have been found in cancer tissues, particularly cervical cancer.
I am currently continuing research on other aspects of cervical cancer, such as determining biomarkers and controlling intracellular pH, which will help us gain knowledge in the biology of aging as well as benefit cancer research. I am very dedicated to my academic studies and devote the same enthusiasm and perseverance towards my work in the lab. I believe the research in the lab will benefit me in my future endeavors and possibly a career in the health sciences.
Kanika Khanna, Political Science and English Major
The Macaulay Honors College at CSI has granted me unlimited opportunity to pursue my interests in politics, journalism, and community outreach. I began to work with Professor Richard Flanagan during my first semester of college. My project, “Public Opinion and the New York City Mayoralty,” exposed me to the arena of local politics and the role of public opinion in public policy. I conducted social science research and developed useful skills in statistical data analysis. I also founded The Macaulay Messenger, an online newspaper for the entire Macaulay community. As Editor-in-Chief, I interact with many students from other campuses and play an active role in the submission and review process. Both projects led to a grant-writing internship with A. Larovere Consulting, a firm that develops housing in New York City for populations like disabled veterans, severely and persistently mentally ill persons, and people aging out of foster care who may be at risk of homelessness. I learned a great deal about a very important issue, one that I hope to work towards improving. I’ve had many worthwhile and incredible experiences, largely due to the guidance and support I have received at the Macaulay Honors College.