Corrections appended. There are few things that can put a damper on an end of summer evening in upstate New York, but allergies are one of them. The classic watery eyes, incessant sneezing, and insatiable back of throat itch one feels while relaxing on Libe Slope or hiking to Second Dam can be attributed to little molecules called allergens, and our bodies response to them. Yet pollen isn’t the only thing that can send one running for a tissue or bathroom. Many compounds in the environment including plants, food and insect product can cause full scale immunological responses and Melissa Page ’20 has set out to better understand why.
From middle school biology we were always taught that the nucleus is the “control center” of the cell, similar to how the brain is the control center of our own bodies. At first glance this makes a lot of sense, considering the nucleus contains DNA — the genetic code of life — and a good amount of the machinery that is required to transcribe this code into the proteins that make up our being. Despite this seemingly intuitive role of the nucleus, a recent study conducted by the Prof. Jan Lammerding, biomedical engineering, and post-doctoral fellow Tyler Kirby, suggests the nucleus may also act as a “mechano-sensor” in the cell. A mechano-sensor is a component of the cell that responds to physical stimuli in the environment of the cell, such as touch, charge, or temperature. Previously the role of mechano-sensor was credited entirely to cell membrane proteins.
This summer, 15 Cornell students embarked on a journey that reshaped their awareness of global health systems. In partnership with the non-governmental organization Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement and the ILR School, students in the Global Health program worked on four to six week projects at SVYM sites that related to students’ career and service interests. In addition to projects, the students took classes at the Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies in Mysore, India, where they learned about Indian culture, gender, labor relations and economics, language and yoga. Global Health student Simran Malhotra ’20 saw her project on digitizing patient history have a tangible impact despite organizational complications. “Because I was not working to publish something, I could work immediately with the NGO and actually saw them using my work,” Malhotra said. According to Malhotra, since the doctors in India see up to 50 patients in a day — such a high volume of visits means that doctors do not have time to go over treatment procedures with patients.
While many Cornell students were off enjoying summer vacation away from Ithaca, Ben Engbers ’20 remained on campus to defend and improve the vitality of New York’s berry industry. As a research assistant and project manager at Elson Shields Laboratory of Entomology, Engbers has dedicated the majority of his undergraduate career to demonstrating the efficacy of nematodes as a sustainable biocontrol for berry farms.
“Nematodes are a native, sustainable, and organic solution to a food security problem that is affecting New York state and the world,” Engbers said. While Shields laboratory has studied the behavior and application of nematodes as pest control for over two decades, this summer, Engbers facilitated a specific project concerning the control of black vine weevil at Rulfs Orchard located five hours away in Peru, NY. “My work this summer resulted in promising data that I am excited to see published and ultimately applied in the real world,” he said. Black vine weevil is a formidable obstacle to crop growers worldwide and has been a significant detriment to the berry industry.
Any person, any study, anywhere! This past summer, 16 students were selected to spend eight weeks in a cross cultural exchange after undergoing an application and interview process through the College of Human Ecology’s Nutritional Science Department. The Global Health Program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences provides students across colleges with opportunities to engage, explore, and learn in Tanzania, Zambia, the Dominican Republic and India. For the first four weeks of the program in Moshi, Tanzania — which is near Mount Kilimanjaro — the students lived with local families and enrolled in a course at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College. The second four weeks had students working 40 hours per week at a local non-governmental organization or hospital and engaging in service projects that related to their individual interests in global health.
This past summer, a group of students from Cornell’s global health program and School of Industrial and Labor Relations traveled to Lusaka, Zambia for a research project that immersed them in the sociopolitical landscape of Southern Africa for eight weeks. The 12-person team consisting of 9 Global Health students and 3 ILR students interested in global health, worked with one another and with local organizations to study and present their findings on topics ranging from workforce barriers to new development policies. The program was initiated in 2013 in an effort for students not only to understand and appreciate the full scope of global health and labor relations, but also to apply their academic coursework in an environment surrounded by like-minded individuals and organizations. Each year, the focus of the research efforts differs depending on the current policies and events relevant to the community. Students had the opportunity to work with the Southern Africa Institute for Policy and Research, a research center in the Republic of Zambia that contributes to governance and policymaking through lecture series, fellowships, seminars and more.
Have an idea or interested in creating a startup? Rev Ithaca may have the resources to help you succeed. Located at 314 E. State St., Rev Ithaca is a local business incubator that offers mentorship programs, workspaces and networking events to help entrepreneurs realize their ideas. Ken Rother, director of Rev Ithaca, discussed how the non-profit helps first-time entrepreneurs. “One of the main ways we help entrepreneurs is through mentorship.
“Where did we all come from?” is the question Professor Liam McAllister, physics, tries to answer every day. McAllister’s research focuses on string theory, a cutting-edge scientific inquiry that remodels matter as a series of strings. Part of string theory’s appeal to modern mathematicians and physicists is its ability to unite quantum mechanics and gravitational laws. Currently, physicists view the world as a composition of matter and energy and have been able to redefine the approach to understanding the molecular world. However, despite the important jumps quantum physics has allowed scientists to make, there are still questions about the magnitude or scale of quantum theory, especially in application to the early universe.
Conor McCabe ’18, promoted federal funding for agricultural research and land-grant universities in Washington D.C from March 4th to 7th as the first-ever student selected to serve as a delegate for the Association of Public Land Grant Universities’ Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching. In an interview with The Sun, McCabe talked about the importance of having a current student’s perspective when making funding decisions relating to education and research. “Many of the individuals who previously served on [CARET] were at the end of their careers, but there had never been a point of view of someone who was currently experiencing the land-grant system as a student,” McCabe said. “I had such a unique story to tell that would show the power of the land-grant university system and how my life has been directly impacted by it.”
The motivation behind McCabe’s involvement in D.C. stemmed not only from his academic background, but also from his personal history. The kinds of agricultural programs for which he advocated in D.C. were similar to those from which he had benefited from in his childhood.
The staple of Barack Obama’s 2008 election platform was healthcare reform. However, soon after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law, a majority of the American public supported its repeal. What happened? A landmark piece of legislation, many argue that the ACA brought the U.S. substantially closer to having a comprehensive healthcare system, an objective already accomplished by most high-income countries and one placed on many agendas since the Truman administration. Yet, as Prof. Suzanne Mettler, government, notes in her book, The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy, the ACA’s accomplishments went largely unnoticed by the American public, and despite the successful expansion of health insurance coverage to millions of Americans, Democrats in Congress suffered great losses in the 2010 midterm elections following the ACA’s enactment.