Three biochemistry majors – Francesca Pavlovici from Manhasset Hills; Mahia Rahman from Jamaica, Queens; and Jaffarguriqbal Singh of Fresh Meadows – completed summer research projects that were facilitated by the Dr. Bruce and Doris Lister Endowed Fellowship in Chemistry Research. The fellowship gave them the financial assistance to spend their summer working in the Berliner Hall labs under the mentorship of a Hofstra professor. The students were selected based on academic achievement, research potential and demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in scientific research.
Francesca, who is majoring in both biochemistry and sustainability studies, researched trifluralin with Dr. Kevin Bisceglia, assistant professor of chemistry (they are pictured above). Trifluralin is an herbicide or weed killer typically found in the mulch sold throughout Long Island. There is inevitably trifluralin runoff in rainwater. Francesca used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and other techniques to study the identities and concentrations of trifluralin degradants and their impact on the environment.
There are also environmental aspects to the work Mahia conducted with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Emily Mundorff. They studied haloalkane dehalogenase, DccA, from Caulobacter crescentus – enzymes that break down important toxic byproducts of many industrial processes. They have significant potential in biosensing and bioremediation and properties used to decontaminate chemical welfare agents and alleviate environmental pollution.
The synthesis of S-(+/-)-Lycoperdic acid was the focus of Jaffar’s research with Special Assistant Professor Richard Denton. Working on chemical reactions involving Lycoperdic acid is very promising as there are possibilities it could work with the central nervous system to boost memory and help in the prevention of some neurodegenerative disorders, such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Lister fellowship was established with a $250,000 gift from Dr. Bruce Lister and his spouse Doris Lister in 2013. Selected students receive a $4,000 stipend and a grant to cover 50 percent of on-campus housing costs.