Join us for this special symposium—the first event in a new, year-long Provost’s Lecture Series that will highlight the variety of ongoing research by graduate students in all disciplines.

Tuesday, October 27
Wang Center Theater, 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Refreshments will be served at 9:30 am.

Sarah Gray, PhD Student, Department of Ecology and Evolution
Advised by Dianna Padilla, Professor
Sarah GrayInside the Leaves of Pitcher Plants:
Tools for Understanding Community Ecology and Species Invasions

Natural habitats typically encompass large areas and contain many species, making it nearly impossible for ecologists to address fundamental questions about the dynamics of species within a habitat. The northern pitcher plant (Sarraceni purpurea), however, provides a unique opportunity to address these questions. This carnivorous plant traps rainwater, creating a microscopic aquatic habitat that has the dynamics of larger systems, but on a much shorter time scale, allowing questions to be addressed in a matter of days that would take weeks to years with other types of organisms.
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Andreana Leskovjan, PhD Student, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Brookhaven National Laboratory

Advised by Lisa Miller, biophysical chemist, National Synchrotron Light Source, BNL
Andreana LeskovjanAlzheimer’s Disease: How a Lack of Metal in Mouse Plaques Points to a Link in Neurodegeneration in Humans
Leskovjan examined the zinc, iron, copper, and calcium distribution in a transgenic mouse model representing end-stage Alzheimer’s disease and compared them to plaques in human Alzheimer’s disease. She found that the mouse plaques contained only a 29 percent increase in zinc and there was actually less copper, iron, and calcium in the plaque compared to the surrounding tissue. These findings were in stark contrast to the high metal content observed in human plaques, further implicating the role of metal ions in human Alzheimer’s pathology.
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Seth Offenbach, PhD Student, Department of History

Advised by Michael Barnhart, Distinguished Teaching Professor
Seth OffenbachTwilight in America:
The Birth of Ronald Reagan and Contemporary Conservatism

President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign famously proclaimed in 1984 that it was "Morning in America." Before the morning, however, there had to be a re-birth of the conservative movement’s ideology. By focusing on the evolution of conservatism during the 1970s, historians can better understand Reagan’s presidential election in 1980. This presentation places the birth of Reagan’s conservatism into historical context, focusing on the combination of upheaval over the Vietnam War and violent disagreements over the policy of détente, helping to explain where the contemporary conservative ideology comes from. Read abstract »

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