August 2016
Biology student becomes Ivy Leaguer for 12 weeks
For 12 weeks this summer, Biology student Elizabeth Cross researched with a team of doctors in the Nephrology Department at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Ct. As a part of the Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases (KUH), Summer Research Program, she worked under the guidance of Dr. Shuta Ishibe and studied the genes that cause kidney diseases. "I knew the function of the kidney, but taking a deeper look at it made me realize that it's function is much more than filtering blood and maintaining pH balance," Cross said. "Our mentors gave talks and discussed their different areas of research and how it applied to real-life cases at Yale New Haven Hospital."

The KUH program prepares undergraduate students to be scientific investigators in biomedical research. The program also provides students with an exciting "hands-on" opportunity to conduct fundamental research in clinical and basic science laboratories directly investigating human disease processes. " Many of the lab techniques I performed in the Yale lab, I have done previously in labs at Umass Dartmouth," she said. "It was so amazing to realize that the simple techniques I begrudgingly do for a grade are so critical to understanding and viewing how the body works."  

Since completing the internship, Cross is looking forward to getting back into her UMass Dartmouth classes and bringing some vital new skills with her. "I am really excited to go back to school because this internship helped keep my fiery passion to learn alive," she said. "The program taught me almost all the tools I will need for testing my senior thesis proposal and interpreting my results," she said. The KUH internship also gave Cross a new appreciation for her UMass Dartmouth roots. "After being at Yale, I have grown to appreciate the close knit community we have," she said. "I think studying biology at Umass Dartmouth is special for me because the faculty and students really show that they care about me and my success."
Crazy for cranberries
This year UMass Dartmouth Chemistry Professor Catherine Neto joined Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Professor Terri Camesano to research the role of compounds in cranberry juice and their effects on gut bacteria, more specifically E.coli cells. The research team combines the biophysical side of WPI with the biochemical side at UMass Dartmouth. "I think we have a great partnership with WPI because we come at the question from different angles and together we provide a nice picture of what's going on," Neto said.
Camesano and Neto's research investigates compounds in cranberry juice called flavonols and seeks to determine if they can reduce the ability of E.coli to adhere to gut surfaces. "We think the flavonols are part of the cranberry's defense system," Neto said. "They are secondary metabolites that are produced in greater concentrations when the plant is under stress or in the presence of pathogens." They wrote about the results of their research in a paper titled " Atomic force microscopy-guided fractionation reveals the influence of cranberry phytochemicals on adhesion of Escherichia coli," which was published in Food & Function, a journal that links the chemistry and physics of food with health and nutrition . "This research is at the starting gates," Neto said.
For Chemistry Professor Catherine Neto, researching cranberries is not a novel idea. She has been crazy for cranberries since 2001. In 2005, she established the UMass Dartmouth Cranberry Health Research Center, and co-directs the center with Dr. Maolin Guo. The Center works with other universities (including every UMass campus), medical institutions, and industry to provide solid scientific evidence of the cranberry's role in health and nutrition. "We are the home of the Cranberry Health Research Center, and we draw in other scientists and foster an intercollegiate collaborative research," Neto said. "And this collaboration helps to open up research opportunities for our students." 
The value of a liberal arts education
Soon, young, excited first-year students will arrive on the UMass Dartmouth campus ready to learn and explore the world around them. Engineering students will walk onto campus convinced that their educational paths will lead to a lucrative career. Nursing students and business majors will enter the concrete compound assured that their choices will bring financial success. Neither will be wrong. But thanks to the media's misconception about the value of a liberal arts education, students studying majors like history, political science, literature, and economics will come to campus a lot less confident, a lot less certain. They'll be concerned that their choices won't lead to anything other than a job as a barista in a local coffee shop. But they will be wrong.  Their choices will lead to opportunity.
With a liberal arts education, graduates are able to pursue jobs across the spectrum of our economy - sales, marketing, communications, non-profit organizations, publishing, public administration, and entrepreneurship. They bring core skills to the work place - critical thinking; problem solving; teamwork; communication skills; creativity; flexibility. In fact, 3 out of 4 business leaders recommend a liberal arts education as one of the surest ways to success.
The value and success of a liberal arts education can be seen in local coffee shops, video tutorials, and Game of Thrones. Howard Schultz earned his BS in Communications, and now he proudly serves coffee as Starbucks' CEO. Susan Wojcicki double majored in History and Literature and became one of the world's most powerful women as CEO of YouTube. Richard Plepler earned his BA in Government, and as chief executive of HBO, he knows all the Game of Thrones secrets.
At UMass Dartmouth's College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), we want our students to be as successful as Schultz, Wojcicki, and Pepler. We know that liberal arts graduates can have careers that are just as rewarding as their engineering, nursing, and business peers. So instead of our students worrying about their future, we want them to use the next four years to gain as much experience as possible - internships, service-learning courses, research. Because when they graduate, we know they are going to be just fine.
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