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Hartwick’s Cooper Receives RCSA Cottrell Science Award

March 25, 2014

Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Eric Cooper has received a Cottrell College Science Single Investigator Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA). The $35,000 funding provided by the RSCA in conjunction with this award will provide opportunities for Hartwick students to conduct research with Cooper for the next two summers.

Cooper's research, which he began as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Jef Boeke's laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, focuses on a rare neurological disease called Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome. The disease is caused by a defect in a single enzyme that is involved in making nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA and RNA. When the enzyme is defective, patient cells must compensate by increasing the activity of other enzymes. Cooper, with the help of science students at Hartwick College, plans to develop "simple" systems for studying this disease in the laboratory - specifically, by generating models in yeast and C. elegans, which are suitable for genetic experiments. He also plans to study how the compensatory enzymes are regulated, which may provide additional insight into the progression of the disease.

"I am so grateful to the Research Corporation for this award," said Cooper. "I am truly honored, and I am excited to conduct the research that this funding will support."

The RCSA is a private organization that provides funding to early career faculty members who have been in their current positions for less than three years, primarily at undergraduate institutions. The grants, which support collaborative work between faculty and students, "help 'launch' programs that can involve undergraduates in research," explained Cooper.

The RCSA funds promising teacher-scholars at America's leading colleges and universities. In the last 15 years, the Cottrell College Science Award program has supported the research of approximately 1,350 faculty members in more than 400 primarily undergraduate institutions, and has generated research opportunities for thousands of undergraduates at both public and private institutions.

For additional information on the award, contact Cooper at 607-431-4254 or at coopere@hartwick.edu, or visit the RCSA website: www.rescorp.org. For further information on the funding, please contact Director of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Relations Margaret Arthurs at (607) 431-4061 or arthursm@hatrwick.edu.

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
E-mail: capullov@hartwick.edu 
Phone: 607-431-4031