Hartwick College Receives Fifth Grant From Corning Inc. Foundation

December 15, 2016

Hartwick College has received a $5,000 grant from Corning Incorporated Foundation to help fund student stipends and research projects in life sciences to be carried out during the summer of 2017.

The grant will help Hartwick biology faculty mentor rising sophomore or junior biology or biochemistry majors through a full-time, eight-week undergraduate research experience.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Anthony (A.J.) Russo will be the principal investigator on the grant, working with a team including Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Eric Cooper, and Professor of Biology Dr. Stanley Sessions, who will serve as co-investigators.

Each faculty member has his own well-established research program and an excellent track record as a scholar, teacher, and researcher.

Russo has been visiting professor at the College for six years, and has more than 30 years of research and teaching experience. He was previously a professor and researcher at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland, where he was the Class of 1964 Endowed Professor before retiring in 2008. Along with his work at Hartwick, he currently serves as research director for the Health Research Institute and Pfeiffer Medical Center in Warrenville, IL, focusing on studying autism and other behavioral disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression.

Cooper studies Lesch-Nyhan disease, a rare neurological disorder in which affected individuals display a range of impairments including cognitive deficiencies. The disease is caused by defects in a single enzyme. Recent studies have shown that certain enzymes re-localize into “clusters” in response to specific growth conditions. Little is known about the function of these clusters or what controls their dynamics. Cooper and his students will utilize genetic and biochemical approaches in order to understand the function of enzyme clustering and identify molecules that regulate it.

Sessions’ summer program will help develop strong researchers for the field of biotechnology, specifically immunology, which has an urgent need. He will continue his groundbreaking research in understanding how salamanders, and other organisms, are able to resist infection.

This is the fifth grant in five years that Russo, Cooper, and Sessions have received from the Foundation, and total close to $20,000. Most of the funds from these grants have been used to support student research projects.

“We are very grateful to the Foundation for their continued support. These recent grants will help science students at Hartwick continue to do research in the lab with faculty investigators,” said Russo.

For additional information, contact Russo at 607-431-4575 or at russoa2@hartwick.edu.