Four newly named beneficiaries of the Joshua E. Neimark Memorial Travel Assistance Endowment are investigating a new stem cell transplantation technology, the macroeconomics of sustainability, women in academia and conservation science, respectively.
The award recipients will receive partial financial support to attend America's largest general scientific conference, the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 17-21 February in Washington, DC. (See www.aaas.org/meetings.)
All four recipients submitted posters selected to be presented at the AAAS Annual Meeting. They are:
- Ms. Andreina Parisi-Amon, Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University;
- Mr. William Burnside, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico;
- Ms. Diane Yu Gu, Department of Higher Education and Organizational Change in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); and
- Mr. Jesse Hastings, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University.
STEM CELL TRANSPLANTATION:
A poster by Andreina Parisi-Amon's team at Stanford University relates to stem cell transplantation, which could prove useful for treating a range of traumatic injuries and diseases. Currently, the development of such therapies has been limited by poor cell survival rates following transplantation, she explained. Hydrogel-based scaffolds might help protect stem cells during transplantation, but commercially available hydrogels can be problematic. Ms. Parisi-Amon and her colleagues designed a novel family of protein hydrogels. Dubbed, "Mixture-Induced Two-Component Hydrogels," or MITCH, the components are recombinantly engineered to gel once they are mixed under physiological conditions. The MITCH technology makes it possible to biocompatibly encapsulate cells for transplantation, she said.
MACROECOLOGY OF SUSTAINABILITY:
Examining "a success story of sustainable fisheries management"—the Bristol Bay salmon fishery—was the starting point for University of New Mexico ecologist William Burnside's winning poster, entitled "Toward a Macroecology of Sustainability." With several colleagues, he tracked the flows of energy and materials through the fishery to evaluate its connectedness and sustainability. The maintenance and growth of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery and other complex systems should require increased energy supplies. To test this hypothesis for modern economies, the team turned to global macroeconomic data. They found a "a positive scaling relationship between per capita energy use and per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) both across nations and within nations over time," highlighting an underappreciated ecological constraint on modern human societies.
WOMEN IN ACADEMIA:
How do student-faculty interactions support or limit women's aspirations to pursue academic careers? Diane Yu Gu interviewed ten female doctoral students to investigate how interactions with faculty members might have influenced the students' goals and experiences. She concluded, based on those discussions, that mentoring provided to women doctoral students could be enhanced by improving organizational practices and policies related to advising, funding, counseling and social opportunities.
CONSERVATION SCIENCE AND POLICY:
Jesse Hastings looked at "International Environmental NGOs and Conservation Science and Policy: A Case from Brazil." In particular, he investigated the experiences of Conservation International's Marine Management Area Science program (MMAS) as a case study in translating marine science results into coastal policy outcomes. Hastings concluded, based on qualitative data, document analysis, observation and interviews, that the group "enhanced the receptiveness of managers, policymakers, partners, and the public to MMAS scientific results." Designing locally and globally relevant studies, ensuring the participation of key stakeholders, and communicating understandable results were keys to success.
About Joshua E. Neimark
Dr. Joshua E. Neimark was born in March 1931 in Sea Bright, New Jersey. He demonstrated extraordinary intelligence, but he also was prone to serious respiratory disease. He completed public school with distinction, then received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a master's degree from the California Institute of Technology, and a doctorate from MIT. He succumbed to illness in April 1961, at the age of 30, and his doctoral dissertation was published posthumously. The award, established in his memory by his sister, Dr. Edith D. Neimark, is intended to assist young scientists in attaining a career in their chosen field, a goal that Joshua Neimark did not live to achieve.
About the Endowment
The Joshua E. Neimark Memorial Travel Assistance Endowment provides four grants each year to support travel for accepted poster presentations at the AAAS Annual Meeting.
The AAAS Poster Sessions provide individuals with an opportunity to present their research, offering an excellent venue for extended informal discussion with meeting attendees. All posters are peer-reviewed, and accepted posters are listed in the AAAS Annual Meeting Poster Book. Abstracts appear on the Annual Meeting Abstract CD, within the Program Book.
Applicants must have already registered for a full-meeting passport for the AAAS Meeting. Eligibility is restricted to graduate students, or those who have received an advanced degree within the past three years. Bachelor's degree students (undergraduates) are not eligible. The field of study must be in one of the following areas: life, physical, or social sciences, engineering; or in an interdisciplinary field that includes one of these. The grants are not generally intended to cover all travel expenses but to serve as a supplement to other sources of support.
CONTACTS: Mr. Burnside can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms. Parisi-Amon can be reached at email@example.com. Ms. Yu Gu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Hastings can be reached at email@example.com. For general information on the AAAS Awards ceremony or other background, Senior Communications Officer Katharine Zambon of AAAS can be reached at (202) 326-6434, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org) and Science Signaling (www.sciencesignaling.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.
For more information on AAAS awards, see http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/awards/.