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Science Journal, Fall 2006

Grieb Takes New Assistant Director of Stewardship Position

headshot of Suzanne Grieb

Suzanne Grieb, ‘93 A.S., ‘05 B.A. LAS, began her role as assistant director of stewardship in the Eberly College of Science in August 2006. In this newly created position, Grieb will be responsible for the management of all endowed funds in the Eberly College of Science, including the awarding of graduate and undergraduate student scholarships and fellowships. She will also be responsible for the college’s donor relations initiatives.

Grieb’s service to the college began in 1977. Since then, she has served as staff assistant, assistant to the alumni liaison, alumni liaison officer, coordinator of alumni affairs and special projects, and finally, assistant director of alumni relations for the past eleven years.

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Musick Joins Eberly College of Science

headshot of Kevin Musick

The Office of Alumni Relations and Development of the Eberly College of Science welcomed Kevin R. Musick, ‘03 B.A. LAS, as associate director of development on August 14, 2006.

Musick’s career at Penn State spans twenty-four years. He held his most recent position as associate director of stewardship in the Office of Donor Relations and Special Events for six years. Prior to that, Musick served the Office of Student Aid as the student aid coordinator of university scholarships and as the student aid coordinator of academic progress. In addition, he has served on various committees, including the University Stewardship Strategic Planning Committee, the Commission for Returning Adult Students, and the Grand Destiny Stewardship Committee.

Rob Mothersbaugh, director of alumni relations and development for the Eberly College of Science, says, “Kevin brings to this position a wonderfully varied and distinguished work experience at Penn State with great expertise in donor relations and stewardship, special events planning, student aid, and internships. We are very fortunate to have attracted Kevin as he advances in his career as a front-line fund-raiser for the Eberly College of Science.”

“My regard for the University and its mission are high,” says Musick. “This is a unique opportunity for me to use my broad Penn State experiences specifically to help meet the needs and advance the mission of an already exceptional college. I am proud to represent the Eberly College of Science and be a part of such an outstanding team.”

Musick is active in his community of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife and two children, ages nineteen and seven. He currently serves on the board of the Bellefonte Education Foundation, as well as being a member of the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association, the Bellefonte Tree Commission, and the Talleyrand Park Committee.

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Science BS/MBA Program Fulfills Student and Industry Needs

In 1995, the Eberly College of Science announced an innovative program specifically designed to prepare students to be the future leaders of the world’s scientific organizations. The Science BS/MBA Program continues to do just that for outstanding and highly motivated students, offering them the opportunity to combine an undergraduate degree in basic science with an MBA.

Peter Tombros joined the college in October 2005 to oversee the BS/MBA Science Program after program executive director Donald Genson retired in 2005. In his role, Tombros donates his time and expertise to mentor and advise students on their careers, and to recruit prominent guest speakers.

“We talk about how things work in the real world,” he said, “everything from ethics to etiquette.”

One of the most important aspects of this program is the work-related and internship experience that students are required to complete. Students in the program have forged relationships with companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, while applying quantitative and analytical skills learned in the classroom.

Always science oriented, Tombros earned a B.S. in agricultural sciences and industry and a master’s in agricultural economics. He then furthered his interest in business with an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He rose steadily through Pfizer, where he began his career as a product manager, ultimately serving the company as vice president for corporate strategic planning. After leaving Pfizer in 1994, he served as CEO of Enzon, Inc. and chairman and CEO of ViviQuest, Inc, a private drug discovery company, before he retired.

Tombros, who holds the title of Distinguished Executive in Residence and the James and Alvina Balog Faculty Fellow in Science, was recently selected as one of eight Penn State alumni to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award. In addition, Tombros has been invited to participate in a University-wide committee on Entrepreneurship and Education.

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Eberly College of Science Participates in Arts Fest

Scene from Arts Fest: adult giving demonstration for kids Scene from Arts Fest: adult giving demonstration for kids

Faculty and student volunteers from the Eberly College of Science got in touch with the right side of their brains during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts this past July. The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Center for Nanoscale Science, a Materials Research Science Engineering Center of the National Science Foundation, both participated in the festival to have fun with science and to show that creativity is boundless.

The Eighth Annual Astrofest, a free festival of astronomy for all ages, ran concurrently with the Arts Festival. The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics took advantage of the large crowds attending the Arts Festival and to share activities that stimulate an interest in the stars and planets. Activities for the younger set included a chance to drive a Mars rover, constellation and planet viewing through a 24-inch diameter telescope in Davey Laboratory, launching rockets fueled by antacid tablets, and planetarium shows. Adults and older youngsters enjoyed feature presentations about such topics as black holes, the dark side of the universe, and the Cassini satellite’s recent results on Saturn and its moons.

“Astrofest is so popular because of the enthusiasm of more than sixty student, staff, and faculty volunteers,” said Jane Charlton, professor of astronomy and astrophysics and organizer of Astrofest. “They are so eager to share the excitement of exploring the universe with the public, and the Arts Festival is a perfect setting to reach a large and receptive audience,” she added.

The Center for Nanoscale Science showed the connection between science and art with chemistry department faculty and staff, as well as volunteers from the Nittany Chemical Society, the student chapter of the American Chemical Society ; and Alpha Chi Sigma, the professional, co-ed, chemistry fraternity. Youngsters in strollers up to high-school-age students enjoyed such activities as creating fake snow from various polymers, “painting” rainbow trout with different acids and bases to get certain colors on pre-treated paper, and practicing the art of chromatography by painting butterfly patterns on coffee filters with water-soluble marker dots and then allowing them to soak up water.

The outreach opportunity provided by the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts has been so successful and well attended that both groups anticipate continuing this type of activity for years to come.

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Undergraduate Research: A “Win-Win” for All

Having undergraduates perform laboratory research provides them with experience to better prepare them for graduate studies or for employment in a laboratory. Alumni from the Eberly College of Science are giving back to their alma mater by creating endowments that allow undergraduate students to gain this real-world, technical experience.

Ryan Collins, a senior studying microbiology, worked this summer in the laboratory of Kouacou Konan, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. Dr. Konan’s lab focuses on the study of hepatitis C and related viruses and how their replication interferes with host protein and membrane trafficking. If Collins hadn’t received funds from the Edward and Kirsten Nelson Under-graduate Research Fund in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology this summer, he would have gone back to his hometown of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, to work in an engineering lab, a summer job he held before. “Not that that would have been a bad situation,” said Collins, “but this was better.”

Collins worked throughout the summer to study hepatitis-C-virus (HCV) proteins. These proteins are believed to assist in the formation of membranes within a cell. Collins observed how those proteins interact with other proteins within the cell. The application of this research is in the prevention and treatment of diseases such as liver cancer and West Nile.

“This summer I gained valuable experience in scientific research, including how the process works, and the difficulties and joys that result,” said Collins. “Ryan worked very hard all summer. He was very responsible and will continue doing research in my lab, but now on a different project,” said Dr. Konan.

Holly Wolcott, a junior studying biochemistry and molecular biology, worked with Dr. Joseph Reese, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. Dr. Reese’s lab studies the regulation of DNA damage inducible genes.

Wolcott received funds from both the Charles and Vickie Grier Undergraduate Research Fund in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the John and Paige Lapinski Undergraduate Research Fund in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

“One of the most important things I’ve learned through my experience is that I enjoy doing research, spending time in lab, and thinking about problems and results,” Wolcott explains. “I think that it’s important to like what you do because then work doesn’t feel so much like work. After I graduate from PSU, I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, though I am not sure whether I would like to be involved in industry, academia, or government.”

Dr. Philip Mohr, affiliate professor of microbiology and director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, knows the value of research on an undergraduate’s resume.

“In the summer, students can fully concentrate on doing research without the necessity of committing time to classes. The obvious result is that awardees can contribute the most to the project with the greatest possibility of advancing it and leading to a possible publication,” he explains.

For more information about contributing to summer research opportunities for undergraduates, contact our Development Office at 814-863-8454 or email rym4@psu.edu.

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Gift Stories

2 men holding giant check

In honor of the retirement of F. Matthew Rhodes, ‘79 B.S. Phys, Conexant Systems made a gift of $10,000 to the Eberly College of Science. Shown at left are Rhodes and Dwight Decker, Chairman and CEO of Conexant.

Through a Charitable Remainder Trust, Francis R. Cano, ‘79 Ph.D. Micrb, committed to create the Francis Cano Endowed Graduate Student Scholarship in Microbiology with a future estate gift. Consideration for this scholarship will be given to all full-time graduate students majoring in, or planning to major in, microbiology who have achieved superior academic records or who manifest promise of outstanding academic success. Cano is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Vaxin, Inc. Prior to his service to Vaxin, he was president and chief operating officer of Aviron and former vice president and general manager of Lederle Laboratories American Cyanamid Company. He currently consults in the biomedical field and serves on the board of directors of AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. and Arbor Vita Corporation.

E. Ruth Dunning, MD, ‘39 B.S. PM, committed to create the E. Ruth Breitwieser Dunning Endowed Scholarship with a future estate gift. This scholarship, which will be designated during a student’s junior year, will provide recognition and financial assistance to promising students who are interested in attending medical school, show promise of being accepted to medical school, and who have a demonstrated need for funds to meet their necessary college expenses during their senior year.

The Jeanette Ritter Mohnkern Graduate Student Scholarship in Biology was recently created with $177,000 in proceeds from the estate of Jeanette Ritter Mohnkern, ‘29 B.S. Ed, ‘30 M.S. Bot. This scholarship will recognize and provide financial assistance to graduate students majoring in, or planning to major in, biology in the Eberly College of Science.

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Trustee Matching Scholarships Honor Parents

John Frink, ‘64 B.S. Math, and Catherine Beath, ‘70 B.S. Micrb, each recently created a Trustee Matching Scholarship in honor of their parents. Trustee Matching Scholarships are designed to help keep a Penn State education accessible to qualified undergraduates, regardless of their financial means.

John Frink, the son of two former Penn State mathematics professors, has given the University $100,000 to create the Orrin and Aline Frink Trustee Matching Scholarship in the Department of Mathematics in memory of his parents.

Orrin and Aline Frink met while they were faculty members at Penn State, and married in 1931. “My parents dedicated their professional lives to teaching math at Penn State, and I’m pleased to be able to help that legacy continue,” said John Frink.

Orrin Frink earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Columbia University. He joined Penn State’s faculty in 1928 and served as head of the department from 1949 to 1960. In 1944-45 he served as an assistant chief engineer for the Army Air Force. He retired from the University in 1969. Aline Frink earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Mount Holyoke College, and her master’s and doctorate from the University of Chicago. She joined the Penn State faculty in 1930 and was a mathematics professor at the University for more than thirty years. She was fluent in several languages and translated a Russian math book into English, which was published in 1961. After their retirement, the Frinks lived in Kennebunkport, Maine. Orrin died in 1988, and Aline in 2000.

John Frink grew up in State College and graduated from Penn State with a mathematics degree in 1964. He worked for DuPont as a senior consultant, retired in 2001 and resides in Delaware with his wife, Erica Miller. Of his three siblings, his sister Elizabeth and brother Peter also are Penn State graduates.

Catherine Beath pledged $50,000 to create the John J. and Matilda R. Beath Trustee Matching Scholarship in the Eberly College of Science to honor her parents.

“The Trustee Matching Scholarships are a good value since there is an immediate payout to students and it is matched by the University’s Board of Trustees,” said Beath.

John J. and Matilda R. Beath were both from Philadelphia, where John was a truck driver for Charles Jacquins Et Cie, Inc. until his death in 1976. Matilda was an executive secretary until she retired in 1985. She continues to live in their family home in Bucks County.

“My parents were always there for me with love and support for whatever I wanted to do. Their unqualified support of my nontraditional career choices was a pretty big deal, considering I was a female growing up in the 50s and 60s.”

Catherine Beath is the Worldwide Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at Ethicon, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson. In addition to her degree from Penn State, she received an MBA from Rider University. She is a lifetime member of the Penn State Alumni Association and currently serves as president of the Eberly College of Science Alumni Society, of which she has been a member since 2001. In addition, she has served on the Dean’s Advisory Board and the BS/MBA Advisory Board.

Beath’s previous philanthropy to Penn State includes support for the Life Sciences Building, the Eberly College of Science Alumni Board Endowment, and the Beath Excellence Endowment.

She was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow in 2002 and received the Eberly College of Science Outstanding Science Alumni award in 2000.

Penn State’s Trustee Scholarship program, launched in 2002, aims to raise $100 million in private support for new undergraduate scholarships across the University by June 30, 2007. To underscore its commitment to this effort, the Board of Trustees agreed to match five percent of the gift with University funds. The matching funds continue in perpetuity and are combined with income from the endowment to increase the financial impact of the scholarship.

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Ming Chu Receives 2006 Humanitarian Award

headshot of T. Ming Chu

T. Ming Chu, ‘67 Ph.D. Bioch, was the recipient of the 2006 Graduate School Alumni Society Humanitarian Award in recognition of his dedicated efforts to translate the discovery of a prostate specific antigen into the development of the PSA test and its global application to the early detection of prostate cancer. He was an early pioneer in the use of tumor cell products for the diagnosis and therapy of cancer. His research has been heralded as one of the most important developments in prostate oncology of the last century.

Chu graduated from the National Taiwan University in 1961 and came to the United States as a graduate student in 1963. He earned his master’s degree from North Carolina State University in 1965.

He became the director of cancer research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 1977, as well as professor of experimental pathology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. During his career, he has trained over 50 graduate and postdoctoral students. He is presently professor emeritus of cancer pathology and prevention at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Chu was honored with the Penn State Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994 and with the Penn State Alumni Fellow Award in 1997. In the Eberly College of Science, Chu and his wife, Bonnie Covert Chu, ‘67 B.S. Sc, have endowed the T. Ming Chu Professorship in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The Graduate School Alumni Society Humanitarian Award was established to recognize a Penn State alumnus with a graduate degree who has made a positive societal impact on the welfare of humankind.

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Booth Honored with Achievement Award

headshot of Bruce Booth

Bruce Booth, ‘96 B.S. Bioch, was recently honored with the Penn State Alumni Association ’s Alumni Achievement Award. The award was established to recognize young alumni—those under age?35—for extraordinary professional accomplishments.

Booth is currently a principal with Atlas Venture, a global venture capital firm. He focuses exclusively on life-science investing in both early and later-stage companies across biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and technologies, diagnostics, and research platforms. Prior to joining Atlas, he was with Caxton Health Holdings, a healthcare-focused investment firm, and was an associate partner in McKinsey & Company, a global strategic management consulting firm where he focused on R&D productivity, corporate strategy, and business development issues for several major biopharmaceutical companies. While at McKinsey, he co-led the firm’s global recruiting of international scholars and advanced professional degree candidates.

As a British Marshall Scholar, he earned a doctorate in molecular immunology from the Oxford University ’s Nuffield Department of Medicine and the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. His research focused on viral and tumor immune surveillance and how the immune system responds to intracellular pathogenesis. During his graduate studies at Oxford, he also received the Overseas Research Fellowship and served as junior dean of Trinity College. As a graduate intern, he worked on President Clinton’s Domestic Policy Council in the National Office of AIDS Policy. He is currently on the board of trustees of the New York Academy of Medicine and is an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also has served on the FDA Reform Taskforce at the Center for Medical Progress of the Manhattan Institute.

He served as a member of the board of directors of the Eberly College of Science Alumni Society from July 1, 2002 until June 30, 2005.

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Hahn and Pelak Named Alumni Fellows

Yu Hak Hahn, ‘67 Ph.D. Phys, and Daniel Pelak, ‘72 B.S. BiSc, are among those honored with the Penn State Alumni Association ’s 2006 Alumni Fellow Award. The most prestigious awards given by the Alumni Association, the awards are administered in cooperation with the academic colleges and are presented to alumni who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen professions. The title “Alumni Fellow” is permanent and lifelong.

Headshot of Yu Hak Hahn

Yu Hak Hahn is the founder of CVI Laser Corporation and the chief executive officer of Spectral Products in Putnam, Connecticut. He began his career at Bausch & Lomb as a senior scientist. He performed research in optics for high-power-laser applications for two years prior to starting his own business, Laser Energy, Inc., a company that manufactures laser optics. Laser Energy was later renamed the CVI Laser Corporation. The company has grown into the world’s largest manufacturer of laser-optical products, including laser optics used for eye surgery and microsurgery. The company has expanded globally with business in the U.S., Korea, and the Isle of Man. CVI Laser has won several significant awards; perhaps most notably, the National Small Business Subcontractor in the United States Award from Sandia National Laboratory in 1980.

Hahn was inducted in the Alumni Hall of Fame of Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2005 and has been featured in an article in National Geographic magazine.

headshot of Daniel Pelak

Daniel Pelak is president and chief executive officer of InnerPulse, Inc., a privately held company developing a unique technology for the treatment of heart disease. The InnerPulse device, the Percutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, is designed for the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest, an event that claims the lives of more than 330,000 Americans each year.

Pelak previously served as the president and chief executive officer of Closure Medical Corporation, which was recently acquired by Johnson & Johnson. Previously, he spent a long career at Medtronic, Inc., rising through levels of greater responsibilities in sales and marketing. He was ultimately responsible for the general management of several operating divisions at Medtronic. During his tenure at Medtronic he was the vice president of Cardiovascular Marketing, vice president and general manager of Nortech, the vice president and general manager of Perfusion Systems, and the vice president and general manager of Cardiac Surgery Technologies.

He is a member of the board of directors of Affinergy, Inc. and AGA Medical, Inc.

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Volkin Named Distinguished Alumni

headshot of Elliot Volkin

Elliot Volkin, ‘42 B.S. AG SC, was honored with the 2006 Penn State Distinguished Alumni Award. The Distinguished Alumni Award, authorized by Penn State’s Board of Trustees in 1951, recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni “whose personal life, professional achievements, and community service exemplify the objectives of The Pennsylvania State University.” Alumni are selected annually for this honor by the Board of Trustees from a group of candidates recommended by the trustees, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Volkin was a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 1948 until his retirement in 1984. From 1969 until 1980, he served as scientific director of the biochemistry section in the Biology Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. During his tenure, he published more than 80 scientific papers and articles and was frequently selected to chair meetings at international conferences.

In 1956, Volkin and his research partner, Lazarus Astrachan, first observed and described what later came to be know as messenger RNA or mRNA. The finding was labelled as “DNA-like RNA” in a paper that appeared in the Journal of Virology.

He is a member of the American Society of Biological Chemists and the American Chemical Society. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of his meritorious efforts to advance science.

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Distinguished Service Award Winners

Michael DeRosa, Amy Leddy, and John Roe were named the recipients of the 2006 Distinguished Service Award from the Eberly College of Science. The award, sponsored by the college alumni society, was established in 1979 to recognize individuals who have made exceptional leadership and service contributions to the college.

headshot of Michael DeRosa

Michael DeRosa is professor of chemistry at Penn State’s Delaware County Campus. He joined Penn State as an associate professor in 1989 and was named full professor in 1994. Prior to joining Penn State, he was a faculty member at the Universidad Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela, from 1975 to 1989, and was a member of the U.S. Peace Corps from 1973 to 1975. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1964 from the City College of the City University of New York. He completed his doctorate degree in 1974 from the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

DeRosa was honored with the Penn State Lion’s Paw Award in 2001 and received the Commonwealth College Outstanding Research Accomplishment Award in 2002-03. An innovative teacher in the classroom, he received a Project Empower grant in 1995 to introduce technology and collaborative learning in his chemistry classes and has collaborated in multidisciplinary undergraduate research projects with faculty in biology, engineering, and chemistry. He has been involved in efforts to obtain funding for a multidisciplinary science studio to enable the sharing of technology for the teaching of physics, chemistry, and biology laboratories. He is well known as a “master teacher,” or mentor, who empowers his students. He has been involving undergraduate students in his research for more than 25 years, giving students the opportunity to experience first-hand the rigors and rewards of research. His professional affiliations include membership in the American Chemical Society, the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry, and the Council on Undergraduate Research.

headshot of Amy Leddy

Amy Leddy was advising program coordinator/premedicine advisor in the Eberly College of Science’s Advising Center. On 25 September 2006, she began a new assignment as assistant director of alumni relations for the college. She came to Penn State in 1989, first working in Residence Life and then in the Career Services Office. In 1993, she joined the Eberly College of Science Advising Center as premedicine counselor and was promoted to advising program coordinator in 2002.

Leddy’s service to the Advising Center and college includes supervising a volunteer peer mentor program for first-year students, serving as cooperative education departmental coordinator, and advising the Penn State Pre-Dental Society. She also serves on several university committees, and has been the college’s representative to the Undergraduate Admissions Office for eight years. She was involved in the creation of the new position of college recruiter and also has served for the past twelve years as the College’s nomenclator for the spring graduation ceremony. At the University level, she is serving her second term on the University Advising Council, and she has been co-chair of the college’s United Way team since 2001. She has been recognized by Penn State with the 2006 Women in Science and Engineering Research Distinguished Service Award, the 1999 All University Excellence in Advising Award, and the 1993 Penn State Council of Alcohol and Drug Prevention for her role in creating LIFE House, a substance-free special living option for students.

Leddy received a bachelor’s degree in speech communication in 1986 and a master’s degree in college counselling in 1988 from Shippensburg University. She is a member of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions and the Northeast Association of Advisors for the Health Professions.

John Roe is professor of mathematics and head of the Department of Mathematics at the University Park campus. He joined the Penn State faculty in 1998 after beginning his career at Oxford University. He served as associate head of the Department of Mathematics from 2000 to 2003 and was named department head on July 1, 2006.

Roe designed and implemented a new induction, training, and oversight program for graduate teaching assistants which has positively transformed undergraduate instruction in the department. The Graduate Teaching Assistant Training Program is a multi-faceted program that includes a semester-long induction and teaching assistant training course, a committee of faculty who take individual responsibility for overseeing each teaching assistant, a more intensive peer-to-peer mentoring program for the first course taught by each new teaching assistant, new teaching awards, and a departmental teaching seminar attended by both teaching assistants and faculty members.

An active researcher, his research focuses on the interaction between large-scale mathematical structures and small-scale geometrical problems related to partial differential equations.

He was the recipient of a Leverhulme Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh in 2004 and was awarded the Junior Whitehead Prize from the London Mathematical Society in 1996.

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Outstanding Science Alumni Award

headshot of Neal Flomenberg

Neal Flomenberg, ‘74 B.S. Sc, is the director of the Hematologic Malignancies and Blood & Marrow Transplant Program, as well as interim chairman of the Department of Medical Oncology, at Thomas Jefferson University ’s Kimmel Cancer Center. He has served as the head of the Hematologic Malignancies Program since he joined Jefferson in 1994, at which time he initiated the blood and marrow transplantation efforts there. He has served as head of the Medical Oncology Division since 2001. He also is professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology at Jefferson Medical College and is an accomplished researcher whose interests center on ways to make allogeneic transplants safer and more widely available to patients who lack donors within their families. He is working on methods to prevent graft-versus-host disease and to speed immune-system recovery after transplant.

He earned his doctor of medicine degree from Jefferson Medical College in 1976 through the joint Jefferson-Penn State accelerated medical degree program. He trained in Hematology/Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center beginning in 1979 and remained on the faculty there as assistant and associate attending physician and assistant and associate professor at Cornell University Medical College in New York until 1991. He served as director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program and professor of medicine and microbiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin from 1991 to 1994, before returning to Jefferson.

He has received numerous teaching and research awards and has published widely in numerous journals. He has held national offices in the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the Federation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy. He was the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society ’s 2003 Man of the Year for Eastern Pennsylvania. In 2006, he received a joint lifetime-achievement award from the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society’s Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey chapters for “contributions to mankind.”

headshot of Susan Hardin

Susan Hardin, ‘82 B.S. Biol, is founder, president, and chief executive officer of VisiGen Biotechnologies, Inc., in Houston, Texas. VisiGen is one of Houston’s leading-edge bionano technology companies. Her work is enabling new platform technologies to revolutionize biomolecular sequencing. VisiGen is developing and commercializing a radically new method of sequencing DNA that is projected to completely sequence a human genome in a day for approximately $1000, which starkly contrasts to the current state of the art of six to nine months and $10-$25 million. This technology may be a key to enabling the promise of personalized medicine. VisiGen’s research and development efforts are primarily supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Institutes of Health, and private investments by Applied Biosystems and SeqWright, Inc. She also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry and in the College of Technology at the University of Houston. She joined the University of Houston faculty in 1995 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2002. Susan earned her doctoral degree at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1987 and completed her postdoctoral work at Brandeis University.

She holds several patents, has authored or co-authored a number of publications, and frequently is an invited speaker at conferences. In 2004, she was honored as one of the “Top Houston Women in Technology” by the Association for American Women in Computing, and she was named a member of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows in 2006. She is a past member of the National Science Foundation ’s DNA/Biomolecular Computing Advisory Panel and of the Academic Research Infrastructure Instrumentation and Instrument Development Advisory Panel.

headshot of F. Matthew Rhodes

F. Matthew Rhodes, ‘79 B.S. Phys, recently was appointed chief executive officer of Teranetics, Inc., a privately-held fabless semiconductor company that provides next-generation, standards-based 10-gigabit Ethernet copper channel solutions. Prior to joining Teranetics, Rhodes was president of Conexant Systems, Inc. He joined Conexant, then Rockwell Semiconductor System in 1997, where he directed the development and market introduction of low-cost modem technology for inclusion in laptop and desktop PC’s, enabling broad availability of Internet connected PC’s. In 1999, he was appointed senior vice president of the Personal Computing Division and was part of the management team that spun off Conexant from Rockwell. At that time, Rhodes transitioned the focus of the development to broadband internet access technology and led Conexant to a market-leading position in the supply of DSL solutions, such as those provided by AT&T today.

Prior to 1997, he was director of Very-Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) technology at Pacific Communication Sciences, Inc. (PCSI) where he was part of the team that developed a number of wireless system solutions including the Personal Handy-Phone System in Japan, a precursor to today’s data-enabled cellular phones. He came to PCSI after spending a number of years conducting VLSI research as a staff member of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Rhodes holds several patents in the areas of VLSI and communication systems and has contributed a number of papers to journals in these fields.

He holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California in Los Angeles. Rhodes participates in a number of industry associations including the Fabless Semiconductor Association and is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

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Price and Schneider Receive 2006 C.I. Noll Awards

The C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching is presented annually to faculty members and instructors in the college who demonstrate a record of excellence in both teaching and in interactions with students. The award is the college’s highest recognition for teaching.

headshot of Mitch Price

Mitch Price, lecturer in biology, joined the Penn State faculty in 1999. He received his doctoral degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in 1996 and was then a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at Penn State from 1996 until 1999.

Price’s research interests include the molecular mechanisms of neural development. His responsibilities in the Department of Biology include teaching a variety of courses to students at different levels, with varied backgrounds and aspirations. He is responsible for the administration of large core courses in the biology curriculum and also performs academic advising, develops new teaching initiatives, and promotes undergraduate research. He has taught courses on the function and development of organisms; the biology of molecules and cells; developmental biology; genetics; the biology freshman seminar; and a course designed to train senior undergraduate and graduate-level teaching assistants in the biology core courses. His duties include teaching-assistant training, oversight of the teaching laboratory, and general course administration.

headshot of Don Schneider

Donald Schneider, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, joined the Penn State faculty in 1994 as an associate professor and was promoted to professor in 1999. He received his doctoral degree in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1982.

Schneider is known as an excellent advisor who is always available to students. In addition to providing academic advice, he also takes time to mentor students and helps them pursue their career paths.

Schneider’s primary area of research is observational cosmology; his best-known works include recovery of Comet Halley in 1982, devising a new technique to measure distances to galaxies, and discovering the most-distant known object.

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Alumni and Friends “See Stars” at Fels Planetarium

More than 200 alumni and friends of Penn State and the Eberly College of Science attended a program on February 23, 2006, at the Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. The event, hosted by Dean Daniel Larson, included a state-of-the-art star show and a discussion about cutting-edge astronomical research led by Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics faculty members Derek Fox, John Nousek, Chris Palma, Larry Ramsey, Donald Schneider, and Alex Wolszczan.

The program was held in conjunction with the Penn State Alumni Association ’s 2006 City Lights series.

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Reissmanns Host Event at “The Beach”

Thomas “Tom” Reissmann, ‘42 B.S., ‘47 M.S., ‘49 Ph.D. CChem, and his wife, Maria, hosted a dinner for a group of Eberly College of Science alumni at their summer home in Normandy Beach, New Jersey, on August 14, 2006. Attending the dinner were James Balog ‘50 B.S. P.M. and Alvina Balog ‘50 B.S. H EC; William Cave ‘60 B.S. EE, Elaine Cave ‘64 B.S. Educ, ‘68 M.A. Math; Meredith Gee ‘79 B.S., ‘85 M.S. CmpSc; Lisa Reissmann Eagan ‘76 B.A. PRE L; Daniel Larson, Dean of the Eberly College of Science; and Rob Mothersbaugh, Director of Development and Alumni Relations.

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Whodunit? Murder in Spruce Cottage

The first Murder Mystery Weekend took place on June 1-3, 2006, at Spruce Cottage on the Penn State University Park campus when a group of alumni took on “The Case of the Shrieking Cottage.” Alumni and friends worked with Penn State forensic science experts to learn how to examine a crime scene and secure evidence, and teamed with forensic science students to collect and analyze evidence in actual Penn State laboratories.

Penn State’s forensic science program now has 36 students with a declared major and 116 freshmen interested in the major. The first forensic science classes were taught in January of 2006. The program is directed by Robert Shaler ‘66 M.S., ‘68 Ph.D. Bioch, and Mitchell Holland.

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First Jefferson Reunion Planned for November

(PLEASE NOTE: This program has been cancelled. More information is available here.)

Penn State/Jefferson Premed-Med program poster

The Penn State-Jefferson Premedical-Medical Program will celebrate more than forty years of successful collaboration at a reunion that will take place November 3-5, 2006 on the University Park campus. The program began in 1963 as a five-year program, with students having one year plus four summers of undergraduate study at Penn State along with four years of study at the College of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. In 1980, the program became a six-year program with students spending two years (including two summers) at Penn State and then four years at the medical school. Currently, students have the option of selecting either the six-year or a seven-year program, which has students spending three years (no summers) at Penn State, followed by four years at the medical school. Over 800 alumni have earned their B.S./M.D. degrees through this cooperative Premedical-Medical Program.

The reunion will provide graduates of the program with the opportunity to become reacquainted with the Penn State campus and will provide the opportunity for fellowship and networking among the physicians attending. College and campus tours will be provided, there will be an opportunity for continuing education credit, and the alumni will interact and mentor current students enrolled in the program.

For more information about the program, contact Amy Leddy at ABL1@psu.edu or at 1-800-297-1429. More details about the program are also available at the program’s website at www.science.psu.edu/ alumni/A_JeffersonReunion.htm.

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Retired Faculty and Their Spouses Attend a Breakfast Reunion

Eberly College of Science retired faculty members and their spouses attended a breakfast reunion hosted by Willaman Dean Daniel Larson at the Nittany Lion Inn on August 10, 2006. Another breakfast is planned for November 15, 2006.

Click on image for larger view.
Back row: Mary Kendell, Bruce Kendell, Lynne Hultquist, Robert Hultquist, Dean Daniel Larson, Wesley Hymer, Ronald Pursell, Ellie Lindstrom, Eugene Lindstrom, Fay Jester, Marie Jackman, Lloyd Jackman
Front row: William Harkness, Frank Deutsch, Mary Deutsch, Margaret Johnson, Gerald Johnson, Barbara Thwaites, Thomas Thwaites, Falene Hamilton, Gordon Hamilton

Seated at front: Robert Minard
Those who attended but are absent from this photo: Charles and Patricia Hillson, Marge Hymer, Jean Pazur, Donald Rung, Barbara Minard.


Alumni Notes


Leonard S. Girsh, B.S. PM, is chairman and chief executive officer of Immunopath Profile, Inc. He has advanced therapeutics for diseases such as allergy that traverse the immune-surveillance system. He holds 12 U.S. patents for his work. His most recent patent is for processing the 3D configuration of peanut protein to make peanuts less allergenic, therefore by-passing the immune surveillance allergenic disease reactions of the product.


Paul R. Yoder, MS Phys, has published a reference text, titled Opto-Mechanical Systems Design (CRC Press, 2005). “[This] is the most unique, useful and up-to-date book on the subject of combining mechanics and optics that I have ever seen,” says a reviewer for Optics News.


William Hartmann, B.S. Phys, is a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. He is also an artist who began painting in the 1970s to illustrate textbooks he had written when he realized that astronomy could be more interesting to students if they had better visuals. He also organized the first International Space Art Workshop, a gathering from which eventually grew the International association of Astronomical Artists. See examples of his work at: www.psi.edu/hartmann/.


Allan W. Silberman, B.S. Sc, has been named the inaugural holder of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Robert J. and Suzanne Gottlieb Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology. The recipient of numerous awards and honors for his accomplishments in both teaching and research, he has been an attending physician at the Cedars-Sinai Outpatient Cancer Center at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute for the past 20 years.


Bruce Gewertz, B.S. Sc, recently accepted a new position as chair of the Department of Surgery, surgeon-in-chief, and vice president for interventional services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles—a major teaching affiliate of UCLA. In addition, he has received the Lawrence D.H. Wood Teaching Award from the University of Chicago Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators recognizing his 25 years of service and contributions to the medical school at the University of Chicago.


Dan Heisman, B.S. Math, ‘83 M Eng, is a chess master who received the 2005 Cramer Award for “Best Column, any media” by the Chess Journalists of America. He received the award for his column “Novice Nook” at the online magazine Chess Café. A full-time chess instructor and author, he established the Dan Heisman Chess Scholarship Fund at the Philadelphia Foundation. The fund will provide scholarship money to worthy chess players who do well in local scholastic events.


Cenan Ozmeral, M.S. Chem, has been named group vice president of BASF Corporation’s North American Functional Polymers business based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He served the company previously as vice president of petrochemicals, plasticizers and solvents.


Albert Ko, B.S. Biol, is a physician in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is chief of plastic surgery at The Cambridge Hospital.


Jonathan Pritchard, B.S. Biol, B.S. Math, is a professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. He has been featured in two stories in the New York Times for his work on the nature and extent of genetic variation within and between human populations and the evolutionary processes that produce patterns of variation.


Todd Mayover, B.S. Micrb, is the corporate counsel for Home Diagnostics, Inc., a leading manufacturer of diabetes testing supplies, in Pompano Beach, Florida.


Paul Lerou, B.S. Sc is a Pediatrican at Brigham and Womans Hospital and postdoctoral fellow in a leading stem cell research laboratory at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Daniel Reichart, B.S. Astro/Astrophys, B.S. Phys, B.S. Math, was a panelist at a NASA medical teleconference in September 2005 announcing the detection of the most distant explosion ever discovered, a gamma-ray burst from the edge of the visible universe. Scientists detected the burst using NASA’s Swift satellite. Penn State controls the science and flight operations of Swift from the Mission Operations Center in University Park.


Robert J. Duminiak, B.S. BMB, is an associate with the intellectual property law firm of Howson and Howson in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. He has been named to the Board of Governors for the Benjamin Franklin American Inn of Court for 2006-2007.


Katrina D. Shoemaker, B.S. Biol, married Jeffrey M. Cousin, B.A. PL SC, on May 27, 2006. The couple resides in Newark, Delaware.

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Faculty Obituaries

Ralph G. Ascah died on December 18, 2005. From 1947 until his retirement in 1980, he was a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry. From 1959 until 1980 he was also Penn State’s premedical advisor, where he guided nearly 2,000 physicians, dentists and other health professionals through their undergraduate careers and into professional school. He has been credited as one of the developers of Penn State’s accelerated premedical-medical BS/MD program with Jefferson Medical College.

Reginald Deering, professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology, died on January 26, 2006. He was a member of the Penn State faculty from 1964 until his retirement in 1996. His research on DNA repair was funded by the National Institutes of Health for 25 consecutive years.

Frank Haight died on April 30, 2006. He was a member of the faculty in transportation, statistics, and mathematics at Penn State, as well as at UCLA and the University of California at Irvine.

Heinz Henisch died on March 21, 2006. He held joint positions at Penn State as professor of physics and as professor of the history of photography. He was the author of 11 books and 150 research papers. In 1996, the B. and H. Henisch Photo-History Collection was given to the University for permanent display in Pattee Library.

Emerson Hibbard died on March 19, 2006. He retired from Penn State in 1990 as professor of biology after serving for more than 20 years in the Department of Biology. He was the author of numerous publications on brain and optic nerve functions.

Frank T. Kocher died on July 6, 2006. He was professor emeritus of mathematics and after 34 years of service at Penn State, he served as a visiting professor in the mathematics department at Baylor University and was a missionary to Japan for one year where he taught English.

Gerard J. Lallament, professor emeritus of mathematics, died on January 22, 2006. He first came to Penn State as a visiting professor in 1966 and became a permanent member of the faculty in 1969. He was the executive managing editor of the mathematical publication Semigroup Forum from 1982 until 1999.

John H. Pazur, professor emeritus of biochemistry, died on July 30, 2005. He was a member of the Penn State faculty from 1966 until his retirement in 1991. Dr. Pazur was best known for his pioneering work on the enzymatic hydrolysis of starch to glucose and its subsequent interconversion with fructose, leading to the commercial production of high fructose syrup from cornstarch.

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Alumni Obituaries

Any individuals wishing to remember those recently deceased faculty and alumni may send their memorial contributions with their check made out to “Penn State” to mailed to the Eberly College of Science, 430 Thomas Building, University Park, PA 16802. Please note in attached letter or in the memo section of your check, your gift intentions in memory of the individual, the area of gift designation.

Hugh Carr, ‘54 B.S. Sc, died on December 22, 2005. He was the former chairman and chief executive officer of Trion, Inc., a company that provides products for a clean, safe, and comfortable indoor air environment in the commercial, industrial, residential, and military markets.

Vagn Flyger, ‘52 M.S. Zool, died on January 9, 2006. He was a wildlife biologist who was well known for his work on squirrels. He was a member of the faculty of the Department of Biological Resources Engineering at the University of Maryland from 1962 until 1987.

Theodore Williams, ‘54 M.S. Chem, died on November 11, 2005. He was the Robert O. Wilson Professor of Chemistry at the College of Wooster. His work focused on developing new techniques to identify diseases of the eye. He was particularly committed to promoting science education among women and minorities.

Marc Ebel, ‘67 B.S. Sc, died on July 5, 2000. He was a physician specializing in gastroenterology at Crozer Chester Medical Center in West Chester. The hospital where he practiced held the first memorial service in their history to recognize Dr. Ebel who was a well-respected member of the hospital and of his community.

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