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  • Norwich's Men's Cross Country Coach Michael McGrane named GNAC Coach of the Year after championship season

    Norwich's Men's Cross Country Coach Michael McGrane named GNAC Coach of the Year after championship season

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  • Applications are open for the June 2023 GenCyber Teacher Training Camp.

    Applications are open for the June 2023 GenCyber Teacher Training Camp.

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  • Norwich University's Dr. Rachele Pojednic featured in Eating Well article on the health benefits of celery.

    Norwich University's Dr. Rachele Pojednic featured in Eating Well article on the health benefits of celery.

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  • Norwich Men's & Women's Basketball host the 25th Ed Hockenbury Classic Dec. 2 - 4 in Andrews Hall.

    Norwich Men's & Women's Basketball host the 25th Ed Hockenbury Classic Dec. 2 - 4 in Andrews Hall.

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  • The 2022 Journal of Peace and War Studies is published by the Norwich's John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center.

    The 2022 Journal of Peace and War Studies is published by the Norwich's John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center.

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    'So Much to be Thankful for'

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From genetic engineering to digital forensics to the plays of Harold Pinter, campus labs across the sciences, professions, and humanities showcase the talent, curiosity, and impact of Norwich faculty and students. Portraits of nine diverse researchers and the labs they work in.

BY SEAN MARKEY
The Norwich Record | Winter 2018

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Tom Shell is a chemical biologist who builds molecules crucial to research into targeted drug-delivery systems known as photo-pharmaceuticals. Working in his lab, Shell synthesizes molecules similar to Vitamin B12 called alkylcobalamins that bind to nearly any cancer drug and put its cell-killing powers on hold. Before that happens, however, Shell attaches a light-sensitive trigger to the alkylcobalamin. Hit the with right wavelength of light, the molecule jettisons its cancer drug, sending it on its tumor-destroying way.

Other researchers have explored triggers sensitive to UV light, despite its major drawback—our skin is very good at absorbing it. Shell was the first to build triggers sensitive to near-infrared light, which passes deep into human tissue. The scientist says his research could one day help doctors treat patients with head and neck cancers where surgeries would be unsightly, if not difficult, while minimizing damage to healthy tissue elsewhere in the body.

Shell collaborates with Brian Pogue, a physics and surgery professor at Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering and Geisel School of Medicine who co-directs the college’s Optics in Medicine Lab. “We have the light-delivery tools and the background in mouse models of cancers and human treatments, which can help. But what we lack is expertise in chemistry and synthesis and development of molecules,” Pogue says. “Tom brings the exact expertise that we need.”

From genetic engineering to digital forensics to the plays of Harold Pinter, campus labs across the sciences, professional disciplines, and humanities showcase the talent, curiosity, and impact of Norwich faculty and students. Portraits of nine diverse researchers and the labs they work in.

BY SEAN MARKEY
The Norwich Record | Winter 2018

Assistant Professor of Biology Allison Neal and biology major Joshua Sassi ’18 have spent two weeks each of the past two summers stalking the oaks and grasslands of the 5,300-acre UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in Northern California. Their quest: capture Western fence lizards by the hundreds to collect field data on a malaria parasite endemic in the reptiles. “It’s one of the best-studied natural systems that hasn’t been affected by human interventions, like antimalarial drugs,” Neal says. In all, the pair bagged close to a thousand lizards—measuring, numbering, and drawing blood samples at a field lab before releasing the reptiles into the wild. At Norwich, the researchers used microscopy to survey blood samples for Plasmodium mexicanum malaria infections and other parasites and prepared samples for DNA analysis. Neal’s research continues a long-term study of the lizard population and its parasitic interloper now entering its 41st year. The project’s data points of basic science provide valuable research that can inform future studies of disease dynamics and climate change.

Sassi focused his second season in the field and lab on an undergraduate summer research fellowship to investigate and develop a coinfection prediction model in Western fence lizards between malaria and an intestinal parasitic infection known as Schellackia. An abstract of his work earned him the university’s College of Science and Mathematics Board of Fellows Prize for research. Neal, meanwhile, recently received a $25,000 Vermont Genetics Network grant to study a parasite much closer to home—schistosomes, microscopic worms found locally in certain water-loving birds, mammals, and snails that causes “swimmer’s itch” in humans.

Field Hazards:
1. Sunstroke. 2. Rattlesnakes. 3. Barbed goat grass seeds. (Ice picks in plant form.) 4. Wily lizards.

Field Gear:
1. Sunburns. 2. Snake gators. (Josh) 3. Heavy boots and pants. 4. Fishing poles rigged with small nylon nooses, pillowcases to collect captive lizards, Norwich t-shirt, “I Will Try” attitude.

From genetic engineering to digital forensics to the plays of Harold Pinter, campus labs across the sciences, professional disciplines, and humanities showcase the talent, curiosity, and impact of Norwich faculty and students. Portraits of nine diverse researchers and the labs they work in.

BY SEAN MARKEY
The Norwich Record | Winter 2018

Brian Glenney is your typical skateboarding, graffiti-spraying, private military college assistant professor of philosophy with a rock star resume and the punk playlist to match it. A graduate of St. Andrews and USC, Glenney specializes in social and sensory perception, exploring philosophical theories about what it is to see, hear, and touch in the world around us. He has spoken about his work at Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, and the University of Tokyo. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art has also come calling, showcasing his collaborative street art/icon design reimaging of the wheelchair access symbol.

Glenney’s wide-ranging research often relates to perception and labels of disability vs. diversity, and more recently subversion in sport—that notion that genius rule-benders, if not breakers, drive innovation. To wit, Socrates, Charles Dickens, and the guy who invented the cross-over dribble. So what does that have to do with labs? Well, more than you might think. Glenney recently collaborated with colleagues at UVM to survey local skateboarders on their attitudes and behaviors around helmet use. The National Institutes of Health, which funded the research via a Vermont Genetics Network grant, is keen to understand the behaviors and risks of extreme sports.

Glenney sees the project as a potential first step for a larger, lab-based study. At a prior post, Glenney founded a philosophy and psychology lab, where students helped create the Kromophone, prototype goggles, and now an app that turns colors into sounds, upending how we experience the world. Such undergraduate projects demonstrate “that philosophy is reliably practical,” Glenney says. “If anything is awesome about Norwich, it’s that the students demand some kind of practical upshot to what they’re learning.” A lab is “a perfect place to show philosophy actually engages the world that you touch and see. It’s not just theoretical.”

Expert on:
1. The perceptual theory of 18th-century Scottish philosopher Adam Smith.
2. Molyneux’s Question: Could a blind person who knows a cube and sphere by touch identify them by sight if it were restored?
3. Socrates’ hobbies if alive today: “I think he would skate and do graffiti.” *

* OK, make that an educated guess.

From genetic engineering to digital forensics to the plays of Harold Pinter, campus labs across the sciences, professional disciplines, and humanities showcase the talent, curiosity, and impact of Norwich faculty and students. Portraits of nine diverse researchers and the labs they work in.

BY SEAN MARKEY
The Norwich Record | Winter 2018

Environmental chemist Seth Frisbie is a world expert on detecting toxic metals in drinking water and the math behind their associated health risk. If the World Health Organization makes a rounding error, he catches it. Such tiny details matter. A mere 10 parts per billion of arsenic in drinking water, the current U.S. standard for example, leads to an extra 1 cancer death out of 400 people. “Arsenic is so toxic, so carcinogenic that it cannot be measured to safe levels” in routine testing laboratories, Frisbie says. Arsenic isn’t our only worry. Trace amounts of far too many other toxic metals also act as powerful carcinogens or neurotoxins. Most of our drinking water today comes from the ground and therein lies the problem. “Most elements of the periodic table are in the Earth’s crust” and thus our water, he says. “We’re drinking filtered mud.”

A globe-trotting tour of four current projects:

1. France: On independent study leave this year, Frisbie and his wife and research partner, Erika Mitchell, are working with Richard Ortega at the Nuclear Research Center at the University of Bordeaux. Using PIXE, a state-of-the art particle accelerator, they are investigating how manganese might affect the neurology of infants, children, and the elderly, and possible links to Parkinson’s Disease and some learning disabilities.

2. MIT/Nepal: A collaboration with MIT engineer Susan Murcott to develop an inexpensive, handheld LED spectrophotometer to test drinking water for toxic metals in Nepal and other developing countries. Students in Norwich Professor Mike Prairie’s electrical engineering design lab have helped advanced the prototype.

3. Norwich: Frisbie is nearing completion on a groundbreaking device to detect arsenic in drinking water, one that is a thousand times more sensitive than is currently possible in routine testing laboratories. Senior biochemistry major Greg Wilkins has worked to calibrate the instrument.

4. India: Frisbie is helping colleagues at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, NU Chemistry Chair Richard Milius, and chemistry major Joe Minicucci build a chemical reagent that colorizes uranium in drinking water, to enable inexpensive field testing with LED spectrophotometers. (See #2.)

From genetic engineering to digital forensics to the plays of Harold Pinter, campus labs across the sciences, professional disciplines, and humanities showcase the talent, curiosity, and impact of Norwich faculty and students. Portraits of nine diverse researchers and the labs they work in.

BY SEAN MARKEY
The Norwich Record | Winter 2018

A place for focused effort, experimentation, exploration and discovery. If anything in the Humanities fits the definition of a lab, it’s theatre. “You can take risks and try new things,” says Assistant Professor of Theatre Jeffry Casey. In November, Casey directed actors in the Norwich student theatre troupe the Pegasus Players in a production of two short Harold Pinter plays, “Party Time” and “New World Order.” The works explore authoritarianism and torture while grappling with the theme of power. Casey, who joined the Norwich faculty in July, says producing theatre at a military college like Norwich is an opportunity to expose future military and civilian leaders to ideas through art. “Nothing is more important than [how] they think about power and what it means [to] have power and what it means to be complicit in injustice or justice.”

Casey, who also teaches classes on public speaking, writing, and literature, says he wants to push theatre at Norwich into other arenas. He has already visited ESL classes and says theatre students could support other campus programs in countless ways. “We live in a world of non-scarcity in some ways with so many products, particularly culture,” he says. “But theatre is a scarce resource, and that makes it more valuable.”

Related Story: Jeff Casey on Why I Teach

Norwich News

  • All
  • Alumni News
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  • Athletics News
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  • Service
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  • Student Experience
  • Student Life
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  • University Publications
  • Default
  • Title
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  • Random
  • Norwich's Men's Cross Country Coach Michael McGrane named GNAC Coach of the Year after championship season

    Norwich's Men's Cross Country Coach Michael McGrane named GNAC Coach of the Year after championship season

    • Athletics News
  • Applications are open for the June 2023 GenCyber Teacher Training Camp.

    Applications are open for the June 2023 GenCyber Teacher Training Camp.

    • Special Events
  • Norwich University's Dr. Rachele Pojednic featured in Eating Well article on the health benefits of celery.

    Norwich University's Dr. Rachele Pojednic featured in Eating Well article on the health benefits of celery.

    • Norwich In The News
  • Norwich Men's & Women's Basketball host the 25th Ed Hockenbury Classic Dec. 2 - 4 in Andrews Hall.

    Norwich Men's & Women's Basketball host the 25th Ed Hockenbury Classic Dec. 2 - 4 in Andrews Hall.

    • Athletics News
  • The 2022 Journal of Peace and War Studies is published by the Norwich's John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center.

    The 2022 Journal of Peace and War Studies is published by the Norwich's John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center.

    • University Publications
  • 'So Much to be Thankful for'

    'So Much to be Thankful for'

    • President's Message
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