Visiting Scholar Works With Summer Research Students in Biology Lab

visiting scholar with two students working in the biology lab

Biology student Anna Acosta, Professor Li-jun Ma, Ph.D. from University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and student Madison Newman (left to right) working in a laboratory in the Forkel Hall.

World-renowned computational biologist Li-jun Ma, Ph.D. visited Dominican College this summer to work with three biology students on research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  This follows the year-long sabbatical of Dominican College Biology Professor Bernadette Connors, Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with Dr. Ma.

During the sabbatical, Connors worked with Ma and her team to learn how to analyze genomic data with different sequencing technologies.  The summer research students are developing a manuscript with Connor’s data to hopefully be published in a scientific, peer-reviewed journal.  Ma said the Dominican College students have integrity, intelligence, and are fully committed to the research, “They are so engaging, I would rate them as some of the best students I have ever had. “

The sabbatical and undergraduate research work was funded by a two-year $166,000 NSF grant (award #1950018).  In addition to furthering Connor’s research of microbial communities in the Hudson River Valley freshwater streams, the grant funded new equipment for Dominican College laboratories and provided stipends for the research students.

The biology students taking part in the summer research are Madison Newman ‘22, Anna Acosta ’22, and Darlenys Sanchez ’22.