Scenes from the Fall Poster Session

The hallways of Dickinson were abuzz with science students and faculty, along with friends and supporters from across the College, on Friday December 7 for the Fall Term Poster Session. The building was a hive of activity as students discussed their work, asked questions, and generally enjoyed the challenge of substantively engaging with each other and the broader community about their projects.

Faculty member David Edelman talks to students Katie Giarra and Marilee Goad about the Animal Physiology poster “The Effects of Serotonin on Aggression in Subordinate Crayfish” (photo: Julia Evanczuk)

Roughly thirty posters were presented by students from Physics I, Comparative Animal Physiology, and Foundations of Physical Science. These courses range from introductory to advanced levels and the nature of the work reflected this diversity, featuring experiments of students’ own design, literature reviews, laboratory measurements of physical phenomena, and investigations of alternative energy possibilities for the campus and beyond. Selections of posters from each class will be posted on this site in the near future.

Top: Emily Mikucki (’13) discusses her poster “Fitness Consequences Associated with Variation in Developmental Temperature in Cabbage Butterflies” with dance and environmental studies student, Kaya Lovestrand (’14). (photo: Betsy Sherman)
Middle: (left) Chemistry faculty member Janet Foley asks Evan Braun (’13) about his animal physiology research; (right) Evan’s poster “Survey of Worker Ant Plasticity as Mediated by Classical Conditioning” is displayed along with his subject ants in the foreground (both photos: Julia Evanczuk)
Middle: Caroline Barnhart (postbac ’13) describes her work on the impact resistance and force transmission of different helmet designs (photo: Julia Evanczuk)










Several students gave demonstrations to help explain or place their work in context. For example, Carl Johanson (below) arranged for a  live performance from Lance, a five-year old American Cream horse, a nearly extinct breed of draft horse, for his demonstration of “Horsepower, the Other Way of Getting Energy from Biomass.”

Foundations of Physical Science student Carl Johanson (’14) introduces Lance, an American Cream draft horse, to onlookers as part of his presentation on animal power. (photo: Mike Goldin)


Biology faculty member Amie McClellan discusses recent work from her lab with Computing faculty member Andrew Cencini and others. (photo: Betsy Sherman)

Honorary student (and actual faculty member) Amie McClellan, enjoying the last full week of her sabbatical, also presented a poster as a sort of trial run for her upcoming presentation “EMC2 Encodes a Putative Novel Hsp90 Co-chaperone in Saccharomyces cerevisiae“, co-authored with Tambu Kudze (’10), at the 2012 Annual Meeting of The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in San Francisco, CA.

photo: Mike Goldin



Finally, good food made the event even more enjoyable. Faculty and staff brought in homemade breads and dishes such as Vegetable Lo Mein and Beef Vindaloo, as well as delicious desserts for all to enjoy.


The view from the second floor. (photo: Mike Goldin)

Research by Tambu Kudze (2010) Published in Science

A research paper co-authored by Bennington graduate Tambu Kudze (2010) was published in the August 24, 2012 issue of Science. The article, “Neurexin and Neuroligin Mediate Retrograde Synaptic Inhibition in C. elegans,” describes research aimed at understanding mutations linked to disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. By examining how the proteins neurexin and neuroligin, which are critical in synaptic processes, function in the nematode C. elegans the researchers hope to shed light on the mechanism by which mutations influence neural development.

The work was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Joshua Kaplan (group website) of the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where Tambu has worked since 2010. While at Bennington Tambu did research in the lab of Amie McClellan, which culminated in her thesis, “YJR088C Encodes a Functional HSP90 Co-Chaperone.” After graduation, Tambu was selected as a graduate representative on the Bennington College Board of Trustees. Tambu discussed some of her work, including her Field Work Terms, in this interview.

Tambu Kudze, photographed in June 2012, on a return visit to campus for a meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Protein Folding in Vermont

Recent graduate Christos Kougentakis ’12 and biology faculty member Amie McClellan attended the FASEB  (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) Protein Folding in the Cell Meeting held in Saxtons River, Vermont from July 29th to August 3rd, 2012 (the meeting program can be found here:

Christos presented a poster (click the the image at right for a large view or read the abstract), which contained data he generated as part of his advanced work in biology. Christos has recently accepted a research technician position in a biochemistry laboratory at MIT.

Free yeast samples to the first one who correctly identifies Christos and Amie in the picture below. To be sporting, you can click on the image to embiggen it.

If you still need help, here is a photo of Christos and Amie with Amherst College Chemistry professor Sheila Jaswal and her student Tim Poterba.

From left to right, Amherst College student Tim Poterba, Amherst College chemistry professor Sheila Jaswal, Bennington biology professor Amie McClellan, and recent Bennington graduate Christos Kougentakis ’12.