Bulletin News


Two SUNY Cortland students were selected to participate in a SUNY-wide symposium showcasing undergraduate research. Biological sciences majors Amanda Howard and Nicole Chodkowski will represent the College at “SUNY Undergraduates Shaping New York’s Future: A Showcase of Scholarly Posters at the Capitol,” on Tuesday, April 13, in Albany, N.Y.

The first event of its kind, the showcase will display research, scholarly and creative activities by students from all 64 SUNY institutions, including four-year institutions and community colleges. Set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the well of the Legislative Office Building in the state’s capitol, the symposium will emphasize undergraduate student research projects and their impact on New York state.

Howard, a senior from Ithaca, N.Y., will present “Role of Syndecan-4 in Wound Healing.” Her faculty mentor is Theresa Curtis, an assistant professor of biological sciences.

Chodkowski, a junior from Westbury, N.Y., will present “Antipredator Strategies of Invasive Earthworms.” Peter Ducey, professor and chair of the Biological Sciences Department, is her faculty mentor.

Howard, collaborating with Sarah Wilcox-Adelman at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, investigated the mechanism of delayed wound healing in mice lacking the syndecan-4 gene.

The hypothesis of this study is that syndecan-4 acts as a co-receptor with the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor on endothelial cells, and is essential for the VEGF-induced increase in vascular permeability observed after injury. Howard’s research data show that when syndecan-4 is absent, the VEGF induced increase in permeability is not observed, which may contribute to the delayed wound healing observed in the null mice.

Chodkowski studied the antipredator defenses of five species of earthworms, suspected to be invasive in North America. Invasive earthworms may be causing problems by altering the composition of forests and damaging ecosystems. To better understand the invasion, Chodkowski designed experiments that demonstrated distinct differences among species, suggesting that the invaders differ in their abilities to survive predatory attack. These differences may give some species an ecological advantage over others, resulting in greater environmental impacts.

The conference is sponsored by Undergraduate Academic Programs and Policies Committee of the SUNY University Faculty Senate. The displays will feature approximately 100 student-hosted poster sessions and cover a diverse representation of disciplines. SUNY faculty mentors supervised the research. 

The showcase is designed to bring together some of SUNY’s most talented undergraduate scholars with SUNY Administration officials and members of the New York State Legislative delegation and their office staff. The midday poster session will allow SUNY students the opportunity to present their research and creative academic projects to a large audience at Albany’s Legislative Office Building.

For more information, contact Christopher A. McRoberts, Geology Department, at (607) 753-2925.