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Stern College Student Named Goldwater Scholar

April 3rd, 2014 by ross

Kayla Applebaum, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Award WinnerKayla Applebaum, a junior at Stern College for Women, has been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a highly competitive grant that supports undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in science, math or engineering.

Only 271 college sophomores and juniors across the country are selected for the scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Applebaum, a molecular biology major, will use her scholarship to continue her study of the targeting molecular pathways of breast cancer in hands-on research with Dr. Marina Holz, associate professor of biology at Stern College, who she has worked with for the last three years.

“From a young age I’ve loved puzzles,” said Applebaum. “My passion for research stems from that same fascination: I like looking at the details, hypothesizing a way to make them work together, and piecing together the bigger picture.”

That passion led Applebaum to her interest in the underlying mechanisms of cancer after she lost two grandparents to the disease. “Understanding the devastating consequences of cancer, I wanted to investigate this topic further with the hope that I could ease human suffering,” Applebaum said. “During the course of my projects, I discovered that I could take an idea and carry it to completion with conclusive results that could transform the way our society treats cancer. I hope one day to be able to make a difference in the life of at least one person.”

After graduation, Applebaum, who is also a member of the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program at Stern College and a recipient of the Anne Scheiber Science Academic Scholarship, hopes to attend medical school and launch her own career in cancer research.

“Kayla is motivated, hard-working and always aims to achieve the best possible educational experience for herself,” said Holz. “She exemplifies one of the core missions of Stern College: to promote women in science and support their aspirations to succeed in their chosen career paths.”

Stern College Student Selected for Prestigious Undergraduate Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Honor Society

March 24th, 2014 by ross

NaomiSchwartzNaomi Schwartz, a senior studying molecular biology at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women and president of the Stern College Biology Club, has been named as one of only 37 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Undergraduate Honor Society members nationwide.

The Honor Society recognizes exceptional undergraduate juniors and seniors pursuing a degree in the molecular life sciences at a college or university that is a member of the ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliate Network (UAN). Stern College’s Biology Club started a UAN chapter this fall.

“The Biology Club organizes many events throughout the year, such as research seminars featuring prominent scientists—even two Nobel laureates—and career workshops and fundraising drives among other things,” said Dr. Marina Holz, associate professor of biology at Stern, who serves as the club’s faculty member. “Last year, we decided to take it to the next level by joining a national undergraduate society. There are numerous advantages of belonging to the ASBMB: unique scholarship opportunities, travel awards, networking and the exchange of ideas with other undergraduate chapters.”

Schwartz, who hopes to pursue medical school, decided to get involved with the Biology Club as a junior because she enjoyed organizing events that were helpful and informative to the student body and sharing her excitement about science.

“My favorite biology club events have been the Torah U’madda lectures, such as our event this semester with Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman about medical ethics, because I think they really encapsulate the reason I go to Stern: for the balance of Torah values and worldly knowledge,” she said.

Schwartz views her selection to the Honor Society as not only an opportunity to further her own research but to benefit her peers as well. “Becoming a member of the Honor Society grants me access to the Society’s mentoring activities, but it also gives our UAN chapter several benefits, such as the ability to request an Honor Society Speaker,” she said. It will also allow the Stern College chapter free access to the undergraduate program consulting services of the ASBMB and support from the ASBMB and UAN in hosting approved regional UAN Scientific Meetings.

“It’s a great feeling to know that YU is recognized as a nationally competitive center of academic excellence,” said Holz.

YU Torah Scholars to Receive Katz Prize

March 12th, 2014 by ross

Rabbi-Hershel-Schachter1-214x300Yeshiva University Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical Theological Seminary (RIETS), and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought, will be presented with the 2014 Katz Award for their contributions to the practical analysis and application of halakha [Jewish law] in modern life.

The award is to be bestowed by Katz Family Foundation committee members, including former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Hebrew University President Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, and noted Talmudic scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, at a ceremony at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Thursday, May 27 at 6:00 p.m.

“Rav Schachter and Rav Sacks are among the greatest Jewish minds of this generation, and we are so pleased that they are being recognized appropriately for their scholarship, works of profound clarity and rabbinic genius that have not only informed but transformed the way we relate to Jewish thought and religious observance,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “At Yeshiva University, we consider ourselves fortunate for the opportunity to engage with these Torah giants on a daily basis.”

A renowned Talmudic scholar and a prominent authority in matters of Jewish law, Rabbi Schachter published an expansive collection of books and articles – many of which focus on the teachings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik z”l, including Eretz HaTzvi, Nefesh HaRav, and Divrei HaRav.

Formerly the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Rabbi Sacks is known the world over for his mastery of the spoken and written word. The author of over 25 titles and the editor of many more, Rabbi Sacks is the recipient of numerous accolades for his written works, including the Jerusalem Prize and three American National Jewish Book Awards, most recently this year for the Koren Sacks Pesach Machzor.Rabbi-Sacks-300x200

The Katz Prize has been awarded annually since 1975 to honor the memory of Golda Katz, the Katz family’s matriarch. Past prize recipients include Professor Menachem Alon, Nechama Leibowitz, Professor Zeev Lev, and Rabbi Yosef Kapach.

Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, the Rosh Yeshiva of both the Hasidic yeshiva of Sadigura and the Jerusalem College of Technology and the co-author of the Rabbinical Council of America’s prenuptial agreement, and Rabbi Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth z”l, the late rabbinic scholar who authored Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchatah, the authoritative work on the laws of Shabbat and Yom Tov, will also be recognized at the award ceremony in Jerusalem.

Stern College Professors Engage Students in Novel Cancer Research

March 12th, 2014 by ross

Faculty and students fight cancerAn apple a day keeps cancer away?

According to research by Dr. Alyssa Schuck and Dr. Jeffrey Weisburg, Doris Kukin Chair in Molecular Biology—both clinical assistant professors of biology at Stern College for Women, apples, along with cranberry juice, pomegranates, and green and black tea, contain common cancer-fighting compounds: nutraceutical polyphenols. Found in natural foods and plants, these polyphenolic extracts were proven by Weisburg’s and Schuck’s studies to be selectively toxic to cancer cells, leaving normal cells unaffected.

“We all know that a lot of drugs used to treat cancer have harmful side effects that damage normal tissue,” said Schuck. “Unlike many other studies, which only test the effects of chemicals on cancer cells, we take care to test the effects of the extracts on normal cells. Eventually, this could potentially lead to the development of a cancer therapy that would not negatively impact healthy, normal cells to the same extent as conventional chemotherapeutic agents. Our other goal is to determine the mechanism that enables these natural products to kill cancer cells.”

“Our work could also be significant in understanding some of the benefits of a healthy diet,” added Weisburg. “Many health benefits have been attributed to natural products and our work further elucidates how those products contribute to cancer prevention.”

To test the mechanisms that allow nutraceuticals to target cancer cells exclusively, Schuck and Weisburg use an in vitro culture system, working with human cells derived from the oral cavity to study the effects of natural extracts containing nutraceuticals. The idea to use cells from the mouth came from Dr. Harvey Babich, chair of the biology department at Stern College, who reasoned that because the research was testing the effects of natural products which most people consume orally, it would be important to study the impact of those products on the part of the body that first encounters them in their original state, before they can be metabolized or diluted.

Weisburg and Schuck make a great team: their individual areas of expertise, human physiology and immunology for Weisburg and protein analyses and microbiology for Schuck, enable them to tackle nutraceuticals from multiple angles at the same time. Working together with Babich, as well as with Dr. Harriet Zuckerbraun, clinical associate professor of biology at SternCollege, the two found that each of the natural extracts tested was more toxic to cancer cells than to normal cells, but their methods of killing cancer cells differed. Some extracts caused oxidative stress in cancer cells, leading to their death; other nutraceuticals caused cancer cell death by an alternate mechanism, which is likely to be direct interactions between the extract’s molecules and components of cellular signaling pathways.

Students are a vital part of Weisburg’s and Schuck’s research, working alongside them in the lab to gain hands-on experience with everything from cultivating the cells to performing toxicity tests.

“I had a terrific experience at Stern as a student, and I think the mentoring I experienced there prompted me to go down the career path I chose,” said Schuck, who graduated from Stern College in 1999 before pursuing a PhD at New York University’s Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. “Now that I’m teaching at Stern, I try to do the same things for students. We work with students very individually in the lab, and it’s rewarding to really get to know them and see them succeed in accomplishing their goals and moving on to graduate and professional school.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Ferkauf and Wurzweiler Discuss Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community

March 5th, 2014 by ross

Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and Wurzweiler School of Social Work will host a presentation on “Dispelling Myths: Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community,” on March 31 at YU’s Israel Henry Beren Campus in midtown.

Eating disorders—which affect people of all ages and ethnicities and have the highest premature mortality rate of any mental illness—are often kept hidden, complicating treatment and prevention efforts. Recognizing the seriousness and increasing prevalence of eating disorders, Ferkauf and Wurzweiler are training more psychologists and social workers to diagnose and treat people who suffer from these devastating illnesses.

The event, cosponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), will be open to the public and feature three experts in the field: Dr. Esther Altmann, an educator and clinical psychologist in private practice who served as an eating disorders consultant to Jewish organizations; Ilene V. Fishman, a social worker specializing in the treatment of eating disorders who taught Wurzweiler’s first elective course on the topic last fall; and Dr. Yael Latzer, professor at Haifa University and director of the Eating Disorders Clinic of Rambam Medical Center, which she founded in 1992.

“Eating disorders are a significant aspect in mental health today that’s far too common and it’s important that anyone involved in higher education in social work know how to identify eating disorders and how to treat them,” said Fishman, who helped found NEDA and was named to its Board of Directors last December. She also served on the national board of the American Anorexia Bulimia Association. “Eating disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent, especially in the Orthodox Jewish community, and people are becoming more aware of them. Events like these help people become more educated and help the community become more open in dealing with the problem.”

The event will be the second partnership between Wurzweiler and NEDA. Last April, they co-sponsored an educational public seminar at the Yeshiva University Museum for professionals to enhance awareness, empathy and expertise in how to treat patients with eating disorders. The funding for the conference came from the Karyn Tendler NEDA Conference Fund, established by family members in memory of Karyn Tendler, who lost her battle with anorexia several years ago.

“Now that there is a well-established collaborative relationship in place between Wurzweiler and NEDA, I am confident the relationship will lead to additional social research and community interventions, and to training more social workers to help those with eating disorders across North America,” said Dr. Carmen Hendricks, the Dorothy and David I. Schachne Dean of Wurzweiler. “Wurzweiler has an international student body and, as a result, the potential to make a great impact in many different communities.”

The Karyn Tendler Scholarship Fund at Wurzweiler also supports the education of promising students who wish to specialize in the field of eating disorders and focus their field placements on working in relevant hospitals and agencies. To donate to the fund or to find out more about the March event, scheduled for 5:45 p.m. in the Koch Auditorium at 245 Lexington Avenue, please email wurzweileradvancement@yu.edu.

YU’s CJF Addresses Child Sex Abuse Issue in Jewish Communities

March 4th, 2014 by ross

Victor-Vieth-1024x682On February 25, Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future hosted an educational and training session for rabbinic leadership focusing on the unique challenges of addressing and preventing child sexual abuse in religious communities.

The conference was one of several programs and efforts by YU to promote child sexual abuse prevention and awareness and provided an overview of the latest research about abuse in faith-based communities as well as guidelines to help synagogues institute policies and procedure aimed at preventing and addressing allegations of child sexual abuse. The program included addresses from Andrew (Avi) Lauer, Esq., vice president for legal affairs and secretary and general counsel at YU; Dr. Shira Berkovits, a postdoctoral psychology fellow at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine‘s Early Childhood Center, part of the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center /Rose F. Kennedy Center, and a student at YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School; and national child sexual abuse expert Victor Vieth, director emeritus of the Gundersen Health System’s National Child Protection Training Center.

Read the rest of the article here.

Dr. Mark Schoenberg Named as Chair at Einstein

March 4th, 2014 by ross
Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY, have named Mark Schoenberg, MD, professor and university chair of the department of urology. He will assume his new position in April 2014.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Schoenberg to Montefiore as chair of urology. He is a distinguished leader in the field with a passionate commitment to research and multidisciplinary patient care. Dr. Schoenberg will lead a team with a solid record of clinical, educational, and research excellence, and build upon this record to continue to advance the care of our patients,” said Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore.

Dr. Schoenberg joins Montefiore from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, where he currently serves as the Bernard L. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Urology and director of urologic oncology.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Schoenberg to Montefiore as chair of urology. He is a distinguished leader in the field with a passionate commitment to research and multidisciplinary patient care. Dr. Schoenberg will lead a team with a solid record of clinical, educational, and research excellence, and build upon this record to continue to advance the care of our patients,” said Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore.

Dr. Schoenberg joins Montefiore from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, where he currently serves as the Bernard L. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Urology and director of urologic oncology.

- See more at: http://urologytimes.modernmedicine.com/urology-times/news/dr-schoenberg-named-chair-albert-einstein#sthash.XHkPMA4j.dpuf

Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY, have named Mark Schoenberg, MD, professor and university chair of the department of urology. He will assume his new position in April 2014. – See more at: http://urologytimes.modernmedicine.com/urology-times/news/dr-schoenberg-named-chair-albert-einstein#sthash.XHkPMA4j.dpuf

YU Hosts National Model UN Conference

February 24th, 2014 by ross

ModelUNOver 450 delegates convened from February 9-11 for the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) conference, held at the Stamford Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Stamford, CT. YUNMUN XXIV brought together student ambassadors from 46 yeshivas and community day schools across three continents, hailing from 15 states and 39 cities around the world. In addition, 60 YU undergraduates and 65 faculty advisers joined the conference, which is a student-run simulation of the workings of the real United Nations that allows participants to learn about the complex landscape of international diplomacy.

“YUNMUN is unique as an opportunity for high school students to meet with their peers from across North America, Brazil and South Africa,” said Michael Kranzler, YU’s director of undergraduate admissions. “Throughout the three days, they learn from each other in the context of an academic, intellectual and social event that is run and entirely coordinated by undergraduate students. These student role models at this professionally run conference are the most effective ‘recruiters’ for YU.”

Read the entire article here.

Yeshiva University Names New Provost, Dr. Selma Botman

January 30th, 2014 by ross

Yeshiva University announced today that Dr. Selma Botman will serve as the University’s next vice president for academic affairs and provost, effective July 1. Botman joins YU from The City University of New York, where she served as executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and university provost and most recently as professor of Middle Eastern history at the Graduate Center. The appointment was unanimously approved by the YU Board of Trustees, acting on the recommendation of a search committee comprised of faculty, students, administrators and trustees.

In making the appointment, YU President Richard M. Joel said: “Attracting a higher education professional with the experience, the humanity, and the academic probity of Selma Botman is an achievement that reflects Yeshiva University’s stature as one of the nation’s leading universities. I believe that she will provide enormous academic leadership to the wonderful team that supports me as we work together to build a strong, sustainable Yeshiva University. Education is about tomorrow and Dr. Botman’s experience and commitment to quality and exploring different paths of learning will enable us to build an environment that supports the best educational practices of today and anticipates even greater innovation in the future.”

Botman was selected in a nationwide search led by a 10-member search advisory committee. Her responsibilities as vice president and provost will include overseeing YU’s academic programs, research, personnel and resources; working together with faculty and the administration to strengthen teaching and student learning, foster scholarly research and creative projects, and build a collaborative culture across the University; and reevaluating curricula and programs to ensure they remain compelling and challenging. She will also recruit and retain high-quality faculty and staff to YU and work closely with the University Faculty Council.

“I am honored to be entrusted by President Joel and the Board of Trustees with the leadership of Yeshiva’s faculty and academic affairs,” she said. “I look forward to working with the President and with the faculty and students to ensure that Yeshiva’s academic experience remains a vital and compelling choice for a new generation of students seeking a unique preparation for a lifetime of learning and thoughtful, ethical engagement with the world. We will find common ground in our devotion to knowledge and our aspiration to wisdom.”

A native of Chelsea, Massachusetts, Botman holds a degree in psychology from Brandeis University and philosophy from Oxford University, as well as a Master’s in Middle Eastern studies and a PhD in history and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University. Botman’s academic expertise is in modern Middle Eastern history, politics and society. She is a well-known lecturer on current events in the Middle East and South Asia, as well as the author of three books and many scholarly articles in the field.

“Dr. Botman is a respected scholar and teacher and an experienced administrator,” said Dr. Matthew Goldstein, chancellor emeritus at CUNY. “Her high academic standards along with her warmth and compassion for others make her well-suited for the position of Provost at Yeshiva University.”

In addition to her positions at The City University of New York, Botman’s administrative roles have included appointments as special assistant to the chancellor of global education at the University of Maine System, president of the University of Southern Maine, senior adviser to the chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at the University of Massachusetts System.

In these positions, she initiated and coordinated several flagship programs, funding the development of a new STEM honors program and an advanced degree in nursing at USM as well as conceptualizing and launching a $30 million capital campaign to support scholarships, a performing arts center, and an innovation institute. At CUNY, her legacy includes the Campaign for Student Success, the Black Male Initiative, the Latino Faculty Initiative, and the Teacher Academy, a redesigned way to prepare math and science middle and high school teachers.

“Dr. Botman is a proven leader in higher education who combines a passion for learning and a commitment to excellence with the ability to get things done,” said Matthew Diller, dean of YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, who led the search committee. “She has the skill set to move an institution forward and her values reflect the mission of our great University. The search process included extensive involvement of faculty, students, trustees and administrators, and there was enthusiasm across the board for Dr. Botman’s candidacy.”

Dr. John Pierce Wise, Sr., professor of toxicology and molecular epidemiology at University of Southern Maine, praised the “deep sense of balance, fairness and commitment” that Botman brought to her time as president. “Never rushing to judgment or operating with a preconceived conclusion, she does her homework by consulting, listening and then firmly making decisions,” he said. “What I especially admire is her unalterable commitment to high standards and quality – which she never compromises.”

Dr. Elizabeth Nunez, distinguished professor of English at Hunter College, CUNY, recalled Botman’s “accessibility to faculty” during her tenure as University Provost there. “I found her to be highly supportive of faculty endeavors, enthusiastically seeking ways to advance faculty scholarship and teaching,” she said. “I very much admired her courage and integrity—she is a distinguished scholar, a woman of searing intelligence, sound moral values, and deep love and appreciation for human achievements.”

Botman will succeed Dr. Morton Lowengrub, who will complete 15 years of service at YU in June. “His legacy is profound,” said President Joel. “Dr. Botman is a worthy successor.”

$3 Million Gift to Albert Einstein and University of Oklahoma

January 30th, 2014 by ross

Tulsa World reported that a $3 million gift from the Price Family Foundation to the University of Oklahoma and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in Bronx, N.Y., will be used to create the first anaerobic structural biology program in the United States.

The OU-Einstein Research Consortium will be dedicated to advancing groundbreaking research with biomedical relevance in an unexplored area and will establish an Institute of Structural Biology in the Stephenson Life Sciences Research Center on OU’s Research Campus, OU President David Boren said.

“This gift from the Michael Price family will put OU researchers in a leading role in this important area of research dealing with the impact of protein,” Boren said in a news release. “It will further our partnership with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in this area.”