Five Yeshiva College Students to Participate in Advanced Undergraduate Research Program

Five Yeshiva College students have been selected to perform advanced undergraduate level research as part of the Henry Kressel Research Scholarship. Now in its sixth year, the scholarship program—established by Dr. Henry Kressel, chairman of the YU Board of Trustees,  managing director of Warburg Pincus LLC and a Yeshiva College graduate—offers students the opportunity to craft a year-long intensive research project under the direct supervision of University faculty.

Mehlman, Kornbluth, Weingarten, Cohen and Grunblatt

Kressel Scholars Yoni Mehlman, Yosef Kornbluth, Mark Weingarten, Barry Cohen and Eli Grunblatt

This year’s recipients are Barry Cohen, Eli Grunblatt, Yosef Kornbluth, Yoni Mehlman, and Mark Weingarten.

The scholars will each receive a stipend of $6,000 for the year, along with appropriate research-support expenses. Following their research tenure, Kressel Scholars will be encouraged to share their work in professional and peer circles to stimulate a larger intellectual discussion on their chosen topic.

The students’ research, conducted under the guidance of a faculty member, will focus on a variety of subjects.

“One of the major sources of waste in the oil industry is the burning of natural gases above petroleum reserves to get to the oil below,” said Cohen, who will work with Dr. James Camara, visiting assistant professor of chemistry. “The goal of my research is to design and synthesize a metal containing catalyst that will facilitate the conversion of methane, which is a gas under atmospheric conditions, into methanol, which is a liquid under atmospheric conditions and is therefore more economical to transport.”

Grunblatt will be advised by Dr. Sumanta Goswami, associate professor of biology, as he investigates the molecular mechanisms by which breast cancer cells resist chemotherapy treatments and survive to metastasize. “In particular, I will be focusing on the role that the cellular DNA repair pathways play in mediating this chemoresistance,” said Grunblatt.

Kornbluth will study “The Cascade of Failures Caused by Overload in Interdependent Networks” under the guidance of his mentor, Dr. Sergey Buldyrev, professor of physics. “Until now, there have been two popular models to study how networks, such as electrical grids or communication lines, have failed,” explained Kornbluth. “One focuses on how sending too much traffic through a single bottleneck can cause the bottleneck to overload and fail, while the other observes how one network’s failures can affect another network. I plan on combining the two models in order to better predict and plan for these catastrophes.”

Working with Dr. Fredy Zypman, professor of physics, Mehlman’s research will focus on Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), a technique used to measure the properties of a range of sample types at the sub-nano scale. “My research will attempt to use more precise physical models to expand the accuracy and range of applications of force-distance graph construction with AFM,” said Mehlman.

Weingarten will research “Effects of Aquaporin-4 on Lung Epithelial Stem Cell Differentiation” under the guidance of Dr. Yakov Peter, assistant professor of biology. “Throughout my tenure in the lab, Dr. Peter has constantly encouraged me to develop my own ideas and helped me tailor them to conduct my own experiments. His dedication to his students is remarkable,” said Weingarten, who plans to pursue his semikha studies at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in the fall. “Our work has not only provided me with a foundation in research, but has also sharpened my analytic and decision-making abilities, as well as my ethical perspective.”