Yeshiva University News » Research

Revel Student’s Research Examines Daily Legalities of Biblical Life Through a Comparative Lens

Judaism relies heavily on its legal library: written discussions of the law are almost synonymous with the religion, describing practices that date back to the beginnings of the Bible and beyond. But what did those practices actually look like in the day-to-day lives of ancient Israelites? Like many civilizations of the time, the Jews of the biblical era used papyrus for everyday business affairs; few artifacts from the era survive to illustrate how the rules and regulations found in the canonical Torah were observed.

20141223_yael_wermuth_06For Yael Landman Wermuth, a doctoral student at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the key to understanding these texts lies not so much in the history of ancient Jews, but in that of their neighbors.

Landman Wermuth’s doctoral thesis examines areas of biblical law through a comparative lens, drawing on examples from the contemporary Mesopotamian and Hittite law codes, which contain many similarities to that of the Bible, as well as ancient Near Eastern contracts, letters, trial records and other documents that offer a glimpse of legal practice in everyday Mesopotamian life. Read the rest of this entry…

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Research from Sy Syms and Seton Hall Finds Alphabetical Bias When Picking Stocks

There are probably many reasons why Apple and Amazon are among the most highly-traded stocks on the market, but one of them is surprisingly simple: they both start with the letter ‘A.’

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Dr. Jesse Itzkowitz, assistant professor of marketing

According to a new study by Dr. Jesse Itzkowitz, assistant professor of marketing at Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business, in collaboration with his wife, Jennifer Itzkowitz, assistant professor of finance at Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business, and her colleague, Scott Rothbort, chief market strategist at Stillman, early alphabet stocks trade more frequently and at higher valuations than later alphabet stocks because individual investors tend to settle on an acceptable option as soon as they find one, instead of evaluating all options based on rigorous analysis in search of the absolute best choice. That tendency is exacerbated by the overwhelming amount of information about the market that’s available to potential investors these days.

“Simply said, investors are lazy,” said Jesse Itzkowitz. Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva College Research Team Publishes Findings on Protein Structure in Leading Crystallography Journal

A research team led by physics professors Dr. Neer Asherie and Dr. Sergey Buldyrev discovered a new way to control the crystallization of proteins so that researchers can more easily determine a protein’s 3D structure. These findings were published in Acta Crystallographica D, a leading crystallography journal. The paper was co-authored by five former and current Yeshiva College students.

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Dr. Neer Asherie

The team, which includes Dr. Bruce Hrnjez at Collegiate School and Dr. Jean Jakoncic at Brookhaven National Laboratory, discovered that adding a specific class of small molecules to water solutions of proteins not only induces the proteins to crystallize, but can also control the type of crystal formed.

“Protein crystals are used to figure out the structure and function of proteins, which is important for understanding certain diseases and for drug development,” said Asherie. “However, proteins are difficult to crystallize. Our research suggests a new way to control protein crystallization and – we hope – increase the success rate of making crystals. The results are new and lay a fertile ground for future studies. ”

The article describes several years of work, to which both past and current YU students contributed by carrying out experiments, simulations and data analysis. Read the rest of this entry…

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Dr. Anya Alayev, Dr. Marina Holz and Undergraduate Researchers Publish Papers in Leading Scientific Journals

Two research papers written by Stern College for Women students and a post-doctoral fellow have been published in leading scientific journals. Dr. Anya Alayev, a post-doc in Dr. Marina Holz’s lab, authored the papers together with Holz and a group of undergraduates and research assistants, who participated in the research projects described in the papers.

Dr. Anya Alayev

Dr. Anya Alayev

“Phosphoproteomics Reveals Resveratrol-Dependent Inhibition of Akt/mTORC1/S6K1 Signaling,” was published in the Journal of Proteome Research.

“In this article we wanted to find a direct downstream target of resveratrol, a naturally-derived compound that has been found to have anti-aging and disease-protecting properties,” said Alayev, who also recently received the Scholar-in-Training Award from the American Association of Cancer Research.

By identifying proteins that are affected by resveratrol, the study paves the way for further research into the compound and its actions. The paper was a product of two years of research in collaboration with a group from the University of Vermont, in addition to extensive laboratory experiments and computational biology analyses—including several months of writing and revisions—before the manuscript was accepted for publication. It was co-authored by Sara Malka Berger ’13S, who worked in the Holz lab as a research assistant last year and is now pursuing master’s degree in Genetic Counseling at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Alayev also wrote “The combination of rapamycin and resveratrol blocks autophagy and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells” which was co-authored by Berger, Melissa Kramer ’15S and Naomi Schwartz ’14S, and was published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. Read the rest of this entry…

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Stern College Student Melissa Kramer Examines The Effects of Pharmaceutical Contamination in Summer Internship

Up to 90 percent of a pharmaceutical can leave the body in its active form, meaning that drugs we ingest every day enter the environment via waste water. What happens to those chemicals left behind after waste water processing, and can they have adverse effects on the people and animals that come in contact with that water? Melissa Kramer, a senior at Stern College for Women, spent 10 weeks this summer trying to find out.

melissa kramer

Melissa Kramer

As part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the College of Charleston, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, Kramer studied pharmaceutical contamination in the Grice Marine Laboratory, joining a select group of nine other students from around the country who shared a similar passion for marine biology. Read the rest of this entry…

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YU Undergraduates Participate in Cutting-Edge Summer Scientific Research Program at Einstein

After a challenging year of academic study as a biology major concentrating in molecular and cellular biology at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, Liat Weinstock, of Cedarhurst, New York, isn’t spending her well-deserved summer break at camp or on a beach. Instead, she’s working with Dr. Rebecca Madan’s pediatric infectious diseases team on a research study examining the effects of certain drug-resistant bacteria on transplant patients after their operations.

2014 Roth Scholars

From left: Natan Tracer, Liat Weinstock, Shira Kaye, Hadassa Holzapfel, Adi Cohen, Esther Kazlow, Jacqueline Benayoun, Bracha Robinson and Tamar Ariella Lunzer

“If we’re able to uncover some new information about how our immune system works and recovers, we can then change how we practice medicine to better treat patients with diseases,” said Weinstock. “My responsibilities here have been especially interesting to me because they almost feel like detective work—I find clues in patients’ charts that lead me to the correct labs and test results to determine whether a patient will fit our study or not. Putting together all the clues and coming up with an answer is an exciting ‘Eureka!’ moment.”

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Yeshiva College Senior Mark Weingarten is Researching Bioethics at the Hastings Center
Mark Weingarten, student

Mark Weingarten, a senior at Yeshiva University, was selected to conduct research as part of the Emily Murray Fellowship at the Hastings Center for Bioethics in Hastings, New York this summer.

The three-week program began at the end of May and is open to undergraduates who are preparing a senior thesis in bioethics. Weingarten’s research will focus on two projects that integrate Torah, biomedical science and law. One will explore the ethical considerations that arise from the publication of irreproducible or seemingly fraudulent scientific data, in addition to developing systems approaches to enhance research integrity. The other will examine ethical issues with respect to animals, particularly regarding the controversy over the humane killing of animals for food, and the interplay between religion, history, law and ethics in determining policy.

“I hope to use this research to investigate the broader questions that underlie many elements of the biomedical field in general, and the way in which legal and religious traditions engage advancements in science and technology,” said Weingarten, who is majoring in history at Yeshiva College and also pursuing semicha (rabbinic ordination) at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. “I hope that this study will further my ability to synthesize the knowledge and sensitivities that I have gleaned from my rabbinical studies and biological research to address personal and societal ethical scientific dilemmas.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Kayla Applebaum, Molecular Biology Major, Receives Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Kayla 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.

Kayla Applebaum, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Award WinnerOnly 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.

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Stern College Biology Professors Alyssa Schuck and Jeffrey Weisburg Engage Students in Novel Cancer Research

What’s in an apple? Maybe, just maybe, the secret to kicking cancer.

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Dr. Jeffrey Weisburg and Dr. Alyssa Schuck

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.

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Researchers to Study Diabetes Self-Management and Behavioral Interventions

More than 25 million Americans have diabetes, yet as many as 60 percent of type 2 diabetes patients do not follow treatment plans prescribed by their health care provider and about 50 percent fail to meet treatment recommendations for control of blood glucose levels. Consistent adherence to oral medications and injectable insulin, both used to keep blood glucose levels in check, is particularly challenging among young patients and ethnic minorities. Consequences are significant: lack of adherence can lead to or exacerbate eye disease, kidney disease and nerve damage.

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Dr. Jeffrey Gonzalez

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