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Fine and Holz Appointed Endowed Chairs; Shatz Named University Professor

In recognition of their outstanding achievements, Yeshiva University recently honored two faculty members at Stern College for Women and one at Yeshiva College.

At Stern College, Dr. Marina Holz has been named the Doris and Ira Kukin Chair in Biology and Dr. David Shatz has been appointed University Professor of Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Thought. Dr. Steven Fine has been named the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Chair in Jewish History at Yeshiva College.

“Each of these individuals is a leader and an innovator whose work advances education and research at Yeshiva University,” said Dr. Selma Botman, vice president for academic affairs and provost at YU. “We recognize their accomplishments with the highest honors the University bestows: named chairs and a University professorship. David, Marina, and Steve represent for students and their colleagues what is worthy and noble about the life of the mind. The advances they have made in science and the humanities come through dedicated and tireless work, relentless focus and the joy that new knowledge brings.”

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Dr. Marina Holz

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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.

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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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Dr. Anya Alayev Recognized by the American Association of Cancer Research; Will Present Research at Upcoming Conference

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Dr. Anya Alayev

The American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) has selected Dr. Anya Alayev to receive the AACR-Aflac Incorporated Scholar-in-Training Award. The award will support her attendance and presentation of a poster of her work at the “Targeting the PI3K-mTOR Network in Cancer” conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this coming September.

Five presenters of meritorious abstracts were selected by the conference co-chairpersons to receive awards to attend the conference. All graduate and medical students, postdoctoral fellows and physicians-in-training who are AACR members were eligible for consideration.

“I’m working on understanding the contribution of the mTOR signaling pathway to breast cancer and other diseases with aberrations in mTOR signaling with the goal of developing new treatment strategies,” said Alayev, who has been a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Marina Holz’s lab at Stern College for Women since 2011. Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva University Mourns Passing of Professor of Jewish Philosophy Dr. Charles Raffel

Dr. Charles Raffel

Dr. Charles Raffel

Yeshiva University is saddened by the loss of Dr. Charles Raffel, longtime professor of Jewish philosophy at Stern College for Women, who passed away suddenly on the evening of April 19.

Born August 28, 1950, Raffel was a graduate of Wesleyan and Brandeis Universities. Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel, chair of Stern’s Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies, described Raffel as “the anchor” of the school’s Jewish philosophy program, “a consummate mensch and colleague, and a beloved teacher.”

Dr. Raffel is survived by his beloved wife Rivka, and children Aliza and Josh, as well as by two brothers. 

Students and colleagues are asked to share their condolences in the comments section below.

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Abraham Foxman Discusses Modern Anti-Semitism at Hillel Rogoff Memorial Lecture

How do you fight virulent anti-Semitism?

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Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League

It’s a question Jews have grappled with for eons, but, according to Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League since 1987, it’s taken on new significance in the Internet era. At Yeshiva University’s Hillel Rogoff Annual Memorial Lecture on April 2, Foxman outlined the many ways modern technology and politics are reshaping the age-old battle against hate speech and discrimination in America and around the world.

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Naomi Schwartz Selected as American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Undergraduate Honor Society Member

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Naomi Schwartz

Naomi 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.

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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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First Multidisciplinary Research Day Highlights Undergraduate Students’ Work in Wide Range of Fields

On November 15, Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women hosted their first joint Research Day across multiple disciplines. The event celebrated the research of undergraduates in fields ranging from the humanities to natural and mathematical sciences and allowed students to share their work and hone their presentation skills, while providing attendees an opportunity to learn from their peers and get a taste of the rich, exciting world of research.

Celebrating Student Research, cross-dscipline

A student explains her research to Dr. Rachel Mesch, one of the event’s judges.

The program began with keynote presentations from students representing the social sciences, natural sciences and the humanities. Yael Farzan, a Stern College student whose research focused on religion and expressive writing as predictors of prosocial behavior, noted that despite their differences, researchers in these fields shared similar qualities. “To be a good psychologist you need to ask questions, open your eyes and be curious about the world around you,” she said. “We are all by nature psychologists and sociologists.”

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Stern College for Women Course Places Art and Jewish Thought in Conversation

In some ways, a recent meeting of “The Image and the Idea,” a new course offered at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women this fall, looked like many other art history classrooms across the country.

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Dr. Jacob Wisse, left, speaks to students in the course about the Sistine Chapel.

Projected on the whiteboard was “The Creation of Adam,” the classic fresco painting by Michelangelo that graces the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Dr. Jacob Wisse, associate professor of art history and director of the Yeshiva University Museum, discussed the religious and historical context of the painting, Michelangelo’s sculptural style and his goals as an artist. Then, pausing for comments, he took one—from Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, assistant professor of Judaic studies and director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, sitting at a desk near the front of the room.

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