Student Research Poster Session and Biotech VP Keynote Address Concludes Summer Research Program

Posted on 8/8/2017 2:35:30 PM

Dianne Rothstein will be the keynote speaker at RESS 2017The 2017 IUP Research Experience for Summer Scholars concludes August 10 at 2:00 p.m. with a poster session by the student researchers and a keynote address by IUP graduate Dianne Rothstein, vice president of Research at Prime Synthesis, Inc. 

The program will take place in the PNC Room of the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. It is free and open to the community.

The RESS program, now in its fourth year, annually offers 25 to 40 IUP students a chance to do research during the summer under the mentorship of IUP faculty. This year, students in the program come from majors that include anthropology, biology, chemistry, theater and dance, geography and regional planning, geoscience, mathematics, and physics. Students must apply and be selected for the program, which is coordinated by Justin Fair, Department of Chemistry, and Shelly Bouchat, Department of Mathematics, and includes faculty mentors from a number of departments. 

IUP’s 10-week program is modeled after the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program. It offers students the chance to participate in a cutting-edge experience that links knowledge and skills learned in coursework to real-work scientific and societal problems. Sessions also are held on résumé writing and poster and presentation skills.

Rothstein’s presentation, titled “I Was A Kindergarten Dropout,” will begin the event. Prime Synthesis is a biotech company that produces key raw materials that are used in the process of synthesizing artificial DNA.

Before her current work, she served as a principle scientist and Electrochemistry Group leader for Leeds & Northrup, a world leader in analytical sensors, particularly for pH and oxygen measurement, and as a senior chemist at a company involved in water chlorination. She has authored multiple scientific publications and holds four patents. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from IUP and a MS in chemistry and a PhD in materials engineering from Drexel University.  

“I Was a Kindergarten Dropout” will discuss how success and failure are two possible endings to the start of every venture, but attitude can make the difference between happiness and regret, regardless of the outcome.

Her address will begin by discussing a series of life events and decisions, both personal and professional, which shaped who she became.

“From the reluctant kindergartner to the late-life PhD, there have been many times when giving up would have been the most comfortable option, but persistence and open-mindedness (gifts from my parents) always allowed me to move forward,” she said. “By sharing some of these stories, it is hoped that some new and different perspectives on succeeding in a scientific career may be gained.”

Her program also will include an overview of her current research at Prime Synthesis related to oligonucleotides or “oligos,” and Controlled Porosity Glass, the primary product of Prime Synthesis. CPG has been a key player in the field of genomics research, starting with the Human Genome Project in 1990 to today, where it is used in the manufacture of therapeutic drugs targeting genetic diseases, diagnostic kits, and enzyme catalysis. 

As these oligo-based products were scaled up and commercialized, cheaper supports with increased production capacity entered the market, requiring an innovative solution for PSI to remain competitive. The outcome of a seven-year research project, HybCPG, is that solution. She will discuss a key development in this project, supported through a partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.