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