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insights W H E R E D I S C OV E RY A N D I N N OVAT I O N M E E T

FALL 2016/WINTER 2017 VOLUME 2, NUMBER 1

T H E R E S E A R C H C H R O N I C L E O F T H E C O L L E G E O F S C I E N C E A N D M AT H E M AT I C S

Are Snapping Turtles Safe?

Researchers study the turtle population decline as well as the safety of consumption


IN S IGH TS | COLLEG E O F SC IE N C E A N D M ATHEM ATI CS

FROM THE DEAN

Breaking down walls in science Does science have borders? The short answer is no. The perceived walls and focused disciplines of individual academic departments and programs are often broken down through the scholarship that emanates from the scientists in those areas of study. In this issue of Insights, we explore how biodiversity and the conservation of a tropical forest in Papua New Guinea merge with the culture of an indigenous people. Closer to home we examine whether a predatory reptile of New Jersey is more threatened by a global top predator, people, or by the mercury contamination produced by those same top predators. We provide insight into a population of woodrats that may be saved by regulating roundworms of another local scavenger, raccoons. We uncover new possibilities to repair DNA damaged by ultraviolet light, and demonstrate how 3D printing might enhance learning math. Whether determining if an individual species of clam in a tropical mangrove reflects the sustainability of a human community in Thailand – or using bones and genomes to understand just when birds lost their teeth – the historic silos that once narrowed our science disciplines are coming down. Students today are seeing partnerships and mergers between different sciences, a lockstep disciplinary growth between science and education, and a critical comingling between science and historically nonscience disciplines. Much of the science and math represented in this issue demonstrates those now very porous borders. The science insights you’ll read about in this issue work their way into sustaining cultures, changing our approaches to education and yielding innovations that have human health and economic implications. More than ever, we’re seeing the boundaries between business and science blur. As discovery and innovation meld with entrepreneurial creativity, we wrap up this issue with a brief look at two creative businesses residing in our newest science facility, the Center for Environmental and Life Sciences. Such is the nature of science and such are the ways of the College of Science and Mathematics. And, while we continue to appropriately plumb the depths of our individual disciplines, our approaches to asking questions and seeking answers are increasingly being found in the interstices between and among disciplines.

Robert S. Prezant Dean, College of Science and Mathematics


contents

VOLUME 2, NUMBER 1 I FALL 2016/WINTER 2017

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Are Snapping Turtles Safe? Researchers study the population decline as well as the safety of consumption

insights The Research Chronicle of The College of Science and Mathematics Insights is collaboratively produced by the College

2

Conserving and Exploring the Unexplored

4

Seeing Blue

5

The Evolution of Toothless Vertebrates

6

Maintaining Biodiversity

William Thomas has spent decades helping to preserve New Guinea’s culture, species and environment

Scientists are studying how photolyase repairs damage from UV light on DNA – research that could lead to new ways to prevent skin cancer

of Science and Mathematics’ research faculty and members of the dean’s staff in an effort to broaden awareness and understanding of the scope and relevance of the college’s research initiatives as well as the critical role research plays in preparing the next generation of scientists. Dean of the College: Dr. Robert S. Prezant Science Advisor: Dr. Lynn Schneemeyer Associate Dean Editorial Advisor: Ann Frechette Director of External Relations Editor: Laura Griffin University Communications, Advancement Division Designer: Samantha Spitaletta University Communications, Advancement Division

Using fossil records and genome sequencing, scientists establish a timeline for tooth loss in birds that could prove helpful in studying other species

A forest mammal struggles to exist in the modern world

10

Lanterns (and Snakes) in the Night

12

Visualizing Mathematics

14

The Business of Science

Team makes nighttime treks through mangrove forest in Thailand to study molluscs

Course uses 3D printing and other new tools for learning and experiencing math

CELS welcomes science entrepreneurs in incubator space

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IN S IGH TS | COLLEG E O F SC IE N C E A N D M ATHEM ATI CS

Conserving and Exploring the Unexplored Researcher and explorer William Thomas has spent decades helping to preserve New Guinea’s culture, species and environment

O

ne of the greatest

the Hewa, whose homeland is classified as a

least explored regions on earth and part of the

environmental and

“major terrestrial unknown,” to understand

largest intact forest ecosystem in the Pacific.”

ecological challenges

their role in shaping this environment.

in this century is, and

In the battle to protect the unique home of the

will continue to be, the

Thomas and the Hewa community have made

Hewa, one of largest tropical forests, Thomas’

conservation of the earth’s

major strides toward conservation since 2005,

work has yielded new tools including the

tropical forests. A biocultural phenomenon,

when they were part of an international team

books describing the birds of the region that

these forests are the product of thousands

that discovered 50 new species. Together they

give hope for the future of this remarkable

of years of interaction between humans and

have implemented an initiative called the

tropical forest.

their environment.

Papuan Forest Stewards that is working to conserve the unique biological and cultural

Thomas has been recognized by the United

For the last 25 years, Montclair State University

heritage of the Hewa. They have also written

Nations for the development of research

researcher William Thomas, director of the New

Field Guide to New Guinea Birds of the Hewa

methodologies now considered one of the “Best

Jersey School of Conservation, has been working

Territory, a textbook for the next generation

Practices” in the use of indigenous knowledge.

to conserve these forests and the cultures

of Hewa naturalists. Finally, in 2015, the

It also earned him the Lowell Thomas Award

surrounding them in New Guinea, home to the

Hewa began the process of creating the

from the Explorers Club of New York City in

greatest expanse of tropical forest in Oceania.

Headwaters of the Strickland Conservation

2012, which was awarded that year to explorers

Area. Encompassing 200,000 acres, the land

who “exhibited an extraordinary capacity

New Guinea’s rugged interior forests are largely

is the largest conservation area in Papua New

to transcend traditional comfort zones to

unexplored and are a refuge for an unmatched

Guinea.

undertake expeditions that benefit us all.”

traditional cultures. Since 1988, Thomas has

“It is home to biodiversity that rivals that of

According to Thomas, the forests that

been working with one of these cultures,

the Amazon,” says Thomas. “It is one of the

stretch northward from Lake Kopiago are

array of unique creatures and vibrant

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HEWA

The Great Rivers Heartlands, which stretches for about 300 kilometers, contains some of the richest biodiversity in Papua New Guinea. Its biological impact is felt all the way to the coasts and reefs of the island, making its conservation a vital priority. It is also home to great cultural diversity and communities with rich heritages and intimate knowledge about the land and its species.

globally important for carbon sequestration, biodiversity and watershed protection. On June 21, Papua New Guinea’s Conservation and Environment Protection Authority and the Climate Change and Development Authority signed an agreement with Thomas to both formally designate these areas for conservation and pilot the Papuan Forest Stewards as a model for the sustainable funding of conservation projects in Papua New Guinea. “By establishing the Headwaters of the Strickland Conservation Area, Papua New Guinea will not only make an invaluable contribution to its conservation heritage, it will also bring international recognition to this region,” he says. l For more information, see: newguineaconservation.org. William Thomas is working with the Hewa community in New Guinea to preserve the tropical forests.

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IN S IGH TS | COLLEG E O F SC IE N C E A N D M ATHEM ATI CS

Seeing Blue Scientists are studying how an enzyme is able to repair damage from UV light on DNA — research that could potentially lead to new ways to prevent skin cancer

this process,” he explains. “It’s all about improving the detection of the damaged DNA and repairing it before it can cause diseases, including skin cancer. The physiological processes of plants and animals adhere to a roughly 24-hour circadian rhythm that is controlled by cryptochromes. Unlike photolyase, the cryptochrome-DASH protein only recognizes UV damage on single-strand DNA. “In high-light intensity, it repairs UV-damaged DNA, while under low-light intensity, it may play a role in blue-light signaling – perhaps controlling the organism’s circadian clock,” says Gindt.

A

Gindt is also examining some small molecules present in plants that increase the cryptochrome-signaling proteins’ sensitivity to the effects of blue light and possibly trigger changes in the actual structure of the protein.

ll living organisms, no matter

“In evolutionary terms, photolyase is

how primitive, examine the

relatively ancient. It is present across all

world by sensing light,

kingdoms of life, with the exception of

vibrations, heat or other

placental mammals – so humans don’t use

physical stimuli that provide the information

this repair enzyme,” says Gindt, adding that

they need to survive.

photolyase enzymes use a relatively simple

This research provides a crucial understanding of how proteins are able to selectively bind to specific molecules. Using thermodynamic measurements, the researchers can detect when damaged DNA

process to repair UV-damaged DNA.

binds to the protein. Gindt is also studying

structures with blue-light photoreceptors

This research could potentially help prevent

under extreme temperatures to determine

that are sensitive to the light of this specific

skin cancer. Highly sensitive to UV damage,

wavelength. Beyond sensing light, the

the DNA base thymine can crosslink with an

proteins in these photoreceptors use blue

adjacent thymine base to create the dimer

photons to regulate a variety of essential,

responsible for up to 70 percent of human

though involuntary, biological processes.

skin cancers. It’s plausible that sunblocks

Many animals have eyes or eye-like

could eventually be formulated to contain a Chemistry and biochemistry professors

DNA molecule. “It’s a question of designing

Yvonne Gindt and Johannes Schelvis and their

the appropriate molecule for the job,” Gindt

students are examining the mechanisms that

says. Her job is to discover just how that

make blue-light photoreceptors work. Their

molecule would work.

interdisciplinary research focuses on two DNA repair enzymes: photolyase and cryptochrome.

According to Schelvis, detection of the DNA damage caused by UV light is key to its

Gindt, with funding from NASA, is learning

repair. “If we can figure out how photolyase

how photolyase recognizes – and repairs –

does this efficiently, then other scientists

damage from UV light on any form of DNA.

may develop therapeutics that can mimic

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photolyases from bacteria that flourish how DNA repair might occur under extraterrestrial conditions. Complementing Gindt’s work, Schelvis and his students are investigating how DNA damage affects the structure and flexibility of DNA and how the binding of damaged DNA to photolyase and cryptochrome-DASH changes the structure and properties of these enzymes. “In order to understand how photolyase recognizes and binds to damaged DNA, it is important to know whether or not the damaged DNA is restricted in its motions and how that may help photolyase find it,” says Schelvis. l


The Evolution of Toothless Vertebrates Using fossil records and genome sequencing, scientists establish a timeline for tooth loss in birds that could prove helpful in studying other species

W

hile birds, turtles, baleen whales and anteaters are among

the vertebrates that lack

teeth, it hasn’t always

been that way according

to Montclair State Biology

Professor Robert Meredith. Meredith has been seeking answers to some of the most compelling mysteries of evolutionary biology: how often and when edentulism – or the absence of teeth – evolved in toothless vertebrates. By combining information from the fossil records and genome sequences of 48 species of birds, a research team led by Meredith and Mark Springer, a collaborating

Meredith, along with fellow members of

biology professor from the University of

the international Avian Genome Working

California, Riverside, was able to establish

Group, examined tooth-related genes in the

a breakthrough evolutionary timeline

genomes of modern birds to identify shared

regarding tooth loss in birds. Their much-

mutations that render them nonfunctional.

heralded discovery – published in December

“Key fossil turtle taxa with teeth are ambiguous. Some analyses would suggest two

2014 in Science as well as other publications

“All bird genomes share inactivating

origins of toothlessness and others suggest

– showed that a single common ancestor

mutations in some tooth-related genes, which

one,” Meredith says. “We hope eventually

of all living birds lost its teeth about 116

provide the molecular evidence to support

to unravel the number of independent

million years ago.

the hypothesis that teeth were lost in a single

evolutionary losses of teeth in turtles and

common ancestor, rather than in independent

propose a timeframe for this loss,” he says. l

Birds, like other toothless vertebrates,

bird lineages,” says Meredith.

share a common ancestry with meat-eating theropod dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus

While he is currently working with graduate

rex. Modern birds use a horny beak and

student Julia Dondero to explore other genes

muscular gizzard, rather than teeth, to

involved in tooth formation in birds, Meredith

process food.

has also begun to look at tooth loss in turtles.

(Clockwise from left) Robert Meredith studies the evolution of toothless vertebrates; his research appeared in Science magazine; looking at a bird skull under a microscope. | 5


IN S IGH TS | COLLEG E O F SC IE N C E A N D M ATHEM ATI CS

Researchers Randall FitzGerald of the New Jersey School of Conservation and Gretchen Fowles of the NJDEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife track woodrats in the Palisades.

6 |

Woodrats are described as gentle and nonaggressive. Their penchant for collecting items such as bottle caps and coins led to the term “pack rat.”


Maintaining Biodiversity A forest mammal struggles to exist in the modern world

A

curious student recently asked Professor Randall FitzGerald why he was

“The Allegheny woodrat is a species in need of

of Environmental Protection (NJDEP)

our help to survive within its historic range,”

Endangered and Nongame Species Program

FitzGerald says.

to ensure that the fragile Allegheny woodrat

working so hard to save a rat population from vanishing

population continues to thrive. According to FitzGerald, several factors are currently adversely impacting the populations

in New Jersey.

The conservation initiative entails regular monitoring of the population by both live

FitzGerald,

trapping and camera traps, the introduction

who teaches

of new animals from Pennsylvania to

at the College of Science and Mathematics’

increase genetic diversity, supplemental

New Jersey School of Conservation at

feeding and invasive species management.

Stokes State Forest, replied that his motivation is simple: “By maintaining

Perhaps the single most important factor

biodiversity, we ensure sustainability

contributing to the decline of this species

for all life forms – including us – no matter

in New Jersey is raccoon roundworm.

how small or insignificant or unpopular they

Roundworm eggs are passed on to the

may seem.”

woodrats when they come in contact with the feces of raccoons that are infected with

The nocturnal Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma

the roundworm. While not lethal to the

magister) makes its home in cliffs, caves,

raccoons, the roundworm quickly kills the

boulders and rocky outcrops as well as in forests and woods, along the Appalachian Mountain Range from Tennessee through

A woodrat wearing a tracking collar is released in the Palisades.

northeastern Pennsylvania and into

infected woodrats. “We have instituted an aggressive program to rid the local raccoon population of

northern New Jersey. Its fondness for

of this mammal and threatening its survival.

this parasite,” FitzGerald says, noting that

collecting and storing items such as bottle

These include habitat fragmentation by humans,

they’ve added deworming medicine to

caps and coins led to the popular term

which has reduced and broken up large sections

raccoon bait dispensers in the field.

“pack rat.”

of the woodrat’s total habitat area, and the introduction of invasive species into the area.

While the Allegheny woodrat was once

“The contributions of the AmeriCorps members and graduate students at the

abundant in New Jersey, there are now only

Over the last several years, FitzGerald

New Jersey School of Conservation have

about 100 individual woodrats left among

and his team of AmeriCorps members

been invaluable in our efforts to save this

the boulders at the base of the Palisades in

and graduate students have been working

important member of the northern New

the northeastern part of the state.

closely with the New Jersey Department

Jersey forest community,” says FitzGerald. l | 7


IN S IGH TS | COLLEG E O F SC IE N C E A N D M ATHEM ATI CS

Are Snapping Turtles Safe? Researchers examine both the decline of turtle populations and the safety of consumption for humans

S

napping turtles are known for their large size, aggressive defensive behavior and their delicious

taste. Their meat has been on

menus since the 1800s and was

sold in grocery stores for decades

beginning in the 1920s. And while turtle meat is no longer a popular item on American menus or grocery store shelves, it is still sold globally. But as other turtles disappeared in Southeast Asia from human consumption, harvesting of snapping turtles occurred in the waters of the United States, giving rise to a dual concern – the overall decline of many turtle species as well as

“Mercury contamination poses a significant

whether there should be consumption

the safety of their meat for consumption.

threat to human health globally,” Wu says.

advisories for harvested turtles.”

“The consumption of turtle meat is of special The snapping turtles’ tolerance to pollution

concern due to mercury’s ability to accumulate

Every year, millions of turtles are legally

along with their longevity could mean they

and magnify.”

exported from the United States. In 2009, an estimated 655,541 snapping turtles were

harbor high levels of mercury, and Montclair State researchers are investigating the threat

Sampling is taking place at three study sites,

exported. Although many of the exported

that mercury levels in New Jersey snapping

with Montclair State University’s New Jersey

snapping turtles came from commercial turtle

turtles could pose to consumers.

School of Conservation (NJSOC) at Stokes

farms, about 39 percent were caught in the

State Forest serving as a control site. The stream

wild, rather than farmed.

Biology Professor Meiyin Wu and doctoral

network of the NJSOC is considered among the

candidate Natalie Sherwood are also

cleanest waters in the state of New Jersey.

To find out how safe wild turtles are for human consumption, Wu’s research team is

examining how mercury is transported through the snapping turtle’s food web by

“The goal is to gain further understanding of

collecting snapping turtles by placing baited

measuring mercury levels in various parts of

the health of the aquatic food chain leading

hoop traps in previously identified snapping

the turtle’s ecosystem.

to turtle consumption by humans,” says

turtle habitats from May to October.

Sherwood. “From this, we can also determine

Researchers measure and weigh the trapped

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turtles and note their sex, take samples,

in the impact of the turtle trade on the

snapping turtles become less vulnerable to

tag them with an implant in their left hind

stability of turtle populations.

commercial exploitation.”

shavings, blood and muscle samples are

Turtles are known to live a long time but

Because mercury is a neurotoxin that

collected for the mercury contamination

have low hatchling success, high juvenile

affects the brain and the nervous system,

studies. The team also collects samples from

mortality and delayed sexual maturity.

ingesting high levels of mercury by eating

leg and release them. Shell, or carapace

the snapping turtle’s food web, including

contaminated food is especially dangerous

vegetation, insects, snails, mussels, worms

“These characteristics make the stability

to pregnant women and young children.

and fish, to better understand how mercury

of a snapping turtle population heavily

So if you’re traveling to a place where you

is transported in aquatic ecosystems.

dependent on turtles that reach sexual

might find snapping turtle on the menu,

maturity,” Wu says. “To maintain healthy

there’s more than one reason “to think

Besides the mercury contamination

snapping turtle populations, their

twice before ordering that bowl of turtle

concerns, researchers are also interested

harvest potential must be limited so that

soup,” says Wu. l

(From left to right): Doctoral candidate and researcher Natalie Sherwood looks at a musk turtle shell at the New Jersey School of Conservation; Sherwood looking for snapping turtles at NJSOC in Stokes State Forest.

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IN S IGH TS | COLLEG E O F SC IE N C E A N D M ATHEM ATI CS

Lanterns (and Snakes) in the Night

I

Team makes nighttime trek through mangrove forest in Thailand to study molluscs By Robert Prezant

t was 10 p.m. when we started out

As we made our way, the receding tidal waters

to depths of 15 cm in tropical environs, often

across the narrow, sandy berms that

ebbed over our feet. While I thought about

tangled in the roots of mangrove trees. We

separated the now dark rice paddies.

the clams awaiting us on the flat, I noticed

were in Thailand to learn more about these

The sun had long since set, but a

that these very shallow waters were packed

poorly known lantern shells, one of the food

nearly full moon and the beams of our

with three- to four-foot-long water snakes

items that make up the diet of local fishers who

flashlights guided us. To avoid getting

that, perhaps due to breeding season, seemed

rake the sand flat almost daily.

shot by vigilant farmers, we had alerted

more focused on each other than on us. I also

the rice paddy owners that we’d be passing

thought it would have been a good idea to

We had multiple questions. First, how does

through late that night and into the early

have worn boots instead of low sneakers! With

this little-known but abundant organism

morning.

every careful step, we gently pushed one or two

fit into the overall ecosystem in light of

of these serpents out of our way. While their

daily harvests? Second, what is the overall

The slivers of land that kept us out of the

round eyes suggested (and only suggested)

biodiversity of the flat and how does it respond

paddies ended abruptly as we entered the

they were not toxic, we didn’t want to take any

to human impact? Third, how does this species

landward margin of the mangrove forest that

chances. Our now slowed trek took us just

of Laternula compare with a neighboring, but

lined Kung Kraeben Bay in Chanthaburi,

about an hour to get out to the flat where our

much smaller, species – Laternula anatina

Thailand. Our goal: study a seemingly

team of colleagues, mainly from Thailand’s

– that despite dwelling nearby seem very

thriving population of “lantern shells,”

Burapha University, went to work.

different in both form and behavior? Fourth,

Laternula rostrata, that live in the soft sands

what clues could we find in the shells of these

and muds of the mangrove flat. We aimed to

Laternula rostrata is a large, edible bivalve

bivalves that would yield information about

be there well in advance of low tide that was

mollusc found in Australia, Thailand, New

their ages and growth patterns?

still two hours away.

Zealand and Indonesia. The clam lives buried

10 |


(Clockwise from left): Prezant’s team looks for lantern shells in the mangrove flats of Chanthaburi, Thailand; researchers had to wade through water snakes to get to the shells; an aerial view of Kung Kraeben Bay, where the flats are located.

The clams’ shells include patterns that

out in the open flat are less abundant.

can be detailed via scanning electron

We also found that overall biodiversity

microscopy. Mollusc shell is composed

decreased as we moved away from the

of calcium carbonate with the inner shell

mangrove forest and tree clusters or

often being mother-of-pearl, otherwise

hummocks.

known as nacre. This shell microstructure is deposited in highly organized layers

Laternula rostrata burrowed much more

that, when viewed from the inner surface,

deeply than the less common Laternula

display the bright irridescence of pearls.

anatina, which are found just below

This is not surprising, as pearls themselves

the sediment surface. Both species have

are composed of nacre.

small spines that cover their shells that help stabilize the clams in their buried positions by

Populations of Laternula rostrata make up

adding surface area and thus more frictional

a dominant part of some mangrove flats in

resistance to dislodgment.

Thailand where they can grow to sizes as large as 6 centimeters and, along with other

While more active, at least for a clam,

molluscs, lamp shells and crabs, can compose

Laternula anatina is nonetheless more prone

an important part of the local diet.

to predation as a result of its near-surface existence. Specimens are commonly found

Here’s what we found: Despite the

with small circular bore holes in their shells

considerable pressure that daily harvests

– a sure sign of a highly predatory snail that

must place on the population of Laternula,

drills holes in shells to get to the soft inner

the population appears stable. This probably

tissue of its prey. This clam’s small size,

reflects their wide distribution and the

however, makes them less desirable to the

relative difficulty of “digging” them out from

human palate.

among the roots of mangrove trees. The clams

While heavier shell demarcations (think “tree rings” for aging) embedded among many finer lines suggest that Laternula rostrata might live for as long as seven to 10 years, the rough and often wrinkled shell of Laternula anatina makes it more difficult to pinpoint age. But it, too, probably lives a comparable length of time. Age and speed of reproduction matter in a population under pressure. Interpreting such clues on abundance, rate of growth and recruitment and success of the next generation of lantern shells may help us understand their relative long-term “health” and help shed new light on the sustainability of ongoing harvests. One final note to self: next time, wear boots. l

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IN S IGH TS | COLLEG E O F SC IE N C E A N D M ATHEM ATI CS

A

ssistant Professor of Mathematical Sciences

Visualizing Mathematics

Steven Greenstein’s new course, “Designing for Mathematical

Experience,” focuses on developing new physical tools that support mathematics learning or generate new forms of mathematical experience. Greenstein first taught the innovative course, which was open to Mathematics Education PhD students, in collaboration with Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship Associate Professor and MIX 3D Printing Lab Codirector Iain Kerr in spring 2016, but there are plans to make it a regularly scheduled course. “Our focus on mathematical experience encouraged us to think more broadly about what it means to do mathematics. We weren’t constrained by conventional visions of what it looks like to do math in schools,” explains Greenstein. “We thought of the mathematical experience as more than posing a new problem or designing a mathematical game – we wanted to include what it feels like to solve a problem or think deeply about an idea.”

Course uses 3D printing and other new tools to learn and experience math

The course synthesized ideas from math education with ideas from the field of enactive design, which emphasizes the interaction between the vision of a design and its creation. “This novel approach moved students from a model of ‘math learning happens in the head’ to a model of enactive learning, where math experiences happen in a worldly context of deeply engaged doing and making,” explains Greenstein. “The inspiration goes in both directions, from the mind to the product, and from the product to the mind.” Students explored the nature of mathematical learning and experience while developing 3D printing and design skills needed to create, produce and evaluate their own physical tools.

12 |


Doctoral students Zareen Rahman and

For future math educators like Bonaccorso,

Victoria Bonaccorso worked together

the course offered a fresh perspective. “It

designing a set of tools to use in analyzing and

allowed me to view mathematics beyond

examining people’s preconceived notions of a

the classroom, while also taking into

mathematical experience. “Our idea changed

consideration that many students only see

because of the theory we were reading for the

mathematics as something that occurs in the

course,” Rahman notes. “Initially, our project

classroom,” she says.

focused on the concept of limits, but we tried to challenge ourselves and make it more

Other students completed projects and

inclusive, and shifted to a broader idea of what

printed tools in the 3D labs relating to

it means to have a mathematical experience.”

architecture, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, number theory and topology.

“We transitioned from a project designed to

“Projects ranged from making tools for

teach the students to a project designed to

representing the unique number system

inform the researchers about participants’

of the Yup’ik peoples of Alaska to tools or

understanding of mathematics,” adds

exploring the concept of power in statistics,”

Bonaccorso, who, like Rahman, was inspired by

says Greenstein. Class projects can be seen at

Greenstein’s passion and enthusiasm for math.

mathbymaking.tumblr.com. l

(Clockwise from opposite page): Mathematical 3D shapes printed by students; doctoral student Debasmita Basu studies a shape; doctoral student Justin Seventko is seen through a 3D object; Doctoral Program Director Mika Munakata (left) and doctoral student Peggy Flood discuss the 3D models.

“Students not only thought about how new tools can enhance the way we teach math concepts, they also thought about how new tools can engage students in rich and productive forms of mathematical activity,” says Greenstein. The class explored how tools shape and guide processes and transform thinking. By using 3D printing, students could rapidly prototype and change their designs as their ideas evolved from class to class. | 13


College of Science and Mathematics

NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID NEWARK, NJ PERMIT NO. 6846

COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS 1 NORMAL AVENUE | MONTCLAIR, NJ | 07043

The Business of Science equipped, state-of-the-

opportunities for our faculty and graduate

art research and office

students to work closely together,” she says.

suite, with the added bonus of spectacular

Endomedix, a medical device startup firm

views of the New York

with five employees housed in CELS, has

City skyline.

developed a proprietary biopolymer system for use as a technology platform for surgical

“As we explored

hemostasis. The company is currently focused

potential residents for

on using its technology to develop easy-to-

the CELS incubator, we

use, cost-efficient hydrogel devices that stop

The new Center for Environmental and

thought carefully about finding companies

Life Sciences (CELS) was designed, in part,

that were the right fit for the College

to enhance the expansion of academic

of Science and Mathematics (CSAM),

Three employees of the biopharmaceutical

and industry partnerships to speed the

especially ones working in the space

company Immunomedics are working in

development and commercialization of

between R&D and commercialization,

both lab and office space toward developing

new technologies that provide long-term

which is where several of our own faculty

antibody-based products to treat cancer,

economic benefits to New Jersey. To that end,

inventors are beginning to work,” says Ann

autoimmune and other serious diseases.

two New Jersey companies – Endomedix and

Frechette, CSAM’s director of external

Immunomedics – set up shop in the College’s

relations, who recruited incubators and

CELS supports ongoing research

new incubator space in summer 2016.

helped facilitate their move to CELS.

by CSAM scientists and students in

Located on the fourth floor of the

“We also wanted to establish synergistic

life sciences, as well as by external life

107,500-square-foot CELS building,

research relationships between CSAM and

sciences research companies. l

the incubator laboratory offers a fully

company scientists that would provide

bleeding in intracranial, or brain, surgery.

environmental and pharmaceutical

CSAM Insights - Fall 2016/Winter 2017