Northeastern University College of Science Catalyst Fall 2021

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Message from Dean Sive Dear Northeastern families, alumni and friends, Probably, you’ve been to a magic show. And though you know it is all illusion, magic is fascinating. Maybe you’ve looked up how various tricks are done and can even identify someone’s ‘secret’ card from a pack. Doing this kind of magic takes talent and is hugely entertaining, but it is totally unreal. So, what if I told you that there is actually real magic? Would you believe me? I hope so, because it is the truth and no illusion.

PRIORITIES OF DEAN SIVE FOR THE NORTHEASTERN COLLEGE OF SCIENCE • Build a Culture of Respect and Action towards Equity • Promote Communications, and that everyone uses Science, everyday • Solve the Greatest Research Challenges of our Planet • Promote Innovative Education across the World • Reinvent the PhD • Increase Undergraduate Research

I could tell you that you are the product of magic – that amazingly, the whole of you came from one tiny starter cell! The starter cell made 100 trillion more cells, and hundreds of different kinds. The cells built themselves into your organs that work through such complex circuitry, it is truly magical. There is the magic of viruses, invisible specks that can spread across an entire planet, making people sick as they do. There is the magic of RNA vaccines, tiny stretches of code that awaken your magic immune system so you can fight off the viruses. This is a tiny handful of the magic of science, and there is nothing pretend. All of it can be understood, and the understanding can be used to build new cures, new energy sources, new materials, new ways to protect our planet. This is what we do in the Northeastern University College of Science – good science magic. It takes years of rigorous training to become competent in science research, and we educate top researchers with problem-solving skills, ethical training, and confidence. Northeastern College of Science graduates excel in every sphere of academia, industry, medicine and beyond, and we are enormously proud of each one. Within our College of Science culture of respect and action towards equity, we are committed to supporting our students and trainees. The Advancing Women in Science Program and the Equity Program Fund are working for this purpose, and I am deeply grateful for your support in building these programs. The Zelevinsky Postdoctoral Fellows Program brings top junior mathematicians to Northeastern, promoting their stellar careers. There is hard work behind the magic of science - by educators and mentors, by students and trainees, and by our generous donors. Thank you for your partnership, and for helping to make the magic real. Best regards,

• Build an Entrepreneurship Landscape Hazel Sive Dean, College of Science Northeastern University

THE EQUITY PROGRAM FUND An overarching goal of the College of Science is to build a culture of respect and action towards equity across every aspect of education and research. The COS Equity Program Fund is devoted to promoting student excellence across traditionally underrepresented populations. The fund enhances our ability to promote action towards equity, increase representation across the brilliant demographic of our country and the world, and to promote the brightest futures of these students.

“The COS Equity Program Fund is a key means for promoting equity across the college, catalyzing new actions and initiatives and providing critical student support.” – Randall Hughes, Dean of Equity Northeastern College of Science Support of the Equity Program Fund is integral to the promotion of diverse perspectives, contributions, and leadership in the sciences. In addition to supporting the success of current students, staff, and faculty, this fund allows the college to deepen our unwavering commitment to diversity, inclusion, and community building. Programs we seek to advance with funding include scholarships, equity programming and events, support of student groups, and support of COS community-led initiatives.

Advancing Women in Science While women make up the majority of the COS undergraduate student body, the community believes there is still much work to be done to address systemic inequities and to support the scholarship, research, and exploration of women in the sciences.

According to the U.S. Census, women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, but only about 25% of workers in STEM fields. And, those that are pursuing careers in

mathematics and the sciences are found to publish less, earn less, and lag behind men in career advancement. Despite successful efforts to nurture girls at younger ages to pursue the STEM fields, once women enter college, there appears to be a shift away from these fields and this trend continues as they enter the workforce and encounter barriers to success such as family decisions, financial considerations, and workplace cultures. The Northeastern College of Science is a community that works together. A community that ascribes to a culture of equity and respect. A community that values the contribution each person makes. And, while women make up the majority of the COS undergraduate student body, the community believes there is still much work to be done to address systemic inequities and to support the scholarship, research, and exploration of women in the sciences. In this spirit and as a reflection of the College of Science’s strong desire to diversify scientific perspectives, the Advancing Women in Science Fund was created. Among other things, the Fund supports a $10,000 scholarship

for full-time women undergraduate students in COS. This award allows promising women scientists the opportunity to enhance their education through co-op, research, and global opportunities, propelling them to the height of their potential.

Alumna, Teacher, Parent, Partner – A Woman in STEM

Nicole Clark came to Northeastern as a transfer student, studying psychology and mathematics. “I had a great college experience, “ says Nicole. “I remember feeling like my professors were always willing to help and it was as if their doors were always open.” After graduating from Northeastern, Nicole would earn a Master’s of Science in Education at another institution eventually becoming a middle school math teacher. She distinctly recalls that most of her university classmates were men and that representation was lop-sided. This formative experience stayed with Nicole, who today still feels strongly that women need to be empowered to pursue careers in STEM and that there is a long way to go to remedy the situation. Nicole and her husband, Brian, now live in a suburb of Boston where they are raising four children, a son and 3 daughters. “This issue has become even more important to us,” says Nicole when reflecting on their decision to lend support. “When we found out about Northeastern’s Advancing Women in Science Fund, we felt excited about the idea of giving more women a chance to educate themselves in the field of science and hopefully to choose a career path in this field.”

Support is critical

Now more than ever, Science is crucially important; and students must be empowered to break frontiers - to take the next leaps in every field and to solve the practical challenges of our world. This doesn’t happen without the support of donors; we thank Nicole and Brian Clark for their commitment to science and the advancement of women scientists. Their donation, and that of others, are crucially important and will have a lasting impact on the world. And with additional support, we can increase the impact of this scholarship program, broadening the reach to more future female scientists.

For more information:

Interested in donating to the Advancement of Women in Science Fund, contact Kevin Thompson, Associate Dean of Development, College of Science,, 617-373-7686.

Advancing Women in Science Scholarship 2021 R E C I P I E N TS: LAUREN GLUPE, JUNIOR, NEUROSCIENCE MAJOR

Lauren Glupe is from Huntington, NY and is a third year student and a member of the Honors Program. She is majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience with minors in Global Health and Law and Public Policy. She plans to graduate in the Spring of 2023 after completing two co-ops. Lauren is a member of Northeastern University Emergency Medical Services, Northeastern University Researchers of Neuroscience, Teach Me To Help, and Boston Partners in Education.


Emily Nason, who hails from a suburb north of Boston, is majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Data Science and will graduate with her bachelor of science in May 2023. She is also interested in pursuing a PlusOne program and earning a masters of science in Applied Mathematics. At Northeastern, Emily is currently the treasurer of Terra Society, which is an environmental club on campus, and also a College of Science Peer Ambassador. This past spring semester she completed her first co-op as an actuarial intern at John Hancock.


Anika Padin is a third year student at Northeastern, originally from New Jersey. She expects to graduate in May of 2023 with a B.S. in Applied Physics, and minors in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. Anika serves as vice president of the Society of Physics Students and is a parttime research assistant in Prof. Louise Skinnari’s group at the CMS Experiment at CERN. She is also a member of the University Honors Program and a recipient of the physics department’s Undergraduate Award for Women in Physics.

OCTOBER 13, 2021

The Good Power of Science COS Connects is a series of virtual panel events featuring our accomplished faculty and students discussing groundbreaking College of Science research aimed at solving the greatest challenges of our planet. Each event in the series centers around a pressing global concern with panelists engaging in discussion around complex investigative challenges, exciting research breakthroughs, and a vision for the future that pushes the boundaries of discovery and innovation. Drawn into their world of research, audience members join the conversation and ask questions of presenters. Anyone with a curiosity about science and problemsolving is invited and registration is free.

The Plastic Brain: Injury and Repair The rise in mental health conditions globally is staggering, affecting people


of all demographics, having impacts on

Dean Hazel Sive, PhD College of Science

almost all areas of life, and incurring a global annual cost of nearly $1 Trillion US Dollars. Despite this, and widespread efforts towards de-stigmatization of mental health conditions, the prevention, diagnosis and treatment


interventions of mental health illnesses

Craig Ferris, PhD Department of Psychology College of Science

continues to lag behind the incidence of disease. Dean Hazel Sive led a panel discussion with psychology professors Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli and Craig Ferris to

Susan WhitfieldGabrieli, PhD Department of Psychology College of Science

discuss novel approaches to mental illness and how neuroscience may hold the key to bringing fundamental changes in how patients with mental illnesses are diagnosed and treated. Attendees

learned about new research which may be instrumental in early detection and prevention, and in the development of new therapies and interventions.

The conversation explored science beyond traditional and conventional approaches and explored underlying brain function on mental health: · Can brain images provide insight into the mental health of a person? · How can brain mechanisms predict mental health conditions? · What effects do lifestyle, physical activity, and diet have on the brain, and how does that impact mental health? · Do we have the power to re-train our brains to behave in a certain way?


on the COS Youtube channel

NOVEMBER 10, 2021

The Plastics Problem It is a fall from grace of global proportion.


Plastics, 100 years ago hailed as a scientific marvel, have

Aron Stubbins, PhD Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences; Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology College of Science

become the face of today’s biggest environmental crisis. Humankind has certainly benefited greatly from the plastics revolution – think life-saving medical devices, computer technology, and everyday conveniences. But,

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering

it would seem that affordability and abundance of plastic products led to a culture of disposability, now negatively impacting our oceans, our wildlife, and our climate.

Panelists: Karina Ramos PhD student Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences College of Science

Professor Aron Stubbins and students discussed the interactions between humans and the environment. They explored the global cycle of plastics, the processes that breakdown plastics in the environment, and the ecological and human health implications of plastics and their by-products. They shared new innovations that

Ariana Patterson ‘23 Environmental Science major with a concentration in Conservation Science; minor in Chemistry College of Science

may be instrumental in finding solutions to our current challenges and changing the future of how to use and dispose of plastics.

The conversation broke down what we know about the distribution and breakdown of plastics in the environment: · Plastics are everywhere - in air, water and soils. · Sunlight breaks down plastics at sea. · Plastics break down into potentially toxic byproducts.


on the COS Youtube channel

The Good Power of Science COMING UP: DECEMBER 8, 2021 – REGISTER NOW

What are Quantum Materials Anyway? Good question! And, why do you care?! Because quantum materials have the potential to revolutionize the way we live. Quantum materials contain unusual magnetic and electrical properties that could allow us to harness energy in new ways, create more efficient technology, and advance medical breakthroughs. Join Prof. Paul Stevenson and colleagues to learn about how physicists are researching ways to further understand quantum materials and their potential benefits. Our researchers will help deconstruct the complexity of quantum science and explain the potential advancements and impact on daily lives.

The conversation will explore new research including: · MRI at the nanoscale, a powerful new tool for studying chemical and biological dynamics. · The potential of quantum networks for secure communication and computing.

Moderator: Paul Stevenson, PhD Department of Physics College of Science

PARTNER WITH US The Northeastern College of Science is a hub of Research, Education and Innovation: Our faculty are pushing research frontiers to solve our planet’s greatest challenges. Through innovative, research-linked, experiential learning, our students are empowered to be confident, entrepreneurial, problem-solvers, with flexible skills for a vast spectrum of careers. And we embrace a culture of respect, equity and diversity, where each person feels valued for their contribution and is treated fairly.

There are many ways to support the College EDUCATION • Scholarships: The College of Science recruits exceptional students who reflect the diversity of society. Scholarships help us attract top students, and expands access to a Northeastern College of Science education through full and partial awards. • Support Experiential Learning: The College of Science is broadening access to and scope of work experience-based education at all levels. Support a co-op in research, medicine, and across a broad landscape of opportunities, or subsidize international co-ops. Help make these learning experiences a reality for our students! • INVEST in Faculty: The College seeks funding to recruit promising PhD candidates directly into tenure track positions, with extensive mentoring and research support. Through this innovative plan, the College will recruit a talented and diverse pool of faculty.

RESEARCH • Graduate Fellowships: In the College’s new Connected PhD, students understand how the PhD opens a vast array of top career options. Students carry out groundbreaking research, explore opportunities for cross-disciplinary research, and connect with outside

work experience that may set up their next steps. COS seeks fellowship funding to support the outstanding next generation of science trainees. • Undergraduate Research: COS is committed to providing all of its undergraduate students with a labbased research opportunity during their time at Northeastern. Support for undergraduate research will promote the creation of additional opportunities for students to work alongside faculty and graduate student mentors, and gain valuable experience in traditional and emerging fields across the college. • Summer Research Program: The new College of Science Summer Research Program will bring outstanding undergraduate students to Northeastern where they will benefit from our hallmark experiential educational opportunities. Support will enable the College to place students in research positions, and encourage their future training at Northeastern.

INNOVATION • Entrepreneurship: The College of Science encourages a culture of entrepreneurship and translational innovation across faculty and students. Support helps the college establish an ecosystem with features such as venture bootcamps, grand challenge focused hack-athons, and funding that promotes a startup culture. • Space of the Future: The College of Science must be at the forefront of providing advanced research space that promotes collaboration and cross-disciplinary research, and supports platforms and technologies that accelerate the rate of discovery.

For more information contact Kevin Thompson, Associate Dean of Development, College of Science

Knots in the Fourth Dimension, and other Brain Twisters from 10 years of Northeastern’s Postdoctoral Math Program By Emily Arntsen for News@Northeastern This article was originally published on October 5, 2021

In 1969, three teenage boys named Andrei triple tied for silver in the International Mathematical Olympiad competition in the Soviet Union. Andrei Prasolov now teaches math at a Norwegian university, Andrei Hodulev has left no trace on Google, and the final runner-up, Andrei Zelevinsky, went on to become a university distinguished professor of mathematics at Northeastern, where he taught for 22 years until his death in 2013. Today, the Zelevinsky Postdoctoral Fellow program is named in his honor. “Zelevinsky was an eminent mathematician, and one of the foremost professors at Northeastern,” says Egon Schulte, chair of the mathematics department. “The program has become the jewel of our department.” Each year, the program accepts two or three fellows for the three-year position from a competitive pool of about 500 applicants. Currently, the program has seven fellows who split their time between research, advising, and teaching. “When you look at the top graduate programs for mathematics in the country, they all have strong postdoctoral programs. We recognized that 10 years ago, when we started the program, and it’s been growing ever since,” says Schulte. “Now, the program is internationally known, and we’re competitive with other top-ranking universities.”

Many of the fellows in the Zelevinsky program have backgrounds in pure mathematics, in other words, research for the advancement of mathematics in general rather than research for solutions to specific applications. But Schulte says that recently, the program has expanded to incorporate and promote more applied maths in the areas of data analysis and biology, for example. Iva Halacheva, one of the current fellows, is primarily interested in pure mathematics, though her area of research certainly has applications to real-world problems in biology. When she’s not teaching or preparing for her introduction to math reasoning course, a class she has taught every semester since she began her fellowship in 2019, Halacheva is studying knots. But not the kind you tie on your sneakers. In fact, the kind of knots Halacheva studies can seldom be held or even observed in real life. These knots are mostly theoretical, computer-generated puzzles that look like “hollow tubes that repeatedly branch off into other tubes,” Halacheva says. “Knotted surfaces are a bit hard to find in real life,” she explains. “But they certainly appear in

Check out the Northeastern College of Science website for upcoming events:

molecular biology. For example, knots can be used to model the structure of a strand of DNA.” More specifically, Halacheva studies the topology of knots in the fourth dimension. Or simply put, she studies made-up knotted surfaces in the context of space and time, a dimension humans can explain scientifically but not experience in the physical realm. In addition to teaching and conducting research, Zelevinsky fellows are encouraged to advise doctorate students in the math department. “The fellows are an integral part of the doctorate students’ education. They act like a link between students and faculty,” Schulte says. Halacheva says that the fellows also help each other out. “In terms of our research, there’s a lot of shared knowledge,” she says. “And beyond that, they’re a great support group, especially if you’re moving to Boston from out of the state or out of the country.” Halacheva, for example, came to Northeastern from the University of Melbourne. After completing the postdoctoral program at Northeastern, many fellows go on to pursue tenured positions. Halacheva, who is in her final year of the fellowship, has already begun applying for further academic positions. “I’m focused on mainly tenure-track university positions next year,” she says. “If there are any openings at Northeastern, I would love to stay here.”

News@Northeastern is Northeastern University’s

primary source of news and information. Whether it happens in the classroom, in a laboratory, or on another continent, New@Northeastern brings readers timely stories about every aspect of life, learning and discovery at Northeastern. Subscribe to the News@Northeastern Daily Newsletter

JANUARY 12, 2022 SOLVING ANTIOBIOTIC RESISTANCE Featuring Professors Eddie Geisinger and Kim Lewis FEBRUARY 9, 2022 BRILLIANT & DIVERSE: CONVERSATION ABOUT DIVERSITY IN THE SCIENCES A Panel Discussion with Associate Dean Randall Hughes and Professor Karl Reid MARCH 9, 2022

WOMEN IN SCIENCE Featuring Associate Dean of Equity Randall Hughes, Associate Director of Academic Affairs Linda Ayrapetov and the recipients of the Association for Women in Science Awards




Email our Associate Dean of Development, Kevin Thompson ( Subscribe to our weekly Connects email and other COS publications FOLLOW US ON:

115 Richards Hall 360 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115

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