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Biology

Research Opportunities

Biology students at Hamilton have ongoing opportunities to collaborate and perform research with faculty members both on and off campus. The energy and engagement created by these collaborative efforts gives the biology program its distinctive identity and sense of community. Each year, dozens of students work in the lab alongside their professors on special projects. Others pursue paid summer internships at Hamilton and such prestigious institutions as Yale University's School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, the National Institutes of Health and the National Zoological Park.

The biology program extends far beyond the conventional lab. Biology majors have opportunities to do fieldwork in such varied settings as the Adirondack High Peaks, Costa Rica and Antarctica. Student researchers share their findings with others in the scientific community. In recent years, Hamilton students presented research papers at national meetings of the American Malacological Union, the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology, the National Council of Undergraduate Research, the New York Natural History Conference and SUNY-Binghamton's Annual Biological Sciences Research Symposium.

Kate Getman '19, Milinda Ajawara '16 and Hannah Ferris '16 at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital.
Hamilton Students Intern at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital

Three Hamilton students, Hannah Ferris ’16, Kate Getman ’16 and Milinda Ajawara ’16 this summer participated in internships at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, N.Y. Burke Hospital, celebrating its centennial this year, is an acute rehabilitation hospital that has maintained a long-standing relationship with Hamilton College, offering internships yearly to qualified applicants.  More ...

Alex Jones '16
Alex Jones ’16 Investigates Effects of Vitamin C on Metabolism

This summer, Alex Jones ’16 is conducting an important research project to better understand how vitamin C affects growth and development. He is working with Professor of Biology Herm Lehman to study what role vitamin C plays in the metabolism of Manduca sexta, a kind of hornworm that is frequently used in scientific experiments. Jones and Lehman’s research this summer is one part of an ongoing project to determine how exactly vitamin C is necessary for growth and development.  More ...

James Robbins '16
James Robbins ’16 Exploring Public Health Challenges Through Levitt Grant

When most of us think about oral health, we might not think far beyond brushing our teeth and our next trip to the dentist’s office. James Robbins ’16, however, knows that there’s much more to it than that. This summer as a Levitt Summer Research Fellow he is researching water fluoridation for improved public health. Working closely with Professor of Biology Herm Lehman, Robbins has been researching the public health debate about water fluoridation.  More ...

From left, Samantha Mengual, Zoe Tessler and Daniel O'Shea check garlic mustard samples in the lab.
Students Investigate Invasive Exotic Species

In today’s environmentally conscious academic climate, there has been a significant amount of attention paid to the destruction caused by industry to the planet. However, this summer Hamilton students Samantha Mengual ’16, Zoe Tessler ’16 and Daniel O’Shea ’17 are researching a less frequently considered potential cause of decreasing biodiversity: invasive exotic species. Their research is under the advisement of Associate Professor of Biology William Pfitsch, and is focusing on the Alliaria petiolata plant, more commonly known as garlic mustard.  More ...

Hannah Staab '17 at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Hannah Staab ’17 Explores Lab Research Through Albert Einstein Internship

Hannah Staab ’17 is applying her academic focus in biology to an internship with Dr. Kamran Khodakhah’s lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY, this summer. The AE College of Medicine is one of the premier research-intensive medical schools in the nation and is a longtime national leader in biomedical research.  More ...

Marian Ackerman bands a crow as Jessica Sofen looks on.
Counting Crows

If prompted to identify animals that display high levels of intelligence, many people would probably name well-known exotic species, such as dolphins or chimps. However, one common species that many of us interact with every day may be among the most intelligent species on earth — crows. From tool-building and abstract thinking to complex social behavior, crows display intelligence to a degree that has been of great interest to scientists in recent years.  More ...

Jonah Boucher '17 works on a custom built remote operated vehicle at Bristol Pool.
Jonah Boucher ’17 Explores Meromictic Green Lake Chemistry

Jonah Boucher ’17 is undertaking research this summer with a team of students under Associate Professor of Biology Michael McCormick analyzing various chemical and microbiological properties of Green Lake in Onondaga County, N.Y. Green Lake is notable for its meromictic properties, meaning that it is separated into two major layers of water, one well-oxygenated and one anoxic, that do not mix, even after the passage of long periods of time.  More ...

Eugene Domack, Tim Elgren. Ernest Williams
Three Longtime Science Faculty Members Retire

Three longtime members of Hamilton’s science faculty retired during the last academic year. Eugene Domack, Timothy Elgren and Ernest Williams had a combined 79 years of service at Hamilton.  More ...

Elisa MacColl '16
Elisa MacColl ’16 Intern at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Varicose veins, twisted and swollen veins just below the surface of the skin, can cause pain, ulcers and even blood clots. Elisa MacColl ’16, a biology major, is spending the summer interning for Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, studying varicose veins. Her internship is supported by the Jeffrey Science Fund.  More ...

Leonard Kilekwang, Blaire Frett, Samantha Mengual, Hannah Trautmann, and Nikole Bonacorsi.
A Deadly Bulls-Eye

Although the number of cases of Lyme disease has been decreasing since 2009, according to the CDC, nearly 30,000 Americans fell prey to the tick-born illness in 2012 alone1. This summer, a group of student researchers is assisting Associate Professor of Biology William Pfitsch with an ecological examination of the relationship between honeysuckle and tick populations.   More ...

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