Eight Adelphi students will benefit from full-time, hands-on science research for 10 weeks as part of the Horace G. McDonell Science Research Fellowship program.

Eight Adelphi University students were awarded the opportunity to benefit from full-time hands-on science research in biology, chemistry, and physics for 10 weeks as part of Adelphi’s Horace G. McDonell Science Research Fellowship program.

The Fellowship program started in 2011 through the generosity of Adelphi alumnus Horace G. McDonell, Jr. ’52, ’02 (Hon.), Adelphi trustee emeritus and a retired chairman and CEO of Perkin Elmer, Inc. The students received a $4,000 stipend and worked closely with a faculty mentor, conducting experiments in a research lab and gaining state-of-the-art training.

“It’s been wonderful to witness the progress of these exceptional students during their Fellowship experience and afterwards, as they go on to prestigious graduate and professional programs and to significant careers,” said Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Susan Briziarelli of the program.

McDonell Fellows students in the McDonell Chemistry Laboratory

The 2017 McDonell Science Research Fellows and Their Projects

Momoka Nagamine

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Chemistry major, Class of 2019

Mentor: Justyna Widera-Kalinowska, PhD, associate professor of chemistry

Project: Developing a catechol sensing platform based on a glassy carbon electrode with PIn5COOH hydrogel, Au nanoparticles, and tyrosinase. It is hypothesized that the use of the hydrogel in combination with Au nanoparticles and tyrosinase will increase the sensitivity of the modified electrode for catechol. Catechol, which is harmful to both human and environment, can be found in food, water, and industrial waste.

Allan Delarosa

Hometown: Bellerose, NY

Physics major, Class of 2018

Mentor: Sean Bentley, PhD, associate professor of physics

Project: To build a quantum eraser and test the interference patterns of photons by calculating the lenses and angles of mirrors used to produce them. The research will help to demonstrate several fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics and retrieve information on the creation and erasure of interference patterns.

Kiran Khan

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Molecular Neuroscience major, Class of 2017

Mentor: Matthias Foellmer, PhD, associate professor of biology

Project: Conduct a MicroCT analysis of soft and hard copulations in the orb-web spider Argiope aurantia. This research will allow to evaluate whether the two mating tactics which are soft vs. hard copulation, have consequences for the way male and female genitalia interact and affect sperm transfer.

Tian Li

Hometown: Taiyuan, China

Chemistry major, Class of 2018

Mentor: Ivan Hyatt, PhD, assistant professor of Chemistry

Project: Discovering a new methodology that will allow chemists to synthesis complex molecules with low cost, less steps and ease of access. As a hypervalent iodine complex, Hypervalent iodonium alkynyl triflate (HIAT) is used as a reagent in synthetic chemistry. The unique reactivity of HIATs make them suited to efficiently generate trimethylenemethane (TMM) intermediates that can result in substituted diquinanes; biologically relevant molecules found in nature. Once the methodology has been developed, it can be used in areas such as material science and pharmaceutical drug design.

Nafeesathul Hanan Kabir

Hometown: Dubai

Biology major, Class of 2019

Mentor: Melissa VanAlstine-Parris, PhD, associate professor of chemistry

Project: Synthesizing compounds of enzymes in the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis for later testing. The disease, Trichomoniasis is caused by an infection with a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, which breaks down the DNA with enzymes. The goal of this research is to take newly discovered values and compare them with those of existing research in the hopes of determining a specific enzyme used by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis to take over the host.

Rheba Sam

Hometown: East Meadow, NY

Molecular Neuroscience major, Class of 2018

Mentor: Eugenia Villa-Cuesta, PhD, assistant professor of biology

Project: to investigate whether rapamycin, a drug previously shown to reduce reactive oxygen species, may serve to reduce reactive oxygen species and inhibit neurodegeneration of retinal cells. My research focuses on mutations involved in subunit A of an enzyme complex called succinate dehydrogenase (sdhA), which is a vital enzyme harnessed in metabolic functioning. In particular, homozygous mutations for sdhA are lethal, whereby Drosophila melanogaster exhibit death during early development. These mutations have been linked to excess production of reactive oxygen species and neuronal degeneration. The hopes of this project entail discovery of a potential treatment for the neurodegenerative consequences associated with this severe mutation, using Drosophila melanogaster as the model organism for studying neurodegenerative disease.

Emma Ryan

Hometown: Floral Park, NY

Biology/Chemistry major, Class of 2019

Mentor: Eugenia Villa-Cuesta, PhD, assistant professor of biology

Project: Studying sub unit b of the complex, succinate dehydrogenase, within the electron transport chain of the common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). Due to the great number of similarities in disease causing genes between humans and fruit flies, the organism is useful in understanding the molecular mechanisms of human diseases. By looking at the respiratory quotients ration, RQ values can be used to predict metabolic syndromes.

Kidan Tadesse

Hometown: Ethiopia

Physics major, Class of 2019

Mentor: Matthew Wright, PhD, assistant professor of physics

Project: Enhancing a magneto optical trap. Through building an intensity controlled circuit and locking in the detector circuit for the laser frequency, the goal is to study how ultra-cold collusions can be controlled.

In the fall, the eight students will be presenting the research they completed. To learn more about the sciences at Adelphi, visit

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
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