Category Archives: our graduates

Nsikan Akpan ’06

Nsikan transferred to Bard from Bard College at Simon’s Rock after his sophomore year. In the summer of 2005, he did research on neuroendocrinology with Bruce S. McEwen of Rockefeller University. For his senior project, he did research on NMDA receptors in zebrafish. He was a research assistant in the Department of Pathology at Tufts Medical School studying Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. In 2012, he obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia University for studies of drug treatments for stroke victims. He is now a medical reporter who specializes in infectious diseases and mental health. His writing has been featured in Medical Daily (International Business Times), Scientific American, Science nagazine, NatureNews, and The Scientist magazine.

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Parris Humphrey ’06

Parris Humphrey ’06 transferred to Bard. In his junior year, he traveled to Kenya with Dr. Felicia Keesing to study why the sandflies that transmit leishmaniasis, a tropical disease, are more abundant in areas without large herbivores like giraffes, zebras, and elephants. For his senior project, he figured out that deer can clear blacklegged ticks of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. After graduation, he worked as a research assistant studying the molecular ecology of disease at the U. of Pennsylvania with Professor Dustin Brisson. As of early 2016 Parris is about to get a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, where he studies disease ecology and evolution.

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Sam Israel, ’10

Sam Israel began his Biology work at Bard in Eukaryotic Genetics (BIO202, currently known as “Genetics and Evolution”) with Mike Tibbetts. During his time at Bard, Sam took an ambitious load of courses, including Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Biostatistics, Introduction to Physiology, Biochemistry, Protein Structure & Function, Molecular Biology, an Advanced Seminar in Ecology, Microbiology, Cancer Biology, and a Cell Biology Tutorial. He was also a member of the Bard Music Conservatory and graduated with degrees in both music and biology. His coursework was complemented by 3 (!) summer research experiences, including a semester and summer at the Bard-Rockefeller Semester in Science Program. Sam completed his senior project in the lab of Mike Tibbetts.

As of Fall 2015, Sam is close to the completion of his PhD in the lab of John Ngai at UC Berkeley, where he studies how smell drives fear behaviors in larval Zebrafish. He also works as a science educator and is one of the leaders of the finance team for “Beyond Academia”: a series of highly successful student-run conferences educating students and researchers about non-academic jobs.

Links:
Sam’s Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/samuel-israel/48/5b7/1b3
Sam talking about his graduate program: https://vimeo.com/79831189
Beyond Academia: http://www.beyondacademia.org/

Below is a sample of Sam’s current work: a double-stained confocal microscopy prep of the olfactory bulb in a 5-days old larval Zebrafish. Here, magenta displays the various glomeruli in the olfactory bulb, while green shows a particular subtype of olfactory sensory neurons that project from the olfactory epithelium to the olfactory bulb. The cell bodies of these neurons, that look like flask-shaped bright glowing blobs in this picture, contain olfactory receptors that allow the fish to sense (smell) chemicals in the water. The scale bar represents 20um.

zebrafish OE sensory cells

Alexis Gambis ’03

Alexis came to Bard with equal passions for both science and the arts. He graduated from the Biology program in 2003, with his senior project dedicated to the reconstruction of microbial genome rearrangements in Chlamydia. After Bard, Alexis got a Masters degree in Bioinformatics from the University of Marne la Vallée, and then a PhD from the Rockefeller University, where he studied apoptosis in fruit flies.

During his graduate career, Alexis founded the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, which celebrates films that feature science. The mission of the festival is “to bridge the gap between art and science through film, thereby transforming the way science is communicated to the public and encouraging collaboration across disciplines”.

In 2014 Alexis completed his first feature film, The Fly Room, parts of which were shot at Bard College.

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Daniela Anderson ’12

Daniela Anderson came to Bard having recently visited leper colonies in Nepal, and received a grant through Bard’s Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) Program to create a program that supports these colonies. Later in her undergraduate career, she and a friend bicycled across the US to raise awareness and funds for leper colonies. In the summer of her junior year, Daniela earned a competitive NSF-REU award to study genetics of cancer growth; her summer research grew into her senior project, which examined the effects of micro RNA on the differentiation of cancer cells as a means of making them susceptible to existing therapies. Daniela earned a prestigious Watson Fellowship, which funded her for a year following graduation to visit existing leper colonies around the world and learn about both the medical and human impacts of this disease, which still infects tens of thousands of people annually. She is planning to pursue medicine as a career.