Andrew Mancuso

Are parents the ones who should be willing and able to provide sex education for their children? Is your favorite restaurant a healthy and safe choice of eatery?

These are just some of the questions addressed at this year’s first annual Graduate Research Conference (GRC) at the College of Staten Island (CSI). For the first time in CSI history, graduate students were invited to share their research and scholarship at a conference that took place at CSI’s Center for Performing Arts on May 12. The program outlined 14 oral presentations, (moderated by Professors Wei Zhang, Soon Ae Chun and William L”Amoreux) and 45 poster presentations by more than 70 CSI students.

The GRC was coordinated by Maureen Becker, Interim Founding Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Lynne Lacomis, and Joanne DeLucrezia. Dean Becker was extremely proud of the inaugural event commenting that “we far surpassed our expectations in terms of the number and caliber of participants.”

“No matter what the topic, the presenters were all so engaging, so well prepared and experts on their topic areas” said Dean Becker, adding that all schools and divisions were represented at the Conference, which attracted more than 400 people.

Some notable posters included those by Junaid Qaiser, Kaushiki Chatterjee, Randy B. Topper, and Andrew Mancuso.

Junaid Qaiser

Qaiser’s presentation “Smart ‘Healthy’ City Decision Support with New York City Restaurant Inspection Results” analyzed a list of restaurants inspected in a given timeframe in order to address policy making decisions for the city government and to provide information on the health status of restaurants. Qaier’s facuty mentor is Professor Soon Ae Chun.

Chatterjee’s poster “Effects of Resveratol and Pterostilbene on Human Cervical Cancer Cells” studied the effects of two polyphenols, Resveratol and Pterostilbene, on cervical cancer cells. Professor Jimmie Fata serves as Chatterjee’s faculty mentor.

“To What Extent Are Parents Willing and Able to Give Their Children Accurate Comprehensive Sex Education?” was the poster presentation created by Randy B. Topper who looked at specific data showing to what extent parents are the appropriate individuals to communicate information on sex education to their children. Professor Barbra Teater is Topper’s faculty mentor.

Mancuso created two posters.  One in collaboration with Chatterjee and Kamia Punia was titled “Delivering Phytochemical Therapeutics through Polymer Nanofibers.” The group created specific nano fibers to use as an implant for the treatment of cervical cancer and antimicrobial infections.  The faculty mentor for this group is Professor Krishnaswami Raja.

Mancuso, with faculty mentor Professor Raja, also presented on “Novel Polymer Micro-Structures for Drug Delivery Produced by Solution Blow-spinning.” Utilizing the blow-spinning process to create nano fibers in this project allowed greater control over the fabrication process.

The Conference culminated in an awards ceremony in which three of the best poster and oral presenters were selected by audience members. The “People’s Choice Awards” winners are listed below. Each winner received $50 gift card.


Best Poster Presentations

Tied for First Place:


Student: Viktoriya Morozova

Mentor: Professor Alejandra Alonso


Title: “Uptake of Tau Proteins by HEK Cells”


Student: Carla Ann Kostandy

Mentor: Professor June Como


Title: “Diabetes in a Nutshell: A Clinical Nurse Specialists’ Education Project for Healthcare Personnel”


Second Place


Student: Jennifer Williams

Mentor: Professor Eric Ivison


Title: “A Double Spouted Jar of the Chimu Culture in the Pre-Columbian Collection of the Staten Island Museum”


Best Oral Presentations (one from each room)


Student: Lauren Scott

Mentor: Professor Judit Kerekes


Title: “Heterogeneous Cooperative Learning and Its Effects on Students’ Understanding of Multi-step Mathematical Word Problems”



Students (group presentation): Christina Gioeli, Kerry McPartlan, Emily Reid, Matthew Turturro

Mentor: Professor Wei Zhang

Physical Therapy

Title: “Multi-Digit Coordination in Absence of Cutaneous Sensory Feedback During Grasping Tasks”



Student: Maiara Bollauf

Mentor: Professor Vinay Vaishampayan

Engineering Science

Title: “Communication Complexity of the Closest Lattice Point Problem”