Chang-Hui Shen Receives NATO Grant


Dr. Shen in his lab.

Chang-Hui Shen, PhD, Professor of Biology at the College of Staten Island (CSI), is the recipient of a three-year North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) grant award.

“The threat of terrorist attacks together with the increasing danger of local wars require a constant search and elaboration of new means for their counteracting. In the current project, we are proposing development of a portable, field-employable detector for assessing genotoxicity produced by explosives. On the basis of the enhanced sensitivity of living cells, the device will quickly, correctly, and confidently evaluate the genotoxicity danger for people’s health of CBRN agents. The use of the detector will enable the authorized personnel to estimate the situation and execute all appropriate measures to secure the respective polluted area,” according to Dr. Shen.

The efforts are a collaboration  between Dr. Shen’s lab, as well as labs in Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey.

“I am very pleased with the news of this three-year NATO award. Fostering new international collaborations, strengthening our research portfolio, and increasing the scope and number of research opportunities for the students are all part of the vision we have for the Division of Science and Technology. No doubt, this grant is well aligned with that vision,” commented Vivian Incera, PhD, Professor of Physics and Dean of Science and Technology.

Alejandra del Carmen Alonso, PhD, Chair and Professor in the Department of Biology, believes, “This award will allow Dr. Shen to increase his research and provide more opportunities with his students working in the lab, including the use of new molecular biology and DNA recombinant technology that we can integrate into molecular biology courses, and students will benefit from it.”

“The Biology Department is very proud of Dr. Shen’s award, an international collaboration that brings the opportunity of growth and exposure for research at CSI. ​In the name of the Biology Department, I would like congratulate Dr. Shen on his achievements and wish him good luck with this new research project,” said Dr. Alonso.




Nuria Morgado Inducted to the North American Academy of the Spanish Language

Dr. Morgado inducted to ANLE

College of Staten Island (CSI) professor Nuria Morgado, PhD, Associate Professor of Spanish was officially welcomed to the American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE).

Morgado was inducted after a thorough dissection of the philosophical foundations in the poetry of Antonio Machado and a clear description of the contributions of Emmanuel Kant, Johann Fichte and Emmanuel Lévinas to the poet’s thinking.

“From his first book Soledades (1903) to Nuevas canciones (1924) through Campos de Castilla (1912), the first edition of Poesías completas (1917) and the writings of his apocryphal Abel Martín and Juan de Mairena, the theme of Otherness has occupied to a great extent the thought of Antonio Machado, “said Dr. Morgado, who earned a PhD in Spanish literature from the University of Arizona and a journalism degree from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

She ​​defined the otherness “as the experience of difference, investigating how this difference can challenge the systems of classification, interpretation and social categorization.”

“For Machado,” said the new inductee, during the event held in the auditorium of the King Juan Carlos I Center at New York University, “the concept of otherness is almost always conceived through a poetic-philosophical praxis that tries to understand how the Self interacts with the world, and how the experienced Self learns from this complex interaction. Machado asks ‘how can one establish meaningful communication with the Other in the world?’”

After pointing out that Antonio Machado emphasizes the importance of the Other in the Self, surpassing in this way the rationalistic solipsism of both Leibniz (windowless monads) and that of Kant (categorical imperative), Morgado declared that for the Spanish poet “one must transcend the totalizing thought and adhere to the infinite inquiries about unity and difference.”

Precisely in the presentation of the new inductee, the information coordinator of the ANLE, Daniel Fernández, highlighted the fruitful work of Morgado as editor and reviewer. “I find admirable her task of opening spaces for others to publish,” he said of his new colleague whom he defined as “Catalan from Barcelona, ​​Andalusian, Hispanic and Trans-Hispanic.”

Finally he praised the persistent commitment of Dr. Morgado for “building bridges of communication between literature and philosophy.”

Sarang Gopalakrishnan Awarded CAREER Grant

Sarang Gopalakrishnan has received a CAREER Grant.

Sarang Gopalakrishnan, PhD, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant. Dr. Gopalakrishnan is a newly hired tenure track Physics faculty member within the Department of Engineering Science and Physics.

“I am very happy with the news of Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s CAREER grant award. Dr. Gopalakrishnan was recently hired to strengthen the Physics program in our division, and he is already making us all feel proud of that decision.  Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s research interests are related to the overlapping of condensed matter, quantum computing, and statistical mechanics, so he works in fundamental, as well as applied problems.  I am sure that this grant will create terrific research opportunities for the students,” commented Vivian Incera, PhD, professor of Physics and Dean of Science and Technology.

Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s project focuses on “the behavior of large physical systems [which are] irreversible. For instance, it is common for water to leak out of a pipe but not for the leaked water to spontaneously go back in the pipe. This irreversibility is manifested by the fact that over time systems tend to ‘forget’ their initial conditions: a spread-out puddle of water on the floor contains no obvious information about where the water came from. This apparent forgetting is at odds with the strictly information-preserving, reversible laws of quantum mechanics… This project explores the approach to equilibrium as an emergent phenomenon, and seeks to elucidate the nature of this phenomenon by exploring systems, related to glasses, in which it happens in ‘slow motion,’ i.e., systems that equilibrate extremely slowly and in well-separated stages… The proposal also has a substantial educational and outreach component, involving efforts to introduce undergraduates, high-school students, and the broader public to the surprising emergent phenomena in everyday life, such as the growth of icicles and the patterns of light on swimming-pool floors.”

Neo Antoniades, PhD, chair of the Department of Engineering Science, commended the new faculty members’ efforts. “Young faculty like Sarang with their impressive energy and research focus are currently leading our Engineering, Earth/Environmental and Physics/Astrophysics programs forward towards state-of-the-art levels,” Dr. Antoniades said.




Maria Knikou Receives $1 Million Grant

Dr. Knikou in her lab.

Adding to the College of Staten Island’s (CSI) long list of impressive faculty grants, it has been announced that Maria Knikou, PhD, was awarded a $1 million grant for her research in spinal cord injuries. Her project is funded by the New York State Department of Health, Spinal Cord Injury Research Board, under the Project to Accelerate Research Translation (PART) award. Dr. Knikou’s goals are to develop effective rehabilitation strategies for people with spinal cord injuries based on scientific evidence.

“I am extremely thrilled and feeling amazing about this outcome,” said Dr. Knikou, Professor of Human Neurophysiology at CSI and The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. Dr. Knikou currently has 11 completed grants, as well as two active and two pending.

Dr. Knikou mentors high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral research fellows and junior faculty. Further, she serves on several editorial boards and has published her research work in high-ranking peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Dr. Knikou conducting research.

In Dr. Knikou’s latest research project, non-invasive stimulation of the spine and brain will be delivered at rest and during assisted stepping with the aim to improve the walking ability of persons with spinal cord injuries. Twelve individuals without spinal cord injuries will also participate to establish a control group. The trials are considered novel, as this is the first time that these two types of stimulations have been paired and will be delivered during assisted stepping. The hypothesis is, in short, that when the stimulation of these two areas is paired, the connections between the brain and the spinal cord will be strengthened. Participants will attend 15 sessions over the course of 15 days and reorganization of brain and spinal cord will be assessed via non-invasive methods.

Grant monies will be used for research staff and assistants, supplies and equipment, stipends for participants, and other project necessities. Dr. Knikou is submitting further grants to map the outcomes of non-invasive transspinal stimulation in arm and leg function of people with tetraplegia or paraplegia.

Tyehimba Jess Receives Lannan Literary Award

Tyehimba Jess, an Associate Professor in the Department of English, was recently named a Lannan Literary Award recipient for 2016.

Jess is the author of Leadbelly, a winner in the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” His other work, Olio, published in 2016, has been called “Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant…” in Publisher’s Weekly‘s starred review, and was selected as one of the five best poetry books of 2016.

Jess has been at CSI for seven years and is currently on sabbatical in Chicago for the year, returning in fall 2017.

“Professor Jess is a poet of emotional depth and range. The College community applauds this national recognition. CSI students are fortunate to learn the craft of poetry in his classes and from his books and readings,” noted Nan M. Sussman, PhD, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Lannan Literary Awards and Fellowships were established in 1989 to honor both established and emerging writers whose work is of exceptional quality. The awards recognize writers who have made significant contributions to English-language literature.

To view the full list of winners, visit the Lannan Website.





ARC Distinguished CUNY Fellows for 2016-2017

Adding to the impressive pool of recent College of Staten Island (CSI) faculty accolades, Ashley Dawson, PhD and Ava Chin, PhD have received Distinguished Professor Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) awards from The City University of New York.

Dr. Dawson received the ARC Fellowship for Spring 2017 for a project on urbanization and climate change, and he plans to “look in particular at efforts to make New York City more resilient following Hurricane Sandy.”

Dr. Chin received the ARC Fellowship for Fall 2016 and she plans to work on her latest book project: “a memoir tracing my family’s 19th Century transnational migration from southern China to New York’s Chinatown.”

Both faculty members are in the English Department at CSI and will receive reassigned time to engage in their research and be part of a scholarly community that includes about ten other CUNY faculty plus about ten visiting scholars.

Dr. Ashley Dawson

“I’m really elated to have this time to focus on my research and writing,” noted Dr. Dawson, adding that he will also be beginning a new project focused on struggles to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, in particular on fights for energy democracy.

Dr. Ava Chin

Dr. Chin said, “It’s a wonderful honor to be a Distinguished CUNY fellow. I have the pleasure of being in a talented cohort of experts in immigration, inequality, and multilingualism, who are from universities around the world, as well as across CUNY. The support for my research has been overwhelming and I am quite grateful. The fellowship came at a critical time in my writing process, especially as I prepare to move to China for my Fulbright. Dr. Chin is also the convener for the faculty and graduate student cluster on immigration.

“Given the competition for these Fellowships, CSI faculty have been remarkably successful,” commented Dr. Nan M. Sussman, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.



2015-2016: Dr.  Patricia Brooks and Dr. Christine Tortora.

2014-2015: Dr. Ismael Garcia Colon.



Staten Island Not For Profit Association Honors Dean Maureen Becker and Student Kirill Antonovis

Dean Maureen Becker at the College of Staten Island (CSI) and Biology major Kirill Antonovis will be among several individuals being honored for helping in the community at a ceremony on November 20.

The Staten Island Not For Profit Association (SINFPA) will host its sixth annual Community Service Awards at the Vanderbilt in South Beach to honor those who help the community.

Dr. Maureen Becker, Interim Founding Dean of the School of Health Sciences, was honored by SINFPA.

Dean Becker began at CSI in 1992. She was the Director of Clinical Education and Deputy Chair for 22 years. She was one of two full-time faculty members since the inception of the physical therapy program. Dean Becker was appointed the Interim Founding Dean of the School of Health Sciences in 2014. During her first two years, the School of Health Sciences was comprised of the Nursing and Physical Therapy Departments. Effective July 1, 2016, the Social Work Department joined the School of Health Sciences under Becker’s leadership. Becker holds a doctorate in health sciences from the Institute of Physical Therapy, a master’s degree in exercise physiology, and a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy.

Kirill Antonovis, a biology major at CSI, was honored by SINFPA.

Antonov, a senior at CSI, has participated in most of CSI’s food collections, serving not only the college but Project Hospitality as well. He volunteers his time at the college’s food pantry, has served as a co-chair of the 2016 CSI Relay for Life, and as a volunteer for the NYC Department of Homeless Services Project HOPE. He volunteers for the Steven Siller Tunnel to Towers programs, as well as the Staten Island Half Marathon. Antonovis also volunteers at Staten Island University Hospital and with the Volunteer Heart Ambulance as an emergency medical technician.

To read about all of the individuals being honored, read the full article on Staten Island Live.

CSI Professor Receives Multiple Accolades

Professor Michael Mandiberg

Although the scorching days of summer lead many to swimming pools, beaches, and lounge chairs, Professor Michael Mandiberg has no time for leisure or summer vacations. With awards under his belt and exhibitions in his sights, the College of Staten Island (CSI) professor and interdisciplinary artist is as multidimensional as his projects.

Mandiberg is the recent recipient of a Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) fellowship award and was also accepted to a residency at The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. In addition to these prestigious honors, the Brooklyn resident is finishing up several large projects and also beginning some new ones.

The Art + Technology Lab at LACMA is a substantial financial award that will help support Mandiberg for a one-year research leave as he embarks on a new project recreating the Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times using digital labor sourced from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk marketplace. Mandiberg’s 21st-Century version of the 1936 film will remix it to speak to contemporary digital labor.

To devote time and concentration to his complex creations, Mandiberg will reside at The MacDowell Colony, the oldest artist residence in the country, during the summer months.

Working in a subcategory of new media art, Mandiberg uses a wide range of tools and technology, sometimes utilizing software and sometimes even building the software to craft his digital projects.

“My work spans a broad range of creative research methodologies,” he noted, adding that the creative process behind these mammoth projects takes “quite a bit of time.”

In addition to the new project, Mandiberg is currently completing two major works: Print Wikipedia and FDIC Insured.

Mandiberg's FDIC Insured exhibit

Print Wikipedia is a massive undertaking in which Mandiberg wrote software that transforms the entirety of the Wikipedia database into thousands of book-format volumes.

“I started editing Wikipedia in 2009, and once I started editing, I thought ‘This corpus is amazing. And so big. What can I do with it?’”

FDIC Insured began at the height of the Great Recession in 2009 when large numbers of banks were failing regularly. To represent the scope of the systemic failure, Mandiberg archived the logos of 527 of these banks and burned them on covers of books about investment, business management, or financial planning.

“I started thinking about the way in which these logos disappear,” Mandiberg says. “As soon as the bank fails, the Website is erased, and the logo goes quickly thereafter. Logos, as we know them, are a post-Second World War phenomenon in which the corporate entity is able to signify timelessness, stability, and trust. Think about the Chase [bank] logo: it is like an immovable boulder, but it is also a safe, and a jewel. It literally and symbolically manifests permanence.”

Mandiberg aims to preserve the logos in a book and online archive due to be published this summer ahead of the show this autumn at 40 Rector Street in Manhattan, organized by Art In Buildings. A portion of the series was first shown at the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Feldman Gallery in Portland, OR, Mandiberg’s hometown, in 2010.

Although the artist, technologist, and scholar has much on his interdisciplinary plate, he looks forward to returning to CSI after his research leave to teach his Design and Digital Media courses. His CSI students have become, in fact, a part of his work as about five students have steadily assisted him on these projects for several years.

As Mandiberg said, “I do my best to synthesize research and teaching.”