Pitt-Bradford to host 250 scientists for annual meeting this weekend


Pitt-Bradford will host 250 scientists from Pennsylvania and New York for the 89th Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science April 5-7. 

            Dr. Assad Panah, professor of geology at Pitt-Bradford, began planning for the event about a year ago, which has been traditionally held on the eastern side of the state.

            “It took 88 years to have the chance to host the Pennsylvania Academy of Science in northwestern Pennsylvania,” Panah said.  A total number of 210 scientific research papers have been peer-reviewed and accepted for oral and poster presentation at the meeting.

    Panah and Kimberly Bailey, reference/instruction librarian who supports the science disciplines, have organized a Saturday shale gas symposium for which 14 papers on Marcellus and Utica shale gas in the Appalachian Basin were reviewed and accepted for presentation. The symposium will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the David R. Webb/Bradford Forest Rehearsal Hall 138 Blaisdell Hall. Those wishing to attend should visit pennsci.org to register. The cost to attend the symposium is $30.

    One of the highlights of the symposium will be a presentation by Jay N. Smith on “Crystallization – A Viable and ‘Green’ Solution to Industry’s Wastewater Needs” at 10:30 a.m.

            Pitt-Bradford faculty and students presenting at the symposium are Bailey, “The Fundamental Building Blocks Necessary to Educate Future Decision Makers in Marcellus and Utica Shale gas” at 8:50 a.m.; Panah, “Organic Petrology and Diagenesis of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas Deposits in Appalachian Basin” at 9:30 a.m.; Dr. Matthew M. Kropf, director of the American Refining Group/Harry R. Halloran Jr. Energy Institute, “Innovations and Future Direction of Hydraulic Fracturing Proppants” at 12:50 p.m.; Beau Close, an undecided major from Bradford, Joshua Durphy, a petroleum technology major from Smethport, Matthew Pekular, a petroleum technology major from Pittsburgh, and Panah, “Marcellus Shale: The Truth Behind this Treasure” at 1:50 p.m.; and Panah with R. Marold, “Fracing up a Storm” at 2:30 p.m. The students will also present their information at a poster session on Sunday.

             Pitt-Bradford faculty and students were offered free registration to the annual meeting since the university is hosting this major scientific event, Panah said. “Our students and faculty will have the chance to introduce Pitt-Bradford’s educational and research programs to faculty and students of other schools across the Pennsylvania and southern tier New York.”

            Shale gas deposits in the region will also be the focus of a banquet dinner speaker to be held that evening in McDowell Sport and Fitness center, which will feature Pitt-Bradford alumnus Doug Kuntz, president and chief executive officer of PennsylvaniaGeneral Energy in Warren. Kuntz will speak about “Marcellus Shale Development in Pennsylvania.” 

            While visiting the area, faculty and students from Pennsylvania and Southern New York higher education institutions will have the opportunity to visit Pitt-Bradford Campus educational facilities and participate in scientific field trips organized by the PAS program committee.

            Pitt-Bradford students and faculty will make a number of presentations during the regular conference, including six poster presentations during the Saturday afternoon session for plants, mathematics, GIS and microbiology, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday in the field house.

            Former student Nicholas Choy; Jingyi Zhang, an engineering student from Honolulu, Hawaii; Jonathan Franks; and Dr.Om Singh, assistant professor of biology, will present “Biosynthesis and Toxicity of gold and Silver Nanoparticles from cave Microorganisms.”

            Dr. Richard F. Melka, professor of mathematics, and Hallie L. Kleiner, an applied mathematics major from Bradford, will present “Pairwise Comparisons of Professors.”

            Philip E. Cauvel, an applied mathematics and economics major from Bradford, and Melka will present “The Usefulness of Mathematica.”

            Melka and David R. Ware, an applied mathematics major from Bradford, will present “Maximizing Long-term Harvests.”

            Vincent Berrettini, a mathematicseducation 7-12 major from Eldred, will present “Graphical Depiction of Hysterisis and its Prevalence in Nature.”

            At 2:15 p.m. Saturday in Swarts 162, Sean Gess, adjunct professor of biology at Pitt-Bradford, along with colleagues Hance Ellington, Matthew Dzialak, Joseph Duchamp, Matthew Lovallo and Jeffrey Larkin, will present “Rest Site Selection by Fishers (Martes pennant) in the Eastern Deciduous Forest.”

            At 9 a.m. Sunday in Swarts 162, Aziz Yousif, a Bridges student from Bradford Area High School; Zhang; Dr. FrancisMulcahy, associate professor of chemistry; and Singh will present “Isolation and Characterization of Indigenous Microorganisms from Cave Soil Cultivated in an Electromagnetic Field.”

            The same team will also present a poster during the Sunday morning session at 10:30 a.m. in the field house. That presentation is “Analysis of 6-carotene Production by Gordonia sp.-SD4 Isolated from cave soil.”

            For a full schedule or more information, visit the Academy’s website, pennsci.org, where abstracts and submitted papers will be published in a digital format in the Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science.

            For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at (814)362-7609 or clh71@pitt.edu.