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Meet undergraduate student Peter Apicella

Peter Apicella

Combining a passion for science and horticulture has helped Peter Apicella to distinguish himself as a UConn student. Peter took advantage of numerous opportunities from research to athletics to leadership. He provides a prime example of a well-rounded and motivated student. Read more about Peter’s experiences as a UConn student.

What attracted you to UConn? I initially came to UConn because of the financial aid it gave me. I am from New Jersey and the schools there would not have been as good of a value for me as UConn.

What is your major, and why did you choose it? I am a horticulture major. I chose this path because there are a lot of troublesome, but exciting, problems related to food production. I want to be a part of finding the solutions for these problems.

Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? I recently received an IDEA grant for funding from UConn. I am currently working on research with the Aronia berry. The berry is very high in antioxidants, but it does not taste very good. So, we are breeding it to be more palatable. It has been exciting for me to have such a serious research project in my undergraduate career. I think research is stimulating because you are trying to find something that has never been unveiled before. (more…)

NASA funds blood clot risk studies

blood draw

Giving blood to measure clot formation and breakdown factors (Beth Taylor photo)

Life’s circumstances can inspire research project ideas. For example, after running the Boston Marathon, a female athlete flew back home to Seattle and developed a blood clot or venous thrombosis. The runner’s sister, who is an exercise scientist in kinesiology, started searching for answers.

Initial literature reviews in 2010 showed that Associate Professor Beth Taylor, the exercise scientist, might be on to something. Studies seemed to suggest that a combination of risk factors, which includes flying long distances after endurance exercise and using estrogen-based oral contraceptives, had the potential to make women more susceptible to blood clots. As a result, several UConn research projects ensued with Taylor as one of the investigators.

Blood clot risk factors in women

NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium supplied some of the funding. Kinesiology 4th year doctoral candidate Amanda Zaleski received a $20,000 fellowship from them to test the hypothesis that active women in flight are at risk for blood clots.

NASA is especially interested in what flying, with its cabin pressure, confined spaces, compression of veins and reduced movement, does to the body. In addition, the agency has a goal to examine any evidence of barriers or workplace challenges negatively impacting women, who are at or want to work for NASA. (more…)

Image of the week

NRCA renunion

“So great seeing NRCA alumni from three cohorts this past Friday at NRCA’s first reunion (and so many at UConn)! We plan to have future reunion events, so stay tuned.” www.facebook.com/NRCAcademy/posts/1516393541777623

Final CAHNR Pop-Up Store of the season!

As an extra-special addition to our last CAHNR Pop-Up Store of the season, we’ll be offering the remaining stock of Manolo Blahnik shoes donated by Arethusa Farms at below-bargain-basement prices. Shoe sales by cash or credit card only. Proceeds benefit scholarships for Animal Science students.

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CAHNR in the news

Students with mobile devicesUConn Today reported on research into a drug delivery system, which could target diseases at the genetic level. One of the projects in the study has Assistant Professor Steven Szczepanek as a collaborator.  Szczepanek, who is part of pathobiology and veterinary science, will be involved in testing the system.

FreshFruitPortal.com included comments by John Bovay on the the economic effects of the FSMA (U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act). Bovay is an assistant professor in agricultural and resource economics.

By Patsy Evans