Environmental & Health Sciences Department News

Spring 2012

Professor Hans Haverkamp has received renewal of his Vermont Genetics Network (VGN) project grant, and Professor Liz Dolci (Environmental & Health Sciences) has received another pilot grant.

In a letter to JSC President Murphy, VGN Director
Judith Van Houten noted that her organization is "very
pleased to be a partner with you in developing a culture
of research at Johnson State College. ... [A] critical goal
for VGN has been to develop a research culture at all of
our partner institutions. Johnson State College has been
a leader in this by making enormous commitments to
faculty and student research as part of your education

Governor Shumlin appointed Leslie Kanat to the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel, which meets periodically to consider issues relating to nuclear power in general and Vermont Yankee in particular. The panel advises the governor, General Assembly and state agencies with a written annual report.

Kanat also reviewed chapters for an introductory textbook published by Prentice-Hall titled Earth Science (13th edition) by Tarbuck, Lutgens and Tasa.

Fall 2011

With Bob Genter as principal investigator, JSC is partnering with UVM on water-quality research in the Lake Champlain Basin. The five-year research project is funded via a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation to Vermont EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). Sen. Patrick Leahy announced the award.

JSC also is excited to be involved in another Vermont
EPSCoR project, this one funded by a $1 million grant
from the National Science Foundation. The grant will be used to connect VSC institutions and the University of Vermont with high-speed fiber-optic cables and other information-sharing technologies in order to facilitate collaborative research. With Liz Dolci as principal investigator, JSC will receive a two-year award that will enable the college to hire a cyber specialist. Among other benefits will be a new bioinformatics course, organized at Johnson State, to be offered across the VSC system in spring 2012 and taught by faculty at UVM and other faculty in the northeast. The new award also provides funding to connect a network of K-12 schools, libraries, museums, art galleries and hospitals in Vermont.

Summer 2011

Gustav Verdeber appeared on WCAX News’ "Nature Notes" segment, during which he took meteorologist Sharon Meyer to see and photograph nesting osprey on Lake Arrowhead.

Spring 2011

Professor Leslie Kanat is on the board of directors of the Vermont Geological Society and was one of three judges for student presentations at the organization’s spring meeting,

held April 23 at the University of Vermont. There were 18 presentations from undergraduates, primarily from Middlebury College and UVM

Fall 2010

Professor Hans Haverkamp participated in a symposium this summer at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Denver. His presentation, part of the official program, was on breathing during exercise in asthmatic humans. He has submitted an abstract for a second presentation at the same conference as well.

Professor Brad Moskowitz has completed his Emergency Medical Technician training and passed all exams. As a result he is now a certified EMT in Vermont and included in the national registry of EMTs. As a certified EMT-B, Brad has moved up to become a Level 2 member of the Mount Mansfield Ski Patrol, where he will continue to serve as a volunteer for the upcoming season. He recently completed two days  of refresher training for ski patrols, during which he practiced lift evacuations, reviewed legal/liability issues,

and gained continuing education units to maintain the medical portion of his EMT certification. Brad earned  additional professional certification while co-instructing a portion of his Wilderness Leadership Techniques class expedition. He acquired the Whitewater Rescue Technician certification through Rescue 3 International, an internationally recognized provider of rescue training. Brad consistently integrates service-learning experiences into his courses by collaborating with students, external organizations and JSC’s SERVE program. This fall he has focused on projects involving students, community volunteers and professionals from the Green Mountain Club and the Catamount Trail Association. In October they cleared water bars and removed trail hazards on Mount Mansfield’s Long Trail while working with representatives from the Green Mountain Club and a volunteer (and JSC graduate) from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. In November Brad and his students worked with the Catamount Trail Association and a group of community volunteers to build two bridges on the section of trail descending from Jay Pass. Not only do these projects provide rich educational experiences for all involved, they emphasize the College’s commitment to conservation, stewardship and the sustainable use of  public lands for outdoor recreation.

Master nature photographer, instructor Gustav Verderber returned in October after leading his 2010 “Blue Ox Moose and Fall Foliage Magical Mystery Tour” to Mt. Katahdin and the Penobscot River in Maine. “We pulled it out of the hat once again and delivered fall color and trophy moose (capture and  release, of course),” he writes on his blog.


Summer 2010

Professor Hans Haverkamp (Environmental and Health Sciences) and Professor Gina Mireault (Behavioral Sciences) whose research also is supported by a Vermont Genetics Network grant, presented "The Best of Both Worlds: Teaching through Research” at the VSC academic Retreat on May 20, 2010.

Students Ryan Joy and Ben Chaucer received undergraduate research awards from the Vermont Genetics Network to participate this summer in the metagenomic analysis of the Lowell/Eden asbestos mine. VGN reviews of both applications noted the students’ high academic performance.

This summer the President’s Fund for Excellence in Teaching and Learning funded a biology major, Autumn Santor, as part of support for an emerging culture of research at the college. Autumn’s experiences in the lab with VSC Faculty Fellow and JSC Professor Liz Dolci in proteomics and genetics have proved transformative, and she is now looking toward graduate school.


Spring 2010

Zack Sutton, a senior biology major, was accepted to the new Doctor of Pharmacy program at the Albany College of Pharmacy in Colchester. He has worked diligently over the past few years with coursework in microbiology, proteomics

and genetics. His senior thesis was an analysis of microbial communities at the asbestos mine in Lowell/Eden.

On April 14, JSC student presenters joined Professor Hans Haverkamp at the Vermont Genetics Network’s "Undergraduate Student Career Day” in South Burlington.

Johnson State is gaining steam received a very successful visit to campus by the External Advisory Committee of the Vermont Genetics Network (VGN). VSC Faculty Fellow and EHS Department Chair Professor Elizabeth Dolci applied for a Vermont Genetics Network grant to support a “Metagenomic analysis of an aquatic environment, Lowell/Eden asbestos mine.” She has also sought and received a VGN grant to support “Undergraduate summer research on asbestos mine microbial communities.”

JSC’s other faculty recipient of a VGN project grant, Professor Hans Haverkamp, received a continuation of his grant award from last year and will continue his research

on asthma and exercise.

Professor Bob Genter is awaiting word from the National Science Foundation on his submission of “Microbial

diversity of and genetic fingerprints of E. Coli from rivers in predominantly forested, agricultural, and impervious land uses.” In March Bob and two undergraduate students, Greg Perry and Benjamin Kirchner, presented the results of their research, “Analysis of phosphorus loading and microbial

source tracking in the Lamoille River, Vermont,” at the annual meeting of VT-EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) in Burlington.


Professor Leslie Kanat accompanied four JSC students to Brattleboro to attend the Board of Directors meeting and

subsequent events of the Citizens Action Network (CAN). Five state senators, including Sen. Peter Shumlin, attended. One of the JSC students, Ben Chaucer, was elected as a member of the Board of Directors of CAN.


Summer 2009

Four faculty members in the EHS department worked on research projects associated with the local watershed. Professor Les Kanat and two students investigated the Deer Brook landslide in Jeffersonville, while Professor Tania Bacchus supervised the research of two students conducting a biological and chemical assessment of the Lower Pond on the JSC campus. Professor Bob Genter continued his VT EPSCoR-funded study, investigating sources of total phosphorus and e. coli from three land uses in the Lamoille River drainage basin, with the help of three undergraduate students. (EPSCoR is a program of the National Science Foundation program — the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.) Department Chair Liz Dolci began an investigation of microbial communities of an environmentally impacted waterway at the Lowell/Eden asbestos mine. Meanwhile Professor Hans Haverkamp continued his research on asthma and exercise, working with two JSC summer interns.

Instructor Judy Rosovsky was featured on the front page of the Aug. 13 Burlington Free Press, examining trees in a search for signs of the destructive emerald ash borer and Asian long-horned beetle. she joined 26 other insect and tree-health professionals and volunteers as citizen scientists in Burlington for a day-long "surveillance" workshop.

Department Chair Liz Dolci's VSC Faculty Fellowship during 2009-2010 is helping advance the emerging culture of research at the college as a whole. It has already expanded to Behavioral Sciences, for example, where under the guidance of Professor Gina Mireault, students are conducting a naturalistic observation of how infants discover and develop humor, and the importance of humor to bonding and attachment.