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05-10-2014

Clarkson University Senior Pinguang Yang Receives Frederica Clarkson Award

Graduating senior Pinguang Yang of Brooklyn, N.Y. received the Frederica Clarkson Award during Clarkson University’s 121st commencement ceremony today. He was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty based on his scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.
 
Clarkson University President Tony Collins (left) presents the Frederica Clarkson Award to Pinguang YangThe award was established in 1921 as a bequest in the will of Frederica Clarkson, sister of Thomas S. Clarkson, for whom the University is named. This award and the Levinus Clarkson Award are traditionally given to the two top students in the graduating class.
 
Yang, a member of Clarkson’s Honors Program and a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, received a bachelor of science degree in biomolecular science. A graduate of Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School, Yang will graduate with a 3.96 GPA.

He has worked on a variety of research projects during his undergraduate career. Before his freshman year he participated in summer research under the mentorship of Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Artem Melman, and has completed a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates in developmental biology at Weill Cornell and a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in immunology at Sloan Kettering Institute.
 
Yang has conducted research since his freshman year. He started in Biology Professor Craig Woodworth’s laboratory, using P65 and IKBa, both experimental DNA, to regulate activation of NF-kB, a transcription factor, to confirm that NF-kB inhibits immortalization of HPV-16 by down regulating the HPV promoter in the upstream regulatory region.

Later on, Yang developed an honors thesis in Craig’s laboratory investigating mechanisms for increased susceptibility of cells from the cervical transformation zone to Human papillomavirus-16-induced immortalization.

Part of his research during summer 2013 was funded by the McNair Scholars Research Program. As a junior, Yang received national recognition when he was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship to support this project and his academic pursuits.

These early research experiences led to Yang’s acceptance in a summer fellowship in the summer of 2011 at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He worked with Dr. Jennifer Zallen in Developmental Biology investigating the role of filopodia in intercalating cells during Drosophila germband extension. Yang analyzed filopodia formation and behaviors by performing time-lapse movies of Drosophila embryos expressing GFP-Rho1 using the UAS/GAL4 system.

In the summer of 2012, Yang was offered an REU at the Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. While there, Yang worked for Professor of Immunology Eric Pamer investigating mechanisms underlying recovery of resistance to Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Yang has demonstrated the ratio of secondary to primary bile salts increases following cessation of antibiotics, possibly conferring resistance to CDI.
 
Yang also had research experiences in an industrial setting. He had a co-op and internship with Procter & Gamble in the Research & Development department in the spring of 2012 and the summer of 2013, respectively.

Outside of his research, Yang co-founded the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) and was vice president in 2012. He participated in the International Students Organization and East Meets West Organization for two semesters. He also served on the CSTEP Advisory Board and mentored other students. He was a teaching assistant for the general chemistry for the past three semesters.

Yang received the Clarkson University Support Staff Award, a Phalanx Commendable Leadership award, and was inducted into Phalanx, Clarkson’s highest honorary society.

Following commencement, Yang will attend Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine for a dual M.D.-Ph.D. program. He plans to get an M.D. in oncology and a Ph.D. in cancer research.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University President Tony Collins (left) presents the Frederica Clarkson Award to Pinguang Yang.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/frederica2014.jpg.]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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