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A Summer of Study & Research - Part II

Every year, the UNH Graduate School awards Summer Teaching Assistantship Fellowships (STAF). These fellowships are intended to support research or study during the summer for individuals who have held a teaching assistant (TA) position during the current academic year and have performed exceptionally well as a TA and student. What did the STAF recipients do during the summer of 2017? We will be featuring their stories, research, and pictures throughout the fall semester.

Brian Patenaude

Department of Chemistry – Inorganic Chemistry PhD program


photo of UNH doctoral student Brian Patenaude

Brian Patenaude

With the financial aid of the summer teaching assistant fellowship, this summer I have been able to solely focus on my research in the field of artificial enzymes. This research aims to generate biomimetic proton reduction catalysts with the goal of studying the mechanism of the hydrogenase enzyme. This research may aid in making hydrogen fuel a more feasible alternative to fossil fuels.

The prospect of additional research time allowed me to redesign my overall experiment and synthetic route to study a set of more biologically relevant mimics for the hydrogenase active site. This summer’s research has primarily focused on the synthesis of novel biotin-functionalized iron clusters which would mimic the active site of the hydrogenase enzyme. In the future, the biotinylated iron clusters will be non-covalently bound by avidin to study the effects of secondary coordination sphere interactions within a non-native protein environment.

Kiley Remiszewski

NRESS PhD program – Earth and Environmental Sciences


photo of Kaitlyn in the fields on October 1, 2016

The Summer TA Fellowship has allowed me focus on preparing a manuscript, which will be the second chapter of my dissertation looking at the impact of different fungal species on weathering when grown on varied geologic substrates. I hope to submit this work to a journal for review by this fall. These findings will allow me to build a foundation for the third chapter of my dissertation examining these interactions in a controlled growth chamber environment where I will be able to further isolate fungal vs. plant impacts on weathering. Additionally, the STAF has allowed me to begin to develop methods for inoculation and growth of seedlings for this third chapter.


Corinne Disenhof

Masters of Science in Civil Engineering, focus in Geotechnical Engineering

This summer, I have been investigating the uses of New Hampshire aerial lidar data for assessments of highway rock cuts and prediction of rock fall behavior. Data are available from NH GRANIT, the GIS clearinghouse for New Hampshire, and cover a wide swath of the state with digital elevation models (DEMs) and/or lidar point clouds at 1-2 meter horizontal resolution. I am using this data to create elevation profiles of rock cuts of interest to simulate where a rock that falls from the cut will go (ie: will it reach the road, or be contained in the catchment ditch beneath the cut?). I am comparing these outputs to those created from much higher resolution data sets taken specifically for a few rock cuts around the state. If the data from the widely-available DEMs can output results similar to those from the much rarer high resolution data, simulations can be run for many of the rock cuts in the state. This could give us a better idea of the hazards these rock slopes present to the roadway.

In order to get meaningful information from these studies, questions I am working to address include:

  • Is there a significant difference between the results from data sets of different resolutions?
  • Can I get better results by creating my own elevation model from the original raw data, instead of using a pre-made data set?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each data type, the limitations of the data, and the limitations of the model itself?
  • How sensitive is the model to assumed input parameters?

If possible in the future, I would ideally test these simulations against actual field experiments of rock fall from rock cuts.


—Compiled by Kristen Melamed


Please visit the UNH Graduate School for more information about the STAF awards. For information about how to apply, please see our STAF Application Instructions.