A science magazine from the students of American University.

In the 2020 Issue

Farah Hussaini.

Letter from the Student Editors

Farah Hussaini and Dilpreet Raju are the student editors of the 2020 issue of Catalyst magazine.

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Hall of Science entry and garden.

Hall of Science Complete & Opening Doors

By Patty Housman

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From Top to Bottom and Left to Right: Professors Zois Boukouvalas, Lei Ding, Maria Barouti, Michael Baron, Nathalie Japkowicz, Bei Xiao and Roberto Corizzo

Meet the Machine Learning Squad

By Nathalie Japkowicz

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DC Space Grant Consortium

NASA DC Space Grant Consortium Impact at American University

By Eric Lloyd Day

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A scientist at work in a lab

The Uncertainty of Coronavirus & Scientific Research


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Antibody (green) can bind to virus and generate an immune response

How AU Biotechnology Students Are combating COVID-19

By Colin Sterling Jr.

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Smiling researcher

Summer Undergraduate & Graduate Experience in Research Seminars

By Abena Ntiamoah

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Cookie diagram

Experimental Biochemistry Goes Virtual

By Ravi Raithatha

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Impact of COVID-19 on Puerto Rico

The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Puerto Rico

By Sofia Perez Semanaz

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Brain regions

AU Launches New Neuroscience Department

By Patty Housman

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Professor Jeff Kaplan

Focusing on the Biology of Coronaviruses during Lockdown

By Serena E. McCarthy

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Sampling: Theory and Applications

Sampling: Theory & Applications


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Diagram illustrating changing census terms over time

Phenomena of Identity

By Malak Mackie

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Chemistry labs and seminar.

Spring 2020 Chemistry Seminars & Lectures

By Nina Ardabili

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Smoke pouring from multiple industrial stacks into blue sky.

Estimating Manufacturing-Related Workplace Injury Risk

By Hannah Fuchs, Elizabeth J Malloy, Jay M. Kapellusch

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Max Friedman

Message from the Dean

Dear Friends,

I’m delighted to be sharing the 2020 issue of Catalyst magazine with you, filled with articles by American University STEM students and faculty. This year’s issue was a true labor of love. Our contributors researched, wrote, and edited it remotely—and published it virtually.

In this issue, you’ll see that science has continued to progress at American University during the pandemic. Our new 125,000-square-foot Hall of Science has just opened its doors to eager faculty and students in the life sciences. They are moving into its high-tech laboratories to conduct experiments and make discoveries in cancer biology, global warming, and drug development.

You’ll also learn how we launched a new Department of Neuroscience, which includes a BS in neuroscience and a multidisciplinary PhD program in Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience.

And you’ll meet the Squad, a group of seven faculty members who each focus on different areas in the cutting-edge field of machine learning.

Finally, our STEM students are fully engaged in our rapidly changing world, and you’ll see this reflected in the articles on how they are learning about viruses, studying disease models, and working in labs to develop PCR tests.

Science is more important than ever right now. With the new Hall of Science and the Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building, American University is well positioned to conduct cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research and provide our students with a twenty-first century education that will help them become leaders in their fields.

We hope you’ll read all about how our STEM students are working hard to make a real impact on our world!

With best wishes,

Max Paul Friedman
Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
American University