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April 13, 2015

Curtis Schauder

Research by Curtis Schauder (MB&B) has been published in the journal Nature.

The article, “Structure of a lipid-bound extended synaptotagmin indicates a role in lipid transfer,” describes the structure of a key protein involved in lipid transfer between cellular membranes, a process of fundamental importance to living cells.

Working in the lab of Karin Reinisch, Curtis experimentally determined the three-dimensional shape of a human protein responsible for physically holding together two different compartments within a cell.

Protein structure confers function,” he explains, “and by visualizing this protein, we were able to determine that it plays a role in transferring lipids between the two compartments. Lipid composition plays a major part in how the cell can distinguish its different compartments, and thus this discovery sheds light on a fundamental mechanism for how cells within the human body maintain intracellular organization.”  

Curtis was selected to speak about this research at the 2014 Annual American Society for Cell Biology conference in Philadelphia in December. He is currently attempting to visualize a large lipid kinase complex to unravel just how it helps the plasma membrane (the outer layer of the cell) maintain its distinct identity.

Curtis graduated from Rutgers University, where he studied molecular biology and biochemistry. After college, he worked in a lab studying the role of a protein involved in stem cell maintenance using Drosophila as a model system. “This experience prompted me to search out laboratories where I could really pursue structure function relationships more so than biophysical methods development. I really enjoy interdisciplinary research,” he says.

When not busy in the lab, Curtis plays intramural soccer and is involved in a tech start up. He received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and was named a Yale Gruber Fellow in 2011.

Katherine Hindley

Katherine Hindley (Medieval Studies) presented two talks at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in conjunction with the arrival of the Takamiya Collection of Medieval Manuscripts. Her lecture, “Prayer Rolls in Medieval Life,” discussed the range of uses for prayer rolls, from simply providing the text of prayers to protecting women during childbirth. Prayer rolls in the Middle Ages were small scrolls containing religious texts and images, ranging from psalms to pictures of the cross that promised to protect whoever looked at them.  

The Beinecke houses one of the largest collections of medieval prayer rolls in the world, thanks, in part, to material that was provided recently as a long-term loan from Toshiyuki Takamiya, a retired professor of medieval English literature at the University of Keio in Japan. Over the course of 40 years, Takamiya acquired the largest and most comprehensive privately owned collection of Middle English texts.  

Katherine’s research analyzes the intersection of magic, medicine, and religion in medieval England from the Anglo-Saxon period up to the 16th century. Her dissertation will examine these interconnected ideas using evidence from literature, material culture, and legal documents with a particular focus is on texts that were expected to produce a physical effect, such as protection or healing, without being read. Instead, words could be dissolved into water to make a drink that fought against the temptations of the devil, sealed and placed around a patient’s neck to cure cramp, or written onto food and eaten to ensure safety in childbirth. By studying how these practices changed over time, Katherine hopes to understand how ideas about the power of written words changed as literacy increased.

Her dissertation advisers are Alastair Minnis (English), Anders Winroth (History), and Barbara Shailor (Classics).

Her interest in manuscript studies led to her writing an article on the Beinecke copy of Mandeville’s Travels that will be forthcoming in the Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History. She has also published an essay on “History and Ownership” in An English Prayerbook of the Fifteenth Century in Vercelli (Winfried Rudolf and Timoty Leonardi, eds.).

Born in London, UK, Katherine earned a BA in English Language and Literature and an MSt in Medieval Studies, both from the University of Oxford.

At Yale, when not pursuing research, she likes to play ice hockey, host fireworks parties, and plan trips abroad.

Anya Adair

Anya Adair (English) has won a 2015 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award for 2015, given by the Association of American Colleges & Universities. She and nine other winners were chosen from nearly 300 graduate students nominated by faculty members. The prize recipients were celebrated in Washington at the AAC&U’s annual meeting in January.

Anya devotes a lot of energy and creativity to enhancing what she calls the “active and supportive environment that is so crucial to the scholarly community – especially for young researchers.” She has organized and moderated conference panels, reviewed journal papers, and convened Yale’s Medieval Colloquium. She co-organizes and leads evening seminars for the Old English and Old Norse reading groups and established a working group for thesis chapters and an informal ‘article boot camp’ for those working on publications. She also serves as a Yale College Writing Partner, assisting international students and other undergraduates with their writing.

At the center of all my academic activities is university teaching,” Anya says.  She began working as a teaching assistant during her master’s degree studies at the University of Melbourne. She then became a lecturer, planning, teaching, and coordinating that university’s undergraduate medieval English course. She instituted a series of classes focused on undergraduate essay writing and invited other graduate students to attend and participate in her classes, “with a view to increasing interest in all things medieval.”

At Yale, Anya has taught writing seminars and was a Teaching Fellow for “Daily Themes.” To strengthen her pedagogical skills, she has participated in Yale’s Certificate of College Teaching Preparation and professional development workshops that involve sharing lesson plans and strategies with other graduate student teachers.

Next spring, in collaboration with the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, she will lead a workshop course that introduces graduate students to digital editing of medieval materials. “I am delighted to encourage the development of skills in digitization, and I intend that the course will grow into a more major program for digital humanities in medieval studies, with an eye to the creation of teaching resources in the material culture of medieval texts,” she says.

Three things are necessary for really great teaching: a deep knowledge of one’s field, the conviction that this knowledge is worthwhile, and a burning desire that one’s students should share in it. Where a teacher brings these to a class, the experience is sure to be richly rewarding,” she says. She places great value on personal contact with students to encourage their “deep and ongoing engagement with the subject,” and maintains contact even after the course is over.

In addition to all the above, Anya has acted as secretary of the English Graduate Student Association and GSA representative for her department.