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February 9, 2024

Weissman's Baofu Qiao Aids in Discovery of Promising Cure for Allergies

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Baofu Qiao, working with a team of researchers at Northwestern University, has developed the first selective therapy to effectively prevent allergic reactions. These common immune system responses, intimately familiar to nearly 1 in 3 American adults, can range in severity from bothersome hives and watery eyes to trouble breathing and even death. The exciting results of their pilot mouse study were published in January in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

To develop the therapy, the team coated nanoparticles, infinitesimal units of matter, with antibodies capable of shutting down the specific immune cells, or mast cells, that are responsible for allergic responses. The nanoparticles also carry an allergen that corresponds to the patient’s specific allergy. If a person is allergic to peanuts, for example, the nanoparticle carries a peanut protein.

“Surprisingly, we found that the surface of the nanoparticles is adaptive. It adjusts its polar and nonpolar domains based on the antibody neighbors,” said Qiao, who supervised the atomistic simulation. "The soft surface of the nanoparticles enables the antibodies to preserve their function while targeting specific proteins."

In this two-step approach, the allergen engages the specific mast cells responsible for the allergy, and then the antibodies shut down only those cells. This highly targeted method enables the therapy to selectively prevent specific allergies without suppressing the entire immune system.

In a mouse study, the therapy demonstrated an astonishing 100% success in preventing allergic responses without noticeable side effects.

“Currently, there are no methods available to specifically target mast cells,” said Northwestern’s Dr. Evan A. Scott, who led the study. “All we have are medications like antihistamines to treat symptoms, and those don’t prevent allergies. They counteract effects of histamines after the mast cells already have been activated. If we had a way to inactivate the mast cells that respond to specific allergens, then we could stop dangerous immune responses in severe situations like anaphylaxis as well as less serious responses like seasonal allergies.”

“The biggest unmet need is in anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening,” said Northwestern’s Dr. Bruce Bochner, an allergy expert and study co-author. “Certain forms of oral immunotherapy might be helpful in some cases, but we currently don’t have any FDA-approved treatment options that consistently prevent such reactions other than avoiding the offending food or agent. Otherwise, treatments like epinephrine are given to treat severe reactions — not prevent them. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a safe and effective treatment for food allergy that consistently made it possible to reintroduce a food into the diet that you used to have to strictly avoid?”

The implications of the study are vast. Armed with these promising results, the researchers plan to explore their nanotherapy for treating other mast cell-related diseases, including mastocytosis, a rare form of mast cell cancer. They also are investigating loading drugs inside the nanoparticles to selectively kill mast cells in mastocytosis without injuring other cell types.

David Gruber Helps Pioneer Revolutionary Technology to Study Deep-Sea Life

Multi-institution team uses innovative robotic device to capture tissue in minutes, preserving it in situ for unprecedented close encounters.

Baruch College Professor David Gruber and a multidisciplinary team of ocean engineers, roboticists, and biologists have successfully demonstrated new technologies that can shave years off the process of determining whether a new or rare species of marine life has been discovered.

Dr. Gruber and a team of 15 researchers from six institutions used revolutionary advances in underwater imaging, robotics, and genomic sequencing to obtain preserved tissues and high-resolution images of some of the most fragile animals in the deep ocean.

The research team — led by the University of Rhode Island in collaboration with Baruch College, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Harvard University, and PA Consulting — published their findings in Science Advances today.

“The vision was: How might a marine biologist work to better understand and connect to deep-sea life decades or centuries into the future?” said Dr. Gruber, CUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology at Baruch College.

“This is a demonstration of how an interdisciplinary team could work collaboratively to provide an enormous amount of new information on deep-sea life after only one brief encounter. The ultimate goal is to continue down this path and refine the technology to be as minimally invasive as possible — akin to a doctor’s check-up in the deep sea,”

Gruber added.

So far, their new method has been featured in:


The Boston Globe

Science Daily


Science Magazine



Read More

Rejuvenating Learning: Baruch's MakerHub Enhances Education with Trial, Error, and Hands-On Technology

Professor of Fine Arts Zoë Sheehan Saldaña

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much enthusiasm you initially bring to your subject of choice. The deeper your studies go, and the more familiar with the field you become, habitual approaches can soon make material seem dry and repetitive for students and instructors alike. The minds behind Baruch’s MakerHub are seeking to change that, by making any subject – from Biochemistry to English Literature – more hands on, more creative, and more immediately captivating by incorporating cutting-edge technology and art-making practices.

The MakerHub, a program of the Lawrence N. Field Center of Entrepreneurship, serves as an inclusive, interdisciplinary space where the Baruch community can engage with advanced technologies — like 3D printing, electronics, multimedia production, virtual/augmented reality, and computer programming — regardless of their major or expertise. 

Artist and Professor of Fine Arts Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, helps oversee the MakerHub, offering workshops designed to democratize access to these technologies, making them a more universal and common educational resource. “We work with people across the entire college,” she said, “giving access to various technologies that might be ‘non-traditional’ or simply something they don’t have access to. It's not a Weissman thing, or a Zicklin thing, or anything like that. It's a Baruch-wide resource.” 

Additionally supported by the Baruch Student Technology Fees, the MakerHub extends its resources beyond the student body to faculty members, particularly those who want to add a new dimension to their classes but lack the resources or knowledge for technology focused learning.

Professor Jean Gaffney, Professor of Chemistry and Natural Sciences, reached out to MakerHub last semester to brainstorm ways to inspire her biochemistry undergrads.


“When you become a professor and you have your own research lab, you are expected to be creative, but I felt I’d lost some of my creativity, repeating the same things on my syllabus over and over again. I feel like these kinds of hands-on experiences let the students – and me – be inventive for a little while. It was just super fun and successful. I can’t wait to do it again with my class next year.”

Collaboratively, Saldaña and Gaffney pioneered a workshop wherein students used advanced 3D printers to fabricate intricate resin models of protein structures, embracing the learning process' inherent trial and error. Even the mistakes were spectacular. 

“Science is messy and involves a lot of failure,” Saldaña said. “Professor Gaffney was concerned that the students weren't really getting a whole lot of access to that mess – the idea of science as an experiment that just might fail. She wanted to provide some hands-on stuff for the students to do. That would be useful especially if it didn't work.”

In addition to fostering creativity in the classroom, the MakerHub organizes workshops, events, and competitions for all Baruch students and staff, further supporting individual creative endeavors.

Go to: to get the creative juices flowing.

Mishkin Gallery Transforms Into Cinema in February

Charles Lane, Sidewalk Stories (film still), 1989. Courtesy Kino Lorber.

Mishkin Gallery is pleased to present The Right to the City: Public Space on Film (running January 29 - March 1), a vibrant selection of cinematic works exploring the spatial politics of belonging in urban environments. The notion of public space is a vision of the collective: in urban life, density necessitates a sharing of resources. Shared spaces — the commons — demonstrate how we can, and must, live together.

The included films take place in, and take as a subject, the public sphere. The spaces in these films act as sites of leisure, labor, protest, surveillance — topographies of everyday life. We see how architecture, real estate, and public policy can determine the structure of the built and natural environments — but just as often, how people can improvise and deviate, and creatively misuse these shared spaces. This program poses the question: what does it mean to truly be public?

The Right to the City: Public Space on Film has been curated by Alexandra Tell. The exhibition is made possible by Friends of the Mishkin Gallery and the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College (CUNY).

View Full Schedule of Films

Scenes from January

Debra Phillip answers the question "Who Was Baruch's Inaugural President?" at Academic Affairs' Black History Month Coffee Quiz hosted by Professor of English and Black and Latino Studies Shelly Eversley (below).

The Fall 2023 graduates of the M.A. in Corporate Communication program complete their studies at Baruch by presenting their eclectic thesis capstone projects.

The Department of History hosted an event in collaboration with the American Trust for the British Library, featuring Weissman history professor, T.J. Desch-Obi who presented "Fighting for the Archives: Endangered Archives and Preserving the History of the Afro-Colombian Martial Arts." Students (below) filled the house.

Watch a full recording of his discussion with Associate Professor of History Kathy Pence here.

Weissman student Pamela Morales was featured as the CUNY Callout in the first CUNY weekly of the semester.


Adrienne Raphel in NY Times

Adrienne Raphel, poet and Lecturer of English, is quoted in The New York Times article "But What Do the Tortured Poets Think?" It is a response to the title of Taylor Swift's recently announced new album: The Tortured Poets Department.

One of Weissman's resident tortured poets, Raphel does not disappoint, drawing parallels to her work on the Dark Academia aesthetic and dropping a coy Wallace Stevens allusion.

Check it out here.

Eric Mandelbaum is the O'Hare Professor of Holocaust Studies

Eric Mandelbaum, Associate Professor of Philosophy, has been appointed the Ruth Prinz O'Hare '52 Professor in Antisemitism and Holocaust Studies for the Wasserman Jewish Studies Center at Baruch College.

Check out Jewish Studies Center's robust semester of programing here.

Patrycja Sleboda on Food Labels

Patrycja Sleboda, Assistant Professor of Psychology, contributed to the article "Changing the Narrative: How Healthy and Sustainable Labels Could Boost Plant-Based Choices," published on Food Ingredients First. The article examines the impact of food labeling on consumer choices, particularly in encouraging plant-based diets. Sleboda's research focuses on the psychological aspects influencing consumer decisions toward sustainable and healthy eating.

Check it out here.

Geanne Belton Study in New York Daily News

Professor of Journalism and Director of the High School Journalism Program Geanne Belton's study, Haves and Have Nots: Newspaper Prevalence Among New York City Public High Schools was mentioned in the Daily News

Read the article and listen to "Student Journalism isn't kids' stuff'" here.

Roslyn Bernstein Authors One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2023

Professor Emerita of English Roslyn Bernstein's debut novel, The Girl Who Counted Numbers, has been named one of the 100 Best Independent Books of 2023 by Kirkus Reviews, a publication that reviews over 10,000 books each year. Bernstein is one of four authors interviewed in the December 15 issue of Kirkus Reviews.

The Girl Who Counted Numbers is available for order here.

Further information about Bernstein's work and her interview can be found in the digital copy of the magazine here.

New Media Artspace Presents Paring Pairs

The New Media Artspace is proud to present the Docent Pop-Up Paring Pairs, a group exhibition of five collaborations by 10 artists from the New Media Artspace Docent Team and the NMA Studio Monitor Team: Anya Ballantyne, Angela Bernabeo, Nishat Farhana, Allison Lai, Jessica Lian, Olivia Pan, Cindy Qiu, Fariha Rahman, Anika Rios, and Jafrin Uddin. The exhibition is curated by the New Media Artspace Docent Team: Anya Ballantyne, Angela Bernabeo, Maya Hilbert, Cindy Qiu, Anika Rios, and Jafrin Uddin.

Paring Pairs will be on view from February 15 through February 26 at the New Media Artspace website,, and at the New Media Artspace gallery in Baruch’s Library and Information Building, 151 E. 25th Street.

Mishkin Gallery's Latest Publication at Jersey Art Book Fair

Curator Alaina Claire Feldman joined Aura Rosenberg (above) at the Jersey Art Book Fair for a discussion of their book and recent exhibition, What Is Psychedelic. Published by Pioneer Works Press and Mishkin Gallery. This volume traces Rosenberg’s practice over five decades from the 1970s to her most recent endeavors in photography, film, sculpture, and installation. 


After the talk, Rosenberg signed copies.

Upcoming Events

AT BPAC TONIGHT - February 9 at 7:30pm

Award-winning pianist Maxim Lando performs Robert Schumann's Carnaval,Modest Mussorgsky’s evocative Pictures at an Exhibition, and the pianist’s arrangement of Stephen Sondheim’s The Worst Pies in London from "Sweeney Todd."

Lando has been praised for his “brilliance and infectious exuberance” (The New York Times) and called a “dazzling fire-eater” by ARTS San Francisco. He is recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award,earned First Prize at the Young Concert Artists International Auditions andis winner of the New York Franz Liszt International Competition and The Vendome Prize.

Tickets: $35

$15 for students and Baruch staff and faculty

DEI Friday - February 9: Combating Islamophobia and Supporting Our Muslim Community at Baruch (virtual)

BPAC - February 5, 7:30pm: Multimedia duo plays toy pianos merged with electronics

Chromic Duo Lucy Yao and Dorothy Chan blends classical music, toy piano, and electronics into genre-fluid performances and installations.Inspired by the small wonders of the everyday, they compose sound worlds inspired by the multitudes as Third-Culture-Kids discovering their voices within the vast Asian-American diaspora.

Chromic Duo often blurs the lines between film, virtual reality, and augmented reality, but the heart of their work remains constant: to create an intimacy and sense of wonder in their music that unravels the story of self-discovery and passion, connecting the dots between grief and joy, belonging and displacement, and creating community inboundary-pushing performances and web-based experiences.

Tickets $35 ($15 for students and Baruch staff).

CLIMATE @ BARUCH February 22–23Second Annual Conference on Climate Research, Teaching, and Collaboration REGISTER NOW!

WASSERMAN JEWISH STUDIES CENTER - March 13, 5:00 pm, VC 14-270

Pioneering German-Jewish Pilots During World War I: in-person panel with awarding-winning journalist and Baruch Distinguished Lecturer Ralph Blumenthal; Dr. Jason Crouthamel, Professor of History, Grand Valley State College, Elimor Makevet, author of Jewish Flyers and the World War and former New York Times art director Steven Heller, co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. RSVP to Carina Pasquesi


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