Spotlight

Contact Us

sponsored
programs@jjay.cuny.edu
 

Susy Mendes
Director
212-237-8447
smendes@jjay.cuny.edu

Amrish Sugrim-Singh 
Assistant Director 
212-237-8449
asugrim-singh@jjay.cuny.edu


Suroojnarine (Darryl) Singh 

Grant Administrator 
646-557-4867
susingh@jjay.cuny.edu

Cherryanne Ward
Grants Assistant
212-621-3718
cward@jjay.cuny.edu

Physical Address:
Office of Sponsored Programs
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
555 W. 57th Street, Suite 601
New York, NY 10019

Mailing Address:
Office of Sponsored Programs
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

 

Each month, the Office of Sponsored Programs will spotlight a different PI and their research. If you are interested in being featured in our next spotlight, please email sponsoredprograms@jjay.cuny.edu  . Please be sure to provide us with an abstract (3-5 paragraphs) about your research, explanation of your recent project, the amount your project (s) were funded for, special events that you are hosting or coordinating, obstacles or challenges you faced during the application process, if applicable, and a photo of yourself  

 

Dr. Nathan Lents
Associate Professor
Department of Sciences
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

 

Dr. Nathan H. Lents is Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Deputy Chair of the Department of Sciences at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Associate Professor of the Doctoral Program in Biochemistry at the CUNY Graduate Center.  Dr. Lents has expertise in the areas of Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, Forensic Biology and DNA Analysis, and Microbiology. 

Dr. Lents has recently been awarded a grant with expected funding to total $632,174 from the National Science Foundation's S-STEM program, which provides scholarships to schools that make special efforts to recruit and  support underrepresented and disadvantaged students to their STEM programs. At John Jay, scholarships are used to recruit local students who show a great aptitude for science, but suffer from severe financial need. Students are specifically recruited from schools with high percentages of African American and Latino students, as these two groups are still dramatically underrepresented in the sciences. The award amount varies based on financial need, but does cover cost of living, when possible. Combined with need-based federal aid, these scholarships often completely cover tuition, books, and a living stipend for low-income students. The grant provides $128,000 in scholarship support annually and students can renew their award as long as they keep their grades up and continue to pursue a STEM major at the College (Forensic Science, Computer Science, or one of the new STEM majors      currently under development). Professor Lents has also received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for other various projects. 

Dr. Lents also serves as a mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students and is a firm believer that the classroom is a laboratory and the laboratory is a classroom! He has just started an exciting new project in his lab in which he and his students are exploring how the bacteria that live on the human body are affected by the death of their host. All the bacteria that live in, on, and around the human body are collectively referred to as the human microbiome. His lab is now studying postmortem changes to the human microbiome in an effort to establish consistent changes to the microbial communities that occur in a predictable schedule following death. The aim is to provide new tools for death investigators for establishing the postmortem interval (time-of-death) as well as detection of other bacteria which may prove forensically useful. Bacterial samples have been collected from the Anthropology Research Facility at the University of Tennessee (nicknamed the “body farm”) and a phase one proof of concept study will be completed this spring. One of his students has applied for a summer internship at the University of Tennessee in order to pursue the project full-time next summer. To support this project, Dr. Lents has also applied for a PSC-CUNY award in order to fund a larger phase II proof of concept next summer. If results are   promising, he plans to submit a grant request to both the National Institute of Justice and the National Science Foundation, who has recently announced funding for forensic science projects. This is an exciting development because the National Science Foundation did not previously have interest in funding Forensic Science.

Dr. Lents is truly dedicated to helping his students succeed.  He is the founding director of the Office of Undergraduate Research which seeks to facilitate, promote and support students doing research with faculty members here at John Jay.  Dr. Lents is also the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Teaching Award, which honors unique, innovative approaches to teaching at the College.  He was also awarded the 2011 Faculty Scholarly Excellence Award, which recognizes faculty who have demonstrated exceptional scholarship in recent years at the College