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Monday, December 19, 2016


BRADFORD, Pa. -- Two new books edited by Dr. Om Singh, associate professor of biology, will feature articles by his students.

“Foodborne Pathogens and Antibiotic Resistance,” which will be available from Wiley Blackwell next month, contains an article by Singh and Mariah Cole, a 2015 graduate pursuing a master’s degree in the infectious diseases and microbiology program at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health.

The article, “Foodborne Pathogens and Their Apparent Linkage With Antibiotic Resistance,” is based on research Cole did with Singh while an undergraduate.

Similarly, “Bio-Pigmentation and Biotechnological Implementations,” which will be published in April, contains an article Singh co-authored with Rosemary Nwabuogu, a biology major from Jefferson Hills.

Since Singh came to Pitt-Bradford in 2008 to teach biology, he has published more than 50 papers, articles and book chapters with undergraduate students.

“It’s an astonishing publication rate for any academic made more amazing by his willingness to co-publish with undergraduates,” said Dr. Steven Hardin, vice president and dean of academic affairs.

Singh said that he chose to teach at an undergraduate college after completing postdoctoral research at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Although he had offers from pharmaceutical companies, he said the industry was not attractive to him. He wanted to serve in academics or the public sector and chose to teach so that he could work with undergraduate students.

“These are the true young scientists of our scientific community,” he said. “They’re very focused.”

Even though he chose to teach undergraduates at an institution that focuses on teaching, he never considered not continuing to pursue his research.

Singh had little trouble thinking of questions that could be answered using basic equipment and techniques. He asked Hardin to gradually purchase some new equipment for the labs.

And he found a few driven, independent and whip-smart students to work with. Singh is known in the campus’s Fisher Hall for working his research fellows hard. Students with summer research grants spend five-to-10 hours a day in the lab followed by reading at night. If they work hard for him, however, he promises that he will publish with them.

Singh also found advantages to working with undergraduate students, who produce highly accurate data.

He said that because, unlike graduate students, undergraduates often don’t know which steps come next in the research process, they do not have preconceived notions of how their experiments are expected to come out. Undergraduate students, he said, stay more focused on the part of the process they are currently working on.

As much as he has enjoyed his experience publishing with his students, Singh will be moving on from teaching them. In January, he will begin work as a senior-level reviewer with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, which examines and approves medical devices. Singh will assist in the pre-market evaluation for obstetrical and gynecological products.

Singh said he has been interested in government work because of its ability to affect and protect the public. As a U.S. citizen, he said he is eager to serve his country, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who did so in his native country, India, as members of the police and military.

Singh hopes that after his departure, faculty will continue to publish with their students. He said his efforts have been strongly supported by Dr. Mary Mulcahy, chairwoman of the Division of Biological and Health Sciences, and her predecessor, Dr. Lauren Yaich.

Dr. Om V. Singh, associate professor of biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, works with Mariah Cole, a 2015 graduate who is co-author of a chapter in a new book edited by Singh. Singh, who is known on campus for his research and publishing with undergraduates, is leaving academia for work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Photo Courtesy Of Alan Hancock

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