Science Scholars present research at state conference

Nathan Taylor, Sylvia Szwedo, Kassandra Castrillo, Paloma Salazar, Lora Heath, and Dr. Jim Winter​. Not shown: Courtney Curry, Jaylen Gregory, and Kristen Gregory

Eight students from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock recently presented their research at the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Conference in Fayetteville on Oct. 27-28, 2017.

The students were among more than 200 statewide participants. Six of the UA Little Rock students are in the Science Scholars program, a scholarship and enrichment program for UA Little Rock students majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics. Two students are members of the Arkansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program (LSAMP).

The Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (Arkansas INBRE) is funded by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences under the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Program of the National Institutes of Health. The Arkansas INBRE aims to promote biomedical research in Arkansas.

“The INBRE conference is the premier undergraduate research conference in STEM in the Tri-state area (Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma),” said Dr. Jim Winter, co-director of the Science Scholars and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation at UA Little Rock. “We are pleased that our students participated and gained a rewarding experience.  We look forward to having students present at this conference every year.”

The students and their research are as follows:

Kassandra Castrillo of Little Rock, an environmental engineering major presented “How to find an internship and maximize the benefits.” Her mentor is Dr. Lashun Thomas in the Environmental Engineering Program, UA Little Rock.

Courtney Curry of Waldo, a biology major, presented “Examining the antimicrobial activity of doped carbon nanoparticles.” She is mentored by Dr. Nawab Ali,  Biology Department, UA Little Rock.

Jaylen Gregory of Jacksonville, a computer and systems engineering major, presented “The effects of cell phones on the human head.” His mentor is Dr. Hussein Al-Rizzo, Systems Engineering Department, UA Little Rock.

Kristen Gregory of Jacksonville, a chemistry and biology major, presented “Investigations into the effects of caffeine on cell death in the slime mold, Dictyostelium discoideum.” Her mentor is Dr. John Bush, Biology Department, UA Little Rock.

Lora Heath of Little Rock, a chemistry major, presented “Improving sample collection of flurbiprofen using concentration gradients and size with porous membranes.” Her mentor is Dr. Julie Stenken, Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, UA Fayetteville

Paloma Salazar of Little Rock, a chemistry major, presented “Using carbonized algal cells to synthesize copper oxide and split water to produce hydrogen fuel.” Her mentor is Dr. Wei Zhao, Chemistry Department, UA Little Rock

Sylvia Szwedo of Little Rock, a chemistry major, presented “Isolating exosomes using tumor-specific antibodies in the serum and abdominal fluid as a step towards an ovarian cancer screening method.” Her mentor is Dr. Karen Abbott, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, UAMS

Nathan Taylor of Cabot, a chemistry major, presented “Analysis of animal kidney stones through infrared spectroscopy.” His mentor is Dr. Russ Summers, Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

In upper right photo are student researchers Nathan Taylor, Sylvia Szwedo, Kassandra Castrillo, Paloma Salazar and Lora Heath with Dr. Jim Winter​.

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