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Forty-six West Virginia University students to take part in Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol

Forty-six West Virginia University students to take part in Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol

Forty-six WVU students representing WVU and the WVU Institute of Technology campuses have been invited to participate in the eighteenth annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol (URDC), which is scheduled to take place virtually on Friday, March 5.

While traditionally held in the Rotunda of Capitol Building in Charleston, WV, this year’s event will be hosted on its own URDC webpage designed by West Virginia Science & Research, a division of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

Presentations will be ready for viewing starting at 11 a.m. (EST) on Friday, March 5 and the symposium will be interactive from 2- 4:30 p.m. (EST). Students will also check their presentations once a day for one week in order to answer any remaining questions regarding their research. Given the unique and increased accessibility of this year’s virtual format, the general public is encouraged to attend. Anyone interested in attending this year’s URDC may RSVP here to receive event updates and reminders.

URDC allows students to present their discoveries in poster format and talk to legislators about their findings. The projects are original scholarly works and the presenters design posters for a general audience.

Michelle Richards-Babb, professor of chemistry and the director of the WVU Office of Undergraduate Research, said of the event, "At WVU, all undergraduates have the opportunity to engage in faculty mentored research and this is true at many institutions throughout the state. The URDC event provides undergraduate researchers across West Virginia with the opportunity to engage with members of our state’s legislature to communicate their findings and potentially influence policy. These students are our state’s future. They will run our hospitals, businesses and non-profits, will serve in our state government, and will set public policy. The importance of West Virginia’s research enterprise, in areas of health, science and society, cannot be over-emphasized as was highlighted over the past year and in our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. West Virginia’s continued investment in education and research is crucial to its economic future and I am proud to support WVU’s undergraduate researchers in their virtual presentations at the 2021 URDC event."

This year students were mentored by faculty from the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, School of Public Health, and College of Education and Human Services. Students will present their posters in the areas of biochemistry, biology, biomedical sciences, community health, education, engineering, English, forensic science, geology, geosciences, history, human performance, immunology medical microbiology, medicine, Native American studies, neuroscience, physics, psychology and sociology/social work.

In addition to WVU, other institutions represented at the event are Bluefield State College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Marshall University, Ohio Valley University, Shepherd University, University of Charleston, and West Virginia State University.

Following below is a list of WVU student participants, along with their institution, town of residence, research disciplinary focus, research poster title and research mentors:

West Virginia University Institute of Technology

Hailey Brooks, Beckley, WV (Biology), “Histological characterization and cytogenic authentication of adult human epidermal keratinocyte (HEKa) cell line,” Adrienne Williams, Research Mentor

Jaelynn Parks, Lewisburg, WV (Biology), “Antagonism of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Using Novel Bacteria to Develop Probiotics,” Matthew Williams, Research Mentor

Madison Lilly, Oak Hill, WV (Immunology and Medical Micobiology), “Formation of Kidney Stone Phantoms and Dissolution using Pineapple Extract,” Adrienne Williams, Research Mentor

Mackenzie Miller, Fayetteville, WV (Neuroscience/Neuro-Oncology), “Defining a Cell Growth Medium for Glioblastoma Cancer Management,” Adrienne Williams, Research Mentor


West Virginia University

Abreanne Andlinger, Moundsville, WV (Neuroscience), “Examining Relationships Between Neurodevelopment Genes and Transcription Factor Proteins in Zebrafish,” Sadie Bergeron, Research Mentor

Allison Ball, Daniels, WV (English), “More Diverse than You Might Imagine: A Survey of Recent Young-Adult Appalachian Literature,” Rosemary Hathaway, Research Mentor

Annette Straziuso, Morgantown, WV, and Emma Dorsey, Morgantown, WV (Aerospace), “Experimental Investigation of Filament Wound Custom Composite Rocket Body Tubes,” Patrick Browning, Research Mentor

Anthony Siler, Glen Dale, WV (Psychology/Healthcare), “Assessing Perioperative Patient Distress in Office-Based Hand Surgery,” Shafic Sraj, Research Mentor

Ashley Linder, Wheeling, WV (Community Health), “Accountable Health Communities: Addressing Social Needs,” Brianna Sheppard, Research Mentor

Bennington Opdahl, Erdenheim, PA (Geosciences), “Rare Earth Elements (REE) association in organic and inorganic fractions of Appalachian coals: Implications on REE extractability and enrichment,” Shikha Sharma, Research Mentor

Brent Zutaut, Morgantown, WV (Medicine), “Treatment of Severe Cervical Spondylodiscitis with Combined Anterior and Posterior Surgical Instrumentation: Case Series,” Shari Cui, Research Mentor

Christopher Anderson, Terra Alta, WV (Engineering), “Microbial composition and diversity of biofilms and bulk water in drinking water distribution systems/,” Emily Garner, Research Mentor

Claire Kelly, Bruceton Mills, WV (Immunology and Medical Microbiology), “Characterization of Interleukin-6 Regulation in Neuroinflammation,” Gordon Meares, Research Mentor

Daniel Price, Falling Waters, WV (Geology), “Using StraboTools for Compaction Gradients in Continuous Miocene-Modern Fine-Grained Volcaniclastic Successions, IODP Site U1437,” Graham Andrews, Research Mentor

Devin Kelly, Hedgesville, WV (Biochemistry), “Analysis of Active Site Mutation in Casein Kinase 2 Involved in Okur-Chung’s Neuropathy,” Ashok Bidwai, Research Mentor

Emmelia Braun, Morgantown, WV (Biology), “Morphological and Physiological Variations Associated with Reproductive and Vegetative Salinity Tolerance in Sorghum,” Jennifer Hawkins, Research Mentor

Hannah Petronek, Morgantown, WV (Biology), “Exploring Species Boundaries for Neonectria magnoliae,” Matt Kasson, Research Mentor

Hosanna Barrett, Keyser, WV (Biology/Plant Pathology), “Conoideocrella luteorostrata, a Potential Fungal Biocontrol of the Invasive Christmas Tree Pest Elongate Hemlock Scale,” Matthew Kasson, Research Mentor

Jessica Hogbin, Hedgesville, WV (History), “Love and Politics: Ippolita Maria Sforza and Early Modern Maternal Relationships,” Matthew Vester, Research Mentor

Jonathan Lipovich, Shinnston, WV (Biology), “How changes in a nutrient sensing gene may impact Glyphosate resistance.,” Jen Gallagher, Research Mentor

Kailey Basham, Morgantown, WV (Psychology), “Child Adversity and Perceived Stress in College Students: The Mediating Role of Emotion Regulation,” Nicholas Turiano, Research Mentor

Kamil Abbas, Morgantown, WV (Education), “Incorporation of Fresh Tissue Training for into General Surgery Residency,” Daniel Grabo, Research Mentor

Kelcie Britton, Morgantown, WV (Biochemistry), “Analysis of Esterase Genes Involved in Synthesis of Pharmaceutically important Ergot Alkaloids in Fungi,” Daniel Panaccione, Research Mentor

Kelsey Keen, Harrisburg, PA, and Emily Lafferty, Spanishburg, WV (Psychology), “Qualitative and Quantitative Changes in Parental Verbalizations during PCIT for Children with Autism,” Cheryl McNeil, Research Mentor

Linda Ma, Morgantown, WV (Neuroscience), “Hypoxia Ischemia Induces Cathepsin L Secretion in Cerebrovascular Endothelial  Cells,” Xuefang Ren, Research Mentor

Marissa Gibides, Fort Worth, TX (Biomedical), “Development of noninvasive oxygen imaging approach using water-dispersible micro particulate Lithium naphtalocyanine probes,” Andrey Bobko, Research Mentor

Melina McCabe, Wheeling, WV (Engineering), “Differences in Stepping Characteristics During the TUG Test with Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease,” Jessica Allen, Research Mentor

Michelle Coleman, Smyrna, DE (Neuroscience), “Aberrant Cortical Networks for Multi-Sensory Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder,” James Lewis, Research Mentor

Olivia Oldaker, Bridgeport, WV (Human Performance), “Combating Declines in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease Through Recent Neurological Technologies,” Scott Galster, Research Mentor

Portia Peterson, Morgantown, WV (Native American Studies), “Standing with Our Sisters: Social Impacts and Media Platforms of the MMIW Movement,” Bonnie Brown, Research Mentor

Ram Zaveri, Morgantown, WV (Computer Science), “A Hierarchical Approach to Fine-Grained Visual Classification for Plant Image Analysis,” Gianfranco Doretto, Research Mentor

Rhett White, Clendenin, WV (Neuroscience), “Dim Light at Night Exacerbates Pain Associated with Chemotherapy,” Jacob Bumgarner, Research Mentor

Riley Kane, Morgantown, WV (Biochemistry), “Novel Compound Screening to Combat Huntingtin Protein Aggregation in a Transgenic C. elegans Model,” Werner Geldenhuys, Research Mentor

Rylee Cisney, Blairs Mills, PA (Immunology and Medical Microbiology), “Liver Kinase B 1 Regulates Antigen Presentation Genes in Brain Cells,” Gordon Meares, Research Mentor

Samantha Holbert, Bridgeport, WV, Serena Roberts, Baltimore, MD, and Miranda Signorelli , Hurricane, WV (Psychology), “Analyzing parent characteristics and invalid responses on the Brief Child Abuse Potential Inventory,” Cheryl McNeil, Research Mentor

Sara Kuberski, Morgantown, WV (Forensic Science), “Rapid Electrochemical Sensing of Acetaminophen Utilizing Screen-Printed Carbon Electrodes in Forensic and Environmental Applications,” Luis Arroyo, Research Mentor

Sierra Arbaugh, Cabins, WV (Biomedical), “Effect of a Silverman-Andersen Respiratory Severity Score-based CPAP Weaning Algorithm on Newborn CPAP Duration,” Stephen Akers, Research Mentor

Sophia Shank, Morgantown, WV, and Grace Berkmeyer, Mason, OH (Psychology), “Improving Child Emotion Regulation and Development Through Emotion Labeling and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy-Toddler,” Christopher Owen, Research Mentor

Tate Hawkins, Point Pleasant, WV (Physics/Astronomy), “Searching for Fast Radio Bursts with the 20 meter telescope at Green Bank Observatory,” Duncan Lorimer, Research Mentor

Vignesh Sivashankar, Morgantown, WV (Biochemistry), “Bioprinter Construction Using an Open-Source 3-D printer,” Mark Tseytlin, Research Mentor

Wren King, Morgantown, WV (Sociology/Social Work), “Assessing Risk Factors of Sexual Assault Victimization on College Campuses,” Lindsay Kahle, Research Mentor