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2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium - Winners and Runners-Up

2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium - Winners and Runners-Up

Congratulations to the category winners and runners-up from WVU's 14th Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium. Thank you to all of our presenters for helping us return to an in-person, culminating summer event!

Arts, Humanities & Design (18 presentations)

Winner: Nicholas Sifford. Nicholas is majoring in digital history and history at Juniata College.
Research Title: An African American Odyssey: Reclaiming the History of the Siffords
Mentor: Dr. Jim Tuten
Supporting program/funding: Schettler Family Summer Scholars Program

Runner-Up: Manar Hesino. Manar is majoring in psychology.
Research Title: Language Acquisition, Trauma, and Risk of ASD Misdiagnosis Among Syrian Refugee Children
Mentor: Dr. Manal AlNatour
Supporting program/funding: WVU SURE 

Behavioral and Social Sciences (13 presentations)

Winner: Rebecca Woodard. Rebecca is majoring in psychology at WVU.
Research Title: Investigating Behavioral Relapse in a Computer-Based Model of a Choice Intervention
Mentor: Dr. Kathryn Kestner
Supporting program/funding: National Science Foundation (NSF) REU in Behavior Science
Runner-Up: Saralyn Smith. Saralyn is majoring in agricultural and extension education at WVU.
Research Title: Describing differences between transfer and non-transfer students related to high-impact practices.
Mentor: Dr. Aaron J. Giorgi
Supporting program/funding: Sponsored in part by (i) the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, (ii) Hatch Grant (project # - WVA00746), and (iii) WVU SURE

Biological Sciences (54 presentations)

Winner: Chyanne Reid. Hunter is majoring in biochemistry at WVU.
Research Title: Robust expression of rod phosphodiesterase-6 (PDE6) is needed for normal vision
Mentor: Dr. Visvanathan Ramamurthy
Supporting program/funding: National Institute of Health and Lions Club International Foundation
Runner-Up: Cory Beswick. Cory is majoring in psychology at WVU.
Research Title: Sex Differences in Post-Stroke Behavioral Deficits that are Regulated by Tissue-Nonspecific Alkaline Phosphatase
Mentor: Dr. Candice Brown
Supporting program/funding: NIH R01AG068155
Runner-Ups: Geneva Brown, Olivia Carpenter, and Kaelin Withrow.  Geneva and Olivia are majoring in biology and Kaelin is majoring in environmental science at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Research Title: Distribution of North-Central WV Tick Species and Implications for Lyme borreliosis
Mentors: Dr. Kim Bjorgo-Thorne & Dr. Melanie Sal
Supporting program/funding: (i) WV Higher Education Policy Commission, (ii) WVU SURE
Runner-Up: Alissa Rzepski. Alissa is majoring in biological sciences at University of Delaware.
Research Title: Matrix Expression in Passaged Chondrocytes is Regulated by Tropomyosin 3.1
Mentor: Dr. Justin Parreno
Supporting program/funding: Delaware Center for Musculoskeletal Research COBRE program - grant from National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Environmental and Agricultural Sciences (12 presentations)

Winner: Grant Keefer. Grant is majoring in geology at WVU.
Research Title: Does Leaf Angle Vary by Tree Species?
Mentor: Dr. Brenden McNeil
Supporting program/funding: WVU SURE supported by NSF-funded REU Supplement  

Health Sciences (28 presentations)

Winner: Linda Ma. Linda is majoring in immunology and medical microbiology at WVU.
Research Title: Optimization of Whole-Organ Tissue Clearing and Vessel Staining in Conjunction With Light Sheet Microscopy
Mentor: Dr. Edwin Wan
Supporting program/funding: (i) NIH grants R21NS125056 and R56AI167972, and (ii) IMMB research internship
Runner-Up: Rachel Mangano. Rachel is majoring in immunology and medical microbiology at WVU.
Research Title: Transcriptome Signature of Venetoclax: Implications in Multiple Myeloma Therapeutics
Mentor: Dr. Michael Hu
Runner-Up: Taya A. Sullivan. Taya is majoring in neuroscience at WVU.
Research Title: Lights Out? The Effect of Exposure to Artificial Light at Night on Metabolism
Mentor: Dr. Randy J. Nelson
Supporting program/funding: (i) WVU NURO, (ii) NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) KY-WV Mid-Level Alliance Phase II (LSAMP-1305039) grant with partial funding through the WVU Office of Undergraduate Research SURE program
Runner-Up: Shrinidhi Venkateshwaraprabu. Shrinidhi is majoring in immunology and medical microbiology at WVU.
Research Title: Helicobacter pylori evades the inflammatory response within the mouse gastric epithelium.
Mentor: Dr. Jonathan Busada  

Physical Sciences and Engineering (72 presentations) 

Winner: Sydney Roberts. Sydney is majoring in physics and math at University of Virginia.
Research Title: The Search for Hidden Structures in the Temple of Kukulc√°n Using Cosmic-Ray Muons
Mentor: Dr. Craig Dukes
Supporting program/funding:  The National Science Foundation sponsored Dominion University and Chicago State University's initiative to begin the NAUM Project in 2020 and the Jefferson Trust, a donor-led initiative of the UVA Alumni Association, awarded a fully funded grant in 2022
Runner-Up: Katherine Davis. Katherine is majoring in forensic chemistry at WVU.
Research Title: Toxicity Assessment and Metabolism Studies of Furanyl Fentanyl using Zebrafish
Mentor: Dr. Luis Arroyo
Supporting program/funding: Sponsored in part by (i) the WVU Forensic and Investigative Science Department in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, and (ii) WVU SURE
Runner-Up: Paige Kefauver. Paige is majoring in chemistry at Shepherd University.
Research Title: A Greener Approach to an Epoxidation Reaction for an Undergraduate Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory Course
Mentor: Dr. Haley Albright
Supporting program/funding: SOARS Program Shepherd

Runner-Up: Ethan Hicks. Ethan is majoring in biomedical engineering at WVU.
Research Title: Differences in Gait Characteristics When Walking with Additional Tasks and Sensory Obstruction
Mentor: Dr. Stephen Cain
Supporting program/funding: WVU SURE
Runner-Up: Parker Hewitt. Parker is majoring in physics at WVU.
Research Title: Commercial Polarization-Maintaining Fibers Barely Do Their Job even if You are Very Careful
Mentor: Dr. Edward Flagg
Supporting program/funding: WVU SURE
Runner-Up: Madison Lindung and Leah Thomas. Madison (lead presenter) is majoring in forensic chemistry and Leah (secondary presenter) is majoring in forensic science and technology at WVU.
Research Title: Portable versus Benchtop LIBS Comparison for Screening of Gunshot Residue
Mentor: Dr. Tatiana Trejos
Supporting program/funding:  National Institute of Justice Grant 2020-DQ-BX-0010
Runner-Up : Lucia Edmonds. Lucia is majoring in chemistry at Wellesley College.
Research Title: Synthesis of novel ligand and transition metal-ligand complex for transition metal-lanthanide coupled single molecule magnet
Mentor: Dr. Brian Dolinar
Supporting program/funding: National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Chemistry REU 
Runner-Up : Amirah Mitchell. Amirah is majoring in biomedical engineering at WVU.
Research Title: A Deep Learning Approach to Understand Human Emotion
Mentor: Dr. Jeremy Dawson
Supporting program/funding: (i) WVU NSF KY-WV LSAMP, (ii) WVU SURE