Independent Research by GSC Students on Display at WV Capitol

GLENVILLE, WV – The seventeenth annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol (URDC) was held at the West Virginia state Capitol Rotunda on February 7. Three Glenville State College students were invited to participate in the event that brings undergraduate students from around the state to Charleston to display original scholarly work in a poster presentation format and talk with legislators.

Preston Allison, a junior from Sand Fork, West Virginia, presented his research on how coral tissue, more specifically the extracellular matrix, responds to increasing sea water temperatures. “My research is an important exploration as the ocean temperatures continue to rise due to global warming accelerated by fossil fuel usage and since morphological analysis of the extracellular matrix has not yet been performed. I am looking at the extracellular matrix because it mediates development, regeneration, reproduction, and turgor,” Allison said. His GSC research adviser was GSC Professor of Biology Dr. Sara Sawyer and he received financial support from the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium. Allison has also earned the opportunity to represent GSC this July at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen, Germany.

Chere Davis, a senior from Woodbridge, Virginia, presented her research relating to the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, which has the side effects of hair loss, nausea, low platelet count, and significant decline in renal function leading to irreversible nephrotoxicity, and the antioxidant resveratrol. Davis was joined in the research by Monica A. Valentovic, Mason Dial, and Katie Brown, from the Department of Biomedical Science, Toxicology Research Cluster at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University. Their research has been supported by the NIH Grant P20GM103434 to the West Virginia IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence.

Tyler Moore, a junior from Glenville, West Virginia, presented his research on examining changes within the genus Diastema Benth. across its geographic range, with a focus on Central America. Diastema is a genus of flowering plants scattered from Southern Mexico to Bolivia that has largely been classified incorrectly since its description in 1844. “This research has two components, morphological and molecular. First, I separate and quantify variance within the genus using distinguishing morphological characters. Next, I analyze the DNA using molecular techniques to gain a greater insight into the relationships of species within the genus. My research will aid in the taxonomic investigation of Diastema,” said Moore.

“The independent research our students conduct is an important component of their education. Research helps students understand the process of science and helps them integrate the information learned from a variety of classes. The opportunity for Preston, Chere, and Tyler to show lawmakers their research helps to not only highlight their capabilities, but also the relevance and importance of collegiate-level research,” said Dr. Sara Sawyer, Professor of Biology and Chair of the Department of Science and Mathematics at Glenville State.

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