Students present research, win awards at conference

Grove City College students picked up awards at the Penn State Behrend Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference on April 22.

Michelle Chu’ 18 and Ellen Upton ’18, under the guidance of biology professor Dr. Devin Stauff, won the first place award in the Microbiology Group for their poster “Complementary Genetic Screens Reveal Inactivating and Constitutively Activating Mutations in Two-Component Systems of Bacillus anthracis.” The project explored the effects of two-component systems (TCS) among certain types of bacteria with the aim of identifying certain mutations. The results of their research will solidify the role of TCS in future experiments.

Alex Metzger ’17 won the second place award in the microbiology session for his oral presentation, entitled “Targocil, a Wall Teichoic Acid Synthesis Inhibitor, Activates the DesK-DesR Two-Component System of Bacillus anthracis.” Under the guidance of Stauff, Metzger researched the pathogenic bacterium Bacillus anthracis, in which he seeks to elucidate the identity and function of sensor systems that regulate cell membrane fluidity.

Other Grove City College biology students, under the guidance of biology professor Dr. Frederic Brenner, presented their work at the conference.

Benjamin Rittenhouse ‘19, Daniel Rittenhouse ‘19 and Katelyn Hess ’17, presented a poster entitled “Genetic Diversity of Brook Trout Populations in the West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed.” Their research studied the degree to which acidic discharge from abandoned mine drainage isolates and limits the genetic diversity of Eastern Brook Trout, the only fish species native to Pennsylvania.

Brendan McCreath ‘17, Catherine Hammes ‘19, Juliana Irwin ’19 and Samuel Henson ‘19 gave an oral presentation entitled “Genetic Analysis of Deer Dispersal Patterns through Mitochondria DNA Sequence Analysis.” The students examined the DNA of white-tailed deer in order to find the maternal lineages and nucleotide diversity of certain herds. Their research revealed low migration patterns between deer in Dayton Ohio Metro Parks and high migration patterns among deer in Mercer County, Pa.

The Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference provides an opportunity for students to present their research and creative accomplishment results in a public setting. Many students use this regional conference to practice their presentations prior to presenting them in a national or international setting. Students present their results either by poster or by oral presentation.

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Students present research, win awards at conference

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