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NatSci undergraduates impress at 2021 UURAF

Forty-two (42) MSU College of Natural Science (NatSci) undergraduate students were among those receiving first-place honors for their 2021 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) entries.

The annual event, which took place virtually this year from April 15 through April 19, provides students with an  opportunity to showcase their scholarship and creative activity. Held each spring, UURAF brings together an intellectual community of highly motivated students to share their work with faculty, staff, peers, and external audiences and receive constructive feedback from judges.

“I would like to commend all of NatSci’s participants in this year’s UURAF for demonstrating great dedication, determination, and creativity in finding ways to carry out research during the COVID pandemic,” said Lynmarie Posey, NatSci associate dean for undergraduate studies. “Their mentors are also deserving of recognition for supporting the work of these undergraduates under extraordinary circumstances. Congratulations to the impressive group of NatSci students who received first-place awards for poster and oral presentations.”

The 2021 UURAF NatSci winners (by category) are:

Category: Anthropology and Archeology

  • Isabella Green, junior, neuroscience (oral presentation): Autism in Indigenous Communities

Category: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  • Kate Adams-Boone, junior, biochemistry and molecular biology/biotechnology (poster): Investigating the Role of TCAB1 in Telomerase Assembly
  • Trevor Dalrymple, junior, biochemistry and molecular biology/biotechnology (oral presentation): Developing a Protocol for Lipid Extraction and Quantification for Bombus impatiens
  • Liz Christensen, senior, plant biology (poster): Identification of Transcription Factors Regulating Acylsugar Biosynthesis in the Glandular Trichomes of Tomato
  • Benjamin West, senior, human biology (poster): The Effect of Calcium on Mitochondrial Ultrastructure and Function; Category: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Category: Cell Biology, Genetics and Genomics

  • Cameron Bennett, senior, genomics and molecular genetics (oral presentation): Functional Analysis of Endothelin Ligand Genes in the Development of the Zebrafish Neural Crest Cell Population
  • Mitchell Borin, senior, microbiology (poster): Oxybenzone Increases Proliferation in Trp53-null Mammary Tissues in Conjunction with High-Fat Diet
  • Mackenzie Greene, senior, genomics and molecular genetics (oral presentation): FDA-Approved Drug Bicalutamide Rescues Male Mice from Kennedy’s Disease
  • Josie Kleve, senior, genomics and molecular genetics (poster): A Literature Review of Periderm in Development and Disease
  • May Shen, sophomore, genomics and molecular genetics (poster): Uncovering the Role of ER1 and RAC1 Signaling in Uterine Gland Branching

Category: Communication Arts and Sciences

  • Mariam Sayed, senior, physiology (oral presentation): Fostering Societal Transformations in Attitudes Toward Neurodiverse Populations

Category: Digital Humanities

  • Jacob Okulewicz, junior, physiology (oral presentation): Aesthetic Divergence: Graphing the Distinct Differences in (Dis)pleasing Highlighting data; Creativity in the Time of COVID-19: Art as a Tool for Combating Inequity and Injustice

Category: Education

  • Ren Mueller, senior, mathematics (oral presentation): An Incomplete History: A Visual Analysis on Cultural Themes in History Textbooks

Category: Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics

  • Madelyn Jeffrey, sophomore, human biology (oral presentation): Manipulating Abelian Sandpiles to Model Disease Spread

Category: Epidemiology and Public Health

  • Wesley Bird, senior, biomedical laboratory science (poster): GWAS Analysis on SNPs Affecting Gout Patients

Category: Health Sciences

  • Eleni Varelas, junior, human biology (poster): Mapping Key Ethical Issues Surrounding Electroceutical Treatments for Depression

Category: History, Political Science and Economics

  • Karina Canning, junior, human biology (oral presentation): History and Testimony in the Digital Age: Studying Holocaust Survivors. Panel 1
  • Ruby Congleton-Giancaspro, freshman, zoology (oral presentation): History and Testimony in the Digital Age: Studying Holocaust Survivors. Panel 1

Category: Human Science

  • Alanna de Sibour, senior, human biology (poster): Parent Perceptions of Intimate Relationship

Category: Human Society and Relationships

  • Alanna de Sibour, senior, human biology (poster): Parent Perceptions of Intimate Relationship Experiences of Adults within Intellectual Disabilities: Comparisons with Typically Developing Siblings

Category: Integrative and Organismal Biology

  • Kadie Bernstein, senior, genomics and molecular genetics (oral presentation): Geographic, Landscape, and Sex Variation in Adult Blow Fly Microbiomes: Implications for Forensics
  • Minali Bhatt, senior, environmental biology/plant biology (poster): Using Species’ Traits to Improve Extinction Risk Assessments
  • Soumya Chennupati, senior, human biology (poster): Examining the Influence of Different Microbiota Compositions on Male Mouse Bone Density and Architecture using Microcomputed Tomography
  • Elie Huez, senior, neuroscience (oral presentation): Role of the Ventral Pallidum in the Regulation of Social Play Behavior in Juvenile Rats

Category: Kinesiology

  • Zoe Morley, senior, physiology (poster): Gestational and Post-Gestational Diets in Mice With Controlled Exercise

Category: Linguistics, Languages and Speech

  • Shubhangi Sharma, senior, neuroscience (poster): Investigating the Use of Distal Prosody in Speech Segmentation in Children

Category: Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Disease

  • Lijie Han, senior, microbiology (poster): Wolbachia-based Incompatible Insect Techniques and Mosquito Population Control
  • Andrew Ladd, senior, genomics and molecular genetics (poster): The Removal of SARS-CoV-2 from Wastewater by Wastewater Treatment
  • Parva Mashar, junior, genomics and molecular genetics (oral presentation): Investigating the Susceptibility of New Cell Lines to Freshwater Strains of VHSV
  • Mia Van Allen, junior, microbiology (poster): Plasmid-Mediated Transfer of Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARGs) to Commensal and Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria

Category: Neuroscience

  • Hayley Kuhn, senior, neuroscience (poster): Cocaine Increases Calreticulin via Delta-FosB in Hippocampal Projection Neurons
  • Karli Monahan, senior, physiology (poster): Protective Role of Mast Cells in Inflammatory Pain
  • Brooklynn Murray, junior, physiology (poster): Cocaine Increases Calreticulin via Delta-FosB in Hippocampal Projection Neurons

Category: Nutrition and Food Science

  • Eliot Haddad, senior, human biology (oral presentation): Fecal Bacterial Communities Differ by Lactation Status in Post-Partum Women and Their Infants
  • Adrianna Kirby, senior, biomedical laboratory science (poster): Omega-3 Fatty Acid Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) Suppresses Cathepsin B Release, Cell Death, and Proinflammatory Cytokine/Chemokine Secretion in Alveolar Macrophage-like MPI cells
  • Maddie Young, junior, human biology (poster): Dietary Habits Among Underserved 5th-7th Grade Adolescents; Category: Nutrition and Food Science

Category: Physical Sciences

  • Adam Dockery, junior, physics (oral presentation): Data fitting of Scandium 41 and 45 Fluorescence Spectra for Nuclear Structure Studies
  • Kirsten Fentzke, junior, geoscience (poster): Rare Intermediate Compositions of Continental Rift Lavas- Probes of Magma Differentiation during Continental Rupture
  • Drew Pype, senior, physics (poster): Calculating the Potential Energy Surface of 196Pb
  • Jessica Ranshaw, senior, astrophysics (oral presentation): Determining Neutron Background from Shadow Bar Data

Category: Plant Sciences

  • Kaylie Barton, biochemistry and molecular biology/biotechnology (poster): BAP2 Functional Characterization in the Plant ER Stress Pathway

Category: Psychology

  • Sharanya Subramaniam, senior, neuroscience (poster): The Influence of Experimenter Warmth and Competence on the Efficacy of Non-Deceptive Placebos in Reducing COVID-19–Related Stress

Category: Toxicology and Pharmacology

  • Alex Roy, senior, genomics and molecular genetics (oral presentation): GNAO1 Mutant Mice Display Cerebellar Defects Which May Explain Movement Disorders and Epilepsy

For a complete list of 2021 UURAF first-place awards, visit https://urca.msu.edu/files/forums/40/award/Awards%20for%20web.pdf


Banner image:The College of Natural Science at Michigan State University is home to 27 departments and programs in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences. The college provides world-class educational opportunities to more than 5,500 undergraduate majors and 1,200 graduate and postdoctoral students. There are 868 faculty and academic staff associated with NatSci, and more than 63,000 living alumni worldwide. Credit: Harley J. Seeley