UMSL students will present projects during Undergraduate Research Day


The undergraduate research day, sponsored by the University of Missouri system, gives 13 UMSL students the opportunity to virtually present their research to state lawmakers. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Next week 13 University of Missouri-St. Louis undergraduates will virtually present their work to state lawmakers on Undergraduate Research Day, which actually runs the week of April 12.

The event, sponsored by the University of Missouri System, is an opportunity for 49 students from the four universities in the system to share their research with lawmakers in Missouri, showcasing the synergy between students and faculty at UMSL, University of Missouri-Columbia, United ‘University of Missouri-Kansas City and University of Missouri Science and Technology at Rolla.

“At the University of Missouri System, we understand that an important part of our role as Missouri’s only public research university is to help our students develop essential life skills, such as critical thinking, logical problem solving and tenacity ”, UM System President Mun Choi written in a letter to lawmakers. “Undergraduate research enables students to acquire these skills by working alongside our talented faculty and graduate students to conduct cutting-edge research at our four universities. These experiences, ranging from laboratory sciences to medicine to humanities, help prepare our students for a promising future as thought leaders in the labor market. Preparing our students for success is at the heart of our commitment to serving the interests of our state and nation. “

The 13 representatives of UMSL come from various departments, including: anthropology, biology, chemistry, education, feeding with milk, physics and psychological sciences.

Abigail Anderson, nurse; and Kairah Jones, Nursing: “Chlorhexidine Gluconate Bath and Its Effect on Central Line Associated Blood Infection (CLABSI)”
Faculty mentor: Alicia hutchings
Anderson and Jones discussed the problem of blood infections associated with central catheters, a common infection associated with healthcare. After reviewing the data on the use of chlorhexidine gluconate, an antimicrobial agent, in the bath, she found that CHG baths reduced the infection rate of CLABSIs and also reduced colonization of bacteria that cause Enterococcus resistant infections. to vancomycin and Methicillin-Staphylococcus aureus.

Madison Beirne, education: “A Velvet Rope of Exclusion: The Delmar Divide”
Faculty mentor: Gerianne Friedline
While a lot of research has been done on the topic of segregation in St. Louis, Beirne investigated what it means for education in the region. His report investigated the root causes of the Delmar Divide to understand how it puts students of color at a disadvantage compared to their white counterparts.

Anne Brown, Psychology and Anthropology: “Positive Campus Climate Mitigates Effects of Classroom Gender Salience on Science Devaluation”
Faculty mentor: Bettina casad
Brown’s research examined threatening educational environments for women in STEM majors, using survey data from college students in the Midwest. The survey found that greater gender disparities in the classroom predicted demeaning behavior, but a positive campus climate for women seemed to mitigate this demeaning behavior.

Jessica Doshi, chemistry: “Curcumin: a key to fighting sepsis”
Faculty mentor: Eike Bauer
Doshi is working on new methods to synthesize carbohydrates, which have uses in vaccines and other pharmaceuticals. It will build on previous research to synthesize curcumin, which has the ability to fight sepsis.

Elise Elking, nurse; Isabella Kudanovych, nurse; Bridget Sheriden, nurse; and Emma Stevenson, biology: “Interprofessional management of concussions in schools”
Faculty mentor: April Sun
Elking, Kudanovych, Sheriden, and Stevenson reviewed existing research on concussion protocols in schools to identify a more effective model. They found that there was a need to educate all stakeholders in the school about the signs and symptoms, preventative measures and long-term effects so that students were more likely to self-identify.

Will McConnell, Biochemistry and Biotechnology: “Computer Aided Development of Fluorescent Dyes”
Faculty mentor: Cynthia Dupurer
McConnell studied the fluorescent properties of newly synthesized dyes whose structures can be altered. Environmentally sensitive dyes have wide applications in biomedical and cellular research by demonstrating changes in the microenvironment of a cell. He then used simulation software to predict the attributes of potential compounds, reducing the time spent identifying viable dyes.

Marlie Mollett, physics: “AI Gravity Project”
Faculty mentor: Dawn king
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency maintains high-resolution gravity maps for uses such as inertial navigation systems and earthquake detection. Mollett’s research consisted of developing a higher resolution gravity map using high performance computing power to create an AI gravity prediction tool for areas of the globe where gravity data is difficult to obtain. .

Christopher Vance, psychology: “Grit & Resilience: Foundations for Mindset Differences Between Adult Children of Alcoholics and Adult Children of Non-Alcoholics”
Faculty mentor: Jodi woodruff
Vance examined the unique challenges children of alcoholic parents face and whether their experiences lead to resilience later in life. He interviewed adult children of alcoholics and nonalcoholics and found data to support the idea that those living with an alcoholic parent have lower levels of courage and resilience.

Carol Welch, Chemistry: “Spectral Analysis of Platinum Fluoride”
Faculty mentor: Jim o’brien and Leah O’Brien (SIUE)
Welch’s research examines a new electronic transition of platinum fluoride that has been recorded at high resolution using intracavity laser spectroscopy. The rotational assignments for the transitions were confirmed by an analysis of combinatorial differences using known ground state constants.

For more information on Undergraduate Research Day, visit:

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