Grants amounting to $1,700 have been provided to five Troy University students for research in microbial studies.
Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, commonly referred as Tri-Beta, provided a grant that will be used in three different research projects. These will be carried out by select students under the supervision of a faculty member.
Recipients Callie Bennett, a junior biomedical sciences major from Geneva; Katrina Bokenfohr, a junior exercise science major from Enterprise; and Madison Cooper, a senior biology major from Avon, Ohio, are researching Gulf Coast tar balls, comparing the internal and external microbial communities.
The research will be conducted under Joong-Wook Park, a professor from the department of biological and environmental sciences.
“Every year, Tri-Beta offers a grant to work for research for undergraduate students,” Park said. “I was always interested in working with undergraduate students. I thought this would be an opportunity for deserving undergraduate students so I sent an email to them about it.”
Bennett said that when she received the email from Parks, she was immediately interested and responded right away to become a part of the research team.
“I am very happy and I am excited about it,” Bennett said. “The research funds will help in collecting the tools that we need in collecting the tar balls and doing DNA analysis. It will give me more hands-on experience in the lab and more experience with research.”
Park said that he believes that this is a good experience for students to work in the labs and to attend and present at a regional Tri-Beta conference in Concord, North Carolina.
“It will help them work outside class in labs where they will learn valuable skills,” Park said.
Elena Brown, a senior biomedical sciences major from Jackson’s Gap, is working on research observing the 2014 chemical spill on the Elk River in West Virginia.
“I will be working to see if the chemical induces or inhibits microbial growth on the bacterial community,” Brown said. “It (the fund) gives us money for the research chemicals as it allows us to buy expensive chemicals for DNA extraction and other tests.”
Brown also received funds for research from the Tri-Beta community last year.
“I was honored,” she said. “It is something different rather than working on a lab or class so I enjoy this a lot. It shows that we have some experience for our career paths.
“This also lets us to go to Tri-Beta regional research conferences where there are people from all different universities of the Southeast region where we can meet other researchers and professors who will see the presentations.”
William Heath Sapp, a senior biology major from Maylene, will be working on research on the development of yeast cells under the direction of faculty member Christi Magrath, associate professor of biology.