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BW STEM majors win NASA/Ohio Space Grant Consortium scholarships

Ohio Space Grant Consortium logoThree students from the BW School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing have received 2021-2022 undergraduate junior-senior scholarship awards from the NASA/Ohio Space Grant Consortium (OSGC). The students will pursue and present research into glaucoma, urban hydrology and the medical treatment of obesity.

The OSGC is part of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant) funded by Congress and administered through the Office of Education at NASA Headquarters. Space Grant consists of a national network of colleges and universities that work to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, including competitive scholarships for STEM majors.

The BW students chosen as 2021-2022 recipients are:

Elizabeth Bryson

Photo of Elizabeth BrysonBryson is a senior biology major who, under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Munroe, associate professor of biology, is studying the link between the gene cyp1b1 and primary congenital glaucoma. Primary congenital glaucoma affects one in every 10,000 children and is a major cause of childhood blindness.

Using Danio rerio and CRISPR/Cas9, Bryson is working to create a null deletion of the gene in fish to determine whether this method of knockdown is capable of producing primary congenital glaucoma as it would occur naturally. Determining the genetic mechanism by which glaucoma occurs is critical in developing better treatments for patients with the disease.

Bryson's award is a continuation of the one she received last year, where she began her current research under the mentorship of Dr. Jackie Morris. She's moving deeper into the research this year with Munroe.

Following graduation, Bryson plans on completing a post-baccalaureate program before pursuing a Ph.D. in either regenerative medicine or molecular medicine with the goal of a career in clinical research.

Jude Hagerman

Photo of Jude HagermanUnder the guidance of Dr. Carrie Davis Todd and Dr. Annette Trierweiler, Hagerman, a senior environmental science major, is researching the various hydrological capacities of the campus rain gardens. He will be assessing how well these areas filter water, manage runoff and capture pollutants and sediments.

Urban hydrology is often an overlooked area of study, and by researching the way that water moves through our urban environment, we can better understand how to manage our city systems in a sustainable manner. This project will provide insight in a quantifiable manner into the effectiveness of our rain gardens at managing runoff.

Hagerman plans to pursue a career working for a firm in the private sector or with the United States Army Environmental Engineering Officer Program.

Jacob Mansell

Photo of Jacob MansellMansell is a junior neuroscience major who, in collaboration with Dr. Clare Mathes and two other neuroscience thesis students, plans to ascertain if female rats fed a "western diet" (high in fat and sugar) that undergo bariatric weight-loss surgery will develop an "addiction" to exercise. This will be assessed by examining both behavioral and molecular signs of addiction.

Bariatric surgery is currently the most efficacious treatment for obesity and related disorders, but not all of its long-term implications are understood, especially in female organisms. With this research, Mansell and his colleagues hope to assess and provide information about the potential increased risk of behavioral addiction post-surgery.

Mansell plans to attend medical school with the goal of becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.

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