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What's Happening at Cedar Crest College

Biological Sciences Senior Students Present Thesis Research on Campus and Beyond

Biological Sciences Senior Students

Four of the graduating seniors from the department of biological sciences presented their thesis research on campus Wednesday during the department’s Fall Symposium. Students Sakina Khaku and Rene Norman, who have been working with faculty mentor Andre Walther, Ph.D., discussed their research into genetics and cancer. Nyssa Kudravy, who has been working with faculty mentor Joy Karnas, Ph.D., addressed the impact of environmental toxins on gene expression, while Melinda Sandridge, who has been working with faculty mentor Richard Kliman, Ph.D., presented her research on developing microsatellite (genetic) markers for eventual use in demographic analysis of queen conch populations. Khaku is a biochemistry major, while the other students are studying genetic engineering.

The thesis research project is optional for students in the biological sciences department, but many participate in order to prepare for graduate school, said Karnas. It also can lead to opportunities for students to promote their research on a national level. For example, Kudravy is presenting her research at the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America on December 14 in Indianapolis. Khaku earned an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship this year for her work on this project, which includes a stipend of up to $4,000, a two-year ASM student membership, and reimbursement for travel expenses to the 2010 ASM General Meeting, where she will present her research findings.