Student Research

MSU students participating in research are listed below and highlighted in bold.

 2010 - Scholarship Colloquium
Dillard College of Business Administration
Devah Carter and Taryn Howard - A Comparison of Customer and Management Preferences of Promotion: The Moffett Library (podium presentation)
 Gordon T. and Ellen West College of Education
Stacia Bell - Learning Engagement: Teaching and Reaching in the Twenty-First Century (poster presentation)
 Mass Communications Senior Documentaries
Brittany Walsh, Daniel Hayden, Lauren Wood, Colleen Wilson, and Bethany Rumble - "How Far Does the First Amendment Go?" (podium presentation)
John DeLuna, Lacey Romines, Stephen Smith - "Fire Station #1" (poster presentation)
Ri'Chaele Affanato, David LaPell, Julie Wineinger - "Reel Life" (poster presentation)
Carly Burres, Deon Newsom, Nichol Phillip, Robert Redmon - "What is a Dog" (poster presentation)
 Justen Locke - Excellence in Scenic and Lighting Design (poster presentation)
 Sydney Stockton - Excellence in Costume Design (poster presentation)
 Ross Cleveland - A (relatively) Harmonic Progression: the Compositions of Ross Cleveland (poster presentation)
 Alvin Trotman - Alvin Trotman: An Ongoing Musical Journey (poster presentation)
 Visual Art
 Kelley Hughes and BriAnna Satterfield - The Juanita and Ralph Harvey School of Visual Arts (poster presentation)
 Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences
 Chase Thornton - An Analysis of Judge Atwell's Decision in the Desegregation of North Texas (podium presentation)
 Kathryn Wilson - Civil Conflict and Minority- Rebel Groups (podium presentation)
 Irene Spaziani - The Socioeconomic Ideology of Thomas Woodrow Wilson and American Liberalism (podium presentation)
 Cameron Schaffer - Student Opinion on the Efficacy of the Tobacco Policy (podium presentation)
 Amber Goins - Determinants of Child Custody Beliefs (poster presentation)
 John Horry, Victoria Washburn, Laura Spiller - Perceived Preparation for College, Academic Self-Efficacy, and Success in College (poster presentation)
 Emily Kincaid - If These Walls Could Talk (poster presentation)
 Celina Bradley - If These Walls Could Talk (poster presentation)
College of Health Sciences and Human Services
 Shelly Renfro - Age or Generational Diversity in Health Care (podium presentation)
 Rangalyothi Patri - Environmental Pollution in India and China (podium presentation)
 Brent Crihfield - Pain: Perception and Discrimination (poster presentation)
 Cindy Hoff - Improving the Effectiveness of Communication Among Caregivers: The Whiteboard Project (poster presentation)
 Randy Canivel - The Influence of Handgrip and Pedal Cadence During Sustained Cycling Power Outputs (poster presentation)
 Shruti Shastri - Dentistry in India (poster presentation)
 College of Science and Mathematics
Jodie Lovejoy - A PCR Based Study of Dynamic Hybrid Zone Between Chromosomal Cytotypes of Peromyscus leucopus in North Texas (podium presentation)
 Dwayne Rawlins - Synthesis, Electrochemistry and Spectroscopic Properties of 2,3-Fe-PyD and 3,4-Fe-Pyd (podium presentation)
 Samara McIntyre - Microbial Cooperativity: Mixed Bacterial Populations and Control of Oxygen Tension (poster presentation)
 Ashley Sanchez - Effects of Melatonin on Morphology and Development in Arabidopsis thaliana (poster presentation)
 Liam Guthrie - Isolation of Antimicrobial Lipids from Sansevieria trifasciata (poster presentation)
 Johnica Fetsch - A Survey of Coccidians (Apicomplexa) Infecting Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) Populations in Three Texas Counties (poster presentation)
 Junior Swanston - Analysis of Omega-3 Fatty Acids from Commercially Available Fish Oil, Farm Raised and Wild Caught Fish, and Other Sources (poster presentation)
 Kema Richards - Synthesis, Electrochemistry and Spectroscopic Properties of 3,4-Ni(II)-PyD (poster presentation)
 Sheldon Hilaire - Synthesis, Electrochemistry and Spectroscopic Properties of Co(II) tetrapyrazinoporphyrazine (poster presentation)
 Nethaneel Edwards - Service Oriented Architectures (poster presentation)
 Frank Keck - Performance Through Parallel Programming (poster presentation)
 Philip Ray - Bridwell Hall 3-Dimensional Model and Analysis (poster presentation)
 Karu Anto - A Comparsion Between Analytical and Numerical Approaches in Determining Stresses Under Various Load Configurations (poster presentation)
 Charles Hall - Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis of a Rotating MRC Actuator (poster presentation)
 Ashley Gravelle - AGD1 Protein Links Many Signaling Pathways Responsible for Tip Growth in Root Hairs (poster presentation)
 Crystal Wong - The Hormone of Beauty Sleep: Melatonin Delays Senescence (poster presentation)
 David Holbert, Kanthi Jamamdlamudi, Kriston McLaughlin, Laura Rogers, and Amanda Snook - Exogenous Melatonin Speeds up Flowering Time in RCBr (poster presentation)
 Carol Janicik - Sequencing Peromyscus leucopus mitochondrial DNA (poster presentation)
 Sigmund Courtney - The Effect of Water Treatment on the Essential Oil Quality and Composition of English Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) (poster presentation)
 Gizelle Simpson - Effect of Growth Medium on Quorum Sensing Effects in Candida albicans  Lag Phase Cultures (poster presentation)
 Jonpaul Wright - Synthesis, Electrochemistry and Spectroscopic Properties of 2,3-Ni(II) PyD (poster presentation)
 Isaac Awolola - Retiming and Partitioning Multidimensional Loops for Hypercube Computers (poster presentation)
 Thuy Ngo and Keith Enloe - GRPX Research (poster presentation)
 Megan Wolverton - Preferred Oceanic Depth of the Caribbean Reef Squid (poster presentation)
 Nick Moore, Aaron Smith, Tony Burson, Karu Anto, and Philip Ray - Dalquest Water Well Pumping System (poster presentation)
 Noel Baker and Robert Stradley - A Kiln Feasibility Study (poster presentation)
 Jeremy Motley, biology student, completed a research project titled "Aluminum Efflux in Aluminum Mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana" under the mentorship of Dr. Magaly Rincon-Zachary during UGROW. The research is based upon the fact that aluminum dissolves in the soil solution when the soil pH is acidic which is toxic to many plants including important crops such as wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybean. Differential aluminum sensitivity is observed in plants within the same species. Some genotypes tolerate aluminum, others do not. Tolerant genotypes accumulate less aluminum in the sensitive growing root regions as compared to the sensitive ones. The objective of this project is to test whether or not root cells of Al-tolerant mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana are able to remove aluminum from their interior. To test this hypothesis, the proper growing conditions must be established first. Most of the work this summer was on optimizing the growth conditions.
 Samara McIntyre, biology student, researched "Microbial Cooperativity: Mixed Bacterial Populations and Control Oxygen Tension" during UGROW under the mentorship of Dr. Jim Masuoka. The research is based on the fact that biogases, such as methane, can be burned to produce electricity and heat, contributing to decreased demand for fossil fuels. Some microorganisms are able to utilize small organic compounds, such as acetic acid, for energy and produce methane as a waste product. These methanogenic organisms are obligate anaerobes. That is, they cannot grow in the presence of oxygen. This means that the containers in which they are grown must be devoid of oxygen. The current research seeks to determine if, rather than using chemical treatments or vacuum systems, the microbes can be grown in community as a way to control the oxygen content of the growth chamber. Specifically, we are testing the hypothesis that an obligate aerobe, an organism that must have oxygen to survive, can be co-cultured with the methanogen as a way of using up the oxygen in the container. This work is part of an on-going collaborative project with Dr. Salim Azzouz in the McCoy School of Engineering to develop in-house a bioreactor to service the university.
 Jonpaul Wright, chemistry student, andKema Richards, clinical laboratory science student, worked together on a research project titled"Synthesis of Nickel(II) Tetrapyridinoporphyrazine Compounds" during UGROW under the mentorship of Dr. Jianguo Shao and Dr. Chris Hansen. For the research, two Nickel(II) tetrapyridinoporphyrazine compounds, 2,3-Ni-PyD and 3,4-Ni-PyD, were synthesized via an one-step reaction. The crude products were purified through a series of processes including the washing by methanol to remove the solvent; the reaction with HCl and NaOH to remove any other organic side products and finally the washing by deionized water to discharge inorganic impurities. After drying, these two derivatives were further characterized by the electrochemical and UV-visible spectroscopic techniques in pyridine, DMSO and 15 M sulfuric acid solutions.
Sheldon Hilaire, chemistry student, participated in UGROW under the mentorship of Dr. Jianguo Shao and Dr. Chris Hansen. The title of the research is "Synthesis, Electrochemistry, and Spectroscopic Properties of Cobalt (II) Tetrapyrazinoporphyrazine." Cobalt (II) tetrapyrazinoporphyrazine, Co-PyZ, was synthesized via an one-step reaction and purified through several cycles of washing. This compound was then examined by the cyclic voltammetric technique as well as the UV-visible spectroscopic method. Three reductions were observed, with E1/2 located at -0.25, -0.92 and -1.50 V in pyridine and, -0.10, -0.86 and -1.50 V in DMSO. These potentials were compared with the reduction potentials of compounds having similar structures in literature, indicating that the number and/or the position of nitrogen atoms on the macrocycle can modify the electron density of the investigated complex.
 Ashley Meek, engineering student, researched "A Robust Game-theoretic Controller with Lyapunov Optimizing Sliding Mode" during UGROW under the mentorship of Dr. Dale McDonald. Game theoretic control algorithms have shown great utility in application to many important engineering systems by enabling the analyst to understand and manipulate a dynamic system. The Min-Max solution concept is often employed with the controller assuming the role of player 1 and a disturbance, often unknown, assuming the role of player 2. A control algorithm can be developed where the disturbance attempts to maximize the cost functional of player 1. Lyapunov optimizing control (LOC) combines Lyapunov stability theory with function minimization; this allowed for the specification of a control law that considered the accumulation of a specified cost which player 1 desires to minimize. Although it is well known that game theoretic algorithms may not be effective in driving the system states to the origin in the presence of disturbances, LOC methodology rejects disturbances using a sliding surface, which is placed based upon both stability and optimization concerns. Use of a sliding mode, however, induces chatter which is an undesirable phenomenon that may result in deterioration or destruction of a physical system. Trajectory following optimization is used to mitigate chatter while preserving the spirit of the control algorithm. In this treatment, a controller based upon LOC/TFO methodology is blended with a game theoretic controller from a prior work; this results in a robust controller with both game theoretic and LOC sliding modes.
Junior Swanton, chemistry student completed a research project titled "Analysis of Omega-3 Fatty Acids From Commercially Available Fish Oil, Farm Raised & Wild Caught Fish, and Other Sources" under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Shipley. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to health and must be obtained from food, such as cold water fish and nut oils. We tested several fish oil capsules in addition to farm-raised and wild-caught salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and eggs, for the content of their omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid, ALA; eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA; and docosahexaenoic acid, DHA). Omega Brite brand was the fish oil with the highest omega-3 content (92% of all fatty acids) followed by Walgreen’s Finest Natural (81%). Others fared comparatively poorly, such as Origin brand from Wal-Mart (37%) and Albertson’s Equaline (32%). Flaxseed oil had 78% omega-3’s (all of it ALA). Tuna steak was the highest of the sampled fishes (42%) followed by wild-caught (35%) and farm-raised (22%) salmon. Eggland’s Best eggs had only 1.2% omega-3’s, compared to regular eggs at 0.9%. The results showed a wide variation in the quality of commercially available fish oil. It showed that 6 grams of wild-caught salmon is required to obtain the omega-3 content of 1 gram of the top fish oil.   


 Anjolajesu Fagbe, engineering student, completed a research project titled "Modeling Stellar Populations" during UGROW under the mentorship of Dr. Jackie Dunn. The star formation histories of 21 dwarf irregular galaxies were modeled using a stellar evolution code called PEGASE (Fioc & Rocca-Volmerange). Sixty-nine models were produced for each galaxy and span 12 Gyr, each model having a different frequency of star formation. Roughly 90% of the galaxies were well fit by the modeling procedure, and were evenly split between continuous star formation scenarios and periodic star formation scenarios. The results of this work will be used in the investigation of a possible evolutionary link between dwarf irregular and dwarf elliptical galaxies.

Gizelle Simpson, a biology student, is working with Dr. Masuoka on a research project titled

Isolation and Identification of Novel Quorum Sensing Molecules Affecting Lag Phase in Candida albicans. Although the fungal genus Candida contains multiple species that can cause disease in humans, Candida albicans stands out in that it is a component of the normal microbiota of humans. The fungus maintains a long-term commensal relationship with the host under normal conditions, but when conditions change, C. albicans can become invasive and cause damage to the host. Understanding the growth cycle of C. albicans will shed light onto what allows C. albicans to be commensal and how changes in host conditions lead to pathogenesis. It has been shown that C. albicans carries out intercellular communication through a process called quorum sensing – communications that are regulated by cell density. The focus of this project is to test the hypothesis that other quorum-sensing molecules are produced which will account for this gap.

Phillip Ray, engineering student, created a computerized model of Bridwell Hall to determine its efficiency of energy flow and usage under the mentorship of Dr. Jeff Hood during UGROW. This process involved taking precise three-dimensional measurements of every room, hallway, stairwell and alcove of Bridwell Hall and then incorporating those measurements into a 3D AutoCAD design. Once the rooms were rendered, they could be combined into a single model of the entire building which, not only is exactly to scale, but also takes into consideration the material components of the building's construction. Once a model of the building has been completed, it can be used with software in the engineering department to model energy flow through a solid. This will describe how the building will operate under ideal design circumstances, which can be compared with physical measurements to determine where the building could be made more efficient. 


Laura Slaby, biology student, is working with Dr. Stangl on a research project titled A Morphometric Assessment of Peromyscus of the Palo Duro Canyon region. Three species of saxicolous Peromyscus can be found in the Palo Duro Canyon region of the Texas Panhandle. Of particular interest was the determination of the presence of P. boylii--a species that, if present, represents a Pleistocene relict population.  Multivariate tests demonstrate that an isolated population of P. boylii does indeed occur along the rugged canyons of the Caprock Escarpment, in close proximity to another Pleistocene relict, P. truei.  Both species occur no closer to Texas today than the pinyon-juniper woodlands of New Mexico and the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Thuy NgoRyan McKeown, and Rrezarta Krasniqi, Computer Science students, are working on a research project titled Reconstruction of Fragmented Objects with Dr. Stringfellow, Professor Simpson and Dr. Hood.This research can be applied in solving puzzles or reassembling archaeological fragments. The approach involves corner detection and curve matching. Research started with 2D objects (puzzles) and is now being extended to 3D problems.

Jodie Lovejoy, a biology student, is working with Dr. Scales on a research project titled A PCR-based study of a dynamic hybrid zone between chromosomal cytotypes of Peromyscus leucopus in North Texas. Two cytotypically distinct races of white-footed mice are found from east to west across their habitat range in North Texas and Oklahoma. This study seeks to correlate mitochondrial markers with these two cytogenetically different populations and to use that relationship to look for changes in the hybrid zone where these two subpopulations live. These markers will be identified as RFLPs after PCR amplification of mitochondrial DNA.
Sreya YerragondaRajya Tirumala, and Sweta Myneni, Computer Science students, are working on a research project titled Making Predictions about Software Quality with Dr. Stringfellow. This research applies several techniques to process and product data collected during the development of software to make predictions about the quality of the software.
C. Marsh, Psychology student, presented the paper Identifying "gateway" courses in the prediction of academic performance: Mathematics vs. Psychology with Dr. Diekhoff and Dr. Vandehey at the conference of the Southwestern Psychology Association in San Antonio, TX in April of 2009. 
 Juli Weger, a biology student, is working with Dr. Vogtsberger on a research project titled A Survey of the Aquatic Insects of Alamo Springs in the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas. The research is a qualitative survey of the aquatic insect of Alamo Springs at the Dalquest Research Site in the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas has been conducted to determine what species of insects inhabit this particular desert oasis.  


 Sanjeev Mahabir, a biology student, is working with Dr. Vogtsberger on a research project titled Aquatic Insect Taxa between Intermittent and Permanent Streams in the Chihuahuan Desert. This project involves identifying aquatic insects inhabiting desert streams located on the Dalquest Research Site and the Big Bend Ranch State Natural Area.  An inventory of the aquatic insects in these streams has not been done before.  Thus, this will provide base line data for future studies.
Hunter Adams, a biology student, is working with Dr. Vogtsberger, Dr. John Paul Grieco in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences on a research project titled Species Richness study of the Aquatic Insects Cohabiting with Anopheles in Belizean River Systems. Two river systems in Belize have been surveyed to explore which species of aquatic insects live with Anopheles mosquito larvae. This study will provide the basis for future ecological studies to determine which of these cohabiting insects prey upon larval Anopheles.
Sigmund Courtney, a biology student, is working with Dr. Rincon on a research project titled Effects of Excess Water and Water Stress on Growth and Essential Oil Production in Thyme (Thymus vulgaris). Essential oils in Thymus vulgaris have been widely studied for their antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. The objective of this project is to investigate the effect of water availability on the yield and quality of thyme essential oils. Essential oils extracted from thyme leaves are separated and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.