IU East announces Summer Scholars

IU East announces Summer Scholars

Indiana University East has awarded six scholarships for the 2008 Summer Research Scholar Program. Undergraduate students receive $2,000 to conduct a research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

The first Summer Research Scholar was a single award made to a biology student, Nathan Feldman, in summer 2000. Feldman graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and is now employed in research at Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati.

Funding for the program is provided by the Indiana University Office of the Vice Provost for Research and is matched by funds from IU East. The competitive program has since expanded from the first award given to include up to six students each summer.

All recipients will present their research findings during the fifth annual Student Research Day in spring 2009.

Recipients are Lacey Isaacs of Richmond, Melissa Elmore of New Castle, Corey White of Lynn, Shawne Whitsell of College Corner, Ind., John Mueller of Richmond, and Amanda Clarkston of Richmond.

Isaacs plans to travel to Atlacomulco, near Mexico City, to interview two groups of native people — those who have not emigrated and those who have lived for a time in the United States and then returned to Mexico — for her research project. The humanities major hopes her research, entitled “Al Otro Lado: The Other Side of the Immigration Debate,” will provide new perspectives about individuals who are immigrating to the U.S. Isaacs’ faculty mentor is Julien Simon, assistant professor of foreign language.

Elmore, a business major, will use a questionnaire to ask college students across the state of Indiana to provide information on how they learned right from wrong and other items of relevance for her project, “Assessing the Moral Disposition of College Students in Indiana.” By collecting the data, Elmore is trying to provide insight into the ways young people today acquire their moral dispositions in order to help the educational community to understand and to work with Indiana’s college students. Elmore will be mentored by Ange Cooksey, lecturer in humanities.

“Mapping the mRNA Binding Site of She2p in Yeast” is White’s research project. The biotechnology major is interested in investigating She2p, which is a protein critical for guiding mRNA molecules to designated locations within the cell. White will use Saccharomyces cerevisiae to map the mRNA/She2p binding site. Dale Beach, assistant professor of biotechnology, will mentor the project.

Whitsell is researching “Post-transcriptional Regulation of Gene Expression in Fungal Systems.” She is a double-major studying biology and biotechnology. Whitsell is building upon information discovered during her honor’s project. She will isolate and clone a target gene from each of six fungi to investigate the functional roles of the proteins encoded by these genes. Whitsell will also be mentored by Beach.

Mueller’s research project, “The Reduction of Phytoplankton at Middlefork Reservoir,” studies phytoplankton in the Middle Fork Reservoir to determine whether the population of algae can be decreased by manipulating aeration and copper sulfate applications. The results of this study may provide information that can be used to more effectively control algal growth in the reservoir. Mueller, a biology major, will be mentored by Neil Sabine, associate professor of biology in collaboration with Richard Nicholson, water quality supervisor for Indiana American Water Company.

Clarkston, a biology major, is researching “Quantitative Determination of Cadmium Removal in the Extracellular Environment of the White Rot Fungus Phanerochaete Chrysosporium.” White rot fungus has been well characterized in its ability to accumulate and degrade toxic chemicals. Cadmium is one of the chemicals which have become problematic in the environment due to the burning of fossil fuels and municipal waste. Clarkston will quantify the amount and rate of removal of cadmium by white rot fungus. She will also determine the minimum concentration of cadmium necessary to cause lethality in this organism. Her faculty mentor for this project is Kris Dhawale, professor of chemistry.

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