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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Annual biology conference features research project

    The Undergraduate Biology Research Program held its nineteenth annual conference Saturday in the Life Sciences South building.

    More than 85 undergraduate students who did research throughout their academic careers were able to present their results in poster form to the public and their families.

    The experiments were mostly biology and chemistry related, but some involved language, animals, memory, medicine and plants.

    Some of the students had worked on their research projects for several years.

    Derek Hollman, a chemistry senior, has studied his nitric oxide project since summer 2005.

    “”I am trying to better understand the chemistry of nitric oxide so it can be used for medical applications,”” Hollman said. “”There is more work to be done in the future, but I hope to publish the results this year.””

    Brittanie Broersma, a pre-physiology senior, did her research on memory and aging in the brain of a rat.

    She implanted stimulation wires into the eyelid of the rat and had it run laps in a track. At a certain spot on the track the rat would get a shock in the eyelid.

    She is trying to test the difference in the conditioned response of a young rat versus that of an old one.

    “”Both age levels showed an increased level of blinking when they knew they were about to be shocked. There is a trend of the young initially learning faster,”” Broersma said.

    Some students even did their experiments in different countries through Biomedical Research Abroad Vistas Open (BRAVO).

    Jessica Aguilar, a speech, language and hearing sciences senior did her research in Norway at the University of Bergen.

    She studied how adults can implicitly learn a language like Norwegian. She tested adults from all over the world and exposed them to Norwegian by living in Norway. They were tested when they first came to Norway and three weeks later.

    “”Only the people with their primary language closest to Norwegian were able to learn the language,”” Aguilar said. “”In future studies we will do neuro imaging to see which areas of the brain are recruited for this learning.””

    BRAVO also had students doing research in the Netherlands, Spain, Peru, Italy, England, Czech Republic, China and Denmark.

    Also presenting at the conference were various high school students. Nogales High School did a project on biodiesel, “”The Alternative Fuel of the Future.””

    “”The students asked 40 restaurants in the community if they would donate their waste oil to the cause, and 60 percent agreed. The waste oil is transformed into biodiesel,”” said Estela Maria Diaz, program coordinator for the students in the health careers club.

    The club hopes to have school buses, fire trucks and trash collectors use biodiesel.

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