Joanna Banks of Grand Rapids, MI investigated the bacteria in the slime trails of wild and captive snails and their effects on decomposition. Her results showed that there was greater species richness of bacteria in the wild snail slime, but neither the captive nor the wild snail slime had a noticeable effect on decomposition. This research is important because there is very little known about snails and any further information would benefit other studies using snails, especially in their decision to use wild snails or lab snails.
Holly Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie, MI studied journal articles on Diabetes mellitus and specifically diabetic retinopathy (DR). DR is an eye disease that is the leading cause of preventable vision loss or blindness. Patient compliance can help reduce the risk for getting DR and the complications associated with it. In many studies patient compliance is defined by follow-up examinations and treatments recommended by the optometrist or ophthalmologist. Different risk factors for non-compliance have been looked at in many studies, such as age, gender, occupation, traveling distance, etc. In comparing these studies and analyzing the data, distance to travel and lack of diabetes knowledge were major risk factors associated with non-compliance. The prevalent risk factor was socio-economic deprivation. The research is important because DR is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Physicians can implement clinical changes to help ease these burdens with transportations options and more patient education. More studies such as a quality improvement study may be warranted.
Veronica Clark, of Monroe, Michigan, tested for the presence of duck hepatitis B virus via Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) in wild ducks harvested in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula. The results of this study showed no positive tests out of the 26 ducks examined. Although this study presented no positive results, it demonstrated the ease of using LAMP in the field.
Cole Eastman of Rose City, Mich., performed an eDNA survey of East Fish Lake at Lake Superior State University’s Hunt Creek Research Station in Lewiston, Michigan. His results showed a wide variety of eukaryotes living in the area. This is important because it helps broaden what we know about LSSU’s research station, and it will help assist in future studies.
Abigale Edmonds of Au Gres, MI compared the antimicrobial effectiveness of four common plant extracts to common antibiotics against E. coli and yeast (two common agents of UTIs), to determine if these natural extracts could be used as a possible substitution or in combination with common antibiotics used to treat these infections. Her results showed that oregano, tetracycline & oregano, ampicillin & oregano, and uva-ursi are able to inhibit growth of the UTI causers either about the same as or better then antibiotics can. This research is important because this could be a possible way to use antibiotics a little less and possibly slow down the rate of antibiotic resistance.
Michael Gills of Traverse City, MI studied the effectiveness of the response of LSSU and NMU to Covid-19, looking at period prevalence for the fall semester. His results found that there was no statistical difference between the universities, but each had such low rates possibly due to the policies implemented. This research was important because it observed how both universities’ differences and similarities in Covid-19 policies have possibly decreased rates and could assist other universities to plan for future semesters.
Keegan Hoose of Hartland, Michigan is conducting research to evaluate the relationship between alleles of the DRD4 gene, risk-propensity and sensation-seeking behavior, and career choice. The DRD4-7R allele has been shown to produce a less effective dopamine receptor. Current research shows that this less effective receptor is related to psychiatric conditions such as ADHD, depression, and addiction as well as an aptitude for high-risk behavior. Keegan is working to determine whether there is a difference in allelic frequency between individuals that engage in high-risk, high-sensation experiences and/or those who are in, or plan to pursue first-responder careers compared to the normal population. He will determine this difference through the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA fragment analysis, and statistical evaluation. This research is important to show the potential pervasive relationship between genetics and behavior; while, providing data to contribute to the discussion of the high risk of mental illness in first responders.
Sophie McConkey of Pickford, Michigan began conducting research to detect the presence of Histoplasma capsulatum DNA in soil samples from the Soo Lock’s Facility in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. H. capsulatum is a fungus that is known to cause the human respiratory infection histoplasmosis. H. capsulatum is found primarily in soil that contains large amounts of bird feces, and causes infection if the contaminated soil is disturbed. Previous infections have occurred at the Roger City Quarry and lead to the conduction of the study. Sophie used Next Generation Sequencing to determine that there was no presence of H. capsulatum in any of the collected samples. This research is essential, as it will be used to determine necessary health and safety measures for the construction of the new lock at the Soo Lock’s Facility.
Lyndsey Murdock of Oxford, Michigan began developing a method to quantify the amount of Capnocytaphaga canimorsus DNA found in a canine’s mouth. C. canimorsus is a bacterium found in the saliva of canines that can cause serious infections in humans if contact is made with an open wound. Having a test to quantify this bacterium in a saliva sample will help determine the risk associated with dog bites. Through the use of sodium acetate and ethanol purification, Lyndsey was able to use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis to consistently and accurately detect 0.0001ng of pure C. canimorsus. This study will be used in future applications to develop a test to quantify the C. canimorsis in an unaltered canine saliva sample.
Sarah Norris of Eaton Rapids, MI studied phosphorus retention in common grass in a benchtop vegetated buffer strip. Her results showed that there was no evidence of retention within the benchtop grass plots. Under different conditions better results may have been provided. This research is important because it can relate to the issue caused by agricultural nutrient runoff in waterways.
Michelle Parmer of Sault Ste. Marie, MI studied how pressure affected the process of surface disinfection to determine the effect of increasing pressure on the removal of bacteria from a surface. Her results showed that using different amounts of pressure while decontaminating surfaces did have an effect on the number of bacteria that stayed on the surface. This research is important because routine surface cleaning is recommended to help control the spread of pathogens in a hospital setting.
Brianna Regan of Sterling Heights, MI investigated the physiological and psychological reactions to various forms of communication in order to determine if there was a relationship to stress. These methods included video calls, social media, and face-to-face communication. Comparative cortisol levels failed to show a significant difference between the two experimental groups and the face-to-face communication group. Her results did show an overall decrease in perceived stress in all forms of communication, which was largest in the face-to-face group. High beta brain waves hinted that there may be a higher level of thought processing or anxiety involved with video calls, followed by the social media group. Brain wave frequency and perceived stress levels were consistent in hinting at lowest stress after in-person communication, greater stress following social media use, and highest stress after video chatting. This examination is important, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as both personal and professional culture is shifting away from traditional methods of communication and towards virtual platforms.
Angelina Stout of Allenton, MI investigated the effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on the gut microbiome. PFAS are man-made chemicals and environmental contaminants that are found in a wide range of consumer and industrial products such as plastics, non-stick coatings, and fire-fighting foams. These contaminants are potential health concerns as they do not break down easily in the environment and are commonly found in drinking water and food. The gut microbiome is made up of the bacteria that are found in the gut and they are essential to the overall health and proper function of humans and animals alike. Her findings showed that the normal make-up of the gut microbiome of organisms was affected when exposed to common types of PFAS: PFOS, PFOA, and OBS. Alterations to the gut microbiome have the potential to cause disease and affect the overall health of organisms. Research on the potential harmful effects of PFAS is essential as the state of Michigan has become an epicenter for PFAS exposure sites and they are becoming a growing concern around the world.
Cassidy Waybrant, of Pickford, MI, completed a literature search on the mechanisms of tau protein knot formation in the brain. These knots are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. The promising effects of cinnamon extract have shown the ability to slow the onset of the disease. The effective study she designed through her research would include the comparison of the two ingredients in cinnamon extract: cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin and their capability of decelerating the knot formation separately. This information could be used to plan a study in humans to contribute to the ongoing research on Alzheimer’s disease today.
Carlie Weaver of Otsego, MI, studied the effect of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on the beneficial gut bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus. Her results demonstrated that these chemicals have adverse effects on the growth of these bacteria, which are particularly important in the development and maintenance of a healthy gut. Imbalances in L. acidophilus levels have been linked to numerous diseases, and this research serves to link the presence of these chemicals with potential disease in the human body.