Students to Present Findings at State Research Symposium

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Five West Virginia Wesleyan College students were selected as interns for the West Virginia IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE).  Amanda Davis, Rebekah Honce, Alison Johnson, Danielle Nehilla, and Jordan Tate will be traveling to West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown to present their research on Monday, July 28 during the 13th Annual WV-INBRE Summer Research Symposium.

Davis, a senior biology major and education and chemistry minor from Salem, WV, has been working with Dr. Joe McFadden of WVU’s Agricultural Science Department.  She is working to identify biomarkers for insulin resistance using mass-spectrometry-based metabolomics in a dairy cow model.

Bridgeport, WV native Honce, a senior biology major and psychology and chemistry minor, has been working in the lab of Dr. Stephen Always at the WVU Health Sciences Center in Morgantown.  She is assisting in the investigation of muscle physiology differences using transgenic mouse models while focusing on the function of the Sirt1 gene and how it affects muscle regeneration in injury and non-injury models.

Johnson, a junior biology major from St. Marys, WV, has been interning with Dr. Julie Brefczynski-Lewis at WVU.  They have been testing short-term behavioral, physiological, and brain changes from Compassion meditation training.  The focus of the research is assessing factors such as heart rate, respiration, and eye tracking in participants using feedback from a smartphone application in hopes to find an easy and inexpensive way to help people better relate to others in their lives.

Nehilla, a junior biochemistry major and psychology and honors minor from South Park, PA, has been assisting Dr. John Hollander of WVU with the study of mitochondria in cardiomyocytes.  The spectrum of projects is wide, and some focus on diabetes and whether overexpression of certain proteins can help reverse or relieve the effect of the disease.  They are also working on another project that focuses on air pollution and how the particles affect the mitochondria and the cells of the heart.

Tate, a junior biochemistry major from Cross Lanes, WV, has been working with Dr. Gary Rankin of Marshall University in Huntington, WV.  They are investigating the toxicity of chloronitrobenzenes, which are intermediates in the manufacture of industrial, agricultural, and pharmaceutical agents.  Specifically, the duo is hypothesizing that metabolites contribute to the nephrotoxicity of 3,5-dichloronitrobenzene and will be blocking different enzyme systems that could bioactivate it to a toxic metabolite.

For more information on West Virginia Wesleyan College’s School of Science, contact Director Dr. Luke Huggins at (304) 473-8097 or The School of Science offers majors in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Information Science, Computer Science, Engineering 3/2, Environmental Studies, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and
Physics and Engineering.