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Five Students Receive Grants to Continue Research

The Neimeyer-Hodgson Fund was initially established with money left to the Millersville University Alumni Association.

Thanks to Neimeyer-Hodgdson Student Research Grants  from the Millersville University Alumni Association, five Millersville students will be able to conduct scholarly and creative projects.

Any full-time student attending Millersville University in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree is eligible to apply for the grants.

Meet this year’s recipients:

Alan Snavely is a senior majoring in biology. His project aims to improve the production of industrial hemp through analysis of its root bacteria microbiome structure.

For his research project, he took samples of industrial hemp grown in a field that was used to grow soybeans the previous year. Samples were also taken from soybeans grown from the same seed-stock used in the hemp field the prior year. He is trying to determine whether soybean rhizobiome will affect the hemp rhizobiome.

Emily Dalessandro is a senior biology major. Her project is identifying the genetic changes responsible for the evolution of parasitism in nematodes (roundworms).

For her research project, she will use genes from S. stercoralis (a human parasite) and identify their homologs (genes) in other obligatory parasitic Strongyloides (parasitic disease caused by roundworms) species.

Duncan Lynn is a senior majoring in biology. Lynn’s  project will attempt to classify certain types of root vegetables so that consumers know what they are buying. Currently, many tubers are sold under the same name but are potentially of a different species.

The research project will collect samples from a diverse set of produce markets and stores around the county. Four morphotypes, or types of groups in a species, will be analyzed. Pictures will be taken of the vegetables before they are planted into potted soil to be analyzed. DNA samples will also be taken to be compared to each plant.

Elizabeth Esperanza is a senior majoring in psychology. Espenanza’s goal is to add to the existing literature on substance abuse in rats. This will hopefully lead to new treatments in humans suffering from substance abuse disorder.

The project will monitor the behavior of 16 female rats. Rats will be separated into experimental and control groups. Rats will learn to press levers that dispense a sugar solution to them. After a certain period of time, the lever will stop giving out the solution to the rats. The levers will be programmed to not dispense anything until the rats learn to stop pressing it so often. Then, rats will be reinstated to hear a tone or see a light when a lever is pressed rather than receiving a sugar solution. Each stage of the process will provide valuable data to researchers about self-administration.

Apran Akbar is a senior majoring in biology. Akbar’s project will focus on the embryonic development of the Trachemys Scripta species of turtles.

During a turtle’s embryonic development, there are two stages of neural crest cell migration. Neural crest cells are stem cells that can produce various parts of a turtle like bones or organs. The research project will attempt to determine what occurs between the two waves of NCC migration.

The Neimeyer-Hodgson Fund was initially established with money left to the Millersville University Alumni Association by Minnie Menges Neimeyer, Class of 1923 and Laura L. Hodgson, mother of Pearl Hodgson, Class of 1931. This undergraduate grant program was established in 1983.

For more information on the Neimeyer-Hodgson Student Research Grant, check out Neimeyer Hodgson Grant.

 

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