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May 22, 2002
: Andrea Gibson (740) 597-2166 or

Awards support student research, creative activity

ATHENS, Ohio -- Ohio University's Council on Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity awarded almost $67,000 in April to 14 students engaged in research and creative activity. The works range from a photographic essay of passengers on the Staten Island Ferry to research on the role of certain proteins in the development of Type II diabetes.

The council, made up of 14 university faculty from various disciplines, awards grants of up to $6,000 through the Student Enhancement Award (SEA) program, which supports research, scholarship and creative activity by undergraduate, graduate and medical students. This year the committee received 40 proposals, 14 of which were funded.

"The council received an unusual number of extraordinary applications this year, making the job of the selection committee very difficult," said Andre Gribou, chair of the council and an associate professor of dance. "But the council was delighted to have the quandary of deciding between so many exceptional research proposals."

Information on the 2002 SEA recipients follows:

Undergraduate Students

  • Stephanie Norwood, a biological sciences student in the College of Arts and Sciences, received $5,600 to study the relationship between the structure and the function of a motor protein involved in transporting chromosomes during cell division. The research could aid in the understanding of and treatments for diseases such as cancer. Norwood's faculty mentor is Elisar Barbar, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.
  • John Cassin, a chemistry and biochemistry student in the College of Arts and Sciences, received $4,500 for his study of HDM2, a gene that inhibits the function of p53, the body's tumor suppressor, and its role in repairing damaged DNA. The project will lead to a better understanding of DNA repair mechanisms and their role in cancer formation. Cassin's faculty mentor is Susan Evans, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry and a scientist with the Edison Biotechnology Institute.
  • Nicholas Capell, an English language and literature student in the College of Arts and Sciences, received $6,000 to study representations of women in English illuminated manuscripts from the 12th to 14th centuries. Capell, who will travel to England this summer, hopes his project will clarify issues surrounding art, literature and gender identity in medieval England. Capell's faculty mentor is Marsha Dutton, an associate professor of English.
  • Nicholas Carr, a biological sciences student in the Honors Tutorial College, received $5,180 for his research on the antimicrobial activity of six newly developed peptides, a class of amino acids that have been shown to kill bacterial cells. Carr's study could aid in the design of more effective antibiotics. His faculty mentor is Jack Blazyk, a professor of biochemistry in the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Becky Ann Malone, a film student in the College of Fine Arts, received $3,516 to develop a feature-length screenplay based on the life of Santee Sioux physician Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa), who was the first American Indian to receive an M.D. Malone, who is of American Indian heritage, will tell the complex and controversial story of Eastman, who dedicated his life to the advancement and education of American Indians in the face of racism and intolerance. Malone's faculty mentor is David O. Thomas, a professor of film.

Graduate and Medical Students

  • Christy Carter, a doctoral student in environmental and plant biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, received $5,242 to examine genetic diversity in three plant types that grow in a salt marsh in Rittman, Ohio. Her findings could aid in conservation efforts, as plants with little genetic variation are at an increased risk of mutations and disease. Carter's faculty mentor is Irwin Ungar, a professor of plant ecology.
  • Landon Nordeman, a masters student in visual communication in the College of Communication, received $2,200 to continue work on a photographic essay of Staten Island, New York. Nordeman spent 10 days in February photographing passengers on the Staten Island Ferry, and will return for two months to capture other aspects of life on Staten Island. Nordeman's faculty mentor is Larry Nighswander, a professor of visual communication.
  • Linghua Qiu, a doctoral student in biological sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, received $6,000 to continue his study of proteins in the pancreas that may be involved with the development of Type II diabetes, a life-threatening disease that affects more than 15 million Americans. Understanding the role of these proteins could aid in the prevention and treatment of Type II diabetes. Qiu's faculty mentor is John Kopchick, Goll-Ohio professor of molecular and cellular biology and senior scientist at the Edison Biotechnology Institute.
  • Mayuresh Sant, a masters student in environmental studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, received $5,966 for his research on using wood plant fiber filters to recover metals from streams that have become uninhabitable for aquatic life due to pollution by coal-mine runoff. Sant, who will collect samples from the abandoned Addis Mine near Ironton, Ohio, hopes these experiments will serve as a prototype for large-scale metal recovery and water treatment systems. Sant's faculty mentor is Mary Stoertz, an associate professor of geological sciences.
  • Michael Dunn, a doctoral student in environmental and plant biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, received $5,706 to conduct a comprehensive paleontological survey of the fossil plants of the Mississippian period, which was 320 to 360 million years ago. This award will fund Dunn?s travel to Scotland and France to examine European plant fossils, which he will compare with North American specimens previously collected in Arkansas to create a picture of global floral diversity. Dunn's faculty mentor is Gar Rothwell, a professor of environmental and plant biology.
  • Daniel Garcia, a masters student in film in the College of Fine Arts, received $5,000 to continue work on his thesis film "People of Lurigancho." Filmed in the Lurigancho prison in Garcia's home country of Peru, the documentary focuses on the lives of four inmates. Garcia plans to submit the film to Peruvian television and two documentary film festivals. Garcia's faculty mentor is Rajko Grlic, Ohio Eminent Professor of film.
  • Patrick Madden, a doctoral student in English in the College of Arts and Sciences, received $6,000 to support research in Uruguay, where he will write a book-length manuscript of creative nonfiction titled "In the Land of Painted Birds: Uruguay from Dictatorship to MERCOSUR." Madden will focus on the political struggles of the '60s and '70s and how they continue to affect the people of Uruguay. Madden's faculty mentor is David Lazar, an associate professor of English.
  • Melissa Gasaway and Alicia Parks, medical students in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, received $5,992 for their joint research project, which will assess whether physicians are complying with clinical guidelines on antibiotics prescriptions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gasaway and Parks will focus on the misuse of antibiotics in the treatment of strep throat, a common respiratory tract infection that is usually caused by a virus and is unresponsive to antibiotics. Inappropriate use of antibiotics has resulted in the development of bacterial strains that are resistant to drugs, according to the CDC. The students' faculty mentors are Robert Gotfried, an assistant professor of family medicine and Alfred Pheley, an associate professor of social medicine.

In related news, past recipients of the SEA awards will be honored at a reception from 1 to 4 p.m., Friday, May 31 on the second floor of Clippinger Hall. During the event, recipients of SEA and other student awards programs will present the results of their work. A jury of faculty members will review the projects and offer two awards of $500 each to an undergraduate and a graduate or medical student SEA recipient. The event is open to the public.

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