Penn State Lehigh Valley student research successes

May 03, 2016

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- As a prominent research institution, Penn State puts great emphasis on the value of research. Penn State Lehigh Valley students have the opportunity to work with esteemed faculty members to complete research at the undergraduate level. Students have ample opportunities to present their research and findings at conferences and regional symposiums. This year fourteen student researchers were also published in peer-reviewed academic journals.

The students from Penn State Lehigh Valley who had their undergraduate research accepted for publication or who presented their research between May 2015 to May 2016 include:

Paper presentations:

Tashina Khabbaz (’16, Psychology) and David Livert, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Psychology). "Flourishing in the Kitchen: Finding Well-Being amid Controlled Chaos."  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Easton Psychological Association, New York, March 2016.

Poster presentations:

Megan Renshaw (’15, Psychology) and Kevin J. Kelley, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Psychology). “The Avoidance of Adverse Health Consequences Model Explains the Decline in Empathy Among Medical School Students.” Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Sciences, international conference, New York, May 2015.

Jessica Sandrock (’15, Psychology), Haley Keglovits (’16, Psychology), and Kevin J. Kelley, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Psychology). “Attachment Style and Relationship Duration Only Partially Attenuates Relationship Satisfaction in Dating Couples: Data Viewed Through the TARA Model.” Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Sciences, international conference, New York, May 2015.

Haley Keglovits (’16, Psychology) and Kevin J. Kelley, Ph.D.,(Assistant Professor of Psychology). “Assessing the Ability of Romantic Attachment Style, Fear of Intimacy, and Empathy to Predict Physical Health.” Poster presented at the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, international conference, Miami, October 2015.

Carla Ledva (’17, Psychology and Rehabilitation and Human Services), Mikayla Clark (’17, Psychology and Rehabilitation and Human Services), and Kevin J. Kelley, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Psychology). “Empathy Is Bad For Your Health: Results from Four Studies.” Poster presented at the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, international conference, Miami, October 2015.

Tashina Khabbaz (’16, Psychology) and Kevin J. Kelley, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Psychology). “Relationship Status Predicts Associations Between Attachment Dimensions and Empathy Among Emerging Adults.” Poster presented at the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, international conference, Miami, October 2015.

Liliana Nassar (’16, Biology), Sarah Ramzy (’17 Chemical Engineering), Paolo Flauta (‘14, Biology) Matthew Mekolichik (’14 Biology), Christopher Shannon (’17, Chemical Engineering), and Kelly Youwakim (’15, General Science with a Chemistry minor), and Julie B. Ealy, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology), Adviser. “Estimation of the Binding Energies of Approximately 200 Drug-like and Nondrug-like Molecules Docked in the Active Site of HIV-1 Integrase, 1BIS.pdb.” Poster presented by Liliana Nassar, Sarah Ramzy and Christopher Shannon and involved over three years of research using computational software, ICM-Pro (Molsoft, LLC). Presentation took place at the meeting, Structural Biology Related to HIV – 2015, NIH, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, June 2015.

Liliana Nassar (’16, Biology), Corinne Boyce (’16, Psychology), and Julie B. Ealy, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology), Adviser. “Estimated Binding Energies of a Select Group of Drug-like and Nondrug-like Molecules in the Active Site of a Computer-Generated Model of HIV-1 integrase in Complex with Bound Viral DNA, that is, the HIV-1 Intasome.” Stephen Hughes, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Chief of the Retroviral Replication Laboratory and Acting Chief of the Host-Virus Interaction Branch provided the computer-generated model of the HIV-1 intasome and helpful suggestions at the June HIV 2015 at NIH for the molecules used in the research. Poster presented at the Undergraduate Research Presentations at the Capitol, April 2016.

Nicholas Pappas ('17, Criminal Justice). "Quality of Life Behind Bars: Racialization in the 21st Century.” Jennifer Parker, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Sociology), served as his faculty mentor. Poster presented and took first place in the Arts, Humanities, Business and Social and Behavioral Sciences category at the Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium at Penn State Lehigh Valley, April 2016.

Kimberly Jeannette Hoogenboom (’16, Actuarial Science) and Nehemiah Nathan Myers (’16, Mechanical Engineering) "Dyscalculia from Childhood to Adulthood.” Maryam Kiani (Instructor in Mathematics) served as the faculty mentor. Dyscalculia is severe difficulty in comprehending mathematics, presumed to be due to a specific impairment in brain function. This disorder is sometimes referred to as a “mathematical learning disability" and can be as complex and damaging as a reading disability (dyslexia), which tends to be more usually diagnosed. Poster presented and took second place in the Arts, Humanities, Business and Social and Behavioral Sciences category at the Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium at Penn State Lehigh Valley, April. 2016.

Tashina Khabbaz (’16, Psychology). "Does Pornography Consumption Affect Attitudes towards Sex Workers or Prostitution?” David Livert, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Psychology) served as her faculty mentor. Poster presented and given honorable mention in the Arts, Humanities, Business and Social and Behavioral Sciences category at the Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium at Penn State Lehigh Valley, April. 2016.

Yeniffer Arguello (’18, Biology) and Joanna Haddad (’18, Biology). “Denopamine's Actions on the Developing Vertebrate Four-Chambered Heart.” Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology) served as the faculty mentor. Poster presented and took first place in the STEM category at the Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium at Penn State Lehigh Valley, April 2016.

 

Yeniffer Arguello (’18, Biology) and Joanna Haddad (’18, Biology).  “Denopamine's Actions on the Developing Vertebrate Four-Chambered Heart.” Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Biology) served as the faculty mentor. Poster presented and took first place in the STEM category at the First Lehigh Valley Annual Cell and Molecular Biology Society Meeting, DeSales University, Center Valley, PA.

Amanda Geis (’18, Biology) and William Sampson (’17, Earth and Mineral Science). "The Effects of LED Lighting on the Growth of Chlorella vulgaris.” Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology) and Tai-Yin Huang, Ph.D., (Professor of Physics) served as the faculty mentors. Poster presented and honorable mention given in the STEM category at the Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium at Penn State Lehigh Valley, April 2016.

Amanda Geis (’18, Biology) and William Sampson (’17, Earth and Mineral Science). "The Effects of LED Lighting on the Growth of Chlorella vulgaris.” Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Biology) and Tai-Yin Huang, Ph.D., (Professor of Physics) served as the faculty mentors. Poster presented at the Undergraduate Research at the Capitol – Pennsylvania Event, Harrisburg, PA, April 2016.

Amanda Geis (’18, Biology) and William Sampson (’17, Earth and Mineral Science). "The Effects of LED Lighting on the Growth of Chlorella vulgaris.” Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Biology) and Tai-Yin Huang, Ph.D., (Professor of Physics) served as the faculty mentors. Poster presented at the Penn State University Undergraduate Research Exhibition, State College, PA, April 2016.

Tai-Yin Huang, Ph.D. (Professor of Physics), Andrew Lee (’18, Mechanical Engineering), Kevin Casey (’18, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering), and John Feher (‘18, Mechanical Engineering Technology). “A Concept Study of Designing an Eco-Smart Energy-Efficient House.” Poster presented at the Penn State Energy Days, Institutes of Energy and the Environment, Penn State University, University Park, May 2016. The main concept is focused on utilizing green energy to power energy efficient devices like LEDs and using LED lighting in many applications. Specifically, the current version of the eco-smart energy-efficient house uses electricity supplied from the roof-top solar panels to power LED lighting for illumination and for stimulating in-door plant growth.

Andrew Lee (’18, Mechanical Engineering), Kevin Casey (’18, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering), and Tai-Yin Huang, Ph.D. (Professor of Physics). “The Effect of LED Lighting of Different Wavelengths on Stages of Cilantro Growth.” Poster presented at the Advancing Technology for Business Growth 2016, Lehigh Emerging Technologies Network, Bethlehem, PA, May 2016.  Our investigation is to study how different wavelengths of LED lights affect cilantro plants at different stages of their life cycle.

Thesis:

Zahra Jaffer (‘16, Actuarial Science), "Will the PPACA Drug Provision cause Pharmaceutical Companies to Divest in Low-Return Therapies?”. Mark Gruskin, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Finance and Accounting) served as her thesis supervisor. Thesis approved by the Schreyer Honors College April 2016.

Undergraduate research accepted for publication:

Yeniffer Arguello (’18, Biology), whose papers titled "Induced Cell Culture Stress on A10 Cells Due to Changes in Media Conditions and Calcium Influx" appeared in the Journal of Introductory Biology Investigations, Special Penn State: Lehigh Valley Issue, 3(5), 1-7. Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology) served as her faculty adviser. The purpose of Arguello’s research was to observe and analyze the growth patterns of smooth muscle cells derived from the thoracic aorta of an embryonic rat, Rattus norvegicus (A10 cell line) as they relate to "phenotypic switching" seen during atherosclerosis.

Amanda Geis (’18, Biology) and William Sampson (’17,  Earth and Mineral Science), worked collaboratively on the paper, "The Effects of LED Lights on the Growth of Chlorella vulgarus," which was published in the Journal of Introductory Biology Investigations, Special Penn State: Lehigh Valley Issue, 3(5), 1-7. Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology) and Tai-Yin Huang, Ph.D., (Professor of Physics) served as the faculty advisers. Their study, on the cultivation of Chlorella vulgaris, observed the efficiency of using LED lights compared to traditional grow lights to add further insight into ways to optimize algal growth for biofuel production.

Lara Makhoul (’18, Biology) and Elizabeth Mills (‘18 Biology), worked collaboratively on the paper, "The Use of Red Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) at 660 nm to Cultivate Microalgae," which was published in the Journal of Introductory Biology Investigations, Special Penn State: Lehigh Valley Issue, 3(5), 1-7. Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Biology) and Tai-Yin Huang, Ph.D., (Professor of Physics) served as the faculty advisers. Makhoul and Mill’s experiment was conducted in order to investigate the potential of red LED lights to enhance the growth curve dynamics of microalgae.

Habib Yazgi (’18, Biology), Justin Cogan (post-grad, Biology)  and Saied Atashpanjeh (‘18, Biology), worked together on a paper titled, "The Effects of Bovine Serum on the Growth Dynamics of A10 Cells in Culture," which was published in the Journal of Introductory Biology Investigations, Special Penn State: Lehigh Valley Issue, 3(5), 1-7. Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology) served as the team’s faculty adviser. The purpose of this research was to study the growth curve dynamics of A10 cells (derived from the thoracic aorta of a BDIX embryonic rat, Rattus norvegicus) and the factors that affect their viability in cell culture.

Tyler Adams (’16, Biology), Rabia Anwar (’16, Biology), Michael Mfarej (’15, Biology) and Taylor Rundatz (‘15, Biology) worked collaboratively on a paper titled, "Nutritional Stress of Cultured Vero Cells Causes Altered Growth and Morphology as Seen in Neoplastic Transformation," which was published in the American Journal of Undergraduate Research, 12(3): 63-76. Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology) served as the team’s faculty adviser. Their results confirmed that nutritionally stressed and over-crowded cultures of mammalian Vero cells (a form of epithelial cells derived from the African green monkey kidney) result in cells that change morphologically, detach from the substrate, and exhibit spheroid-shaped clusters of cells. Moreover, sub-culturing these detached cells demonstrated that the results were permanent, meaning that the new growth patterns and clustering persisted, i.e., aberrant growth.

Samantha Gonzalez (‘16, Biology) and Fatima Afzal (‘16, Biology) worked together on a paper titled, "Direct and Indirect Effects of Pseudoephedrine on the Intrinsic Conduction System of the Embryonic Chicken Heart," which was published in the American Journal of Undergraduate Research, 12 (3): 53-62. Jacqueline McLaughlin, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology) served as their faculty adviser. Their research utilized the chick embryonic heart as a model system to examine the chronotropic effects and mechanisms of Psedoephedrine on the developing vertebrate heart. Research suggests that this drug has both direct and indirect effects, and induces dangerous heart arrhythmias such as atrial flutter, in high doses.

  • Amanda Geis algal growth for biofuel production

    Biology major Amanda Geis observes the efficiency of using LED lights compared to traditional grow lights to add further insight into ways to optimize algal growth for biofuel production.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated May 03, 2016