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Biology Students and Faculty Present Research at Joint ASB and Tri-Beta Conference

Students and faculty pose during their recent trip to present science research at a national conference.

Three Belmont biology faculty and eight students in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, neuroscience and environmental science recently attended the joint meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB) and Beta Beta Beta in Montgomery, Alabama. The Belmont faculty attending were Drs. Darlene Panvini, Chris Barton and Matt Heard and students attending were Brian Song, Anna Margaret McDonnell, Gary Noel, Diana Neculcea, Stacey Crockett, Kody Muhic, Krystin Estes and Sandra Bojic.

Three students received awards in the Beta Beta Beta Division II oral presentations including Anna Margaret McDonnell (1st place), Brian Song (3rd place) and Gary Noel (Honorable Mention). Research presentations covered a range of biology and teaching topics.

  • Heard presented “Invasive Species Alter Parasite Communities in the Southeastern US.”
  • Barton presented “Metacognition in college students: what is it and why should faculty care about it?”
  • Song, who worked with Dr. Robert Grammer, presented “Expansion on the Nematode Scent Detection Test: Evaluating elegans Attraction to Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.”
  • McDonnell, who worked with Barton, presented “Anti-proliferative effects of epigallocatechin-gallate and enoxacin on cervical cancer-derived cells in culture.”
  • Noel, who worked with Panvini, presented “The Effects of Fertilizer on Decomposition of Native and Invasive Exotic Plant Species in a Temperate Deciduous Forest.”
  • Neculcea, who worked with Barton, presented “Investigating the anti-proliferative effects of the sesquiterpene Beta-Caryophyllene on HCT116 cells.”
  • Crockett, who worked with Grammer, presented “Insight Into the Chemotaxis of Caenorhabditis elegans Toward Pathogenic Bacillus Thuringiensis Strain 4A4 Using Chemosensory Deficient Nematodes.”
  • Muhic, who worked with Dr. John Niedzwiecki, presented “Examining Behavior Syndromes in Orconectes durelli Crayfish.”
  • Estes, who worked with Drs. Chet Rakocinski and Niedzwiecki, presented “The effects of a trophic cascade and trait-mediated interactions have on the survival rate of the Southern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)”
  • Bojic, who worked with Niedzwiecki, presented “The impact of a reduced tree canopy cover on the composition of stream macroinvertebrate communities.”

Heard is co-mentoring Jordan Lewis, a student from Winthrop University, who presented at the ASB meeting and won the first place Microbiology award for students. Heard was also a co-author for his talk along with Dr. Victoria Frost from Winthrop.

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