Press Release

Science Symposium

October 9, 2018 – by Cole Hatcher

Landry Cowles ’20 (center) discusses her research as President Rock Jones and others listen during the recent Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Ohio Wesleyan Students Present Research Findings

Ohio Wesleyan University students shared the results of their summer science research projects Sept. 24 at the university’s 26th annual Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium.

The students presented information and answered questions about their work, which was documented in posters outlining each project. This year’s presenters included:

  • Callie Angelo of Monaca, Pennsylvania, presented “Immune Function and Acute Stress Response during Simulated Predator Presentations in Troglodytes aedon.” Angelo was mentored by Elizabeth Schultz and Dustin Reichard of the OWU Department of Zoology.
  • Eva Blockstein of Takoma Park, Maryland, presented “Studying Conservation in Endangered Panamanian Frogs.” Blockstein was mentored by Brian Gratwicke of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Roberto Ibañez of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center.
  • Joe Brush of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, presented “Social Modulation of Testosterone and Corticosterone in Two Species of North American Wren.” Brush was mentored by Schultz and Reichard of the OWU Department of Zoology.
  • Landry Cowles of Louisville, Ohio; Jin Jun of Bucheon-Si, South Korea; and Maddie Meyer of West Bloomfield, Michigan, presented “Optimization of Differentiation of SH-SY5Y Cells as a Model System for Neurons.” They were mentored by Suren Ambegaokar, OWU assistant professor of botany and microbiology.
  • Kyle Davis of Sunbury, Ohio, presented “Feather-Degrading Bacteria in a Tropical Environment.” Davis was mentored by Laura Tuhela-Reuning, OWU professor of botany and microbiology, and Dustin Reichard, OWU assistant professor of zoology.
  • Jackson Druckenbroad of Powell, Ohio; Nolan Norman of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Ramsha Shah of Karachi, Pakistan, presented “Redox Active Ligand Scaffold for the Activation of Oxygen.” They were mentored by Allen Pistner, OWU assistant professor of chemistry.
  • Joe Emerson of Shelby, Ohio, presented “Performance Analysis of a Gene Family Classification Method for Plant Kinome Identification.” Emerson was mentored by George Popescu of Mississippi State University’s Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing, and Biotechnology.
  • Lucas Farmer of Warrenton, Virginia, presented “Drone Mapping and Spatial Storytelling.” Farmer was mentored by Timothy Hawthorne of the University of Central Florida Department of Sociology.
  • Serena George of Palos Park, Illinois, presented “Tick Ectoparasites on Roadkill Vertebrates in Northern Tanzania.” George was mentored by John Kioko of the Center for Wildlife Management Studies School for Field Studies.
  • Colin Hawes of Delaware, Ohio; Becca Porter of Washington Grove, Maryland; and Katie Vonderembse of Toledo, Ohio, presented “The Global Salt Experiment.” They were mentored by Amy Downing, OWU professor of zoology.
  • Michael Heeschen of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, presented “Level Scheme and Spin Assignments in 70Ga.” Heeschen was mentored by Robert Haring-Kaye, OWU professor of physics and astronomy.
  • Jack Hibbard of Valparaiso, Indiana, presented “Predicative Value of Fecal Indole and Calprotectin in Successful Outcome in Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) for Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI).” Hibbard was mentored by OWU alumnus Herbert DuPont of McGovern Medical School’s Department of Internal Medicine at The University of Texas.
  • Amanda Jewell of Raleigh, North Carolina, presented “Starspots on Lo Pegasi.” Jewell was mentored by Robert Harmon, OWU professor of physics and astronomy.
  • Eugene Kramskoi of Lewis Center, Ohio, presented “Artificial Intelligence for the Board Game Pandemic.” Kramskoi is mentored by Sean McCulloch, OWU professor of mathematics and computer science.
  • Lexi Lease of Toledo, Ohio; Mickey Rice of Louisville, Kentucky; and MaLia Walker of Inglewood, California, presented “The Effects of Video Game Exposure on Cognitive Control.” They were mentored by Kira Bailey, OWU assistant professor of psychology.
  • Jack Mauter of Westerville, Ohio, presented “House Dust Mite Effect on Viral Replication in Human Airway Epithelial Cells.” Mauter was mentored by Mitchell Grayson of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Department of Allergy and Immunology.
  • Ashley McCracken of Chloe, West Virginia, presented “Shrinkage of Tropical Glaciers in Perú.” McCracken was mentored by Nathan Amador Rowley, OWU assistant professor of geology and geography.
  • Margaret Michicich of Racine, Wisconsin, presented “Investigation of MBD3 Function in Spermatogenesis.” Michicich was mentored by Satoshi Namekawa of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Reproductive Services.
  • Aidan Shumaker of Loveland, Ohio, presented “Effects of Amur Honeysuckle on Soil CO2 Emissions.” Shumaker was mentored by Laurel Anderson, OWU professor of botany and microbiology.
  • Madeleine Sorrick of Hiram, Ohio, presented “Yeast Display of Cysteine Free 3E8 Antibodies.” Sorrick was mentored by Nicholas Long and Thomas Magliery of the chemistry and biochemistry department at The Ohio State University.
  • Diego Venegas Vargas of Fairborn, Ohio, presented “Neutrino Physics with Prospect Background Characterization at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR).” Venegas Vargas was mentored by Alfredo Galindo-Urribari of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Physics Division.

Laura Tuhela-Reuning, Ph.D., assistant director of OWU’s Summer Science Research Program, said the 10-week program helps to create the next generation of scientists.

“[S]tudents learn quickly that authentic research is quite different from classroom labs – more challenging, more creative, more frustrating, and, ultimately, more rewarding,” Tuhela-Reuning said.

Read the full research abstracts prepared by Ohio Wesleyan’s 2018 Summer Science Research Program participants and learn more about the program at

For more information about majoring in the sciences at Ohio Wesleyan, visit

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at