STARS students receive research awards

Rachel Maxwell, a student at Lindbergh High School in Sappington, Mo., works this summer in the lab of James Chickos, professor of chemistry at UMSL, as part of the STARS program. She was among a handful of students to receive an LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies Award for Excellence in Research.

A summer of hard work has paid off for 28 aspiring scientists who spent six weeks conducting intensive research with St. Louis-area professionals and professors. The students have been named winners of the LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies Award for Excellence in Research. The award is presented to students who distinguished themselves during the 2011 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. This year more than 70 high school students participated in the program.

“The students in the STARS program are getting a big head start,” said James Carrington, president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. “For many of the participants, this experience will be the most important event in their decision to pursue a career in science.”

STARS introduces high school rising juniors and seniors to the various aspects of the scientific enterprise as practiced by scientists in academic, private or corporate research institutions. UMSL partners with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur, Mo., Saint Louis University, Solae and Washington University in St. Louis to provide research opportunities for the participants. The students researched everything from neural circuits in the brain to the effects of early life stress on learning to improving satellite efficiency. Besides conducting research students took part in career work-shops, attended lectures by leading greater St. Louis scientists and enjoyed social activities such as bowling, a movie, an ice cream social, the St. Louis Symphony and a Cardinal game.

Ron Saks, President and CEO, LMI Aerospace Inc. said “the education the students receive while participating in STARS is so valuable to young people yearning for a memorable experience they can take with them for the rest of their lives. Many of us remember the teachers from a young age who provided that special spark at a time when we most needed it. Our hope is that the teachers and students at STARS received that gift this summer.”

Fifty-three faculty members from the participating academic institutions, three scientist from Solae and five scientists from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center volunteered as mentors for STARS. Following six weeks of research, the participants presented their research papers to their peers, parents, and research mentors.

Senior scientists at Monsanto, Solae, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies reviewed the papers. Winning papers best exemplified the following qualities: difficulty and complexity of research; appropriateness of the research methodology; findings; quality of writing; and overall quality of the research process.

Below is a complete listing of winners and their projects from the 2011 STARS program. Also listed are the winner’s school, the student’s mentor and the mentor’s university:

Raveena Boodram, Parkway West, “Staining Amyloid Beta (Aβ) Plaques Central to the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease”, Dr. Vijay Sharma, Dept. of Radiology, Washington University

Adela Čajić, Affton, “Hypophosphatemic Rickets Mutation on Exon 22 in Phex”,

Dr. Steven Mumm/Dr. Michael Whyte, Dept. of Internal Medicine, Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases, Washington University

Alana Chavaux, Wentzville Holt, “The Effect of 6-Hydroxydopamine Lesions of the Substantia Nigra on Rat Sleep”, Dr. Michael Anch, Saint Louis University

Christopher Joshua Takashi Ema, Lutheran South, “Uses of P-toluenesulfonates in Compound Formation for Inorganic Synthesis”, Dr. Steven Holmes, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Michael P. Flom, Christian Brothers College, “The Effects of Sodium Hypochlorite on the Production of Glutathione in Streptococcus agalactiae”, Dr. Blythe Janowiak, Dept. of Biology, Saint Louis University

Jonathan Galka, North Broward Prep., “Differences in the Primary Songs of Blue-Gray (Traupis episcopus and Palm Traupis palmarum): Consequences for Hybridization”, Dr. Godfrey Bourne, Dept. of Biology, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Alexander P. Ganninger, Chaminade, “The Effect of Ferritin Protein on the Expression of Hepatic BMP6”, Dr. Robert Fleming, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Saint Louis University

Manali Gokhale, Parkway North, “Verticle Nanowires as 3-D Substrates for Biosensing” Dr. Srikanth Singamaneni, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, Washington University

Christopher Huetsch, Mascoutah, “Torsion Tests for Substrates to Promote Neuronal Adhesion for Mitochondrial Detection”, Dr. Amy Harkins, Dept. of Pharmacological and Physiological Science, Saint Louis University

Gowri Kalugotla, MICDS, “Molecular Cloning and Characterization of EC_Contig5475, Potential Methyltransferase in Eschscholzia californica”, Dr. Toni Kutchan, Member and Oliver M. Langenberg Dustinguished Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Neel Kothari, Francis Howell Central, “Development of Pdots for Near Infrared Molecular Imaging and Treatment of Tumors”, Dr. Samuel Achilefu, Dept. of Radiology, Washington University

Hayley Landman, MICDS, “Invasive Forest Species in Tropical Rainforest Detected by Space-borne Satellite Remote Sensing”, Dr. Abuduwasiti Wulamu, Saint Louis University

Victoria Liu, John Burroughs, “The Effect of Multiple Episodic Primes on Older and Younger Adults”, Dr. David Balota, Dept. of Psychology, Washington University

Rachel Maxwell, Lindbergh, “Vaporization Enthalpies of Ibuprofen and Naproxen by Correlation-gas Chromatography”, Dr. Jim Chickos, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Danny Nightingale, John Burroughs, “The Effectiveness of Double Peroxidase DNA as a Catalyst for Biofuel Cells”, Dr. Dana Baum, Dept. of Chemistry, Saint Louis University

Meghana Pagadala, Rivermont Collegiate, “The Mechanism by Which CD8+ FoxP3+ T Cells Regulate Osteoclast Activity”, Dr. Rajeev Aurora, Dept. of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Saint Louis University

Tally Portnoi, MICDS, “Nonlinear Dynamics of Ethanol Biofuel Cells” Dr. Istvan Kiss, Dept. of Chemistry, Saint Louis University

Jasmine Leah Raskas, Clayton, “Analysis of Gas Phase Diatomic Molecules by Intracavity Laser Spectroscopy”, Dr. Jim O’Brien/Dr. Leah O’Brien/Dept. of Chemistry, University of Missouri-St. Louis/Dept. of Chemistry/SIUE

Dylan Schultz, Clayton, “Analysis of Diatomic Gas Phase Molecules Using Intracavity Laser Spectroscopy” Dr. Jim O’Brien/Dr. Leah O’Brien, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Missouri-St. Louis/Dept. of Chemistry, SIUE

Fatima Sharif, Marquette, “Relationship Between Heart Rate Change and Outcome of Apnea Sufferers”, Dr. Phyllis Stein, Dept. of Cardiology, Washington University

Connie Shen, Parkway South, “The Effect of KP6 on Ion Channels in Ustilago maydis”

Dr. Tom Smith, Member and Joseph Varner Distinguished Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Elizabeth Soffer, John Burroughs, “Examining Cortical Folding in Prematurely Born In-utero Growth Restricted Infants”, Dr. Amit Mathur/Dr. Terrie Inder, Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Washington University

Shalini Subbarao, Parkway West, “Electrocatalysis of Ascorbic Acid on Self-assembled Monolayers Assembled on Nanoporous Gold”, Dr. Keith Stine, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Sarah Tait, Clayton, “Transport of Rhodopsin Rd1 from the Retinula to the Rhabdomere in Drosophila”, Dr. Joel Eissenberg, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Saint Louis University

Connor Tinen, Eureka, “Deployable Panels for the Increase of Drag and Power Production on the Angus Cubesats”, Dr. Michael Swartwout, Dept. of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Saint Louis University

Christine Wang, Ladue Horton Watkins, “Assessing Vaccine Compliance Among Non-Hospital Workers”, Dr. Terri Rebmann, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University

Christopher Wang, Parkway Central, “Designing a Stereo-lithography Tool for Cell Sorting Applications”, Dr. Joshua Maurer, Dept, of Chemistry, Washington University

Bethany Zhang, Marquette, “Dependence of RecO on ssDNA Annealing”

Dr. Sergey Korolev, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Saint Louis University

Call Kenneth R. Mares at 314-516-6155 for more information about the STARS program.

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