Student Research Projects Earn National Recognition

COLUMBUS, Ga.- A trio of biology-student senior research projects at Columbus State University has earned national recognition.

The Beta Beta Beta National Honor Society has awarded 2006-07 Tri Beta Undergraduate Research Scholarships to Amanda Bergren, Contessa Bowman and Lauren Eklund. The total marks a new high for CSU in a single year.

All three students are from Columbus and are among just 68 students nationally and 15 of their peers in nine different chapters throughout the Southeast who were selected for the awards by Tri Beta officers and affiliated research professors nationwide. It is a real honor that, of those 15 students, three are from CSUs Mu Omicron chapter of Beta Beta Beta, said Julie Ballenger, professor of biology and assistant director of CSUs Center for International Education.

The awards, ranging from $150 to $450, will supplement studies related to yeast-cell development by Bergren, an alternative cataract treatment by Bowman and the label accuracy of a non-regulated herbal supplement by Eklund.

Supervised by Ballenger, Eklunds study, HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) Analysis of Flavonoligans from Milk Thistle, will analyze over-the-counter brands of milk thistle, an herbal treatment for liver dysfunction, to determine the accuracy of nutrient-content claims on each label. Milk thistle is part of a nutritional supplement industry not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Separately, the amino acid compound carnosine in eye drop form is the subject of Bowmens study, Effects of Carnosine on UV-Induced Cataracts. Professor Glenn Stokes, acting dean of the College of Science, is her adviser.

Meanwhile, Associate Professor Brian Schwartz is advising Bergren on her study, Suppressor Screen to Identify Downstream Effectors of PKA and RAM Signals in Yeast.

The CSU researchers will report their findings at Tri Betas regional conference April 18-21 at the University of South Carolina.