Colloquium: Biology research

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April 9 @ 11:30 am - 12:20 pm


Dining Hall

Two Houghton College student research groups will share about their ongoing projects.

Title 1: “Road Salt Pollution of Local Lakes” by Brady Bowen, Tyler Cline, Olivia Donato, Nathan Helmuth,
Natalie Kyvik, Katriona Stoetzer, and Philip Tyrrell (directed by Dr. James Wolfe)

Abstract 1: Road salt (NaCl and CaCl), used to reduce the need for plowing, is increasingly seen as a potential pollutant of freshwater ecosystems of New York.  In this study, we hypothesized that water samples taken from local lakes in close proximity to roads with wintertime road salt application would have higher levels of chloride. Moss Lake and Spring Lake showed the lowest levels of chloride as measured by EPA method 110 using a Seal AQ2 multichannel analyzer, Amity Lake had moderate levels, and Cuba Lake and Rushford Lake had the highest levels.  Star Lake in the Adirondacks with its perimeter road system had its highest chloride concentrations at depth, a feature also noted by other investigators in 2018 for Mirror Lake (bordering the hamlet of Lake Placid).  Monitoring of roadside collection stations in Caneadea and Belfast showed chloride concentrations correlated with intensity of roadside salting.   Study is continuing to determine heavy metal concentrations (measured by atomic absorptions spectrophotometry) found in sediments of Cuba and Rushford lakes.   The data collected for both chloride and heavy metals can be valuable in assessing the water quality of local water resources and management of them.

Title 2: “Assessing the effects of variation in electrical stimulatory modality
on wound healing in smooth muscle” by Caitlyn Cybart, Hannah Cybart, Shaphan Hestick, Caroline Smith, Nathan Turrell (directed by Dr. Ransom Poythress)

Abstract 2: In an effort to maximize the therapeutic potential of electrical stimulation (ES) on wounded smooth muscle tissue, students expanded on previous work by examining several variables that might contribute to would recover efficacy. We explored the effectiveness of ES on recovery by performing scratch wound healing assays in rat aortic smooth muscle cell culture. Students will share the challenges and successes of research in this exciting field.


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