Seniors Dankert, Goddard, and Morgan to present research project findings

Release Date: 4/30/2012

Three Ozarks seniors will present the findings of their research in two sessions scheduled for the first week of May.

On Tuesday, May 1, Andrea Dankert and Sabrina Goddard will present their paper entitled Effects of Glucose and Starch on the Synthesis of the Neurotransmitter Acetylcholine in Cognitive Functions such as Communication.

Research suggests that glucose can function as a substrate for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which has been associated with increased cognitive functions such as memory and learning. Dankert and Goddard's study, funded through the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium, examined how test subjects performed on a simple card game at three specific time intervals after they were given either glucose tablets or a starchy food. A control group, who were given nothing to eat, was also tested. Dankert and Goddard hypothesized that the amount of acetylcholine synthesized would increase when the glucose levels in the body increased, and therefore test subjects who were given pure glucose would perform best within 15 minutes, while those who consumed the starch would perform best after a longer time period. Dankert and Goddard also tested to see if the consumption of glucose or starch had any impact on the subjects' performance of non-memory cognitive tasks, such as communication.

Dankert and Goddard previously presented their research findings at the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium conference on April 20. Their study was conducted in cooperation with faculty advisors Dr. Heather McFarland, assistant professor of communication, and Dr. Brian McFarland, associate professor of chemistry.

Dankert, a Marketing and Strategic Communication major from Broken Arrow, Okla., and Goddard, a Biology major from Stroud Okla. will both graduate in May. Their presentation on Tuesday will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in room 127 of the Smith-Broyles Science Center.

On Thursday, May 3, senior Paul Morgan, a chemistry and composite science major from Belize, will present the results of his biophysics research Mutations Induced by Gamma Radiation on the Wild Type Drosophila melanogaster.

During his study, Morgan subjected three generations of fruit flies to a total dose of 5.85 mGy of gamma radiation from a Cobalt-60 source. He then compared the absorption of radiation in the larval, pupal, and adult tissues, finding that the wing imaginal disc cells are the most radiosensitive.

Morgan presented his research previously at the 96th annual meeting of the Arkansas Academy of Science, where he received third place in the undergraduate category. His paper, co-authored with Dr. Bill Doria, associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Salomón Itzá, associate professor of physics, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science. Morgan's presentation will begin at 4 p.m. in room 129 of the Smith-Broyles Science Center.

Both presentations are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Science and Mathematics division at 479-979-1361.