Student Research Fellowship Projects Offer Development, Learning Opportunities

Ferris State UniversityFifteen Ferris State University students are spending the summer on campus in collaborative research with faculty members through with the support of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Paul Blake and the deans of the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Kristi Haik; Engineering Technology, Larry Schult; Health Professions, Matthew Adeyanju; and Pharmacy, Stephen Durst.

Thomas Dowling, director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, said these projects address various scientific, technological and mathematic considerations, which helps to enrich the educational experience of the student along with the professional development of their faculty mentor.

“With the generous support from Provost Blake’s office, we were able to fund a record-high 15 proposals for the SRF program this year,” Dowling said. “These fellowships provide a great experience for students, as they work one on one with a faculty member. This is important for the university as it provides opportunity, promotes excellence and collaboration, and helps grow our STEM-based initiatives. President David Eisler and the provost’s office very much want to maintain a vibrant intellectual community that further supports the teacher-scholar model.”

Four faculty members are overseeing two SRF projects this summer, including: Organic Chemistry Professor Daniel Adsmond, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Felix Amissah, Associate Professor of Biology Anne Spain and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Anil Venkatesh. Adsmond said the grants received this year allow him to continue ongoing solid-state organic chemistry research.

“Both projects involve co-crystallization which combines two different kinds of chemical compounds in the same crystal,” Adsmond said. “This work is exciting because if a drug can be combined with a different chemical compound, to form a drug co-crystal, then critical properties of the drug, such as its shelf life and its solubility in the blood stream, can be changed.”

Adsmond said Ian Steinke, of Alpena, is exploring the exact way that sulfa drugs bind to other compounds in co-crystals while Brandon Mihelich, of Laurium, is exploring ways to bring three different molecules together into the same crystal forming what is known as a ternary co-crystal.

“Carrying out 10 weeks of full-time research is not only an excellent educational experience for a student, but it also makes them much more competitive on the job market,” Adsmond said. “In the past, these fellowships have allowed students in my lab to carry out enough research in a summer to be able to present results at an American Chemical Society National Meeting. I expect this will also be the case for Ian and Brandon.”

Here are the other SRF projects underway this summer:

Student Research Fellow: Kylee Jones, of Big Rapids, a Biotechnology student:

  • Faculty mentor: Felix Amissah, College of Pharmacy
  • Project: Effect of cyclooxygenase inhibition on the polyunsaturated fatty acid induced apoptosis in lung cancer cells

Student Research Fellow: Abbey Magolan, of Lapeer, a Pharmacy student:

  • Faculty mentor:  Felix Amissah, College of Pharmacy
  • Project: Effect of cyclooxygenase inhibition on the polyunsaturated fatty acid medicated regression of lung cancer cell migration and invasion

Student Research Fellow: Joseph Kohane, of Grand Rapids, a Pharmacy student:

  • Faculty mentor: Tracey Boncher, College of Pharmacy
  • Project: The up-scale Synthesis of Novel PPAR gamma/delta Analogs for Alzheimer's Disease

Student Research Fellow: Anthony Picard, of Muskegon, a Public Health student:

  • Faculty mentor: Emmanuel Jadhav, College of Health Professions
  • Public Health Project: Leading from the front: Variation between rural and urban accredited agencies

Student Research Fellow: Anzhane’ Lance, of Detroit, an Actuarial Science student:

  • Faculty mentor: David M. McClendon, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Project: Complex dynamics of a family of quadratic rational maps

Student Research Fellow: Danielle Rustem, of Mason, a Pharmacy student:

  • Faculty mentor: Claire Saadeh, College of Pharmacy
  • Project: medical marijuana use in a community cancer center

Student Research Fellow: Catherine Mirto, of Cadillac, a Biotechnology student:

  • Faculty mentor: Anne Spain, College of Arts and Sciences,
  • Project: Prevalence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria from perfluorinated-contaminated vs uncontaminated environments

Student Research Fellow: Austin Vanwyk, of Dorr, a Biology/Pre-Medicine student:

  • Faculty mentor: Anne Spain, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Project: Chlorhexidine selecting for multidrug resistant bacteria

Student Research Fellow: Jordan Lee, of DeWitt, a Biotechnology student:

  • Faculty mentor: Mark Thomson, College of Arts and Sciences,
  • Project: Geometry optimization and energy calculations for hydrogen-bonded 1:1 co-crystals of carboxylic acids with sulfisomidine and sulfamethazine

Student Research Fellow: Benjamin Doyle, of Freeland, an Applied Mathematics student

  • Faculty mentor: Anil Venkatesh, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Project: The Luckiest Abelian Group: Investigating the error term of Cohen-Lenstra Heuristics

Student Research Fellow: Alex Eastwood, of Grand Rapids, an Applied Mathematics and Computer Science student:

  • Faculty mentor: Anil Venkatesh, College of Arts and Sciences,
  • Project: The Luckiest Abelian Group: Investigating the Error Term of Cohen-Lenstra Heuristics

Student Research Fellow: Jeffery Dickerson, of Reed City, a Plastics and Polymer Engineering Technology and Rubber Engineering Technology student:

  • Faculty mentor: Matthew Yang, College of Engineering Technology
  • Project: Impregnating textiles with shear thickening fluids

Student Research Fellow: Hunter Pope, of Lapeer, a Biology/Pre-Medicine student:

  • Faculty mentor: M. Beth Zimmer, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Project: Effect of upper cervical spinal cord injury on the hippocampus: structure and function

Dowling said the study results will be shared with the university community at a symposium on Wednesday, Aug. 23, which will be held in Room 126 of the Science Building, beginning at 2 p.m.

“These projects are asking important questions, providing our students and faculty a most worthwhile exercise in deeper learning and inquiry, while following the scientific method,” Dowling said. “We expect that their research will offer answers of great quality, and contribute to advances in their respective disciplines.”


PHOTO CAPTION: Ferris State University Associate Professor of Biology Changqi Zhu, from the College of Arts and Sciences, is shown here in this image. Zhu has been a part of past student research fellowship efforts.