Northern Michigan University held its annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, during which students present their research in a compressed format using a single slide and layperson-friendly language. Nathan Joyal, an integrated biology major, finished first in the graduate student category for summarizing his research on the relative commercial viability of growing cannabis in “organic super soil” compared with soil treated with salt-based commercial fertilizer. Adan Mulvaney, a communications major, took top honors among McNair Scholars for her research on female-identifying youth in scouting.
Joyal said the super soil is made out of a base potting soil mix, as well as elements found in nature and beneficial strains of bacteria and fungus. After that, only water is added. He is trying to determine if this environmentally friendly option performs as well as soil that has had fertilizer applied to it.
Mulvaney is an Eagle Scout and was searching for research that would provide some context for her experience. She couldn't find any, so she interviewed eight girls ages 11-17 who are involved in the Boy Scouts, focusing on identity, dignity and gender.
Second place in the graduate category went to biology major Kristian Choate for “Lighting the Way to a Longer Life for Brain Cancer Patients with LAMP.” LAMP stands for loop-mediated isothermal amplification, a DNA amplification technique. Choate said using LAMP can quickly identify the presence of the biomarker isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 in a half hour, prompting a different surgical approach to the cancer that can increase a patient's lifespan by three to four years.
The People's Choice Award went to Megan Wells, a psychology graduate student, for “Efficacy in Ketamine in Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” She is conducting trials with mice to determine whether ketamine is a safer and more effective option than the SSRI or SNRI medications that are commonly prescribed for the condition.
Other graduate students who participated, along with their topics, were: Kenzie Grover, biology, “The Mongolian Remodeling and the structure of host-parasite diversity across Central Asia”; Collin Smith, biology, “Characterizing Cancer: How We ID IDH1”; and Katelyn DeWitt, biology, “Pollination dispersal patterns and population trends of ram's head lady's slipper (an orchid that grows from Quebec to Wisconsin) in Grand Sable Dunes.”
Remaining McNair Scholar presenters were: Dominick Dotson, medicinal plant chemistry, “The Effects of Datura metel on Honeybees”; and Colton Gschwandtner, medicinal plant chemistry student, “The interrogation of CB1 and CB2 receptor signaling in living mammalian cells.”