SMCC students present research at science symposiums

Eight SMCC students and alumni recently presented the findings of their scientific research at two prestigious science institutions in Maine.

Six students presented posters of their research projects online duMarine Protozoan Perkinsus Marinusring an Aug. 5 symposium at MDI Biological Laboratory, located in Bar Harbor. The students conducted their research while working in paid fellowships this summer at research labs at Bates College, Bowdoin College, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, the University of New England and the University of Southern Maine.

A current student and a 2021 SMCC graduate presented the findings of their research at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay on July 29. They conducted independent research with guidance from scientist mentors while spending 10 weeks as paid interns through Bigelow’s REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program.

“It’s wonderful that our students have the opportunity to work in paid positions at top-notch labs conducting independent scientific research,” said Elizabeth Ehrenfeld, a biotechnology professor who oversees science fellowships and internships for SMCC students. “It’s invaluable for students to learn how to present their research and to meet and work with professional scientists at other institutions.”

The students who presented their research at MDI Biological Laboratory were:

  • Isak Almeida Silva, who worked at UNE and studied the genetic control of the development of pain sensation in the rat brain.
  • KJ Gormley, who worked at Bates and studied how the development of temperature regulation in rats is affected growing up in an environment with low oxygen levels.
  • Aisha Hill, who worked at Bowdoin and studied the genetic control of eye development in fruit flies.
  • Erin McCue, who worked at Bowdoin and studied how rat behavior is affected by early life anxiety.
  • Jakob O’Neal, who worked at Saint Joseph’s and monitored the invasive European green crab.
  • And Nicole Savoy, who worked at USM and studied methods to synthesize trehalose sugar analogues to potentially inhibit mycobacterial growth.

Those at Bigelow Laboratory were:

  • Maria Orellana Rosales, whose research involved using a marine parasite to close the spike gene from SARVS-CoV-2.
  • Asher Platts, who researched how marine microorganism populations are affected by environmental challenges.

In addition, Marine Science student Brian Determan had a paid fellowship at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland this summer, studying the effects of elevated nitrogen levels on blue mussels in Casco Bay.