HPU Students and Professors Conduct Exciting Summer Research | High Point University

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Research topics range from whether a person with COVID-19 might be affected by exercise in hot climates to a grant funded by NASA.


HIGH POINT, North Carolina, July 15, 2021 – The High Point University campus is bustling with creativity this summer as faculty and students collaborate in three unique summer research programs.

Students from all university schools participate in three programs that students applied to during the spring semester. The programs are SuRPS (Summer Research Programs in the Sciences), SuRI (Summer Research Institute) and SuRF (Summer Research Fellowship).

“There are tons of opportunities to do research at High Point University,” says Maggie Mauer, a biology major from Rome, Georgia. “It helped me build relationships and gain research experience. The skills I learned here in the lab will be carried through to college and beyond.

“Doing college research at HPU influences what I would like to do in the future,” says Andrew Lawrence, a junior specializing in chemistry. “Being in research has definitely opened my eyes to the field of research and what kind of chemistry I would like to be in after graduation.

Summer Science Research Programs (SuRPS)

This is the first year that the summer research has taken place inside the Wanek School of Natural Sciences, which opened in the fall of 2019. The research program was halted in the summer of 2020 due to the pandemic. Dr. Brian Augustine, chair of the chemistry department and director of SuRPS, says faculty and students are thrilled to use the impressive equipment, lab space and state-of-the-art classrooms.

Their projects include studying star systems in a NASA-funded project, to test different combinations of drugs on the growth of bacteria and to replicate different tiny films of certain polymers.

“Films have potential applications in technologies that require large area materials, such as battery technology, catalytic materials, and surfaces designed for cell growth,” says Augustine. “One of my students models materials at the nanoscale. It helps me understand some cutting edge projects that we will be using in our nanoscience class lab, such as the controlled structuring of nanoscale structures.

Summer research grant (SuRF)

Dr Matthew Kuennen, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, works with two SuRF students in the Human Biomechanics and Physiology Laboratory at the Congdon School of Health Sciences. Rachael Badaeu, a junior, and Rachel Kowis, a senior, use a specially designed environmental chamber to determine whether people with COVID-19 respond differently to prolonged work or exercise in hot weather. There has also been discussion about whether people with certain viral infections are at greater risk for exercise heat stroke. The blood markers and cardiovascular data that are examined in this study could answer this question.

“Focusing on a research project at HPU in the summer is a really interesting experience because it’s not like our normal lab work with classes where we do something new every week”, explains Rachel Kowis, specialist in neuroscience. and psychology. “We are able to pursue a specific project over a long period of time, and it’s exciting to see that all come together. “

Summer Research Institute (SuRI)

Students from different scientific and non-scientific fields are participating in SuRI this summer. Research in this program includes specialization topics in biology, psychology, exercise science, history, games, education, and communication. Dr. Joanne Altman, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Work at HPU, leads the program to collaborate with students and faculty from a variety of specialties.

Dr Aurijit Sarkar, assistant professor of basic pharmaceutical sciences, is working with three students at the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy this summer to find ways to target bacterial pathogens to fight drug-resistant superbugs.

“I learned a lot of amazing lab techniques and expanded my knowledge through this research,” says Neuroscience student Allison Tucker. “It’s wonderful to be invested in a lab like this because it’s also a university level lab and you run your own experiments and interpret your own data with guidance.


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