WACO – Students from Wayland Baptist University joined hundreds of their peers March 1-3 for the 110th Annual Meeting of the Texas Academy of Science held at Baylor University. Presentations for the three-day event covered an array of science fields, including botany, molecular biology, chemistry and environmental science.

              Junior Lori Pretzer of Glendale, Ariz., and senior Phillip Carlson of Sublette, Kan. presented their research on using titanium dioxide to remove other substances from water, using a procedure that deposits the substances onto acrylic materials. Both chemistry majors, the pair completed the majority of their research in the summer of 2006 under the direction of Dr. Joel Boyd, assistant professor of chemistry.

              Pretzer and Carlson presented twice on their research, once specifically on converting nitrates to ammonia and once on converting ammonia to nitrogen gas using the titanium dioxide method. Pretzer won a $100 travel grant based on her essay and abstract.

              Senior Marcia Peck of Westminster, Colo. presented summer research on the use of medicinal plants to kill tumor cells, completed under the direction of Dr. Adam Reinhart, associate professor of biological and physical sciences. Their two back-to-back sessions dealt with the effect of blood root extract on Leydig tumor cells and the effects of other plant extracts on adrenal cortical tumor cell lines. Post-graduate student Vanessa Carey of Hobbs, N.M., was scheduled to attend and present as she shared in the research but was ill and unable to travel. Reinhart presented in her place.

              Both groups are continuing their research during the school year, and professors say the presentations are helpful for their education experience.

              “This gave our students a chance to attend an interdisciplinary science conference and give an oral presentation in a professional environment where there were undergraduates, graduate students and PhDs presenting,” Boyd said. “They got a chance to share and to field questions from people interested in their research.”

              The four student scientists have been busy this year with their research both in the lab and outside the campus. All four also presented on their work to the general Wayland family and in poster presentations at the Southwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Houston. Their work is ongoing as they prepare to wrap up their studies at WBU.

              Boyd lauded the support of Wayland administrators in funding the trip and was grateful for the exposure it provided the students, many of whom are seeking postgraduate work in research fields or in medical school.

              In addition, Carey and Peck participated in a research day at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in mid-February. Carey won a first-place undergraduate award of $250 at the awards presentation later that day.