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Curiosity on Display at the 2022 CURA Poster Presentations

A group of well-dressed college students, standing in front of a purple curtain.
The 2022 CURA winners.

Over seventy Life Sciences students hung their research posters in the BYU Conference Center on Thursday, November 10, creating a maze of well-dressed scientists presenting developing discoveries before judges. All projects were partially funded by a College Undergraduate Research Award (CURA), grant money donated to innovative undergraduate students working with faculty members. Every year judges have the challenge of selecting only three presentations in each department to receive additional cash prizes, and every year the College of Life Sciences comes prepared with their knowledge and passion, ready to create ripples of impact in the scientific community.

With research ranging from the distribution of the Arizona Mountain Kingsnake, to nutrition policies for children’s breakfast and the effects of estrogen on mitochondrial health, these are the winners of the 2022 CURAs:


Six biology students smiling in front of a red curtain.
Biology 2022 CURA winners.

[Tie] 1. Eliza Kartchner — Using Machine Learning Ensemble Algorithms to Classify Biological Entities
[Tie] 1. Jessica Abele — Cultural Border Crossing and Reconciling Evolution
[Tie] 2. Brenden Thomson — Using comparative DNA sequence data to test hypotheses about relationships within Astragalus subsection Eriocarpi
[Tie] 2. Dallin Kohler — Distribution of the Arizona Mountain Kingsnake, Lampropeltis pyromelana

Cell Biology & Physiology

Four cell biology students stand smiling in front of a red curtain.
Cell Biology 2022 CURA Winners

1. Sara Linderman — Effects of immune system activity and cocaine on dopamine terminal function
2. Kelaney Stalker — Seminal Cell-Free DNA and Infertility
3. Benjamin Stubblefield — Identifying ribeye interacting proteins in synaptic ribbon complexes

Exercise Science

Three exercise science students stand smiling in front of a red curtain.
Exercise Science 2022 CURA Winners.

1. Krista Shimizu — Muscle inflammatory response at different phases of the menstrual cycle following electrical stimulation
2. Kate Strong — The Reproducibility of Common Measurements of Vascular Function
3. Andres Hernandez — Effects of a 4-week augmented neuromuscular training on motor control in individuals with chronic ankle instability

Microbiology & Molecular Biology

Three microbiology and molecular biology students stand smiling in front of a red curtain.
MMBio 2022 CURA Winners.

1. Harlan Stevens — Genetic Modification of NMAD-1 Demethylase in C. elegans to Affect Longevity
2. Michael Mann — Glutamine as an Acetyl-Lysine Mimic in Nucleosome Positioning Studies
3. Craig Decker — Mutation in hemagglutinin antigenic site in the pH1N1 viruses from 2015-2019 in the United States mountain west, Europe, and the Northern Hemisphere


Three neuroscience students stand smiling in front of a red curtain.
Neuroscience 2022 CURA Winners.

1. Nathan Steed — Effects of Catharanthine on the Mesolimbic Dopamine System and Alcohol Consumption
2. Aubrey Moedl — The Effects of Toxoplasma Gondii Infection on GABA Neuron Excitability in the Mesolimbic Dopamine System in GAD67-GFP mice
3. Morgan Chase — An fMRI study on how misinformation impacts the decisions we make especially regarding the COVID-19 vaccine

Nutrition, Dietetics, & Food Sciences

Five nutrition, dietetics, and food science students stand smiling in front of a red curtain.
Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science 2022 CURA Winners.

1. Ethan Crawford — Effects of the Flavanoid Epicatechin on Mitochondrial Respiration and Glucose-Regulated Glucagon Secretion in the Pancreatic Alpha Cell
2. Peter Ellsworth — The Deleterious Effects of Nr4a3 Full Body Knockouts on Adipose Tissue
3. Erin Atkinson — Effects of estrogen on mitochondrial health throughout the menstrual cell

Plant and Wildlife Science

Three plant and wildlife science students stand smiling in front of a red curtain.
Plant and Wildlife Science 2022 CURA Winners.

1. Caroline Massey — Effects of a pulsed electromagnetic field on limb regeneration in Harmonia axyridis
2. Kate Jaggi — Exploitation of Wild Chenopodium Species for Quinoa Agronomic Improvement
[Tie] 3. Madeline Martin — Patterns of Multiple Paternity in Mule Deer: Variation among Populations and the Ecological Significance
[Tie] 3. Ethan Ostraff — Developing Improved Water Catchment Systems to Benefit Rangeland Restoration

Public Health

Three public health students stand smiling in front of a red curtain.
Public Health 2022 CURA Winners.

1. McKay Smith — Fostering LGBTQ student experiences with faculty mentorship
2. Hannah Randall — The Effects of Family Support Networks on Depression in Married and Cohabitating Partners
3. Abigail Policky — Understanding the Influence of Children with Special Healthcare Needs on Family Health
Honorable Mention: Anna Johnson — How School Nutrition Policies Affect Breakfast Consumption Rates Among Children