Emily is a senior biology major from Mineral Wells, Texas. "I came to Radford as a transfer student and immediately felt at home," she recalls. "I grew up in a small town in Texas, but ended up on the east coast after moving to Leesburg, Va., in the middle of high school."
A path to her current major was not clear to Emily when she entered classes at Radford University. "I began here as a nursing student, but after trying out research, I found my passion and quickly changed my major to biology," she states. "I’ve been participating in research ever since, and plan to go to graduate school to eventually be a professional researcher."
Emily's current research is exploring endocrine disrupting chemicals, most specifically a synthetic androgen called trenbolone. "It is commonly used in the beef cattle industry to “beef” up the cattle to make extra money," she says. "I’ve been exploring the effects of trenbolone on mosquitofish, which are often stocked in cow ponds as a natural mosquito control method."
In the Amazon she will be exploring medicinal plants and their potential mechanisms.
Emily adds, "I’m very excited to go to the Amazon to do research of my choosing; It is the opportunity of a lifetime!"
Medicinal plants from the Amazon rainforest are an integral part of Peruvian life and culture. However, there is much speculation as to the legitimacy of the claims made about medicinal plants. Therefore, the plants and their potential medicinal mechanisms should be explored. I will be researching the legitimacy of plants claimed to have medicinal benefits. Such plants may have antimicrobial compounds that reduce the growth of bacteria and fungi to diminish nutrient consumption in close proximity, and therefore reduce nutrient competition. These same microbial compounds could also reduce the growth of bacteria and fungus that could be found on the skin. Having antimicrobial compounds could help prevent a wound from becoming infected by decreasing growth of nearby microbes. I will be testing Amazonian plants used for wound treatment for the ability to reduce growth against microbes typically found living on human skin.