Spotlight: Student Research
Student Research Symposium
The Student Research Symposium The Eighth Annual Student Research Symposium showcased the academic research of more than 400 students from each of the University’s six colleges and schools. Students presented their research to their peers and the academic community. Here are a few of the award-winning projects:
Fighting Fat with Math
Undergraduate student Sharmin Uddin, collaborating with a clinical psychologist from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, studied data from patients working to lose weight and discovered that patients whose diets varied from 1,200 calories to 1,700 calories every two weeks, were better able to stick with their diets.
Using a weight loss calculator developed in part by Uddin’s advisor Diana Thomas, a mathematics professor and director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research at Montclair State, Uddin measured how well the dieters followed their prescribed regimens. Dieters who varied their caloric intake biweekly had an easier time following their diets.
“I found that patients were more compliant as the months moved on,” says Uddin, who won an award for best undergraduate oral/multimedia presentation. “Because it was easier to stick with the varied calorie intake, they said they could continue the diets beyond the end of the 16-week study period.”
Future Scientist Awards
The first place TechLaunch Future Scientist Award at the Student Research Symposium went to Rabih Balilli from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for his topic, “A computational evaluation of the steric and electronic contributions to the stability of the structures of a- and ß-D-Glucopyanose part 4: Energy versus Geometry for a- and ß-D-Glucopyanose in aqueous solution.” Balilli studied how the structure of glucose chemically interacts and changes with its environment.
Shivani Patel from the Department of Biology and Molecular Biology placed second. Her topic was “The inhibitory effects of EGCG and EGCG-stearate on Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1) in cultured human epithelial A549 cells.” In her work with professors Lee H. Lee and Sandra Adams, she studied how tea extracts can be used to treat herpes viruses.
Helping Save Wildlife
Montclair State students and faculty, in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, have identified wildlife road-crossing hotspots in New Jersey to ensure the continued existence of wildlife.
Over a four-month period at 43 road transects, students and local volunteers observed a total of 1,001 animals, including 40 species of mammals and 866 amphibian — found either dead or alive — in these areas.
According to Kelly Triece, who won the award for best graduate oral/multimedia presentation at the symposium, the research results may be used to predict other possible mortality hotspots and, when applicable, inform road infrastructure mitigation managers to reduce future traffic and wildlife conflicts.
The project also aims to promote environmental awareness of human impact on wildlife and the importance of restoring wildlife habitat connectivity by participating in community events such as local fairs and festivals as well as outreach in K-12 classrooms.