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November 2005

Release date: November 18, 2005

Biology Students Win Research Awards

Five Angelo State University undergraduate biology students working on three research projects were the only Texas students who received scholarships from the national office of the Beta Beta Beta biology honor society.

The competitive scholarships were awarded on the basis of the quality of research proposals that the students submitted to the national organization. Biology faculty from universities across the country reviewed the proposals.

Holly Scott and Betty Murray were awarded $700, Apurvi Patel and Jessica Chandler were awarded $300, and Eeshita Dastidar was awarded $500. The scholarships are earmarked for funding undergraduate research projects that the students are currently conducting.

Scott, a senior from Ranger, and Murray, a junior from Valparaiso, Ind., both working under the direction of biology professor Crosby Jones, are comparing the presence of the food-poisoning gene in the DNA of hospital and community strains of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Patel, a senior from Ballinger, and Chandler, a senior from Farwell, both also working with Jones, are comparing the numbers and types of bacteria in occupied classroom laboratories with the numbers and types of bacteria in unoccupied classroom laboratories.

Dastidar is working under the direction of biology assistant professor Loren Ammerman and is attempting to use molecular techniques to classify bat species.

Tri-Beta is a national honor society for undergraduate biology majors. It promotes both scholarship in the field of biology and undergraduate research. The ASU chapter is among more than 400 at U.S. universities.