UHSP Students Present Research at ACS National Conference
P1 student Micaela Uy and sophomore Nadia Bostick recently had the opportunity to attend the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Conference in San Francisco where they each got to present their research and share ideas in front of thousands of chemistry professionals.
Uy and Bostick have each invested their time in chemistry research that has not only satisfied their curiosity but their excitement to learn new things. They have been working alongside Ray Mu, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, on special research projects that lead to the opportunity to participate in the ACS conference.
A Personalized Experience at UHSP
Bostick and Uy each found their paths to research in different ways.
“When I was looking at research opportunities on campus, I remember Dr. Mu was the most welcoming and excited about it,” Bostick said. “That was the main reason I wanted to work with him. It was his enthusiasm that drew me in.”
Uy notes that she was drawn to the opportunities that existed with Mu to learn new things in the lab that she had not done before.
“I was invited to conduct research with Dr. Mu at the end of my freshman year,” Uy noted. “I was excited that he was willing to lead me through different processes and techniques and teach me things outside of the classroom.”
Mu notes he values the time spent with student researchers because of the opportunities that exist to make connections.
“I get to train the next generation of scientists, and that’s my favorite part about working with student researchers,” Mu said.
On Display at ACS
At the ACS conference, Bostick and Uy got to share their passion for chemistry research with doctors, chemists and other health care professionals from all over the world.
“We wanted to show other scientists what we have done at UHSP and promote our research and student research,” Mu explained. “The students also had the chance to practice their research and communications skills and showcase the fantastic research program at UHSP.”
Uy presented research which looked at hemp and its cytotoxicity on human lung cancer cells.
“We tested various concentrations of different terpenes that are found in hemp and then we decided to see which one concentration had the most cells,” Uy explained.
Bostick’s research focused on elderberries and various bioactive compounds that are found in them.
“We were looking at different solvents that would better extract those compounds,” Bostick said. “I used two different solvents, and those two extracted different concentrations and types of bioactive compounds. We had a huge volcano plot of which one extracted which compound better.”
While this was the first experience for Bostick, this was the second ACS conference that Uy attended.
“I was just blown away by the amount of people there,” Bostick said. “You go to ACS and you can understand what you’re learning because you study at UHSP and then you can apply that to what is being talked about. And I love that because I love to learn.”
“Even though I had previously attended ACS, I got to learn about more topics this time such as astrochemistry, which I really liked,” Uy noted. “You learn so much at UHSP, but you also get to learn things at the ACS conference that you don’t see in the classroom.”
Mu says he was proud to have the chance to bring his students to ACS and provide them with the chance to present their own research and gain exposure to research happening nationwide.
“I love doing research and bringing my students into that research,” Mu said. “I was very proud to have them present at a national conference to be able to showcase all of their hard work and research done at UHSP.”
Location and Research: UHSP Has it All
In addition to having different paths to research, both Bostick and Uy also had different paths that led them to UHSP.
“UHSP was the only place that had the degree that I was interested in because I knew I wanted to work with drug synthesis, and there wasn’t anywhere else that offered that program,” explained Bostick. “I really enjoy learning new things and research is one of those things where you’ll never fully learn everything. And to me, that’s interesting because you never know where it’s going to go.”
As a native of St. Louis, Uy wanted to attend a school close to home and was drawn to UHSP’s integrated Pharm.D. and Bachelor of Science option.
“I don’t live too far from here, and I knew I was interested in health care and pharmacy,” Uy noted. “I liked having the option to pursue a bachelor’s degree and a Pharm.D. because I think it will give me flexibility in what I want to do in my future career.”
A Bright Future in health
As Bostick and Uy look toward their future careers in health care, they each note that the experiences they’ve had in the lab at UHSP and at the ACS conference are opening doors for future endeavors in academics, research, drug synthesis and even educating the next generation of researchers.
“As a future pharmacist, I can see myself pursuing things outside of the retail setting or possibly outside of a hospital setting,” Uy said. “Academia is also an option.”
Bostick is looking to pursue her Master of Science in Medicinal Chemistry at UHSP.
“Right now, I can see myself working in a lab setting synthesizing drugs and being that kind of superhero.”