Cloquet students publish research papers in scientific journal

Cloquet Senior High School students, UMD professor Dr. Jennifer Liang and undergraduate student Brianna Vick had their science research papers published in the peer review "Zebrafish" journal.

Moynan filters water
Angela Moynan filters water at the Large Lake Observatory. Moynan and her mentor, Dr. Cynthia Welsh, developed a manuscript about Ibuprofen degradation in water taken from area waters. Contributed Photo

Cloquet Senior High School students, UMD professor Dr. Jennifer Liang and undergraduate student Brianna Vick had their science research papers published in the peer review "Zebrafish" journal.

Scientific papers authored by students in grades K-12, as well as articles highlighting innovative curricula and educational tools, a collection of abstracts (many student-led), and an informative report from the recent Zebrafish in Education Workshops are featured in a special issue of "Zebrafish," a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. ( ).

The special issue is available free online at . Guest Editors Chris Pierret, PhD, Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.) and Jamie Shuda, EdD, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), together with Education Editors Jennifer Liang, PhD, University of Minnesota Duluth, and Lara Hutson, PhD, University at Buffalo (New York) have prepared a collection of articles that illustrate the progress made in the zebrafish community in the development and implementation of student-led, inquiry-based active learning curricula.

"The emphasis is on teaching students how to think, rather than on what to think," said Stephen Ekker, PhD, editor-in-chief of "Zebrafish" and professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic. "This issue will have a substantial impact well beyond the zebrafish community."

The student authors' research articles are of high scientific quality and relevant to modern scientists in their fields. Many of the projects featured in the 15 abstracts culled from presentations at the 10th International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics, held in Madison, Wis., in June 2012, will likely lead to full papers submitted for publication in the coming year.


+ In their manuscript "The Photodegradation of Ibuprofen and Dissolved Organic Matter in Lake Superior and St. Louis River Water: Phase IV," Cloquet Senior High School student Angela Moynan and her mentor, Dr. Cynthia Welsh, describe one of the first studies of Ibuprofen degradation in water obtained from natural sources, the St. Louis River and Lake Superior. They discovered the effect of exposure to UV light was complex, with different kinds of water having different outcomes. For instance, the molar mass of dissolved organic matter, including the added ibuprophen, in distilled water and lake water decreased after UV exposure. In contrast, the molar mass of the dissolved organic matter in the river water increased. Potential causes of these varying effects include differences in initial amounts of organic matter and differences in the presence of microbial species.

Moynan was given lab space and assistance from University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Large Lake Observatory (LLO) chemistry professor Dr. Elizabeth Minor and scientist Elizabeth Welsh. Also, initial assistance came from EPA scientist Dr. Dave Mount.

+ In "The Effect of Egg Density, Salt Concentration, and Incubation Temperature on Japanese Medaka (Oryzias latipes) Embryo Development," Bethany Rosemore of Cloquet (currently attending University of Rochester New York, majoring in environmental chemistry) describes her detailed study into the effects of the three variables described on hatching and embryonic development in Medaka fish. This study, monumental in scope for a high school student, was done in a model system that has emerged as an ideal complement to the zebrafish due to its salt water tolerance, ability to withstand colder temperatures, and smaller genome. Rosemore was given lab space, equipment and assistance from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists Dr. Rodney Johnson, Kevin Lott and Dr. Kevin Flynn.

+ "Learning the Scientific Method Using GloFish" describes student research projects that used brightly colored, transgenic zebrafish called GloFish to learn about genetics and the scientific method. Undergraduate students in Dr. Jennifer Liang's genetics laboratory course used PCR, test crosses, and microscopy to explore the relationship between phenotype and genotype. Undergraduate student Brianna Vick defined the complex genetic and environmental factors that cause variations in the colors of GloFish. High school student Adrianna Pollak, under the mentorship of Dr. Cynthia Welsh and Dr. Liang, characterized the fluorescence emissions patterns of all six GloFish strains while mastering the principles underlying fluorescence microscopy.

All of these students presented at the Northeast Minnesota Regional Science Fair, held at UMD. The regional fair's major sponsors are the Minnesota Power Foundation, UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering, Donneray Consulting, Rotary Club of Duluth No. 25, Carlson Orthodontics, and the American Chemical Association-Lake Superior Chapter.

These students had financial support for their projects from Cloquet Public Schools, the Cloquet Educational Foundation, and were funded in part by the Minnesota Power Foundation, with special assistance from Holly Pellerin, director of the Manoomin Project, which is funded through the National Science Foundation and the University of Minnesota's Geoscience Alliance's Diversity Director Diana Dalbotten and Emi Ito.

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