For the Summer Scholars program, a number of students are chosen to pursue a research topic of their choice that could be used to benefit people. In 2015, thirteen students were accepted into the program. Two of those thirteen are Alexandra Grant and Dannielle Allen.

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Alexandra Grant

Alex is a rising senior at Roanoke College majoring in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience. Alex has been interested in the aging of the brain since high school and has worked in the dementia center of a nursing home. She has been conducting research at Roanoke College since her sophomore year with Dr. Whitson. Alex has been volunteering at the Salem Veterans Affairs Center for Neurocognitive services during her junior year and plans to do so in her senior year and into graduate school.

Alex’s project is titled: “Aging and Brain Area Measurements with MRI”. Alex’s research focuses on the fact that as people age they become susceptible to certain diseases such as neurological diseases. In pervious neurological research, it has been shown that certain areas of the brain can be affected as people age. Alex’s project will analyze three parts of the brain, the ventricle, corpus callosum, and cerebellum, and analyze the differences between people who have some form of dementia and those who don’t.

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Dannielle Allen

Dannielle is a rising senior at Roanoke College majoring in Biochemistry. Dannielle has been doing research at Roanoke College since her freshmen year with Dr. Sarisky. Outside of school work, Dannielle is a part of the Honors Program, a member of HEAT (Health Education Awareness Team), and plays Field Hockey for Roanoke College.

Dannielle’s project is titled: “Cloning and Expression of PurF from Sulfolobus solfataricus”. Dannielle’s research focuses on purines, nitrogenous bases that are used as building blocks for DNA, and the Archaeal species Sulfolobus solfataricus. This species is thought to contain genes that code for PurF, a protein that is vital in purine biosynthesis. Dannielle’s project will be creating a plasmid that will be able to produce the PurF protein and analyzing it.

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