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Citadel News Service
23 Mar 2007

Cadet research earns top marks

The Citadel is pleased to announce the winners of the Spring 2007 Citadel Undergraduate Research Conference.

The conference is held just prior to Corps Day each year and highlights cadet research work. Nearly 30 projects representing many different disciplines were entered in this year’s conference.

First place: Assessing the fine scale spatial genetic structure of Lindera melissifolia in North and South Carolina. Cadet Anthony Giunta Jr. and professor Danny J. Gustafson of The Citadel and Dennis Deemer and Craig S. Echt of the USDA Forest Service. 

Photo
Cadet Brandon Jordan poses with professor Conway Saylor (right) and his research project on sleep problems in children on medication for attention deficity hyeractivity disorder.

Synopsis: Lindera melissifolia (Walt) Blume is an endangered perennial dioecious clonal shrub that occurs in seasonally flooded wetlands located in 1 – 4 counties in eight states (AL, AR, FL, GA, MO, MS, NC, SC). Microsatellite genetic markers were used to estimate the number of genetic individuals within and among populations in North and South Carolina. All populations showed extensive genotype clones and each population contained essentially unique genetic combinations. The South Carolina site in Beaufort County and both North Carolina sites (Pondberry Bay, Big Pond Bay) were considerably more genetically diverse than all the populations of the Francis Marion National Forest (SC), however even these diverse sites contained less than 18 genetically distinct individuals from the 52-71 randomly sampled stems. Based on the lack of genetic variation and no observed female flowering plants in the South Carolina populations, we recommend a genetic rescue management program that includes bringing in female plants from North Carolina to augment the South Carolina populations and promote sexual reproduction.

Second place: Sleep Problems In Children On Medication For ADHD. Cadet Brandon S. Jordan and Dr. Conway Saylor of The Citadel and Dr. Scott W. Stuart and Dr. Michelle M. Macias of MUSC.

Synopsis: The purpose of this study was to compare children receiving pharmacotherapy for ADHD who reported sleep problems versus those reporting no sleep problems. All sleep problems were reported subsequent to first medications for ADHD. In this IRB-approved study, potential subjects were general or developmental pediatrics clinics at MUSC. Review of 3,221 records revealed 388 eligible patients aged 6-12, with ADHD diagnosis, and receiving medication targeting ADHD. Of qualifying subjects, 25 subjects of each gender and clinic were randomly selected. Seventeen of the 100 Children were categorized as having “sleep problems” based on reported sleep problems found in any clinical records over a 24 month period. Chi Square (c2) and t-test analyses revealed a number of differences in children with ADHD who had sleep problems (SP) and children with ADHD who had no sleep problems (NoSP). The children in the SP group were significantly more likely to be white, to receive care in the developmental pediatrics specialty clinic, to have a co-morbid psychiatric disorder, and to be on more than one stimulant simultaneously (p<.001). There was a trend toward male gender (p<.06), with 24% of the boys and only 10% of the girls (all with ADHD) having SP. In a sub-sample of 34 subjects (17 SP and 17 NoSP matched by clinic, gender, ethnicity, and age within one year) there was still a significant difference in days to subsequent follow-ups (t(98)=2.64, p< .01) and in poly-stimulant use, c2 =3.78, p<.05. 

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Professor Kevin Crawford (right) discusses with Cadet Ben Pettis his research on cyber bullying among middle school students.

Third place: Rapid Analytical Methods for Determining Toxins Associated with Trichodesmium thiebautii.
active duty student Lisa M. Bydairk, Dr. Kevin Crawford.

Synopsis: Blooms of the marine cyanobacteria, Trichodesmium thiebautii, result in toxin(s) that can be harmful to both humans and wildlife. Trichodesmium is one of the largest nitrogen-fixers in the marine environment and is thought to be a major source of new bioavailable nitrogen in the ocean. The toxins associated with the blooms have been linked to a number of health effects, the most well known being an illness called Tamandare fever. Respiratory irritation, muscular pain, and a rash are common symptoms associated with exposure to the toxin. The appearance of these toxins corresponds with the appearance of Trichodesmium blooms in the area. Recently, we have made significant progress in the isolation and identification of chemicals associated with blooms that cause toxicity to mammalian cell lines. The ability to rapidly determine the presence of Trichodesmium toxins in marine waters can be beneficial to limiting the human health effects. The current processes of determining the presence of the toxins are long and involve numerous instrumental procedures. We are developing a means of identifying the presence of Trichodesmium toxins that can be used by boats at sea using raw samples. We will report on our efforts to develop an efficient and reliable method of detection of the Trichodesmium thiebautii associated toxins.

Complete list of research projects below in PDF format.

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