Skip Menu
Email Us!

Morehead State students earn top rankings for scientific research

Twenty-four Morehead State students earned top honors for their presentations at the Kentucky Academy of Science's annual meeting, held in November at Morehead State University.

"These presentations made clear that Kentucky's next generation of scientists is already making significant contributions to scientific research," said Amanda Fuller, executive director of the Kentucky Academy of Science. "Giving students opportunities to conduct research and present their findings gives them guidance and encouragement to pursue even greater achievements in science."

More than 700 students and professional scientists from across the state attended the KAS Annual Meeting. Panels of scientists who judged students' research presentations designated top-tier presentations as "Thoroughbreds."

Morehead State students who earned the "Thoroughbred" designation are:

  • Mackenzie Neal, a senior biomedical sciences student from Richmond, and Hailey Rietz, a senior biology major from Rancho Cordova, California, for a presentation on "Telomerase Activity Enhancement in Saccharomyces cerevisiae."
  • Mara Stout, a junior chemistry major from Shepherdsville, for a presentation on "The Development of a Colorimetric Assay to Detect Uracil in Monomeric and Oligomeric DNA."
  • Joshua Hicks, a senior biomedical sciences student from Olive Hill, and Eliana Eldridge, a senior biomedical science student from Blackey, for a presentation on "A Meta-Analysis of Collection Methods in Spider Ecological Research."
  • C. Jolene Fairchild, a senior geology student from Leburn, for a presentation on "Preliminary fungal palynology of the RA-3 Ash Zone from Paleolake Clarkia, Latah Fm., Idaho."
  • Craft Academy Students Taylor Horsfall of Lexington and Alyssa Patel of Barbourville and senior Laikin Tarlton, a biology major from Chillicothe, Ohio, for a presentation on "Preliminary High-latitude fungal palynology of coals and interseam rocks leading to the Miocene Climate Optimum warming event, Victoria, Australia."
  • Junior geology student June Lennex-Stone from Morehead for a presentation on "Improving palynology processing in support of the FiaWW project."
  • Junior veterinary science major Ollie VanderEspt from Brooks, Christopher Marsh, a sophomore geology student from Ashland, Liberty Smallwood, a senior biomedical sciences student from Mount Sterling, and Craft Academy student Jeremyah Cabrera from Cynthiana, for a presentation on "Preliminary tropical fungal palynology of early-middle Miocene sediments from Northwestern Peru."
  • Senior biomedical sciences major Mollee Flannigan from Vanceburg, for a presentation on "RT-qPCR experiments show regulation by UmuDAb and DdrR of genes repressed after DNA damage in Acinetobacter baumannii. "
  • Breno Pontes, a sophomore space systems engineering student from Morehead, and Brannon Jones, a junior physics major from Lexington, for a presentation on "CXBN-3: Toward an Improved Understanding of Diffuse Emission Produced by High-Redshift Active Galactic Nuclei."
  • Timo Klausnitzer, a freshman neuroscience major from Sinsheim, Germany, and sophomore neuroscience student Emily Bryant from Martin, for a presentation on "Opiate-dopamine interaction during acute withdrawal from amphetamine in rats."
  • Mathematics education major Noah Cooley from Fort Thomas for a presentation on "Implementing Wolfram Mathematica into Kentucky High School Curriculum."
  • Physics major Abigail Fagan from Cumming, Georgia, for a presentation on "Assessing the Effectiveness of a Physics-Based Light Pollution Curriculum."
  • Senior biology education major Kelsey Heard from Louisville for a presentation on "Measuring the Effect of Professional Development for Best Practices in Crafting Exam Questions."
  • Freshman biology major Josiah Kilburn from Castle Rock, Colorado, for a presentation on "Investigating the Underappreciated Biodiversity of Solenopsis Thief Ants."

The Kentucky Academy of Science is a nonprofit organization founded in 1914. Its mission is to catalyze scientific communication and collaboration to improve research, education, and evidence-based public engagement within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Morehead State University faculty, staff and students may become Kentucky Academy of Science members at no cost. For more info, go to

To learn about science programs at MSU, call 606-783-2626.

Contact Us