TIME Students Inducted Into National Academy – Brevard NC

 

Pictured from left to right are Kris Petterson, Erica Williams, Jennifer Williams, Kaitlin McCreery and Mary Arnaudin, extension agent for Transylvania County 4-H Club.

Kaitlin McCreery, Kris Petterson and Erika Williams were recently inducted into the American Junior Academy of Sciences. The three Brevard High School seniors received the honor at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston where they presented their scientific research to students and scientists from across the nation on February 13 ­ 18.

McCreery’s work, entitled “Investigation of the germination of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis zoospores at low cell densities,” explored the life cycle of Bd, the fungal pathogen killing amphibians worldwide.

During the conference, McCreery had the opportunity to meet University of Maine’s Dr. Joyce Longcore, the scientist who first identified Bd fungus 15 years ago, and discuss their shared research interests. Longcore, who had provided McCreery’s Bd culture and worked long­distance with her for four years, was inducted as a AAAS Fellow at the Boston meeting.

“I not only had the opportunity to bounce my ideas off of students from all over the country,” explained McCreery, “but also world­-renowned scientists and Ph.D. students from places like MIT and Boston University. This was one of the most impacting experiences that I will have in my educational science career, and it was a result of the opportunity to engage in high school research.”

Petterson and Williams’ research, entitled “Iso-lation, identification and characterization of endophytes from Cherokee medicinal plants: Yellow-root (Xanthorhiza simplicissima), Downy Rattle-snake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens), and Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata)” focused on endophytes (fungi and bacteria found within plants), a new treasure trove of biologically active compounds now being explored for their promise in the pharmaceutical industry.

Petterson and Williams had the opportunity to meet and talk with scientists from academia as well as the pharmaceutical industry while in Boston. Both students were encouraged to participate in research internships this summer.

 
 

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