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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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SRW showcases wealth of innovation on campus

Texas+A%26amp%3BM+spent+just+under+%24800+million+on+research+in+2015%2C+and+a+slice+of+that+Texas-sized+investment+is+on+display+this+week+at+Student+Research+Week.
Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will

Texas A&M spent just under $800 million on research in 2015, and a slice of that Texas-sized investment is on display this week at Student Research Week.

Texas A&M spent just under $800 million on research in 2015, and a slice of that Texas-sized investment is on display this week at Student Research Week.
SRW is a three-day competition in the Memorial Student Center where undergraduate and graduate students showcase their research on a broad array of topics from all corners of campus. This year’s theme — “Rev’d Up for Research” — will be discussed by Dr. Chris Houser at a Monday awards ceremony. 
Students who participate in SRW highlight their research findings through oral presentations and posters in 10 subject categories ranging from languages to physics. Every participant is judged by graduate students and experts, and winners in each category will receive part of $18,000 raised by the Graduate and Professional Student Council, the vice president of research and various organizations across A&M. An additional $4,800 will be awarded to students who showed exemplary presentations. 
Alexandra Hardman, a school psychology graduate student who helped organize this year’s event, said this year’s turnout is among the largest SRW has ever experienced. 
“We have 740 registered participants for this year’s event,” Hardman said. “It was a 30 percent increase from last year, which had 577 participants. The largest SRW was 751 in 2014, so this will be the second largest SRW in 19 years.”
Samantha Kristufek, a chemistry graduate student, said she is working on finding sustainable materials to replace petrochemical-based commodity plastics with natural material. 
“Most materials are currently based on petrochemicals, which is the oil and gas industry,” Kristufek said. “We are looking at biomass-like plants and trees and deriving chemicals from them which are sustainable and renewable. So if we can make the same type of compounds or materials, it’s better for the environment.”
Gabriel Sheffield, a chemistry junior, said he built a machine that generates ions and  spontaneously sends them down a tube generated by an electric field. Sheffield said by measuring how long ions took to reach the other side, he can measure the mass of the ions — allowing for several applications within biochemistry.
“This is really great for biomolecules like lipids, peptides — you can characterize cells with it,” Sheffield said. “You can also do surface analysis — there are a lot of applications by just looking at the different masses of the ions. I think the thing that was most interesting to me was how simple the device was but how complicated the data analysis was.”
Mireya Luna, a chemistry junior, researched and designed a thiamin fluorinated compound, which could aid in the detection of cancer tumors. 
“The thiamin analog has the same structure as thiamin, maybe one or two elements different, but it has the same typical properties and it reacts similarly to thiamin,” Luna said. “Once this is injected, receptors on cancer cells would absorb the thiamin analog. If we get a lot of accumulation of the thiamin analog it could be an indication that there is a cancer tumor there.”
SRW kicked off Tuesday and runs through Thursday in the MSC. An award ceremony will be held in the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday.

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  • Texas A&M spent just under $800 million on research in 2015, and a slice of that Texas-sized investment is on display this week at Student Research Week.

    Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will

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