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Seniors Present Summer Science Research Work

In 2021-2022, nine juniors participated in Shady Side Academy Senior School’s Science Research Seminar course, which focuses on advancing research skills such as the reading of primary scientific literature, data analysis, scientific ethics and science communication skills. As part of the course, students were placed in collaborating research laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh this summer to complete research internships. The students, now seniors, presented their research and answered questions at the fifth annual Summer Research Seminar evening, held Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation. The students and their research included:

  • Max Wickland and Carson Curley worked in the Physical Metallurgy and Materials Design Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh under the mentorship of Dr. Wei Xiong.  They worked on optimizing the strength and functionality of metal alloys used in aviation and naval applications. 
  • Hannah Song and Emily Gutstein worked with Dr. Mary Janecka and Dr. Jessica Stephenson in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. They isolated DNA from over 1,000 microscopic parasites that infect different species of guppies from Trinidad. The overall goal of the project is to study the co-evolution of parasites and their hosts in different ecosystems. 
  • Cassidy Mineo, Zoey Miller and Savi Thompson interned in the Sound Brain Lab at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Under the mentorship of Jacie McHaney, Maggie Zink, Dr. Casey Roark and Dr. Ashley Parker, they analyzed data and designed experiments to study human responses to various visual and audible inputs. Mineo studied the relationship of pupil response to working memory, Miller designed a study to determine the effect of depression on speech perception, and Thompson worked on a project testing the identification of individual speakers across languages.   
  • Smrithi Shyam and Karina Saba worked in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh. Shyam studied in the laboratory of Dr. Taka Kuwajima where she investigated the effect of statins on the regeneration of optic nerves after injury. Saba worked in the laboratory of Dr. Issam Al Diri and Emily Davis on the targets of the Pax6 transcription factor in the mammalian retina. 

View photos from the evening presentations: 

  • SSA Academics
  • SSA Community Connections
  • SSA Senior School

To submit an idea for a website news story, please email jroupe@shadysideacademy.org.

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