Sigma Xi 2018 Student Research Showcase

Environmental Sciences

Amaia Arrese-Igor Catnip/Basil Bug Repellent
Amaia Arrese-Igor, American Heritage School

The researcher combined a catnip and basil plant in order to create an alternative to the chemical filled insect repellents that are widely used today.

Eniya KrishnarajPhytoremediation Using Duckweed and Hinokitiol
Eniya Krishnaraj, American Heritage School

My project is about the effect of hinokitiol in combination with Lemna minor on the removal of heavy metals from the water.


Katherine Duan, Leanna Kish, Alexander KishThe Impact of Rodeo, Glyphosate, and POEA on Daphnia magna
Katherine Duan, Phillips Academy; Leanna Kish, St. Paul's School; Alexander Kish, Phillips Exeter Academy

Our research examines the effects of the glyphosate based herbicide rodeo as well as the individual ingredients found in glyphosate based herbicides on the model organism Daphnia magna

Abdullah Afridi Investigating the Effects of Acute Immersion Exposure to the Antidepressant Venlafaxine on Phototaxis in Larval Danio rerio
Abdullah Afridi, Spruc Creek High School

I talked about why my research was relevant (why venlafaxine in waterways may be having effects on aquatic vertebrates), briefly outlined my methodology, and gave the fundamentals of my results and some potential applications. 

Akshara Vykunta2Effects of Urbanization and Forest Conservation Efforts on Dengue Burden in Brazil
Akshara Vykunta, Mission San Jose High School

I studied the effects of urbanization and forest conservation efforts through geospatial analyses and statistical modeling.

Sophia Ashiqueali The Effect of Glycine Betaine on Coral Bleaching Due to Thermal Stress
Sophia Ashiqueali, American Heritage School

It is predicted that the world's remaining coral reefs will disappear within the next 40 years. The leading cause contributing to this coral demise is heightened water temperatures. Excessive heat causes the dissociation of a key nutrient providing protein found in the chloroplasts of mutualistic algae residing on coral. Glycine betaine is an amino acid derivative that counteracts photo inhibition due to the deficiency of this protein. This experiment focused on the use of glycine betaine as a treatment for coral bleaching caused by thermal stress. 

Katherine Duan

Creating a Model to Restore Endangered Plant Species through Saving Cypripedium reginae
Katherine Duan, Phillips Academy

This five-year study is an attempt to develop a complete model for restoring Cypripedium reginae by studying its life cycle in the wild and everything about its tissues, anatomy, and in vitro growth requirements.

Katherine Duan

Creating a Model to Restore Endangered Plant Species through Saving Cypripedium reginae
Katherine Duan, Phillips Academy

This five-year study is an attempt to develop a complete model for restoring Cypripedium reginae by studying its life cycle in the wild and everything about its tissues, anatomy, and in vitro growth requirements.

Adam Nayak

Modeling the Effects of Land Use Change on Flooding in Pacific Northwest Streams
Adam Nayak, Cleveland High School

Through the investigation of urban streams, this project validates the relationship between imperviousness and flood severity using historical data, and models future flooding events based upon trends in land use changes.

Rajat RameshGenetic Modification of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Chlorella vulgaris as a Means of Inducing Multicellularity and Lipid Production in High Throughput Strains For Increased Efficiency in Biofuel Production
Rajat Ramesh, American Heritage School

My presentation is based around improving the production of biofuels from freshwater algae. My presentation looks at the genetic manipulation to improve algal lipid content, and this was assessed through various methods to observe if the genetic manipulation did indeed increase lipid content, thus improving algal biofuel production.

Lauren Waldman A Novel Approach to the Bioremediation of Concurrent 1,4-Dioxane and Chlorinated Solvent cis-DCE Contamination
Lauren Waldman, American Heritage School

I used a new bioremediation approach to handle the inhibition of the breakdown of 1,4-Dioxane by cis-DCE. 1,4-Dioxane is a probable human carcinogen, and I wanted to find a more effective way to break it down in the presence of cis-DCE by using two bacterial species together that metabolized each compound individually.

Student Research Showcase logoThe Effect of Chlorhexidine Gluconate in Removing Bacteria
Shane Knopp, American Heritage School

The purpose of this experiment is to find out if the current methods of using chlorhexidine gluconate (chlorhexidine) or water to clean horse feed buckets is effective enough to keep horses from becoming ill or if the current cleaning methods of the feed buckets are unnecessarily thorough; if so, alternative methods can be used to clean the buckets instead of chlorhexidine or water.

Srinivas Balagopal The Effect of Nonlinearity on Recalibrating the AQI and Air Pollutant Forecasting in a San Jose Urban Microclimate
Srinivas Balagopal, Pinewood High School

Using nonlinear correlations, I proved that primary air pollutants have a higher impact on urban microclimates than meteorological factors, which accurately represents an aggregated Air Quality Index and allows for robust pollutant forecasting.

Student Research Showcase logoA Highlight In Carbon Reduction
Xiangkun Elvis Cao, Cornell University

Plants absorb carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight and convert them into food to grow through photosynthesis. The HI-Light reactor technology is an artificial photosynthesis reactor and engineered catalyst platform designed for CO2 conversion into fuels.

Student Research Showcase logoThe Effects Of Indoor Plants On Purifying Air
Rebecca Huang, American Heritage School

In this experiment, two pots of each aloe and Bromeliad are tested by using the simulated cabin method. The sealed cabin fumigation method was adopted to simulate indoor smoke pollution environment, and the two pots of indoor plants were fumigated with cigarette smoke in the sealed glass chambers. The other two pots of aloe and Bromeliad are placed in the sealed glass chambers with clean air.

Satya Alagarsamy Creating a Cost-Efficient Water Soluble Carbon Capture System for CO2 Emissions to Increase Biofuel Production Efficiency
Satya Alagarsamy, American Heritage School

My project aimed to try to create a nanoparticle that could absorb CO2 from power plant flue gas and then proceed to deposit that trapped CO@ in algae biofuel fields. By doing this we can decrease CO2 emissions while also decreasing the cost of algae by decreasing CO2 additive costs.

Student Research Showcase logoThe Effect Of Domestic Waste On Plant
ZhuoFan (Peter) Wang, American Heritage School

The focus of this research is to observe and analyze the phenomenon of domestic wastewater affecting plants’ life, using a control experiment with several different types of pollutant (wastewater) samples - collected from nearby residences and local restaurants.

Student Research Showcase logoRisk Evaluation of Combined Pharmaceuticals in the Water Supply
Lynn Lu, Scripps Ranch High School

Pharmaceuticals are identified in the water system. Combinations of pharmaceuticals are found to be higher in toxicity than the effects of individual pharmaceuticals due to drug-drug interaction.