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PLAINVIEW – Students in Wayland Baptist University’s Kenneth L. Mattox School of Mathematics and Sciences collected three competitive awards at the Texas Academy of Sciences annual meeting.

Tierra Lozano won best overall poster in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Bruna Moureira won best overall poster in the Terrestrial Ecology and Management section, and Ilan Joffe was awarded the Amir Moez Award for the best talk in the Mathematics and Computer Science section. They were among a dozen Wayland students and five professors attending the 126th annual meeting March 3-4 at Angelo State University.

In addition to the awards, WBU placed second in the Science Jeopardy competition, accumulating the most points but losing by a split second in a sudden death round.

“This is a major deal,” Dr. Robert L. Moore, Professor of Chemistry said of Wayland’s dominance in the awards competition. “For our students to win so many awards year after year is incredibly unique.”

Wayland students have won TAS awards for 11 consecutive years for which records were available and perhaps even longer.

“We are one of the smallest schools at these meetings with the fewest presentations, yet we came away winning three of the five sections in which we presented, including the largest section at the meeting,” Moore said.

Lozano’s award-winning poster took top honors in the largest poster section. Her poster was entitled “Addition of ATP-removal step creates avenue for chemiluminescent RecA strand exchange assay”. Her research has been done under Moore’s supervision.

Moureira won with her poster entitled “A multi-century fire history for a mixed-conifer forest near Cloudcroft, New Mexico”. Her award-winning work has been conducted under the direction of Dr. Matthew Allen, Professor of Biological Sciences.

Ilan Joffe’s talk was entitled “Does genre mean anything: Classifying music with artificial intelligence”. His award-winning work has been under the direction of Dr. Scott Franklin, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science.

All of the awards came with monetary prizes. Wayland students entered in five of the 30 sections in the competition.

Wayland was so strong in the competition this year that Lozano was challenged by Joshua Smedema in the Chemistry and Biochemistry poster contest. Also supervised by Moore, Smedema’s poster was entitled “Engineering an expression cell line for Mycobacterium tuberculosis RecA”.

Araceli Torres presented a poster in Biomedical Sciences entitled “Isolation of compounds in Larrea tridentate and Pterocarpus santalinus that demonstrate cytotoxic effects on the prostate cancer cell line PC3”, and Sadie Drake Argueta presented a poster in Cell and Molecular Biology entitled “Refining assay specificity for X-chromosome copy number variation detection in the THL”. Torres was directed by Dr. Adam Reinhart, Dean of the Kenneth L. Mattox School of Mathematics and Sciences and Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry. Argueta was supervised by Dr. Matthew Dyson, Associated Professor of Biology and Sciences.

Six other students and five faculty research advisers also attended the meeting. 

Phillip Hamilton

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