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Biology Students Present Research at Scholars at the Capitol Event

A group of Concordia biology students presented research projects to state legislators in the rotunda of the State Capitol building April 8 as part of the 11th annual Minnesota Private College Scholars at the Capitol event, which is designed to recognize the importance of undergraduate student research being conducted at Minnesota’s private colleges.

Biology students Kyle Lohman ('15), Christina Miller ('15) and Michael Taye ('15) presented research on the effects of common skin care ingredients on epidermal cells, while Peter Maas ('14), Alicia Meiser ('15) and Zachary Rengel ('16) shared their studies on the contributions of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and salt solutions in muscle contraction. (Full abstracts listed below story)

As part of Dr. Mandy Brosnahan’s Cell Biology course last fall, the students were required to come up with and conduct an independent research project. Students worked in small groups of three to four people and only had six weeks to carry out their experiments and create presentation posters.

This year’s Scholars at the Capitol event featured a total of 30 research posters and drew 41 students and their advisors from 15 Minnesota private colleges. Research projects covered a wide range of academic disciplines, including: sociology, biology, social work, psychology, history, nursing, chemistry, mathematics, environmental studies, ecology, English and classics.


Research Abstracts:

Effects of Common Skin Care Ingredients on Epidermal Cells
Students: Kyle Lohman, Christina Miller and Michael Taye
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mandy Brosnahan

In this experiment the focus was to observe the effects of three common skincare ingredients on epidermal cells. Niacin, Retinol and vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbate were the skincare ingredients tested on skin cells in this research. It was hypothesized that these ingredients would improve the quality of growth and structure of the skin cells when added to the DMEM the cells were growing in. We introduced Niacin, Retinol and vitamin C to Rat Epidermal Keratinocytes and found that the Niacin and vitamin C improved cell growth and proliferation, whereas the Retinol killed all of the cells. Further tests need to be conducted with differing concentrations of Retinol to observe if it could potentially help cells grow instead of causing them to die so quickly.

Contributions of ATP and Salt Solutions in Muscle Contraction
Students: Peter Maas, Alicia Meiser and Zachary Rengel
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mandy Brosnahan


This experiment was designed to test the motility of a skeletal muscle cell. Eight solutions containing different amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and salt were used to test this  idea. The hypothesis was that the higher the ATP concentration, the higher contraction average was to be observed. As mentioned earlier, eight solutions were concocted of varying concentrations (containing ATP and salt). These solutions were then added to the muscle fibers. The muscle contraction was then noted. The results showed that indeed a high concentration of ATP correlated with more contraction, however, the ATP needed some sort of salt in the solution to show any contraction at all. Also, it was seen that with salt solution concentrations, a threshold was reached in that once a certain concentration  of salt was introduced to the muscle fiber, not only did the concentration plateau but it declined. Overall, two distinct correlations were found. First, the higher the ATP concentration (with salt present), the higher the contraction average was. Secondly, the correlation with salt concentration showed that up to a certain point the contractions increased but then decreased when higher concentrations of salt were introduced.


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