HPU Faculty and Students Recognized for Research and Innovation

Dec 09th, 2021

HPU Faculty and Students Recognized for Research and Innovation

HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 9, 2021 – Members of the High Point University community frequently conduct, publish and share research and creative works in a variety of ways. Below is a recap of recent research initiatives.

HPU Pharmacy Student and Professor Secure Grant for Immunization Practices

Jymon Clark 1Jymon Clark, a fourth-year pharmacy student, and Dr. Jordan Smith, assistant professor of clinical sciences in the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy, secured a $1,000 grant from the American Pharmacists Association Foundation that will benefit the community. The APhA Foundation Incentive Grant is only given to two Schools of Pharmacy nationally each year.

The grant supports their research project, titled “Providing Pneumococcal Vaccinations in a Community, Free Care Clinic: A Pharmacist and Student-Pharmacist Led Initiative.” With this grant, they will provide the pneumococcal vaccine to at-risk patients at the Community Clinic of High Point.

Jordan Smith 2“The main goal for this project is to provide preventative care to our local community while allowing room for patients to ask questions regarding the vaccine or any medication-related questions they have,” said Clark, a student from Reidsville, North Carolina. “This will continue to build trust between health care professionals and the communities they serve by ensuring there is a space for open, non-judgmental communication.”

HPU Sophomore Awarded the Barthalmus Award

Sadie Flagg 3Sadie Flagg, a sophomore chemistry major, was awarded the 2021-2022 George T. Barthalmus Award for her research proposal, titled “Surface functionalization of spun-cast nanoporous films of PMMA exhibiting high surface areas.” Flagg is one of only three North Carolina students awarded the honor this year.

The project is a continuation from her summer research under the direction and mentorship of Dr. Brian Augustine, professor and chair of the chemistry department. The award is provided by the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium.

“Our research project for the Barthalmus Award involves depositing a thin coating of metal onto polymer films that exhibit a micro and nanoporous structure,” said Flagg. “In this way, we would be able to modify the surface chemistry of the films and create high surface area conductive films with potential applications in catalysis and microfluidics.”

HPU Faculty and Student Publish Research on Autumn Leaf Colors

Nicole Hughes 4 Drs. Nicole Hughes and Christian George, biology professors, and Corinne Gumpman, a sophomore biology student, published their research on autumn leaf color in the New Phytologist journal. The article, “Coevolution and photoprotection as complementary hypotheses for autumn leaf reddening: a nutrient-centered perspective,” was written as a response to an ongoing debate between scientists – those who argue red colors in leaves function as sunscreen or antioxidants, while others find the red color signals poor host quality to insects who lay their eggs in the fall.

Drs. Hughes and George presented the argument that both explanations could be correct when one brings soil fertility into the equation.

Christian George 5“A critical piece of the puzzle that had been overlooked is that nitrogen deficiency is known to result in redder autumn leaves in species like sugar maple,” says Hughes. “This is important because trees with low nitrogen are both less nutritious for insects and in greater need of photoprotection. From our perspective, anthocyanins could be functioning in both roles simultaneously.”

Their study could also help explain global trends in autumn leaf color. Forests in Eastern North America are known to feature a greater abundance of red-leafed species than in European and East Asian forests, a trend that had previously been related solely to differences in solar radiation and temperature. But in Hughes and George’s study, a comparison of soil fertility using GIS revealed that soils in North America are also more deficient in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus compared to European forests. This suggests that there may be more factors at play than light and temperature influencing fall color.

Corinne Gumpman 6