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HPU Faculty and Students Recognized for Research and Innovation

Dec 21st, 2022

HPU Faculty and Students Recognized for Research and Innovation

HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 21, 2022 – 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 Sophomore Awarded the Barthalmus Award

HPU Ethan Muckerheide

Ethan Muckerheide, a sophomore psychology major from Dayton, Ohio, was awarded the 2022-2023 State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium George T. Barthalmus Award for his research. This award provides direct funding to examine whether rumination, an obsessive focus on negative or distressing thoughts, impacts a person’s willingness to endure pain longer.

“I’ve had opportunities as a young undergraduate that I would not have at other schools,” says Muckerheide. “Having hands-on experience this early in my college career lets me see the entirety of the research process, which can be a very long and time-consuming process.”

Muckerheide has been researching with his professors since his second semester at HPU. He started working with Dr. Laura Nagy, assistant professor of psychology, in her lab and then participated in the Summer Research Institute (SuRI), where he won first place for his research during the elevator pitch. During that time, he also co-authored a book chapter.

He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in either clinical psychology or sports psychology when he graduates.

Exercise Science Professor and Students Publish Research in Academic Journal

HPU Roger VaughanDr. Roger Vaughan, associate professor of exercise science, and his students recently published a paper involving diabetes in the Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology peer-reviewed journal. Students contributed to the research by designing and executing experiments, interpreting data and writing the manuscript.

Their research investigated the effect of insulin resistance in a model of skeletal muscle on the predominant transport protein (LAT1) of a select group of amino acids called branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). He says this research was an extension of previous research in his lab on the relationship between BCAA and insulin resistance.

Vaughan says BCAA are significant in insulin resistance because their accumulation in the blood is a strong predictor of severity of insulin resistance. Previous research has found those with insulin resistance have a decreased ability to metabolize BCAA, however it is less studied whether diabetic populations have a decreased ability to uptake BCAA into muscle due to altered LAT1.

“My lab, along with collaborations with chemistry professor Dr. Andrew Wommack, showed that insulin resistance promotes BCAA accumulation outside of cultured muscle cells, and that this occurs independent of changes in LAT1,” said Vaughan. “Our findings not only implicate insulin resistance as a causal mechanism in the accumulation of extracellular BCAA, but that this effect occurs regardless of prior BCAA exposure.”

Psychology Student Presents Research from Grant at State Symposium

HPU Examining the effect of anger on pain tolerance: Does the Target Matter?Psychology student Ashley Cruz was awarded a nearly $1,500 Undergraduate Research Grant from Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, to pursue her project “Exploring the Effects of Different Types of Anger on Pain Tolerance.” She presented the results to this project at the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium earlier this month.

The Undergraduate Research Grants are awarded to Psi Chi students who demonstrate competence of and commitment to psychology’s best research practices. The grant also helps students learn how to apply and manage research grants.

“This grant impacted our research by covering material and equipment costs, making our experimental design a reality,” said Cruz, from Waxhaw, North Carolina. “Additionally, the skills I have gained and will continue to acquire through this process will be instrumental in my future endeavors in higher education and the field of psychology.”

The Psi Chi Society is meant to encourage, stimulate and help advance the field and science of psychology.

Cruz graduated this month and is continuing to further her education as an aspiring psychometrist.

Associate Professors of Psychology Present Research in Boston

HPU Kimberly Wear Jones
Dr. Kimberly Wear Jones

Drs. Kimberly Wear Jones and Stacy Lipowski, associate professors of psychology, recently presented two research posters on the production effect at the 63rd annual Psychonomic Society meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. Five HPU students studying psychology joined the professors at the conference.

The production effect is the phenomenon in which items that are produced, whether verbally or written, while studying are remembered better at test-taking time rather than those studied silently. Drs. Wear Jones and Lipowski studied this theory through the effectiveness of writing in both elementary

HPU Stacy Lipowski
Dr. Stacy Lipowski

age children and older adults.

“My favorite aspect of the conference is meeting with scholars who are intimately familiar with my area of research,” said Lipowski. “This leads to fruitful discussions and helpful feedback for future research projects. It is also great to connect with friends and peers at other institutions.”

Their results found that writing is the most effective memory strategy for both children and older adults.