Dr. Gary Gray

Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Robert Moore

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Adam Reinhart

Professor of Chemistry and Biology


The Welch Departmental Grant continues to shape and positively influence the chemistry program at Wayland Baptist University in long-lasting ways. The benefits to the university as a whole continue to be evident, catalyzing on-going interests in research across multiple disciplines. Students involved in our Welch-funded research again had multiple opportunities to present posters and oral presentations of their work at local, regional and national meetings. Welch-funded research in chemistry continues to shape and direct the interests of our students, leading them to pursue graduate degrees in or related to chemistry. Recent program participants are in or have recently completed Ph.D. chemistry programs (Texas A&M, Auburn). Others are currently enrolled in medical school (Texas Tech), pharmacy school and biomedical graduate programs. Research and public presentation experiences garnered through the Welch-funded research continue to be invaluable preparation for our students, helping to insure their success in post-graduate programs. The university continued to support our undergraduate research programs during 2015-2016 with undergraduate research tuition credit, additional research supplies funding, and significant funding for students to travel to conference presentations.

Meet our summer 2016 Welch researchers.


Jake Brozek, Dr. Gary Gray & Dr. Adam Reinhart

Main Objective: To evaluate the cellular pathways by which molecules extracted from horsetail and elecampane kill breast cancer cell lines.

Results: Cancer can occur when the cellular pathways in a cell which normally tightly regulate cellular division are mutated and no longer function. In the course of this study, we assessed the activity levels of 8 different proteins in the cell which regulate the cell's ability to kill itself in a process called apoptosis. Most cancer cells have developed ways to bypass this normal cellular process and continue to divide despite cellular damage that would ordinarily cause a cell to die through apoptosis.

This past summer, we investigated horsetail and chaga mushroom extracts for their ability to activate apoptotic pathways in breast cancer cells. We found that horsetail does not activate proteins associated with apoptosis, while chaga mushroom does. Specifically, we found that chaga extract activates caspases 3 and 8, and cleaves a protein called Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, which inactivates it. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that extracts prepared from chaga mushrooms trigger apoptosis in the strain of breast cancer cells we are studying.

Mason Taylor Welch research


Mason Taylor, Dr. Robert Moore

Main Objective: Investigate the interaction between RecA and the isoniazid-resistance prone site on the Mycobacteriaum tuberculosis katG gene.

Results: Drug-resistance in tuberculosis is a major hindrance to the goal of controlling and eradicating tuberculosis. The vast majority of resistance-inducing mutations are single nucleotide polymorphisms arising from DNA mismatches during repair or replication. The organism Mycobacterium tuberculosis has no known mismatch repair mechanism, but uses the enzyme RecA to repair damaged DNA. Our lab previously demonstrated the RecA exhibits sequence specificity to single-stranded DNA that is not GC-content dependent. This summer, we looked more closely at a region on the katG gene that leads to isoniazid resistance. We observed that RecA exhibits weakest affinity for the regions immediately prior to and including the sequence where mutation leads to resistance. Other research has shown that RecA is also directed to bind to mismatches on double-stranded DNA that have low thermostability. The resistance-causing mutation, in this case, would come from C-C mismatch flanked upstream by a G-C base pair, thus being fairly thermostable. As such, both single-stranded and double-stranded RecA-DNA affinity studies concur that the properties of RecA would tend to permit this mismatch if it arose during RecA repair of damaged DNA.

Mason Taylor Welch research


Ethan Nicholson, Dr. Robert Moore

Main Objective: Develop cost-efficient protocol for rapid PDMS-microfluidic prototyping.

Results: Various combinations of imprinting and bonding methods were evaluated for effectiveness in creating uniform channels in polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS) microfluidic devices. Imprinting methods included embedding magnesium strips or metal amalgam wires into the PDMS followed by acid dissolution or creating molds with various types of adhesive tapes. Bonding methods included adhering fully-cured imprinted PDMS to non-imprinted partially-cured PDMS. While limited success was to be found with each combination, metal embedding was quickly ruled out based on incomplete dissolution or highly irregular channels, and creating molds with electrical tape and bonding partially-cured PDMS to partially-cured PDMS yielded to best results. The protocol will continue to be refined to improved the uniformity and openness of the channels, and the integrity of the fabricated devices will be determined by measuring the pressures and flow rates that can be tolerated. Once optimized, devices could be fabricated to greatly diminish the resources needed for microbiological experimentation, medical diagnostics, and fluid dynamic studies, to name just a few applications.