Undergraduate Research Programs in Biology

"Salt addiction is gender specific in satisfied athletes: Male athlete displays signs of salt addiction while female athlete avoids salty foods”. Robinson, S.; Phillips., W.; Derderian, D. School of Mathematics and Sciences, Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, TX, USA.

Increased salty food is seen in sodium-depleted humans. Vigorous physical activities cause sodium depletion. Thus, we investigated if WBU athletes crave more salt rich foods than non-athletes. Four hundred ninety-one healthy college student volunteers completed a food survey. Pleasantness of 29 foods was ranked from 0 (not pleasant) to 10 (extremely pleasant). Subjects endorsing either satiety (0-4 answer in a 0-10 scale) or hunger (5-10 answer) were divided by gender into two groups, athlete and non-athlete. Data was analyzed based on ranked food pleasantness and salt content (high, intermediate, or low). Satisfied female athletes [n=38] showed a decreased preference for ham (4±1*), bacon (5±1*), and peanut butter (6±1*) versus non-athletes (6±0, 7±0, 7±0, respectively) [n=104, *p<0.05]. Hungry female athletes [n=34] showed decreased preference for pickles (5±1*), peanut butter (6±1*), salad (6±0*), milk (5±1*), celery (3±1*), and carrots (5±1*) versus non-athlete (6±0, 7±0, 8±0, 7±0, 5±0 and 7±0, respectively) [n=49]. Satisfied male athletes [n=69] have an increased preference for ham (8±0*) and spaghetti (8±0*) versus non-athlete [n=61] (6±0 and 7±0, respectively). The male hungry athlete [n=80] has an increased preference for rice (7±0*) and orange (8±0*) versus non-athlete [n=41] (6±0 and 7±0), respectively). Results suggest that the satisfied and hungry female athlete avoids salty foods; the satisfied male athlete preferred salty foods; and the hungry male athlete craved foods rich in polysaccharide, protein, and vitamin C.


“Purification of components from Inula hilinium (elecampane) which are cytotoxic to the 4T1 murine breast cancer cell line”. McElwain, T.E.; Kelly, S.C.; Rivera, A.M.; Kenneson, J.R.; McCutcheon, R.T.; Gray, G.O.; Reinhart, A.J.School of Mathematics and Sciences, Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, TX, USA.

The plant Inula hilinium (elecampane), is a medicinal plant that is found widely throughout England. It has been used as a diuretic, antiseptic, skin cream and has been used in treating pulmonary diseases. Previous studies in our laboratory have shown elecampane to be toxic to 4T1 murine breast cancer cells. Powdered elecampane root powder was refluxed in dichlorlomethane for 1 hour, the dichloromethane was distilled off and the extract was resuspended in ethanol. The resulting ethanolic extract was size fractionated on a Sephadex LH20 column with 75% ethanol as the mobile phase and initially analyzed through absorbencies at 280nm. Fractions from the column were assayed for cytotoxic effects on 4T1 cells. Cytotoxic fractions were further characterized using HPLC (solid phase: C18, mobile phase: 0-75% methanol gradient over 30 minutes). One peak was identified through HPLC from the most cytotoxic fraction. This peak was collected and further characterized using mass spectroscopic analysis (MALDI TOF). Based on the mass spectroscopic analysis, the most likely size of the cytotoxic molecule isolated through this study was determined to be 440g/mol. Further research is ongoing to identify this cytotoxic component of elecampane. Also planned is the use of soil analysis of the area to more effectively define the relationship between precipitation and lake fluctuations while considering lake bottom infiltration.