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McMurry Announces 2013 Bloomer and Beasley Research Stipends


The McMurry University Science and Math Advisory Board has selected the recipients of next year’s Bloomer and Beasley Research Stipends.

Miranda Nguyen, Nicole McGunegle, and Heath Koop were all awarded the Bloomer Research Stipend for next year. The award covers up to $1500 of stipend and expenses for students doing research under the direction of a faculty member. This is the third year for the award, established in honor of Dr. Charles Bloomer and his wife, Lisa.

Heather Rawls is the first recipient of the Clark Beasley Research Stipend. Dr. Beasley was a beloved biology professor who touched many lives at McMurry. An endowed fund has been established in his honor. This award is for biology students who are working on summer research projects.

Heather, Miranda, and Nicole are all working on related microbiology projects. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a relative of B. cereus and B. anthracis. The three are physiologically nearly indistinguishable, except for the toxin each produces. Bt produces a toxin against larvae of some insects, Bc a toxin sometimes affecting humans, and Ba causes anthrax. When these three species starve, they form spores that are dormant and resistant. However Bt’s spore differs from the others in its properties due to the inclusion of the insecticidal toxin into its spore coat, which alters many of the spore properties. The women will be looking at a variety of issues with respect to germination of spores; the influence of growth media on spore and crystal size; and the spore characteristics related to dormancy and heat/chemical/UV resistance for genetically engineered spores and wild types.

Heath Koop will be working with Dr. Tim Renfro to design and build an induction smelting furnace used in melting and casting metal parts. An induction furnace reaches higher temperatures more quickly and efficiently than our current combustion furnace. In this project, Heath will construct a small furnace with an insulation canister and electronic controls.