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Biology students present research at Virginia General Assembly

Thomas Holman and Marisa Tillery present research at the Virginia General Assembly.
Liberty University seniors Marisa Tillery (left) and Thomas Holman present research at the Virginia General Assembly.

Two students from Liberty University’s Department of Biology & Chemistry shared their research with Virginia's legislators at the Virginia Academy of Science (VAS) Undergraduate Research Showcase during the annual session of the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond, Va.

Marisa Tillery, a senior in the biochemistry and molecular biology program, presented a case study about a young girl suffering from Russell-Silver syndrome, a debilitating growth disorder characterized by slow growth before and after birth.

Senior zoology major Thomas Holman shared his zoological research on the symbiotic relationship between a species of segmented worm and the Appalachian Brook Crayfish.

Tillery was also selected to give a presentation before the Virginia General Assembly’s Science and Technology Committee on the importance of undergraduate research.

“I am very pleased that Liberty University students were selected to present research in this forum,” said Dr. David DeWitt, chair of the Department of Biology & Chemistry. “We have a wide range of research projects that students can be involved in with faculty. With the emphasis on undergraduate research from the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, I anticipate even more research opportunities for students.”

Holman presented under the supervision of Kyle Harris, a biology instructor. Tillery was under the direction of Dr. Gary Isaacs, an associate professor of biology.

VAS cooperates with educational institutions, industries, and state agencies to promote scientific investigation and share information about the sciences. In addition, VAS provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of papers and presentations on scientific subjects.

Liberty students consistently receive recognition from the VAS for their research. Last fall, two teams of students won research grants for their poster presentations. Last summer, Liberty students and faculty were recognized for their research on Alzheimer’s disease and for the university’s first draft genome sequence, mapping the DNA of a popular strain of E. coli bacteria in hopes of helping to find a cure for diseases caused by the strain.

  • Liberty’s state-of-the-art technology and facilities are giving biology and chemistry students more opportunities for hands-on research. Read more in the Liberty Journal.