Lee News

Foster and Landry Present at ACA Conference



Lee University students Jed Foster, a senior anthropology major from Sweetwater, Tennessee, and Elizabeth Landry, a junior biochemistry major and Bradley county resident, recently presented research findings at the Appalachian College Association (ACA) Conference.

Foster and Landry were awarded a combined total of over $10,000 of Colonel B. Ledford Scholarships to conduct original research this summer. They were among 26 students from the Appalachian region to receive this award from the ACA.

Under the mentorship of Dr. Murl Dirksen, professor of anthropology and sociology at Lee, Foster was involved in ethnographic interviewing in the People’s Republic of China. Over a two-month period, he interviewed 30 residents of Chinese villages and cities, drawing qualitative data from millennials, parents, and grandparents.

According to Foster, the nature of his investigation was to gather reflections on the previous policy and attitudes toward the new regulations such as the repealing of the one-child policy in favor of a two-child policy in January 2016.

“Jed’s qualitative methodology and findings are exceptional,” said Dirksen. “Given the difficulty of conducting this type of research on government population policy and programming, Foster has done an amazing job for an undergraduate. He is one of the brightest and most promising student scholars I have had the privilege to work with.”

With Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Jonathan Cornett as her mentor, Landry conducted research in the molecular biology laboratory at Lee. She focused on studying Huntington’s disease (HD), a genetic disease that causes late-onset neurodegeneration, using human cell culture models.

Landry’s work sought to dissect how the mutation associated with HD causes the death of cells in the brain. Her results implicate another protein, p53, in this process.

“Elizabeth was able to make solid progress on her project over the summer, and her results are very exciting as they provide a path for further study,” said Cornett. “Elizabeth’s interest in psychiatry naturally extends to the study of neurological disorders like Huntington’s disease. She is an excellent and highly motivated student, and I look forward to seeing her continue to progress in her career.”

In addition to Foster and Landry, nine members of Lee’s leadership and faculty also presented research at the ACA Conference. Those who presented include Dr. Daniela Augustine, Dr. Joshua Black, Dr. La-Juan Bradford, Dr. Jonathan Cornett, Dr. Matthew Krepps, Angeline McMullin, Dr. Kimberly Moffett, Dr. Deborah Murray, and Cathy Yaun.

The ACA is an association of 35 private four-year liberal arts institutions from the central Appalachian Mountains including Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

For more information about the Appalachian College Association, visit ACA.
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