OHSU

REU intern wins Fall research symposium

10/28/08

Portland, Ore—Anna-Mai Christmas, Marine Biology student from the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), won first place at the 10th Annual Fall Research Symposium hosted by the UVI's Division of Science and Mathematics.

Christmas presented the research she performed last summer at the Center for Coastal Margin Observation & Prediction (CMOP). The research involved determining a simple efficient colorimetric method in measuring acetaminophen in water using a spectrophotometer.

The Fall Research Symposium was held September 21, 2008 on the St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. The symposium showcased 51 students who have done research in Biology, Marine Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, Astronomy, Engineering, Psychology and Mathematics.

Christmas joined CMOP last summer as part of the centers undergraduate internship program. She worked with her senior mentor, Tawnya Peterson, Ph.D., on developing a simple assay for acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol and many other analgesics) in aquatic samples.

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products are being found in greater quantities in the water recently. There are currently very few methods in measuring acetaminophen in water. Christmas and Peterson decided to develop a means of measurement. We are not sure what effects acetaminophen could have on aquatic organisms but I would like to do future research to explore those effects, said Christmas.

"I was thrilled that she took first place in the UVI Fall Research Symposium," Peterson. "She worked really hard in the lab all summer, and she got some nice results. I'm really proud of the work that she did, and I'm glad to see that has taken her research experiences at CMOP back to her home institution."

In November, Christmas will be presenting her research poster at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Orlando, Florida.