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As the backbone of life on our planet, water is one of the most important substances on earth.  Humans, animals, and plants all need it to survive. It makes up over 70 percent of our earth’s surface, and yet, our water is threatened daily by pollution.

Among the biggest threats to clean waterways is oil pollution. According to a 2003 study, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences reported that 343,200,000 gallons of oil were released into the sea worldwide (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2015). Of this, 52 percent is attributed to human activity.

Oil in our waterways poses a wide range of environmental problems. For example, the largest oil spill in the US occurred in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground in Alaska (Figure 1). Within six hours, the ship spilled over 10 million gallons of crude oil, which killed an estimated 900 bald eagles, 250,000 sea birds, 2,800 sea otters and 300 harbor seals. The spill affected more than 1,100 mile

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Horses (Equus caballus) are prone to sports injuries that can bring the end of competition, if not life. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are the future of regenerative medicine. The iPSCs are created by taking a skin punch and isolating the fibroblast cells. The fibroblasts are transfected with mRNA to transform them into iPSCs, which can then differentiate into any cell type, such as tendon, cardiac, or nerve cells. These can potentially be used to heal equine injuries. The process used here has been completed successfully with human cells. The hope is that the process to create human iPSCs is transferrable to horses. The goal for this year was to transform Equus caballus fibroblast cells into iPSCs.

Fibroblast cells isolated from a skin punch obtained in 2017 were cultured and transfected with mRNA coding for transcription factors that reprogram them into iPSCs. Different conditions were tested, including multiple cell lines, cell number, volume of media, and amount of

With a significant increase in global agricultural runoff in the past decade, microalgae have emerged as an important catalyst for effluent treatment. Nannochloropsis oculata is a species of green microalgae that has been utilized in the industry for both its rapid growth rates and ability to absorb both nitrates and phosphates, the two main compounds found in farm runoff. As carbon dioxide is a key reactant in photosynthesis, and thus essential for algal growth, this experiment was designed to see if there is a correlation between carbon dioxide levels and nutrient absorption, maximizing both algal growth and effluent purification. The hypothesis was that the algal culture with the highest concentration of carbon dioxide would remove the most nitrates and phosphates as increased carbon dioxide would increase photosynthetic rate, and thus increase cell density to allow for greater nutrient absorption.
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