Capitol visit

Students present world-class research to legislators at UM System Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol.

  • Fifteen Mizzou attendees stand in front of a curtain at the UM System Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City.
    Thirteen Mizzou students presented 11 projects as part of this year's UM System Undergraduate Research Day.

April 13, 2022
Contact: Marcus Wilkins,

“Show your work.” We hear the phrase early and often in our academic careers. Then, at some point, it takes on new meaning.

Thirteen students from the University of Missouri showed their work at the UM System Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol Monday, April 11, in Jefferson City — presenting 11 research projects from an array of disciplines. The annual event highlights the hands-on opportunities available to undergraduates at all four UM System campuses.

The rotunda echoed with enthusiastic conversations as students, legislators, faculty members and other guests discussed cutting-edge investigations by undergraduates across the Show-Me State.

“The classroom alone isn’t enough for me,” said Calvin Davis, a senior architectural studies major from Moberly, Missouri. “The ability to work with graduate students and lab directors on highly technical research means I get to draw from their experience in real time. It has been pivotal.”

Mentored by Kannappan Palaniappan, professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the College of Engineering, Davis presented his work modeling urban areas in virtual environments.

Nearby, a trio of senior biological engineering students — Annie Casburn of Shawnee, Kansas; Mori Hodel of Fenton, Missouri; and Halle Reach of Kansas City, Missouri — presented research from the lab of Kiruba Krishnaswamy, assistant professor of biological engineering. The group studies the use of soymeal byproduct to enhance traditional semolina-based pasta in the interest of sustainability.

“I was undecided as to what academic track I wanted to take, and this research helped me realize I am interested in food research and food development,” said Hodel. “Now I have an internship this summer with a food-processing company, something I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Austin Spratt, senior mathematics major from Columbia, presented perhaps the timeliest research project of the event. Working with Kamlendra Singh, assistant professor of veterinary pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Spratt’s COVID-19 research combines experimental data, bioinformatics and artificial intelligence to predict outcomes from variants of the virus.

“Until this opportunity, I had never been in a situation where the research I’ve done has directly impacted the community,” Spratt said. “Now I’m getting to see people getting treated because of some of these discoveries.”

Linda Blockus, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, escorted the group of Tigers to the event.

“As a research institution, our students not only learn about research, they’re also creating research,” Blockus said. “They’re doing creative scholarship and they are contributing to discoveries in their fields — whether they are applied or basic sciences.”

This year's Mizzou participants at UM System Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol were:
  • Annie Casburn, Mori Hodel and Halle Reach: New sustainable pasta products using waste products from soy manufacturing
  • Rebecca Croon: Watershed models as tools for developing effective pollution reduction plans
  • Calvin Davis: 3D modeling of cities for virtual environments
  • Brogan Eyre: The efficacy of selected fungicides for the protection of wine grapes in Missouri
  • Brandon Ford: Falling into the same patterns? An examination of minority portrayals in social identity-focused news outlets
  • Lydia Jefferson: Stream metabolism: The breath of urban streams
  • Cade McKnelly: The effect of official corruption on trust in government
  • Andrew Mitchell: Overview of radiopharmaceuticals: bifunctional N2O2 Schiff base ligands for 99mTc and 186Re
  • Austin Spratt: Complex mutation patterns of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron: Evading antibodies without losing receptor recognition
  • Kathryn Vanden Hoek: Utilizing plant stress responses to clean up polluted soils
  • Brooke Weiler: Measuring gene activity of bone-building cells in a mouse model of brittle bone disease

Read more on UM President Mun Choi's Blog

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