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UCO Student Places First at Oklahoma Research Day at the Capitol

Two students working in a laboratory

April 12, 2021

Media Contact: Chloe Hrdlicka, Marketing and Development Coordinator, UCO College of Mathematics and Science, 405-974-2740, chrdlicka@uco.edu

UCO Student Places First at Oklahoma Research Day at the Capitol

University of Central Oklahoma biomedical engineering student Kayley McBride placed first in the Regional, Community and Tribal College category at the 26th annual Oklahoma Research Day at the Capitol in March.

McBride, from Edmond, Oklahoma, worked on the research project with fellow student Mahnoor Ahsan, a biology-biomedical science major from Pakistan, and mentored by Christina Hendrickson, Ph.D., human physiology laboratory coordinator at Central and Mel Vaughan, Ph.D., interim chairperson and professor of biology at Central.

The project, which explores using dandelion extract to treat cervical cancer, began in 2019 when Vaughan and Hendrickson began researching the human dermal fibroblast cells as normal cells and HeLa cells, known as cervical cancer cells. 

"I will never forget the day we observed the anti-proliferative effect of dandelion extract on HeLa cells," Hendrickson said.

"It was exciting to see that dandelion stopped cancer cells proliferation and promoted programmed cell death but didn't have such effects on normal cell lines."

McBride joined the research team in fall 2020. 

"I love this research. It is amazing that a weed that people pay to have killed has been shown to have anti-cancer effects," she said. 

The research team has expanded their research through the funding of an Oklahoma IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant, Research, Creative, and Scholarly Activities and Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR) grants through Central and private donations. 

Research Day at the Capitol was established to showcase the outstanding undergraduate research conducted at Oklahoma's colleges and universities in the areas of science (including social science), technology, engineering and mathematics. Oklahoma colleges and universities nominate their top undergraduate student researchers to participate in the prestigious event each year.  

The event is sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Oklahoma Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (OK EPSCoR) and the National Science Foundation. 

For more information about Oklahoma Research Day at the Capitol, visit www.okepscor.org.

For more information about Central, visit www.uco.edu

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Editor's Note: Download art associated with this release at https://media.uco.edu/press/uploads/2021/04/ok-research-day-21.jpg

Cutline: University of Central Oklahoma biomedical engineering student Kayley McBride placed first in the Regional, Community and Tribal College category at the 26th annual Oklahoma Research Day at the Capitol in March. McBride, who is from Edmond, Oklahoma, worked on the research project with fellow student Mahnoor Ahsan, a biology-biomedical science major from Pakistan. Pictured, left to right, McBride and Ahsan work on the project, which explores using dandelion extract to treat cervical cancer.