CALS Students Receive Both President’s Awards at Student Showcase

CALS undergraduate student, Quinea Lassiter at the Student Showcase (courtesy of Soohee Cho)
CALS undergraduate student, Quinea Lassiter at the Student Showcase (courtesy of Soohee Cho)

Two College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students, Andri Rachmadi and Quinea Lassiter, won the 21st graduate and undergraduate President’s Awards for their academic research during the November 2013 Student Showcase held here at UA.

Andri Rachmadi, a graduate student in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science received the graduate President’s Award for his wastewater treatment study. Quinea Lassiter, an undergraduate microbiology major in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, received the corresponding undergraduate award for her research on the inhibition of gene expression that causes the formation of cancer.

The President’s Award is given annually to a single graduate student and a single undergraduate student who exemplify innovative academic research and community service. It is presented in conjunction with the Graduate and Professional Student Council’s Student Showcase. The award includes a plaque and $1,000 donated by the President’s Office.

Rachmadi’s research titled, Pepper Mild Mottle Virus (PMMoV) concentration in Wetland as Secondary Wastewater Treatment in Arizona, deals with the assessment of sewage discharge-contaminated wastewater treatment. PMMoV acts as an indicator for fecal pollution in water, so by testing for the virus in Arizona’s treated wastewater it can be determined if the efficacy of the natural treatment of wastewater via wetlands is high or not.

Rachmadi’s research indicates that by using these methods, Arizona can determine if their treatment methods are viable and thus need to be altered or not. This would significantly decrease viruses in Arizona water and benefit the community with safer and cleaner recycled water.

Lassiter’s study, titled Pioneering New Drug Targets for Inhibiting c-Myc Expression, focuses on targeting an over-expressed cancer gene to halt the spread of cancer cells. The overexpression of gene c-Myc is responsible for the proliferation of cancer cells but can be regulated by “turning off” the gene with the synthetic compound NSC 316157. This compound has potential to be used in future drugs in treatment of cancer.

Chuck Gerba, professor of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, and Masaaki Kitajima, an associate in the Gerba Lab, collaborated with Rachmadi during his study.

Date released: 
Mar 4 2014
Contact: 
Chuck Gerba