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Two FHU students, Dan Chang and Danny Ngabonziza, won first place for their research poster presentation and third place for their oral presentation during the Tennessee Academy of Science’s annual meeting in November.

The focus of their research is on an enzyme called topoisomerase. Ngabonziza is a senior biology major while Chang is a junior biology major. Chang said it is their hope that the research helps advance the field of cancer research.

“The reason we study it is because of its potential use in the discovery of new cancer drugs. It is involved in mitosis and hopefully will allow us to create better cancer medication,” he said.

The research is a culmination of the work done by the FHU Summer Research Team under the direction of Dr. Joe Deweese. The 2023 research team consisted of Chang, Ngabonziza, Allison Jones, Addie O’Brian, Matte Hardin, Brooke Latham and Clark Endsley. This was the second year for the Biochemical and Biomedical Sciences Summer Research Program at FHU.

Founded in 1912, the Tennessee Academy of Science hosts scholars and students from all regions of Tennessee. Members are invited to present at both the graduate and undergraduate levels at their yearly meetings. These meetings cover multiple scientific disciplines, and FHU students presented as a part of the cellular and molecular biology section.

students presenting

In addition to the Tennessee Academy of Science, FHU senior Clark Endsley will present at the American Chemical Society meeting in March. The ACS is a major national science organization, and this year’s meeting will take place in New Orleans. Endsley’s presentation focuses on the computer program that can be used to study protein sequences. Endsley is a double major in biology and chemistry with a biochemistry emphasis

Deweese said the plan is to complete the work from the summer of 2023 and submit a research manuscript to a journal. Then, the team will begin preparing for additional research in the summer of 2024.

“The poster and presentation represent work over the last year including focused work by the summer research students during our 6-week program,” Deweese said. “The students have collectively run hundreds of reactions and dozens of DNA gels to gather this data, and we are excited to see it all come together. The students also presented their work in a series of presentations at FHU’s University Scholar’s Day, and we look forward to submitting it as a manuscript to a journal soon.”

The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.