Owasso RSU senior wins first place for research into harmful effects of e-cigarettes | News

From staff reports

Bryce Sanchez, a student at Rogers State University, Owasso, presented his research in biology at the 27th Annual Research Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol on March 29.

His research on “The Effects of Nicotine and E-Cigarette Juice on the Development and Lifespan of Drosophila Melanogaster” won first place in the Regional, Community, and Tribal College category.

Sanchez said he hopes to educate the public about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

“This research is important to me because many teenagers and young adults are becoming addicted to e-cigarettes across the United States today,” he said. “Women who smoke during pregnancy affect a life other than their own. I really want people to realize exactly what they are putting into their lungs and their bodies, because it really is more harmful than most of us realize.

Twenty-one students representing 15 colleges and universities gathered on the State Capitol’s second-floor rotunda to showcase the outstanding research being conducted on Oklahoma campuses. Members of the State Legislative Assembly and Capitol guests toured the student poster displays to learn about the research projects, which covered important topics including ecological damage, nutrition, and cancer research.

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Sanchez’s research is part of his capstone studies in medical molecular biology. Associate Professor Dr. Jin Seo from the Department of Biology served as Bryce’s academic advisor.

“I am extremely proud that Bryce won the top prize during Research Day at the Capitol. For his review research, he wanted to test the effects of e-cigarette exposure on prenatal life,” Seo said. “He decided to use fruit flies as a model system to test his hypothesis. Bryce completed his synthesis research last semester, but he continued to work on the project to expand on his previous findings this semester.

After collecting the data, Sanchez determined that flies exposed to e-cigarettes significantly reduced egg production; moreover, their descendants decreased energy storage and caused premature death.

“With the lack of research, some medical professionals and researchers suggest that tobacco itself contains many harmful chemicals while nicotine alone is relatively harmless,” Sanchez said. “It leads women to believe that it is safe to use nicotine gum, nicotine patches and e-cigarettes as withdrawal tools during pregnancy.

“We hypothesized the opposite of all of these claims and stated that we believed there would be a decrease in the development and lifespan of the offspring (using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism), which we concluded was correct.”

Sanchez will graduate on May 7 Summa Cum Laude. He was part of the RSU Honors Program and the President’s Leadership Class. Both scholarships provide an atmosphere for university students to challenge themselves academically and maximize their college experience.

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