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Lexington, Ky. (March 21, 2024) — The 22nd annual Posters-at-the-Capitol held on March 7 featured 13 University of Kentucky undergraduate research projects with important implications for issues in Kentucky, including public safety, energy conservation, homeownership and lung cancer prevention. 

Posters-at-the-Capitol is hosted collaboratively by Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University. The event showcases the experience of undergraduate students engaged in research through high-quality poster displays at the state legislature. This year’s event had more than 100 student representatives from across the state displaying the results of their research. 

"Posters-at-the-Capitol allows students to share their research directly with policymakers and the best and brightest students around Kentucky. The breadth and depth of the research at the event was amazing, and it was a sign that Kentucky has a bright future ahead of it,” said Shria Holla, senior mathematical economics major, Lewis Honors senior and presenter at the 2024 Posters-at-the-Capitol event. “This event proved just how much the range of disciplines and research around Kentucky can have direct policy implications on our culture, society, and future.” 

With diverse research projects on display, Posters-at-the-Capitol enables those responsible for higher education funding in Kentucky to see the important role undergraduate research plays in the education of our students. Students learn more about the political process and how to advocate for undergraduate research at the local and state governmental level. 

The UK students participating in Posters-at-the-Capitol this year included: 

  • Hannah Allen, biology and Lewis Honors junior; Mentors: Dave Weisrock, Ph.D., and Mary Foley; “Investigating the Effects of Pregnancy on the Freshwater Mussel Lasmigona costata's Gut and Gill Microbiomes.” 

  • Maria Natalia Arenas Florez, biology sophomore and Gaines Fellow; Mentor: Yasminka Jakubek Swartzlander, Ph.D.; “Comparing Differences in the Endpoint of Mutations Between Ancestry Groups.” 

  • Tiffany Clark, computer science junior with co-presenter Sydney Chapman, computer science senior; Mentor: Brent Seales, Ph.D.; “Herculaneum Opened Scroll Database.” 

  • Chase Eastham, biotechnology senior; Mentor: Peter Nagy, Ph.D.; “Defining Cell Intrinsic Restriction Factor Activity Detrimental to Tombusviridae Replication.” 

  • Shria Holla, mathematical economics, Lewis Honors senior and Gaines Fellow; Mentor: James Ziliak, Ph.D.; “Stalled Progress? Five Decades of Black-White and Rural-Urban Income Gaps.” 

  • Rachel Hwang, psychology, sociology and philosophy junior; Mentor: Emily Hencken Ritter, Ph.D.; “Global Criminal Justice Practices and Public Safety.” 

  • Hena Kachroo, biochemistry and Lewis Honors junior; Mentor: Anne-Frances Miller, Ph.D.; “Generating Tools for Studying the Processes Underlying Energy Conserving Biochemical Reactions.” 

  • Samuel LeRose, physics junior; Mentor: Christopher Crawford, Ph.D.; “Design and Implementation of Digital Logic Filtration on Open-Source Field-Programmable Gate Arrays.” 

  • Nolan Marcum, agricultural and medical biotechnology junior; Mentor: Luksana Chaiswing, Ph.D.; “Identifying A Relationship Between Oxidative Stress And Immune Infiltration In Prostate Cancer Patients With Health Disparities Using Prostate Tumor Microarrays.” 

  • Zachary Owen, public policy and Lewis Honors senior; Mentor: Cory Curl, Ph.D.; “Homeownership and Mortgage Loans: How Important is a Conventional Loan?” 

  • Ellie Rice, neuroscience and psychology senior; Mentor: Meifan Chen, Ph.D.; “Astrocytic Contribution to Motor Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury.” 

  • Carey Beth Smith, health sciences junior; Mentor: Melinda Ickes, Ph.D.; “Lung Cancer Prevention and Education.” 

View all 2024 Posters-at-the-Capitol projects here


As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.