West Virginia State University Student Research Featured in Leading Scientific Journals

Contact: Jack Bailey
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July 1, 2024
West Virginia State University Student Research Featured in Leading Scientific Journals

INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- The research of several West Virginia State University (WVSU) students has been featured recently in a variety of leading scientific publications. The work, led by Drs. Umesh K. Reddy and Padma Nimmakayala, advances global knowledge in the field of plant genomics, showcasing the university’s commitment to driving innovation and progress in biotechnology and agricultural research.

The thesis work of WVSU graduate students Brittany Davenport, Ambika Bhattarai, Krittika Tonapi, Sateesh Choudary and Lizbeth Ibarra-Munoz was featured in May in the publication of Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Initiated in 2018, their research explores the development of pepper fruit colors as nutraceutical markers. This study highlights the university’s dedication to exploring innovative agricultural applications and introduces a technology with the potential to revolutionize pepper color extracts in the food and cosmetic industries. Fruit color is an important determinant of market value as it is used to determine use in food colorants, cosmeceuticals and is an indicator of nutritional content. 

The work of Samantha Belcher, a recent graduate of the Biotechnology master’s degree program, along with fellow WVSU graduate students Gerardo Flores-Iga, Garret Crummett, Alicia Talavera-Caro, Celeste Rodriguez and Amrtya Das, was featured in June in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Their in-depth study on curcumin’s beneficial effects showcases the contributions of young researchers to advancing our understanding of biotechnology.                    

“I have always aspired to be a researcher,” Belcher said. “I owe my gratitude to Drs. Reddy and Nimmakayala and the lab team for their unwavering support on my journey from being a curious undergrad to earning my master’s degree; they have helped me flourish and reach my full potential.”

Additionally, WVU and WVSU Ph.D. student Carlos Lopez-Ortiz’s collaboration with a global consortium on developing insect-resistant tomato plants was featured in the publication Plant Physiology in May. This recognition underscores WVSU’s involvement in international collaborations to address agricultural challenges. 
Finally, WVSU graduate student Sahithi Ramireddy’s comprehensive review of widening genetic diversity using embryo rescue in cucurbit crops was featured in the publication Plants in May.

The innovative research featured in these publications not only signifies WVSU’s pivotal role in driving scientific advancement in genetics and genomics research, but also the career opportunities it opens up for its students. 

“Engaging students in research projects is not just essential for their growth, but also enhances their critical thinking and practical application of knowledge,” Reddy said. “Publishing their work in scientific journals not only validates their efforts but also boosts their confidence, paving the way for further academic and career opportunities.”

For more information on these publications, please contact Dr. Umesh Reddy at ureddy@wvstateu.edu

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multigenerational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a "living laboratory of human relations," the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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