Blog Post 4

This semester I have been conducting research with my faculty advisor Dr. Jaimelee Rizzo. The title of our project is “Synthesis and investigation of new antibacterial surfaces utilizing natural substances”.  The objectives of this research project was to characterize the antibacterial and ultraviolet light protection qualities different essential oils, plant powders, agar and natural butters. This was accomplished by the synthesizing of new surfaces consisting of natural butter, agar, essential oils and plant powders. These surfaces contained only one of each of the natural substances in order to classify them individually. These samples were then sent out to our collaborators at Long Island University Post for bacterial testing. Samples containing natural butters as their base were also tested, here at Pace, for ultraviolet light protection qualities.

Results were obtained for the samples by zone of clearance; anything 1.1 cm or greater was considered antibacterial and ultraviolet light results were scaled from 1-10, 1 being worst and 10 being best. Throughout the research process, we found that Cinnamon Cassia essential oil was most effective for antibacterial and ultraviolet light protection properties for both agar and natural butter based samples. It was also found that with the addition of Chlorella or Ginseng natural plant powder, antibacterial properties were increased. We believe that the compound Cinnamaldehyde is responsible for the antibacterial properties in Cinnamon Cassia oil.

During the semesters, I have learned valuable problem-solving and research techniques. This project has taught me the importance of collaboration with my faculty mentor and our collaborators at Long Island University Post. It is near impossible to carry out any research project alone and I am very thankful for my faculty mentor for helping me throughout the entire process. I have also learned how to manage my time in order to have time for my research, my classes and my personal life.

From conducting this research, I was fortunate enough to present my findings at this year’s American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in Orlando, Florida and present at Pace University’s spring Society of Fellows Meeting. Presenting at both of these events has given me great experience in public speaking and presentation as well as networking. At the ACS meeting I was able to meet many different students and faculty from institutions around the country. I was also able to gain feedback and comments about my research and what I could pursue in the future.

I am extremely thankful to Pace University’s Office of Student Success for this opportunity this year. It taught me more about what it takes to conduct research and it helped me gain confidence in myself and my work. I look forward to carrying this knowledge with me in my future.

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