Eight UPIKE Students Named 2024 ACA Ledford Scholars

The University of Pikeville (UPIKE) is pleased to announce eight students were selected to receive Appalachian College Association (ACA) Ledford Research Scholarships. These scholarships offer financial assistance for summer and fall research projects to undergraduate students enrolled at ACA member institutions. Ledford Scholars receive guidance from a UPIKE faculty member and later present their research from a variety of fields of study, such as health sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) Professor of Biochemistry Sujin Bao, Ph.D., serves as the mentor for biology major Connor McGuire. His research is titled “The Role of Two Noncoding RNAs in Memory of Mice.”

Assistant Professor of Information Technology Management (ITM) Praveen Guraja, Ph.D., is serving as the mentor for ITM major James Price. His research topic is “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Techniques in Diabetes Prediction and Management in Eastern Kentucky.”

KYCOM Associate Professor of Physiology Guichun Han, Ph.D., serves as the mentor for chemistry and psychology major Erica Werth and biomedical sciences major Wali Ghayur. Werth’s research is titled “Determine the Mechanism of How Estrogen Promotes the Bradykinin Effect on Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase.” Ghayur’s research is titled “Determine the Mechanism of Estrogen-induced G Protein Activation in Coronary Artery.”

UPIKE Chaplain and Instructor of Religion Rob Musick, Ph.D., is serving as the mentor to history major Kolton Hall and business major Ethan Stiltner. Hall’s research topic is titled “Folk Religious Ideas and Practices of Central Appalachia and Its Impact on Communal Belonging.” Stiltner’s topic is titled “Spiritual Needs and Practices of Homeless Persons in Rural Eastern Kentucky and Southwestern West Virginia.”

Assistant Professor of Biology Jessica Slade, Ph.D., serves as the mentor for biomedical sciences majors Alexa Muha and Eva Roach. Their joint research is titled “Detection of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Soil Samples from Southwestern Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.”

UPIKE Provost Lori Werth, Ph.D., values the opportunities that have come with the university’s partnership with the ACA. She encourages students to pursue specialized learning and research opportunities such as those afforded by the Ledford Research Scholarships.

“We are so proud of our UPIKE Bears and believe deeply in student and faculty collaborative research. These experiences will benefit our students and their future career pathways,” said Werth. “Thank you to the faculty mentors for making it a priority on our campus to contribute to developing knowledge in a field or study.”