Chemistry student researching at Montana’s Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience

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Pain is something we have come to accept as part of life. We even give pain its own motto — no pain, no gain. While we may not be able to eliminate pain, we can develop methods to cope with it, and Delta State student Tyler Daniels is researching the effects of a possible pain reliever.

Daniels, a senior chemistry and biology major from Hattiesburg, is working on a medical chemistry research project at the University of Montana’s Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience. For his research project, he is working on the synthesis of a Cytochrome P450 inhibitor with potential as a natural pain reliever, as well as the synthesis of a T-type calcium channel blocker with potential as a neuropathy-related pain reliever.

“I began the project in mid-June,” Daniels said. “My responsibilities include reviewing previously published research, the synthesis of a series of compounds and the purification of these compounds. The end goal is that the final products will be sent off for both in-vitro and in-vivo testing as potential pain relievers.”

Daniels began searching for internships in the spring and came across the project in Montana online.

“Because I had no prior research experience, I thought working on a project in my field of study with a potential medical application would be a great learning opportunity,” Daniels said. “This research experience has allowed me to expand my knowledge of the medicinal chemistry field and has given me a lot of insight on graduate study as a whole.”

Dr. Sharon Hamilton, assistant professor of chemistry at Delta State, has been keeping up with Daniels’ progress over the summer. She knew he had applied to several summer research experiences for undergraduate programs and is thrilled for the opportunity Daniels’ received with the University of Montana.

“We have corresponded this summer, and he’s expressed how much he enjoys his research project,” Hamilton said. “Based on these experiences, I feel confident that Tyler will excel working in my lab this fall on a new synthesis project. I’m very happy Tyler earned this opportunity. He is a wonderful student and very hardworking, effectively balancing football and chemistry courses, as well as his obligations to the Rural Physicians Program and spearheading the formation of a chapter of the Mississippi Rural Health Association on campus.”

For more information about the chemistry program at Delta State, contact Hamilton at 662-846-4479 or

MS School for Math and Science students complete summer research

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Pictured (left to right): Student John Tierce, Dr. Sharon K. Hamilton, Dr. Adam Johanson and student Stormy Gale.

Two visiting students from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science recently wrapped up a two-week research experience at Delta State under the direction of the Department of Chemistry and Physics.

Rising seniors participating in the program were Stormy Gale (Columbus, Mississippi) and John Tierce (Cleveland, Mississippi).

“The Department of Chemistry and Physics is been proud to once again host summer research students from the Mississippi School for Math and Science,” said Dr. Joe Bentley, chair of the department. “When students come to Delta State for a summer research experience like this, it’s great all the way around. The MSMS students get a taste for doing research in an academic lab, it will help them with their applications to college, and the professor gets to work with highly qualified high school students.”2017 math science interns-1

Tierce worked closely with Dr. Sharon K. Hamilton, assistant professor of chemistry.

“John has been working with other students in my lab determining the optimal formulations for drug-loaded natural polymer fibers,” said Hamilton. “These fibers can be used for drug delivery and wound healing purposes. John is gaining valuable research experience that will help him as he pursues his college degree next year. It is my hope that our high school chemistry and physics research program can continue to grow in the years to come, especially with such great student recommendations from Dr. Elizabeth Morgan at MSMS.”

Tierce also partnered on research with current Delta State students Katie Penton (Southaven, Mississippi), a graduate student in chemistry, and Zachary Kinler (Pascagoula, Mississippi), an undergraduate student.

Gale worked with Dr. Adam Johanson, planetarium director and assistant professor of physics.

“Stormy Gale spent two weeks developing an original planetarium presentation entitled ‘History of Astronomy,’” said Johanson. “She not only outlined the show, but wrote over 1,000 lines of computer code to program the planetarium to display videos, pictures and animations to complement the narration.”

The presentation of Gale’s hard work was given to the public on July 21 in the Wiley Planetarium.

Hamilton’s research is supported by the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, and funded by an Institutional Development Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103476.

Learn more about Delta State’s Department of Chemistry and Physics at

Young-Mauldin closes for major renovations

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Members of the  President’s Cabinet and fellow staff members shared lunch at Delta State’s Young-Mauldin Dining Hall on Thursday, the final meal to be served at the cafeteria until major building renovations come to fruition.

According to Jeff Barkman, director of Facilities Management at Delta State, the $9.2 million in renovations will include an updated dining space, theater, snack bar and private dining room. The remodeling will also feature a new state-of-the-art kitchen.

The new temporary dining location will be the State Room in the H.L. Nowell Student Union. A temporary kitchen has also been constructed across the hall.

Jamie Rutledge, vice president for Finance and Administration at Delta State, said the anticipated start of construction is Sept. 1 and will continue for 18 months.

“The cafeteria will be totally renovated throughout the entire building,” said Rutledge. “All of the mechanical, plumbing and electrical will be completely replaced. Repairs will also include all new kitchen equipment, furniture and serving lines.”

Untitled-1Dr. Vernell Bennett, vice president for Student Affairs, said the renovations would provide a major boost to the student dining experience.

“Student Affairs is excited about this project. This state-of-the-art facility will benefit both current and future students by improving the university’s service delivery, campus facility and food service offerings, and recruitment,” said Bennett. “The theater and private dining room will be very helpful for programming and will serve as a vital additional outlet for student engagement activities and projects. The updated dining space and expanded food service choices will afford our students more options for dining, which was the topic of several town hall forums that Student Affairs sponsored last spring.”

Ashley Griffin, president of the Student Government Association, said her peers are also looking forward to the upgrades.

“When we survey students at Delta State for things they feel will enhance their college experience, responses always includes Wi-Fi and their cafe experience,” said Griffin. “By remodeling the cafe with these accommodations, it will become a great place for eating, but also a place for students to socialize and relax in an on-campus area that’s not the dorm. The updates in the kitchen will hopefully give the cooks more food options to serve students. I feel this is a step towards fulfilling what students having been wanting for years.”

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Taylor charting the course for habitat conservation

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Combining habitant conservation with geospatial information technologies is Hannah Taylor’s mission this summer.

Taylor, a wildlife habitat management major at Delta State, is a data management/field technician intern under the Rice Stewardship Partnership at Ducks Unlimited, partnered with USA Rice, at the Southern Regional Office located in Ridgeland.

She assists in day-to-day operations, creating and updating project tracking databases, mapping in GIS software, and generating facts and figures for reporting to partners.

“I hope to gain the knowledge and experience of how a conservation organization operates,” said Taylor. “Being a part of this organization has been a great opportunity for me as a wildlife habitat management major, and I hope to pass my knowledge on to other students who may be interested in seeking a career in wildlife habitat management.”

The internship was a dream come true for Taylor, who grew up attending youth camps at Ducks Unlimited.

“My family and I are members of the Ducks Unlimited Bolivar County Chapter and have been for as long as I can remember,” she said. “Growing up, my brother and I were involved in the youth camps that DU had every year and were made ‘Greenwings’ at the age of five. We attend every DU banquet we can to show our support.”

Founded in 1937, DU is the world’s leading conservation agency for wetlands and waterfowl. Its mission is to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and habitats for North America’s waterfowl. The organization has projects in all 50 states and has conserved over 13 million acres of waterfowl habitat in North America, according to its website.

When the time came for Taylor to apply for her internship, Dr. Ellen Green, chair of the department of biological sciences and associate professor of biology, knew of Taylor’s interest in studying waterfowl and GIS and suggested she apply to DU.

“Hannah expressed to me last spring that she wanted to find an internship that would combine her interests in studying waterfowl and GIS,” said Green. “This internship appears to be the perfect match for her. After talking with her recently and hearing more about her summer experience, I am confident that the knowledge and skills she is learning through Ducks Unlimited and through her environmental science degree will make her a very competitive candidate for a wide range of positions.”

For more information about Ducks Unlimited, visit For more information about the wildlife habitat management program at Delta State, contact Green at 662-846-4240 or

University to break ground on Statesmen Boulevard

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Delta State University cordially invites university supporters to the groundbreaking ceremony for Statesmen Boulevard on July 19 at 2 p.m. at the Dorgan Center on campus.

The Statesmen Boulevard project will create a new and improved gameday traffic entrance for the university’s athletic facilities north of Highway 8 and west of the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Funding for this project was made possible in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Additionally, there will be a 20 percent local match from Delta State and the City of Cleveland.

Construction will also include improvement of streets around and in front of the football stadium, new sidewalks and street lighting installation, and the construction of new storm drainage piping and fencing.

Senator Thad Cochran played a major role in securing federal funding for the project.

“I am thrilled that the Statesmen Boulevard project is about to commence,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge. “We are finally seeing the fruition of a lot of hard work and planning, including a wonderful amount of support garnered by U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, who was able to steer federal money for this project. We are very grateful to the senator. The university also has skin in the game, as we have matched the federal funds with $500,000 that we’ve taken from our budget the last two years to contribute to the cost and support of this project.”

LaForge said that upon completion, the university will have a much improved routing system for sporting event traffic.

“This new routing will curtail the need to go through neighborhoods or cut through campus by the Coliseum, and provide a safer and more efficient transportation flow for all of our fans, alumni and students alike.”

MDOT pitched the Statesmen Boulevard project as a safety issue. By re-routing gameday traffic, students and fans walking and driving to the athletic venues will no longer have to maneuver in high volume traffic between parked cars alongside residences.

“This campus connector project will have a big impact on the Statesmen community,” said Dick Hall, transportation commissioner with MDOT. “It will significantly improve safety and efficiency for residents, students and visitors.”

Delta State Athletic Director Ronnie Mayers is also thrilled to break ground on a new project that will safely welcome fans to campus.

“We are excited to begin construction on Statesmen Boulevard as a new way to welcome fans to Delta State athletic events,” said Mayers. “Delta State is always thankful for its dedicated fans, and this project will provide them a grand entrance as they come to cheer on the Green and White.”

Jeff Barkman, director of Facilities Management at Delta State, said the project would be competed in the spring of 2018.

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