Tyra Lewis has good reason to celebrate. Her research on the role of quercetin as an antioxidant has been recognized internationally.
This past July, the recent Forensic Science graduate who is now pursuing her Master of Science in Environmental and Life Sciences (ENLS), participated via Twitter in the Global Inorganic Discussion Weekdays (GIDW) Virtual Poster Competition, held by the Chemical Institute of Canada.
At the end of the two-day event, she learned she was the distinguished recipient of one of the poster prizes to be awarded by the Canadian Society of Chemistry.
Research based on fourth-year thesis course
Ms. Lewis’s poster, entitled “How Do Metal Ions Affect the Ability of a Flavonoid to Quench the Superoxide Anion Radical,” is based on research completed during her fourth-year undergrad thesis course, supervised by Dr. Sanela Martic, assistant professor, Forensic Science.
The research, which has not been previously extensively explored or understood, could yield new insight into new therapeutic approaches for these diseases.
“My presentation focused on the fundamental chemistry and inorganic aspects of the role that metallo-quercetin complexes play as antioxidants against the superoxide anion radical,” says Ms. Lewis. The superoxide anion radical generated in the body is implicated in diseases such as cancer and diabetes. “Flavonoids like quercetin help combat the reactions that the anion radical would induce in the body, so I was looking mainly at the mechanism behind how quercetin combats the anion radicals and then how implementing metal ions can cause the quercetin to become even more effective against them.”
Grateful for mentorship and support of the Martic Lab
Ms. Lewis credits Professor Martic and her lab (the Martic Lab) with helping her to build credibility and confidence as a researcher and present her work on the international stage. Since joining The Martic Lab in 2019, Ms. Lewis has had the opportunity to attend four virtual and three in-person conferences, present posters, co-publish a peer-reviewed paper and win two prizes. The other prize was the 2020 International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE) Belgrade Online Poster Prize, which was partially sponsored by Wiley and Elsevier – two prestigious publishers of scientific and medical content.
“Dr. Martic is a wonderful mentor and has really pushed me to grow and represent myself in the science research field with all the presentations and published work and I’m very grateful for that,” says Ms. Lewis.
Valuable advanced student research opportunities
Undergraduate research opportunities like these are very valuable to Trent students. “In addition to opportunities to attend and present at conferences, they help students discover what they are interested in, establish a reference for future job and studies applications, and expand their hard and soft skills,” says Prof. Martic. At the Martic Lab specifically, students like Tyra have research opportunities at multiple levels, such as research lab volunteers, the undergraduate thesis course, placement courses and paid summer research assistantships.
While uncertain of her long-term plans right now, Ms. Lewis hopes to continue working with the Martic Lab as she pursues graduate studies and contribute to more global recognition of the research being done at Trent University.