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Madeline Deaton Receives Outstanding Paper Award in the Georgia Academy of Science’s Biomedical Section

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Young Harris College is pleased to announce that student Madeline Deaton recently received the Outstanding Paper Award in the Biomedical Section of the Georgia Academy of Science. Dr. Jennifer Schroeder, Associate Professor of Biology, advised Madeline’s research, which explored possible chemicals to treat or prevent metabolic issues like type 2 diabetes.

A Biology major and Psychology minor, Madeline has dedicated her senior research to examining links between activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and the development of type 2 diabetes.  Madeline conducted multiple experiments hoping to find ways to lower its activation. Using a cell culture incubator in Maxwell Center’s laboratories to grow mouse liver cells, she then used an inverted microscope to examine the cellular morphology resulting from several different treatments.

Other equipment available at Young Harris College, made possible by a generous gift by the late Dr. Harry Hill in 2015, allowed Madeline to perform lactate and Bradford assays in order to collect and accurately measure her data. Madeline also emphasizes the support of the Biology Department and the importance of building relationships with faculty. “Being able to research alongside Dr. Schroeder was a unique experience that I don’t think would have been accessible at a larger school,” said Madeline. “She is a brilliant professor who has supported me as a woman in STEM ever since she became my advisor.”

Madeline’s interest in research was piqued through a Biological Research Methods class, which prompted her to reach out to Dr. Schroeder, who introduced her to the concept of AhR and its relationship to type 2 diabetes. As a type 1 diabetic, Madeline became captivated by researching a condition with symptoms similar to her own. 

“I am so proud of Maddie and the research she performed and helped design this past year,” said Dr. Schroeder. “Work I’ve done with students over the years has focused heavily on the effects of different chemicals that bind to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, especially how they might impact diseases like cancer and diabetes, using a cell-culture model. When planning her research project last year, Maddie proposed that we also include CBD as a treatment, based on its recent popularity in the medical field and her findings during a review of primary literature. Over the past year, Maddie has been diligent in performing her research, analyzing her results, and preparing to present her findings; it is fitting for her to have been recognized by the members of the Georgia Academy of Science for her hard work and creativity.”

Outside of her presentation in the Biomedical Section of the Georgia Academy of Science, Madeline presented her research at Young Harris College’s 11th Annual Undergraduate Research Day. Her scientific interests include hormones, metabolism, and neuroscience. She is currently balancing academics and campus involvement as a member of Young Harris College’s sorority Phi Delta. After graduation, Madeline plans to apply to physician assistant programs, eventually pursuing her passion for work in the medical field.

About Young Harris College

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires, and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science, and Technology; and Professional Studies. Approximately 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit