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Gatton Academy Students Conducting Summer Research in South Korea

  • Author: Zack Ryle
  • Author: Monday, June 26th, 2017
Gatton Academy Students Conducting Summer Research in South Korea

Caption: (Top) Aaron Kirtland ('17, South Oldham HS) and (Bottom) Maxwell Conte ('18, Bowling Green HS) are spending their summer in South Korea completing research internships.

Two Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky students are spending their summer completing research internships in South Korea.  The 10-week internships are in the Chemistry Department of Changwon National University.

The internships are supported through the National Science Foundation’s International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) grant and by mentorship from Dr. Eric Conte, professor of Chemistry at WKU and co-principal investigator of the grant.  Dr. Moon-Soo Kim, assistant professor of Chemistry at WKU, is the principal investigator.  

Aaron Kirtland (’17, South Oldham High School)

Kirtland, a recent Gatton Academy graduate, is testing amine-containing gases, which are used as indicators of fish and meat quality.  His work involves measuring the optimal response of mixed dyes with metal ions to study the detection response to the gases.  

Maxwell Conte (‘18, Bowling Green High School)

Conte, a second-year student at The Gatton Academy, is focusing on the synthesis of molecules that fluoresce when bound with hydrogen sulfide in live cells.  Hydrogen sulfide plays an important role in the human body as a signaling molecule, but the mechanisms are not well understood. The synthesized molecule will provide hydrogen sulfide detection and concentration determination, which is necessary to begin the understanding of its signaling role in the human body.   

Both students are mentored at Changwon National University by Professor Yong-Ill Lee.  The students will present their results at an international science conference in South Korea’s Jeju Island and will be co-authoring publications of their work. 

About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential high school for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to the Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for nine consecutive years and was named the number one public high school in the United States by The Daily Beast for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Contact: Zack Ryle, (270) 745-2971

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