Alabama A&M University - School of Graduate Studies - UPDATE 2014


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Overview of Alabama A&M University Graduate School Programs, Research and Trends

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Alabama A&M University S C H O O L O F G R A D U AT E S T U D I E S u p d at e 2014


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CONTENTS 1 Dean’s Message 2 Numbers and Trends 3 Grad School Rankings 4 Programs and Facilities Profile 7 Student Spotlight (5 Profiles) 10 Normal Konnect Institutional Partnership 11 Thesis Dissertation Listings 13 16 Research Abstracts Graduate Student Graduate School Contacts Admission Process 17 Application Process


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Alabama A&M University Dean’s Message The graduate school at Alabama A&M University is among the largest graduate schools in the state of Alabama. It provides leadership in advancing graduate education and cultivates a supportive environment for research. Supportive staff play a key role in the success of the graduate school. Ms. Charlotte Canady Assistant to the Dean Mr. Bradley Davis Recruitment Coordinator Mr. Jonas Tellis Admissions Specialist Mrs. Shirley Jones Admissions Coordinator and International Graduate Student Advisor Mrs. Marilyn Saintjones Coordinator of Operations and Student Clearance Mrs. Jeanette Alexander Grants and Scholarship Coordinator Dr. Denise Vaughn Academic Support Coordinator As a land-grant University with a 125-year old history, AAMU offers Vann Newkirk, Ph.D. graduate degrees at the Masters and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs/ PhD levels in such fields as business adDean of the Graduate School ministration, computer science, education, food science, physics, social work, psychology, urban and regional planning, and others. The entire educational endeavor of the graduate school is supported by exceptional resources. Most importantly, the graduate school is supported by a student-centered, friendly administrative staff and a world-class faculty who integrate professional experience with deep theoretical knowledge. They also collaborate with colleagues on campus and on the other side of the world to pursue interdisciplinary research that turns discoveries into practical solutions. Among the nation’s universities classified as “master’s universities,” Alabama A&M University’s Graduate School is the highest ranked historically black college or university (HBCU) for social mobility, according to the 2012 college rankings of the Washington Monthly magazine. Our graduate students compete with the best anywhere. Many have won prestigious fellowships and grants from agencies such as the USDA, NIH, and NSF. In the last decade, Alabama A&M University graduate students have won Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Awards, affirming the high quality of our students and faculty. Annually, students from the program are selected to present papers at prestigious conferences such as the Association of 1890s Research Directors, the National Science Foundation, and many more. These and other honors affirm the belief that at Alabama A&M University we have the intellect of a nationally ranked research university but the soul of a small college. Undoubtedly, due to the quality of our programs, our alumnae/i hold important positions in multinational firms, non-profit organizations, universities and colleges, fortune 500 businesses, government agencies, and cultural institutions around the world. Finally, the fall of 2013 and the preceding academic year were remarkable periods in terms of the growth of our graduate school. The report that follows celebrates this progress by highlighting the accomplishments of our students as well as important partnerships that increased enrollment and enhanced academic quality and diversity of the graduate school. Alabama A&M University P.1 Graduate Studies Update


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Numbers and Trends FASTEST GROWING GRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS Psychology Food Science Family & Consumer Sciences Social Work Biology Communicative Science Disorders Urban Planning Business Administration Fall 2011 84 32 24 111 33 33 28 102 Fall 2012 102 42 22 117 33 47 26 100 Fall 2013 191 56 39 171 50 47 34 119 Growth Rate 2011 -2013 127% 75% 63% 54% 52% 42% 21% 17% INTERNATIONAL STUDENT REPRESENTATION In the fall of 2013, 7% of the students enrolled in the graduate school were international students. These students represented 35 countries including: Nigeria, India, Ghana and Bermuda. Other countries include: Columbia, Canada, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Turks and Caicos, Barbados, Kenya, Jamaica, South Korea, Cameroon and Jordan Alabama A&M University P.2 Graduate Studies Update


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Grad School Ranking Among the nation’s universities classified as “master’s universities,” Alabama A&M University is ranked number 24. It is the highest ranked historically black college or university (HBCU) for social mobility, according to the 2012 college rankings of the Washington Monthly magazine. The Washington Monthly rankings are based on three factors. The first is social mobility, which gives colleges credit for enrolling low-income students and helping them earn degrees. The second recognizes research production, particularly at schools whose undergraduates go on to earn PhDs. Third, the magazine values a commitment to service. As a result, colleges that are both effective and inexpensive get the highest marks. “The rankings confirm and validate our commitment to access and opportunity. They also validate our effectiveness in graduating students,” says Alabama A&M University president, Andrew Hugine, Jr. “Our goal is to continue to provide a quality education at an affordable cost and this national ranking is a testament to what our students can expect.” Three other HBCUs make the top 100. North Carolina Central University ranks 26th; Fayetteville State University, also in North Carolina, places 76th, while Grambling State University in Louisiana ranks 85th. Alabama A&M University P.3 Graduate Studies Update


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Programs and Facilities Profile Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Program/Speech and Hearing Clinic “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself ”. Ralph Waldo Emerson Since the first student enrolled in Alabama A&M University’s Speech Pathology program in the late 1960’s, academic excellence has been a hallmark of the program. For example, in the program’s first class, all entering students had undergraduate grade point averages above 3.5 and GRE scores that averaged 1000. Today, the Speech-Pathology program’s passage rate of 100% on the national PRAXIS examination is higher than the national average. The program also has a 100% employment rate. In fact, most students receive multiple job offers before they graduate. With starting salaries averaging between $72,000 and $80,000 the quality of our programs is indeed confirmed by the wide range of job opportunities our students receive. A degree in communicative science is a versatile degree. Speech-Language Pathologists have a variety of workplaces from which to choose: hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, private practice, skilled nursing settings, universities, corporate sectors, research Student providing speech and hearing services. facilities, etc. The possibilities are endless, and allow speech-language pathologists to vary their work settings throughout their careers. Communicative sciences is a marvelous field of study, and we invite you to come join us in your quest for a career that will provide you with financial security and provide you with joy knowing you are serving those with communication, swallowing and other related disorders. The university has developed a number of special facilities to ensure the quality of the CSD program. Key among these facilities is the AAMU Speech and Hearing Clinic. The clinic has been serving the public since the late 1960s. Students complete a minimum of 400 clinical clock hours supervised by ASHA certified, Alabama licensed faculty members and external supervisors. Students gain experience by offering speech and hearing services to the local community, in the campus-based AAMU Speech and Hearing Clinic. Alabama A&M University P.4 Graduate Studies Update


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Food Science Program The Food Science (MS and Ph.D.) program trains students for careers in the food industry, government or academia in the areas of Food Engineering/Processing, Food Chemistry, Food Toxicology, Food Biotechnology, Nutritional/Food Biochemistry, Food Microbiology and Sensory Science. A graduate degree in Food Science is among the best in the nation as recognized with awards at the local, regional and national levels. Faculty members serve on numerous industry, professional and governmental review boards. Graduate students conduct research on the novel topics related to food safety and processing, product development and the quality and nutrition of food. Graduate Student Research in Food Science A study on benefits of papaya as a functional food Salla’s research is focused on promoting the health benefits of papaya, an underutilized exotic fruit. She is exploring different processing methods to extend its shelf life by drying, fermentation and others. She is also determining the quantities of health promoting phytochemicals in papaya fruit, seed, fermented products as well as their benefits in improving overall health and reducing diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and inflammation. Swetha Salla, PhD student determining phytochemical compounds in papaya fruit extract using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Protective effects of selected spices on metabolic syndrome Nigel Chimbetete is exploring the protective effects of spices against metabolic syndrome (a constellation of clinical risk factors for cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease, and type 2 diabetes). He is using various methods to maximize the extraction of phytochemicals from spices to examine the antioxidant properties, and inhibition of enzymes related to the metabolic syndrome. Graduate students, Nigel Chimbetete and Ezra Mutai, setting up a Rotary Evaporator to prepare phytochemical extracts from spices Alabama A&M University P.5 Graduate Studies Update


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Food Science Program (continued) Chemopreventive potential of sunflower seeds and coconut flour in human colon cancer Caco2 cell lines, in vitro study Nutrient phytochemicals such as caffeic acid, lauric acid, and tocopherols found in coconut and sunflower seeds are of increasing interest in cancer research. Therefore, the objective of Lillian Smith’s (MS student) research is to further understand their chemopreventive effects against colon cancer. Lillian has conducted phytochemical analysis on the extracts. Further, she will apply extracts to human colon cancer cells to determine effects on cell toxicity, detoxification enzymes, and antioxidative enzymes. Graduate student Lillian Smith observes growth of colon cancer cells Caco2 under microscope as her advisor, Dr. Martha Verghese, overlooks. Effects of select sugar substitutes on baked goods using traditional/nontraditional flour “Gluten-free” and “sugar-free” are two growing trends in the food industry. As part of her Master’s research project, Amber Jackson (MS student and a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University) is developing a functional food product using a variety of sugar substitutes (i.e. Stevia, Splenda, and agave nectar) and alternative flours (i.e. chickpea, blue corn, flaxseed). The overall goal is to produce a gluten and sugar-free product that is comparable to wheat and sugar-based products. Product comparisons will be determined using sensory analysis and analysis of physiochemical attributes. Amber Jackson, M.S. student, injects samples into a Varian Gas Chromatograph to determine the levels of phytochemicals. Anti-obesity potential of sorrel extracts on white adipocyte cells Obesity is the major problem in the US, which triggers Ezra Mutai (MS student & a graduate of Livingstone University, NC) to undertake the research on potential anti-obesity properties of an antioxidant rich plant, sorrel. He conducted in-vitro experiments to explore the inhibition of pancreatic lipase enzyme, needed for fat digestion, by sorrel extracts. He is further evaluating the benefits of the extracts in reducing fat accumulation, increasing fat breakdown, and activity of enzymes needed for fat accumulation. Ezra Mutai, Graduate student sub-culturing 3T3-L1 cells (adipose cells) to investigate the anti-obesity properties of Sorrel (a plant) extracts. Alabama A&M University P.6 Graduate Studies Update


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Chemopreventive potential of ginger Ginger, commonly used as a condiment, has been suggested to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties due to the presence of antioxidants. Rowland Offei-Okyne (MS student and a native of Ghana ) investigated the potential of ginger as a chemopreventive agent. He applied ginger extracts to human colon and liver cancer cell lines to determine cell toxicity effects to study various mechanisms of action. Antioxidant potential assays and phytochemical analysis were performed on ginger extract to determine the effects of processing since ginger is a highly perishable food. Masters student, Rowland Offei-Okyne changes culture media for liver cancer cell line Hep2G under the hood. SPOTLIGHT Sweetie Sherman of Monrovia, Liberia began her undergraduate studies at Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C., where she majored in history. She appreciated the HBCU experience, the closeness of the campus, and its proximity to urban centers. And it was there that she learned to think outside of the box, joined numerous organizations, and enjoyed track and field, cross country and bowling. However, a series of events led to her selection of Alabama A&M University as her graduate school. An older friend who had previously graduated from Livingstone returned to accompany AAMU staffers on a grad school recruitment fair. She applied to AAMU, and several weeks later was accepted into the graduate program majoring in special education. Sherman wants to take the skills she is learning at AAMU and apply them to special needs children at overseas military bases. Some day she would like to return to Liberia to open her own school for special needs children. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.” Alabama A&M University P.7 Graduate Studies Update


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Sweetie Sherma SPOTLIGHT Jennifer Vann (continued) found out, when she enrolled in Alabama A&M’s master’s program in communicative sciences and disorders (CSD) that the various personalities within a program can mean as much to a student as what the program offers in terms of academic preparation and career opportunities. A resident of Huntsville, Ala., Vann says her mom has been her greatest inspiration. While she completed her undergraduate studies in psychology at across-town University of Alabama in Huntsville, Vann noted that the A&M’s CSD program greatly welcomed her. Darrius Snow against all odds emerged as the first in his family to graduate from high school. And, along the way, he found the time to muster the beacon of hope for the younger and more vulnerable. Snow started a step team. Not just any step team, but one steeped in discipline and determination to succeed despite the odds. His earnest efforts to inspire inner city youth caught the attention of the TeenNick channel and ultimately led to his being awarded the satellite channel’s first Halo Award in 2009. The popular TeenNick award netted his step squad a prize of $10,000. But most important, it also provided Snow a weekend with NBA legend LeBron James and $10,000 to launch his studies in business administration and finance at Voorhees College in South Carolina. Snow is currently pursuing his MBA degree at Alabama A&M University. “I believe God sent me here because he knew A&M believes in me. I believe I’m here at A&M because I am wanted.” Alabama A&M University P.8 Graduate Studies Update


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Sweetie Sherma Patrick Antoine a Haitian American of Miami, Fla., had a passion for football that helped turn Antoine toward a brighter future. It was his coach, at Mendocino Community College in Ukiah, Calif., who helped him find a four-year college. The result was Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C., where he majored in sociology. Antoine says his desire to enter the helping professions like his mom (a nurse) and to someday serve as a high school counselor led him to pursue the master’s degree in clinical psychology at Alabama A&M University. He soon became aware of even greater opportunities in the field, thanks to guidance from professors Everton McIntosh and Annie Wells. Currently, he is setting his sights on becoming a forensic psychologist. “I like A&M,” says Antoine. “It is really diverse, yet, it’s family-like, and people help to make sure you’re not left behind.” Moon Sun Yang When she was in her native South Korea, Moon Sun Yang had an abiding interest in life science and genetic engineering. Her interest in an international exchange program took her a half a world away, landing her on the small campus of Martin Methodist College in Tennessee. While at Martin Methodist, Yang began considering the area of food science as a possible discipline to pursue for her master’s work, but she still wasn’t really sure. After discussing her options with a Martin Methodist career service staffer, a landmark question emerged: “Have you thought about A&M?” She decided that a campus tour was in order. “I was really impressed by the food science labs and faculty,” said Yang. One week later, Yang applied for admission and was accepted into the program. “I really like Alabama A&M University.” SPOTLIGHT Alabama A&M University P.9 Graduate Studies Update


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NORMAL KONNECT INSTITUTIONAL PARTNERSHIPS The Normal Konnect Feeder Network The Graduate School of Alabama A&M University seeks to provide graduate-level educational opportunities to students from small undergraduate institutions. Accordingly, in 2011, the administration of the Graduate School formed the Normal Konnect Feeder Network. The Feeder program provides a supportive transition for students and graduates of feeder institutions as they learn about applying to graduate school and as they take on the role of a graduate student at Alabama A&M University. Benefits offered to students of Normal Konnect members include an Alabama A&M University graduate school application fee waiver, and consideration for graduate school assistantships. Prospective graduate students from Network member institutions also have the opportunity to participate in Alabama A&M University’s degree program Exploration workshop as well as summer enrichment activities. The Network currently consists of 27 colleges and universities. Current members of the Normal Konnect Network include: Rust, Miles, Lane, Martin Methodist, Stillman, Benedict, North Carolina Wesleyan, Texas, Judson, Tougaloo, Talladega, Morris, Voorhees, Edward Waters, Concordia, Harris-Stowe, Tusculum, Wiley, and Livingstone Colleges, Fort Valley State, WinstonSalem State, Bethune-Cookman, Dillard, Johnson C. Smith, Claflin, Shaw, Wilberforce, Saint Augustine, and Fisk Universities. SHAW UNIVERSITY LIVINGSTON COLLEGE VOORHEES COLLEGE LANE COLLEGE RUST COLLEGE Since its organization, in 2011, students from Network institutions enrolled in a graduate program at Alabama A&M University have increased from less than a dozen to nearly 200. Graduates of and current students of Network member institutions interested in attending Alabama A&M University should contact the Office of Career Placement on their respective college campus (or Alabama A&M University’s Office of Graduate Admissions at 256-372-5266). Alabama A&M University P.10 Graduate Studies Update


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RECENT DOCTORIAL AND MASTER’S THESIS/DISSERTATION LISTINGS Abdelmajeed Amir Abunameh, M.S., “Mechanism of Inhibition of Escherichia coli ATP Synthase by Structurally Modified Imino Diphenolic Compounds” Timothy Earl Baldwin, Ph.D., “The Effect of Multi-scale Forest Disturbance on Pool Breeding Amphibian Ecology” Ashwith Kumar Chilvery, Ph.D., “Development of Ambient Energy Harvesting and Storage Devices” Rashidah Halimah Farid, M.S., “Forest Disturbance Long-term Impacts on Amphibian Populations Genetic Diversity” Ross Steven Fontenot, Ph.D., “The Study and Development of Intense Triboluminescent Materials for Smart Impact Sensors for Structural Health Monitoring” Brittany Deon Foster, M.S. “Factors that Influence the Dietary Behavior of Adolescents Enrolled in Huntsville City Schools” Stephanie Elaine Freeman, Ph.D., “The Study of Hexavalent Chromium in North Alabama” Javonne L. Levy, Ph.D., “How Has the Integration of Educational Technology Affected the Teaching Strategies of CoreCurriculum Educators?” Fritz A. Ntoko, Ph.D., “Microbial Diversities, Metal Bioaccummulation and Lignocellulose Degradation in a Forest Ecosystem” Rowland Offei-Okyne, M.S., “Chemopreventive Potential of Ginger and Its Application in Functional Food Product Development” Oladunni Oluwoye, M.S., “Psychological Factors and Substance Use/Abuse Among University Students” April TarShum Broaden, M.S., “Theory for Solar3 He-Rich Events” Kasang Odette-Muinkeu Busambwa, Ph.D., “Effect of Lentils, Green Split and Yellow Peas (Sprouted) on Azoxymethane-Induced Colon Carcinogenesis” Rakeshkumar Prahladbhai Cheniya, M.S. “Mechanism of Inhibition of Escherichia coli ATP Synthase by Structurally Modified Simple and Nitro Diphenolic Compounds” Fredreana Deanna Hester, M.S., “Modulatory Potential of Garlic and Turmeric Extracts Against Enzymes Linked to Type-II Diabetes, Inflammation, and Oxidation” Dominique E. Jones, M.S., “Study of Surface Passivation Effects on CdZnTe Nuclear Radiation Detectors” Jonathan Stuart Lassiter, M.S., “Modeling of Thermally Induced Electron Transport through Quantum Well Sperlacttices” Alabama A&M University P.11 Graduate Studies Update


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RECENT DOCTORIAL AND MASTER’S THESIS/DISSERTATION LISTINGS Kathleen A. Roberts, Ph.D., “Ecological Monitoring and Assessment of Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) for Carbon Storage” Temitope Opeyemi Sanusi, M.S., “Physicochemical Properties and Myo-Inositol Phosphate (Phytic acid) Characterization in Tempered Canned Red Kidney Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L)” Michael Quincy Shivers, M.S., “Adsorption and Reduction of Uranium with Geobacter Sulfurreducens and Non-Layered Graphene Oxide” Venkateswara Rao Sripathi, Ph.D., “Structural and Functional Analysis of Gossypium hirsutum Genome” John C. Thomas, M.S., “The Relationship Between Learning Styles and Academic Outcomes in African American School Children” Marilyn Joyce Thompson, M.S., “Evaluation of Phytochemical Composition of (So Variety) Jujube Fruit Before Following Process to Produce Jam” Lalitha Vadlamani, M.S., “Usage of Electronic Benefit Transfer Services at Farmers’ Markets in Alabama” Douglas Allen Washington, M.S., “Soil Genesis and Variability on Benchmark Toposequence in North Alabama” Cletus Vincent Welti, M.S., “Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling and Alabama’s Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities” Christian Ann White, M.S., “Patterns of Forest Cover, Hydrologic Regime, and Freshwater Fish in Alabama Streams” Shantrell Renee Willis, M.S., “Effect of Herbal Tea Consumption on Adult Rats: A Toxicological Study” Alabama A&M University P.12 Graduate Studies Update


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ADDITIONAL STUDENT RESEARCH CONDUCTED COMPUTER SCIENCE & MATHEMATICS Student Online Learning System Author: Sudhir Arudhra Co-Author: Swarna Katta Online Self-Learning Tool Author: DeAnn Bryant Co-Author: Toya Stiger Cruise Control System Using Object-Oriented Author: Ashlee Gray Co-Authors: Tiffany Winton, Naheerah King Field Guarding Robot Author: Analyne lwuaba Co-Author: Nithin Yama Car Dealership Database Author: Lorenzo Jones Model Driven Embedded Cruise Control System (MDECS) Author: Julius Jow Design and Implementation of a Domain Name System Using Multithreading Author: Ngahangondi Kayisavera An Obstacle Detection System using 00 Methodology Author: Alpesh Sanghani Control Flow Testing Tool Author: Kedra Sims Design of a Simple Lexical Scanner Using a Finite State Machine (FSM) Author: Neema Sumari Cache Design and Simulation Author: Tiffany Winton Co-Authors: Ashlee Gray, Chuanxi Zhou, Formal Modeling and Realization of Coordination-based Navigation System Author: Nithin Yama Co-Author: Analyne Iwuaba A UML Based LEGO-Robot Automatic Driving System Author: Chuanxi Zhou Co-Authors: Sudhir Arudhra, Alpesh Sanghani Author: Alishla Bush Co-Authors: Ramesh Kantety, Ph.D.; Jorge Vizcarra, Ph.D.; Gamal Abd-Rahim, Ph.D. Effect of Saturated Fat and Dietary Fiber on the Formation or Azoxymethane Induced Aberrant Crypt Foci Author: Kristen Campbell Co-Authors: Louis Shackelford, Belinda Kanda, Rhona Miller-Cebert Impact of Selected Antioxidant on the Safety and Shelf-life of Beef Author: Shannon Coleman Co-Authors: Anthony Sims, Jasmine Thomas, Shantrell Willis, Jalisa Thomas, Impact of Selected Cruciferous Vegetables on the Incidence of Precancerous Colon Lesions in an Animal Model: Effect on Antioxidant Enzymes Author: Rhona Miller-Cebert Co-Authors: Judith Boateng, Ph.D.; Louis Shackelford, Ernst Cebert, Ph.D.; Lloyd Walker, Ph.D. Inactivation of E.coli 0157:H7 Biofilm by Using Pulsed-Ultra Violet Light Author: Nedra Montgomery Co-Author: Roya Najafi Effect of Processed Red Kidney Beans and Navy Beans on Colon Carinogensis Author: Lauren Mounts Co-Authors: Judith Boateng, Ph.D.; Louis Shackelford Analysis of Volatile N-Nitrosamines in Red Swamp Crayfish Procambarus clarkii Author: Jennifer Patterson Co-Author: Simon Ogutu, Ph.D. Chemopreventative Potential of Walnuts and Peanuts on Azoxymethane-Induced Fisher 344 Male Rates Author: Hadyn Reid Co-Authors: Louis Shackelford, Judith Boateng, Ph.D.; Lloyd T Walker, Ph.D. Anticancer Effects of Phytochemical Extracts from Sorrel Calyx on Caco-2 cells Author: Louis Shackelford Co-Authors: Rajitha Sunkara, Ph.D.; Lloyd Walker, Ph.D.; Ernst Cebert, Ph.D.; Judith Boateng, Ph.D. The Effect of Passive Immunization Against Ghrelin on Feed Intake in Turkeys Author: Antonio Vizcarra Co-Authors: Heather Wright, Louis Shackelford, Gamal Abdelrahim, Ph.D. FOOD & ANIMAL SCIENCES cDNA Construction, Cloning, and Sequencing of Full Length cDNA from the Tuber Crop Yam (Dioscorea sp.) Alabama A&M University P.13 Graduate Studies Update



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