Asbury Students Earn Top Rankings for Scientific Research Presentations – Asbury University
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Asbury Students Earn Top Rankings for Scientific Research Presentations

Students presented at Ky. Academy of Science Annual Meeting

January 6, 2023

Three Asbury students ranked among the top scorers for research presentations given at the Kentucky Academy of Science’s 2022 Annual Meeting in November.

“These presentations made clear that Kentucky’s next generation of scientists are already making significant contributions to scientific research,” said Amanda Fuller, Executive Director of the Kentucky Academy of Science. “Giving students opportunities to conduct research and present their findings gives them guidance and encouragement to pursue even greater achievements in the world of science.”

More than 700 students and professional scientists from across the state attended the Annual Meeting, which was held Nov. 10-12, 2022, at Morehead State University. Panels of scientists who judged students’ research presentations designated top-tier presentations as “Thoroughbreds.” 

Asbury students who earned the “Thoroughbred” designation were:

Sara Brewer ’24 – Poster Presentation: “eDNA detection of northern red, spring, and mud salamanders in eastern Kentucky streams.”

Abigail Fletcher ’23 – Poster Presentation:  “eDNA detection of darters (Percidae: Etheostomatinae) in central Kentucky streams.”

Brendan Jeffrey ’23 – Poster Presentation:  “eDNA detection of four toed salamanders (Hemidactylium scutatum): significance of mitochondrial genome region in primer.”

Dr. Ben Brammell, professor of biology at Asbury University, mentors these students and shared his congratulations.

“It has truly been a privilege to work with these students,” Brammell said. “Their accomplishments are the result of not only their talent but also largely due to the effort they have put forth in the lab over the last eight months.”

Fletcher plans to begin medical school in the fall of 2023.

“With recent developments in eDNA technology, the future of medicine includes genetics-based therapy,” Fletcher said. “I have enjoyed studying the molecular biology mechanisms, and I anticipate that it will help me to reach my goal of becoming a family doctor.”

Brewer plans to pursue dental school upon graduation in 2024.

“I’ve enjoyed learning new lab techniques and collecting data that will be included in scientific papers that we hope to publish,” Brewer said. “I look forward to pursuing dental school after I graduate.”

Jeffrey spent two weeks this past summer in the Galápagos Islands on a travel course with Asbury. A recent newlywed, Jeffrey plans to begin medical school in the fall of 2023, after he graduates.  

The full list of students whose research presentations received “Thoroughbred” designations can be viewed at:

The Kentucky Academy of Science is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1914. Its mission is to catalyze scientific communication and collaboration that will improve research, education, and evidence-based public engagement within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Asbury faculty, staff, and students may become members of the Kentucky Academy of Science at no cost. For more info, go to:

The Shaw School of Sciences offers fourteen majors and six minors, including biology, chemistry, and physics: