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Undergraduate Research Center

Zaynab Alnassari

  • SOAR Position: Member
  • Major: Biology
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Iris Gao and Dr. Nate Phillips

Current Focus: Jujube Tree Propagation and Ginsenoside Extraction Methods

Additional Interests: I am a very out-door and creative individual. I love painting, trying out new things, swimming, and anything wild.

Project Description

I am currently taking on two research projects, Jujube Tree Propagation with Dr. Phillips and Ginsenoside Extraction Methods with Dr. Gao. Throughout the semester, I have worked alongside Dr. Gao with an exceptional team to analyze traditional and current extraction methods and their efficiency. We have processed over a hundred samples and reproduced studies such as (Codex Standard, Chinese Pharmacopeia, United States Pharmacopeia, European Pharmacopeia, Japanese Pharmacopeia, and the Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction (UAE). Through our research, we have identified key parameters that allow for the maximum extraction rates and times (sonication with methanol). On the second research project with Dr. Phillips, we are trying to find other methods, besides grafting, that will produce Jujube fruit without suckers. One method that we are currently testing is taking secondary, fruit-bearing, and primary branches from the Jujube tree, cutting the roots, and then dipping them in growth hormone.

Why does this topic interest you?

Trying to find new ways and different methods fascinates me, and that is what my research is about.

What are your professional aspirations?

After getting my bachelor’s from MTSU, I plan to go to medical school so that I can become an ENT Pediatric Surgeon.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

Don’t be afraid to mess up and grow from your mistakes. I remember on my first research project, I was terrified of making a mistake, but always remember there are people out there willing to help you. Mistakes are a learning tool for success.

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Thursday, September 5th, 4:30pm

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Contact us

Jamie Burriss, Ph.D., Director
(615) 494-7669

Casey Penston, Coordinator
(615) 809-4588

Learn more about the URC