BSPS student’s research recognized at Denman Undergraduate Research Forum

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April 21, 2022

Kaitlyn Jiang
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BSPS Class of 2022 student Kaitlyn Jiang received first place in the public health category at The Ohio State University Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum for her research titled, “Bioactive (Poly)phenol Concentration in Plant-Based ‘Milk’ Beverages.”

The Denman Undergraduate Research Forum is an annual event and competitive poster forum that showcases research projects from undergraduates at Ohio State. Since 1995, the forum has provided an opportunity for graduating students to share their research with the broader Ohio State community.

Jiang’s study examined the (poly)phenol content of commercially-available plant-based milk beverages. (Poly)phenols are chemical compounds produced by plants to protect them from external stressors such as UV radiation, insects and pathogens. Because of the antioxidant properties of these compounds, dietary (poly)phenol intake has been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases in humans, including neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disorders, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Jiang sought the precise quantification and characterization of the most prevalent (poly)phenols in foods to understand the complex relationship between diet and health. Because plant-based milk beverages have become so established in the American market, the study addressed this gap in knowledge.

The data collected from the identification of the major (poly)phenols in plant-based milk beverages is in the process of being written into a paper that will eventually be published. This information will then be added to the (Poly)phenol Explorer Database (PED) – the most comprehensive data repository for estimates of (poly)phenol content in food – and the United States Department of Agriculture’s database.

Jiang’s research was conducted under the supervision of Steven Clinton, MD, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences at the Ohio State College of Public Health.

Every year at the Denman, a group of faculty members determine winners for each research category. The faculty members award students based on their ability to effectively communicate their results and their research process both by speech and poster content.

This year’s showcase included over 160 presentations from senior undergraduate researchers. Student researchers who placed within one of the 10 Denman categories were given a certificate of scholarship, placement medallion, ribbon and cash reward:

  • $500 for first place
  • $400 for second place
  • $300 for third place
  • $200 for honorable mention

“Ever since I came to campus as a freshman four years ago, I really wanted to have my own research project,” Jiang said. “I feel incredibly lucky to be chosen as an award winner knowing that I was surrounded by so many brilliant students with such interesting and important research topics.”