Research plays big part in ISU identity

Brandon Hallmark

Research projects play a huge part in making Iowa State what it is, and every year many new research projects start and end. These are some highlights of research from the spring semester.

Research shows innocent suspects falsely confess to crimes

This project examined why innocent suspects will confess to crimes. The research, involving Stephanie Madon, associate professor of psychology, and Max Guyll, assistant professor of psychology, showed that innocent suspects will confess to crimes they didn’t commit because people under pressure will generally do whatever it takes to escape the immediate interrogation or event regardless of the long-term consequences.

The experiment involved asking participants about unethical and criminal behaviors. For each denial, the subject would be asked additional questions at a later date. For every yes, the subject would have to speak with a police officer.

Most subjects would admit, even if they were lying in order to avoid the immediate consequence of speaking with the officer. However, even when the consequences of the responses were switched, participants would still avoid answering the immediate consequence of the follow-up questions.

Primate aging research compares humans to other species

This study involved several universities including Iowa State and compared mortality rates of humans and other primates. Iowa State’s Anne Bronikowski, associate professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, was involved with the study that showed human females fit the model in that they do not differ much in rate of aging and young adult mortality rates than other primates.

However, human males have a lower rate of aging and young adult mortality rates than other primates. This study also showed that although human females live an average of four years longer, they are not much different than human males in rate of aging and young adult mortality rates.

Researchers work toward sustainable organic vegetables

This project was the first of its kind and was conducted by Kathleen Delate, professor of horticulture. The project experimented with ways to make organic vegetables more sustainable.

It experimented with cover crops, which will help prevent soil loss, and in the case of some like harry vetch, can also attract beneficial insect killing wasps.

Mulch was also experimented with in the project to both prevent unwanted plants from growing and to help fertilize the crops.

Titanium dioxide

A research project involving Iowa State’s Dusan Palic, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, looked at the effects of titanium dioxide, an element commonly found in many household objects like shampoo, sunscreen, or on fish.

Titanium dioxide, or TiO2, was found to cause the neutrophils — white blood cells that attack bacteria and fungi — to become more prone to die because of NET release. NET release is when neutrophils release their DNA in a net to catch bacteria, and that usually only happens at the end of the cell’s life.

In addition, NET release also releases chemicals that make other neutrophils more likely to be stimulated into NET release. Because of this, the fish have weaker immune systems.

This study was only conducted in a laboratory and no studies have been done about actual environments, although the study did expose fish to environmental levels.