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Biology student presents research at Annual Meeting of Botanical Society of America

July 26, 2013

Loyola University New Orleans biology student Shelly Wu will present her research on a new method to determine how long a corpse is underwater by measuring algae growth on human hair at the Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of America in New Orleans July 27-31. Loyola is one of the local host institutions of the annual meeting held at the Riverside Hilton Hotel.

Wu’s paper, “Assessing periphyton accumulation on hair submerged in aquatic environments to determine the postmortem submersion interval,” is based on her biology honors thesis. The research looks at how human hair could provide clues for forensic investigators trying to determine how long corpses are underwater, helpful in calculating the time of death. The clues may lie in algae that grow on each individual hair strand, according to the research.

Her co-authors are Loyola biology professors James Wee, Ph.D. and Craig Hood, Ph.D., as well as James Pinckney, Ph.D., from the University of South Carolina.

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