FIT opens labs to science students

The Florida Institute of Technology has opened its labs to West Shore students to provide equipment for their  science fair projects. Sophomore Nikita Davda is incorporating the labs’ scanneling tunnel microscopy to study the effects of turmeric and cumin on Alzheimer’s disease. Davda said she chose the project after reading studies that show India has a lower-than-average incidence of Alzheimer’s. Turmeric and cumin are spices commonly used in Indian cooking.

Senior Nicholas Etrick is also using the STM machinery, but to study a promising lead in the fight against an infectious disease. The molecule 2,8-dinitrotrytanthrin has been shown to have a limiting effect on the Plasmodium protozoan that causes malaria, but Nicholas’ research will be the first experimental study of the molecule’s effects.

“By researching the molecule using STN, I, with the collaboration of other scientists at FIT, may be able to create a [pharmaceutical] drug to inhibit the malarial protozoan,” Etrick said.

The science fair has been scheduled for Feb. 7-8 at the Merritt Square Mall on Merritt Island.