Skip to main content

Junior biology major presents research at national conference with help from Drinko Center

Share on:

Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2023

A Westminster College junior biology major was able to share her undergraduate research project at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) annual conference in Austin, Texas, at the beginning of the semester. 

Madelyn Scarmack ’24 of Sharon, Pa., presented “The Effect of B-alanine on the Rate of Axolotl Wound Healing and Limb Regeneration.” Scarmack focused on the first and second stages—wound healing and de-development—as the experiment's treatment is thought to affect the first two stages the most. 

Scarmack conducted her experiment by amputating the hind limb of axolotls, or urodele amphibians, and introduced high and low concentrations of beta-alanine via intramuscular injections on days zero and seven following amputation. 

The results of Scarmack’s experiment concluded that injection of beta-alanine showed an increased rate of limb regeneration and wound healing during the time period given. 

Dr. Joshua Corrett-Bennet, associate professor of biology at Westminster, served as Scarmack’s faculty mentor. 

“Attending the SICB conference was a great opportunity for me to expand my communication skills,” said Scarmack, who attended the conference with the aid of travel grant from the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research. “I enjoyed being able to present my research to others interested in what I study, which allowed them to ask questions I didn’t immediately know the answer to. Overall, this experience enhanced my interest in continuing my education and desire to keep learning.”

Following her May 2024 graduation from Westminster, Scarmack intends to attend LECOM in July 2024 with plans to become a physician. 

For more information on the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, contact director Dr. Karen Resendes at

For more information on the biology department, click here.