Recent research suggests that soft tissues are preserved in ancient fossils as far back as the dinosaurs. However more micro-analytical methods are needed to continue learning about our ancient ancestors. Raman spectroscopy is an excellent candidate for studying ancient soft tissues because it is flexible for measuring many types of samples and is known for its high sensitivity to molecular differences. This research is focused on finding biological markers of fossils in reducing and oxidative geologic environments. The task is to collect fossils from reducing and oxidative environments to find out how many of those fossils have traces of proteins and other biological signatures with a Raman spectrometer. If biological material is not lost by fossilization, then we can peer into our predecessors proteins and see how they evolved. This kind of research would open a new door in paleontology. It would allow for studies to be done on evolutionary processes and learning about the biochemistry of ancient organisms.
University / Institution: Utah Valley University
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Dustin Shipp