Dr. Sandra Westmoreland


Lecturer, Teaching Cert. Advisor
MAJOR AREA: Electron Microscopy, Quantitative Biology
OFFICE: 234 Life Science
PHONE: 817-272-1513
FAX: 817-272-2588

Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington, 2001




My research interests involve the avian eggshell, which serves as a model for biomineralization and as an incubating chamber and a source of available calcium for the developing embryo. Recently I have investigated the interrelationship of the crystalline and organic shell components using buffer-regulated pH treatments and muffle furnace treatments. I have used light and electron microscopy to compare eggshell structure in twenty-one avian orders and to study eggshell pore structure. I have also developed a method to count and measure external pore openings using Image Analysis computer technology. Using data collected with this method, I have statistically analyzed pore size and distribution. Other recent experiments have resulted in the development of high-pressure embedded plastic casts of eggshell pores and the internal mammillary cone region, the site of initial calcification and the source of calcium for transport to the embryo. In future studies, I am interested in investigating how pores and other shell structures change during embryogenesis using shell structure replicas. Do pores enlarge during the process of chick development? Can the removal of calcium during embryogenesis be demonstrated in a three-dimensional model of the mammillary cone? Image analysis could be used to develop a method for counting and analyzing large numbers of mammillary cones. What is the ratio of mammillary cones to pores? Could this yield information helpful to the determination of how pores are formed? The pH-treatment method for investigation of the nature of avian eggshell as a biomineral may have potential applications in the fields of tissue engineering and biomemetics. Clearly, there is more interesting work to be done in the field of avian eggshell research.