Previous projects


Clinical interpretation of electromyography data as a result of electrode orientation across the paraspinal musculature 


Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research


Surface electromyography (sEMG) is a non-invasive technique that allows for analysis of underlying muscle activity without the use of needle implantation.  This project investigated the potential confounding clinical interpretation of sEMG when electrodes are oriented either parallel to- or perpendicular with the spine.

For this study, Pierce was conferred Research Honors upon graduation.



Case study: Back pain revealed terminal lung cancer


Palmer Academic Health Center


This case study described the clinical presentation of a patient with a chief complaint of low back pain without a prior diagnosis of lung cancer.  Following an abnormal examination and radiographic findings, the patient was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.  

Study was published in the Journal of Chiropractic medicine.  Abstract.


The contribution of high fructose corn syrup to the obesity epidemic: a review of literature


Palmer College of Chiropractic


This review was commissioned by the 6th symposium on nutrition and chiropractic: conquering the obesity epidemic.  Pierce gave both a platform presentation and poster presentation during the congress on this project.  

This project won 3rd place in a student body literature review contest.

The review was published in the proceedings from the congress.


Investigating the medicinal properties of the endemic plants of Costa Rica


Missouri Southern State University and El Instituto Technológico de Costa Rica


This project was part of a 16 week internship through Missouri Southern State University and El Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica under the mentorship of Dr. Dorothy Bay, PhD.  This internship provided insight into medicine used by a foreign culture and revealed the increased need to identify bioactive compounds in medicinal plants.  Despite strong anecdotal evidence, additional studies are required to objectively test their efficacy.

  • Review the literature related to pharmacology of bioactive compounds in tropical botanicals endemic to Costa Rica.

  • Evaluate the clinical use of medicinal plants through interviews with Costa Rican ethnobotanists and physicians.

  • Learned from the internationally renown ethnobotanical instructor of the Organization of Tropical Studies, Luis Diego Gómez Pignataro, Director of La Selva Biological Station, recognized internationally as one of the world's most productive field stations in tropical biology.

  • Catalog >100 plants and herbs used medicinally by the people of Costa Rica, including preparations in treatment of disease.

  • Identify listed plants grown in the wild.