In addition to learning countless lab techniques
Indiana, PA (PRWEB) October 31, 2006
As part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates program, Robert E. Cook Honors College student Kristen Taddie spent last summer at the University of Utah conducting an independent research project. She was involved in conjugating antibodies to fluorochromes; these antibodies will be used in stem cell lines.
An IUP Natural Sciences and Pre-Optometry major from Homer City, Taddie was selected to participate in the rigorous research program, which involved some fifteen undergraduate biology and biochemistry majors doing research for nine weeks. "We met once a week for lunch and discussed our research," Taddie said. "We took a class to prepare us for the Graduate Record Examination, attended weekly seminars, and went on a couple of field trips." Everyone was required to write a paper and to create a poster on his or her own research to present at the end of the program.
"I worked on purifying antibodies and conjugating them to fluorochromes. In other words, my research involved developing a protocol for the best way to unite antibodies to any of various fluorescent substances used in biological staining to produce fluorescence in a specimen. The conjugated antibodies I made will be used as reagents in stem cell lines for major projects, and the protocol will be used to make more fluorescently labeled antibodies."
Her research may be hard to communicate, but Taddie's interest in science began in high school with "fascinating labs and hands-on work" that she has always enjoyed. The direct study of stem cell research is something she believes is "fairly novel, and I think a lot of discoveries and cures can come from it."
The REU program led Taddie to the laboratory of Gerald Spangrude, professor of medicine in the University of Utah, Division of Hematology. Most of Spangrude's work is focused on his research, while he also teaches a few classes. His lab works with various models of stem cell biology and focuses on hematopoiesis–the formation of blood or blood cells in the living body.
"In addition to learning countless lab techniques," Taddie said, "I learned that if you want to go to graduate school, you really need to be motivated to do research. I worked at least forty hours a week, Dr. Spangrude and the graduate students were always there, and, most of the time, they wanted to be."
Perhaps most valuable to Taddie from her time in the REU program were the new lab skills she learned, not to mention the old ones on which she improved. "I feel I'm more prepared to make my own decisions regarding what project I want to tackle next," she said, "because I understand more of why I do things. I'm a lot more confident in my lab work."
Original Article Published at: http://www.iup.edu/publications/iupmag/backissues/Fall06/honors.shtm
IUP Magazine Fall, 2006 Volume XXIV, No. 4
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