University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Summer undergraduate students present biomedical research

Fifty-eight undergraduates presented the results of their labors this summer at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences' 2013 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience poster session on Wednesday, Aug. 7, in the Vennes Atrium of the school. For the past 10 weeks, students from UND, as well as rural and tribal colleges in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and across the nation have conducted research and participated in a number of related educational opportunities. Students participated, shoulder-to-shoulder, with their mentor scientists from the Department of Biology, the SMHS Department of Basic Sciences and the Center for Rural Health.

Funding for the students came from a variety of organizations, including the National Institutes of Health's North Dakota IDeA (Institutional Development Award) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE); National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and the Office of the Dean at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The students conducted biomedical research with scientists whose work has implications in treating Alzheimer's disease, autism, breast cancer, depression, diabetes, drug addiction, environmental cancer risks, epilepsy, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and skin cancer.

In particular, students conducted research to seek answers to the following questions among others:

  • How does cancer spread through tissues in the body?
  • How does melanoma in particular spread?
  • How does cadmium, a common metal found in low levels in North Dakota in contaminated water and food, contribute to kidney disease and bladder cancer?
  • Does exercise improve memory and learning?
  • How do atrial septal defects form in the heart? (Congenital heart defects exist in 1 percent of human births.)
  • How are American Indians' health on reservations affected by a lack of grocery stores, farmers markets and health food providers?
  • How does a high-fat diet in prenatal and postnatal mothers affect their offspring?

One of the goals of the summer research program is to provide students with the opportunity to work side-by-side with an established research scientist. An additional goal is to recruit students from rural and tribal colleges for future participation in UND undergraduate and graduate programs. The summer research program is designed ultimately to bolster the workforce pipeline of biomedical research scientists and health care professionals.

Students receive specific laboratory training. In weekly professional development sessions, the undergraduates learn how to responsibly conduct research, what is required in graduate and medical school application processes, and scientific writing. At the end of the summer, the students present their work in a research poster session.

In addition to UND, this year's participants are from Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt, N.D.; Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Fort Totten, N.D.; Arizona Western Community College, Yuma; Southern University, Shreveport, La.; Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall; Sinte Gleska University, Mission, S.D.; and the University of North Texas, Denton.

The following is a partial list of the students and their hometowns:

  • Austin Holmquist, Anoka, Minn.
  • Chelsea Boger, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Weston Bowker, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Jessica Hansen, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Sarah Hansen, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Deanna Rainbow, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Tyler Titcomb, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Wylee Azure, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Travis Hermann, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Gregory LeBeau, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Robert Longie, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Laine Lyons, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Roselle Martin, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Kelsey Morin, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Christin Rondeau, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Jaylen Schlenvogt, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Lee Wilkie, Belcourt, N.D.
  • Ben Maliske, Beulah, N.D.
  • Mark Williamson, Bottineau, N.D.
  • Albertine Cooper, Brooklyn Park, Minn.
  • Tyler Dintzer, Crystal, Minn.
  • Gavin Nadeau, Dunseith, N.D.
  • Austin Espe, Fargo, N.D.
  • Dallas Hepper, Fargo, N.D.
  • Nathan Jenstead, Fargo, N.D.
  • Kathryn Johnson, Fargo, N.D.
  • Kirsten McCullough, Fargo, N.D.
  • Quinn Rufsvold, Fort Ransom, N.D.
  • Nick Hammond, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Mary Jeno, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Hoyki Lai, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Wes Mosher, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Ben Prout, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Damian Webster, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Tyler Johnston, Hastings, Minn.
  • Shawn Krueger, Lakeville, Minn.
  • Brooke Kubat, Langdon, N.D.
  • Alexis Walker, Milaca, Minn.
  • Seth Stevens, Mineral Wells, Texas
  • Raymond Yeager, Minot, N.D.
  • Mikal Bordeaux, Mission, S.D.
  • Wilson Karlstrom, Moorhead, Minn.
  • Tyler Stein, Rolla, N.D.
  • Ana Espinoza, San Luis, Ariz.
  • Benjamin Keith, Sherwood, N.D.
  • Darlisha Owens, Shreveport, La.
  • Shelby Poitra, St. John, N.D.
  • Sara Kurtz, St. Michael, N.D.
  • Adrienne Klinger, Tower City, N.D.
  • Andrew Milbridge, Virginia, Minn.
  • Arthur Thorsen, Warroad, Minn.

-- Denis MacLeod, assistant director, Office of Alumni and Community Relations, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 777.2733,

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , ,