Eight Wooster students participate in undergraduate research program at OSU

Uyen (Jamie) Do ’23 presents research from her summer research internship.

Eight College of Wooster students participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program at The Ohio State University this summer. The program offers paid summer research internships in the fields of biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, microbiology, physics, public health, and statistics for students from the Five Colleges of Ohio, Inc.

The Wooster students, Luke Wilson ’24, Collin Boissoneault ’23, Uyen (Jamie) Do ’23, Maria Fernanda Ossa Echeverri ’24, Lindsi Fillipi ’24, Laurel Lasch ’24, Willow Reddish ’24 and Fiona Roche ’24, conducted individual faculty-mentored projects, gained experience working in a research university laboratory, and presented at a capstone event. The interns served as student research employees in the labs of OSU faculty members, and their individual faculty-mentored projects supported the efforts of their research groups.

Do, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, worked on a protein engineering project and designed antibodies to detect targets inside cells. She said that the most important thing she learned from the experience was the role of resilience in doing experiments. “It is frustrating and sometimes stressful if your experiments don’t work. For instance, I spent almost a month trying to purify these proteins that are unstable and degrade easily. In the end, I got something but there are still lots of things to optimize,” Do said. “What I appreciate was that I learned a lot from the failed experiments and have become more positive when I receive a bad result.”

Also a biochemistry and molecular biology major, Echeverri worked in a microbiology lab to understand the biological role of a particular protein and strengthened her science communication skills in the process. “I was able to present my research to graduate students and professors in different science departments,” she said. “I learned that practice helps you get better at public speaking.”

Echeverri’s experience at OSU also taught her the importance of collaboration. “I was able to accomplish most of my research goals this summer,” she said. “I think that all the effort that my principal investigator, my grad student, our bioinformatics collaborators, and I put into this project allowed us to do a lot in a pretty short amount of time.”

Collin Boissoneault ’23 presents about his summer research internship.The internship opportunity also gave students a chance to prepare for their future academic and professional goals. This was particularly true for Boissoneault, a biology major who studied bacteria found in fecal samples of mice to determine whether the gut microbiome of the mice changed after a spinal cord injury. “I’m currently applying to medical school, and since COVID-19 destroyed many people’s chances of securing an internship in 2020, including my own, this was a priceless experience that will hopefully help fill in the gap,” he said.

His internship at OSU was the first time Boissoneault had worked in a lab, and he now feels more prepared to complete his Independent Study project at Wooster. “This includes designing and carrying out laboratory procedures, troubleshooting issues, and having patience with the whole process,” he said.

The students presented their research at a capstone event at OSU at the end of their internships and will also be invited to present their work at the Experiential Learning Showcase at Wooster this fall.

Photos: Uyen (Jamie) Do ’23 (photo 1) and Collin Boissoneault ’23 (photo 2) present about their research internship experiences.

Posted in News on August 10, 2022.

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