Professor participates in new biomedical research program

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A new program at the University of Iowa's Roy and Lucille Carver College of Medicine is providing a unique learning experience for a group of college professors from around Iowa, including Northwestern's Dr. Karissa Carlson, assistant professor of chemistry.
 
Carlson and six other faculty from undergraduate colleges across the state are the inaugural faculty fellows of the FUTURE (Fostering Undergraduate Talent–Uniting Research and Education) in Biomedicine Program this summer. The initiative is building a network of scientists and science educators to benefit undergraduate science education and strengthen biomedical research in Iowa.
 
The faculty fellows are partnering with researchers in Iowa's Carver College of Medicine on a variety of research projects. In addition, the participants are developing new educational materials and opportunities for Iowa's college classrooms and laboratories. Five of the faculty fellows–including Carlson–also are accompanied by an undergraduate student from their home institution.
 
"Our plan is that the FUTURE faculty fellows and, by extension, their home institution will gain tangible benefits from participating in the program. It could be new research results or expertise, biological samples or materials to advance their own studies, or the background to develop a new course or technique to enhance their undergraduate science courses," says program director Dr. Madeline Shea, Iowa professor of biochemistry.
 
Shea also noted that developing closer relationships with Iowa's undergraduate colleges provides an opportunity to connect with talented undergraduates who might be interested in pursuing careers in medicine or biomedical research.
 
At the conclusion of the program, the FUTURE faculty fellows will present their research in a symposium, and the undergraduate students will present posters of their work.
 
"This is a really exciting program that allows us to engage with talented science educators and students in Iowa's undergraduate institutions," says Dr. Paul Rothman, dean of the Carver College of Medicine. "We also see this program as a way to share our facilities and expertise more broadly with the people of Iowa."

Carlson and junior Alex Menning, a Northwestern biology-health professions major from Alton, Iowa, are working in the lab of Dr. Marc Wold, professor of biochemistry at Iowa. They are developing a fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based assay to examine protein-DNA interactions.

Also participating in the program are faculty from Coe College, Drake University, Graceland University, Loras College, Luther College and St. Ambrose University.
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