The opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in professionally-managed research projects is a unique and valuable aspect of the experience offered by the VCSU Department of Science. For students, these projects present fun and rewarding opportunities to gain hands-on experience in research that can be very helpful as students work towards future careers in science or additional study in graduate or professional schools.
Some of these opportunities are available as a result of a grant awarded to VCSU through the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), a NIH program that provides support to research institutions for building and strengthening research infrastructure and increasing capacity to conduct cutting-edge biomedical and behavioral research. VCSU uses this funding for continued development of its Health Sciences baccalaureate program and student centered research program, including staffing and development of two on-campus laboratories:
- Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Laboratory, managed by Associate Professor Dr. Andre DeLorme. His research involves testing for the presence of the pesticide Atrazine in the Sheyenne and Wild Rice Rivers and examining the effects it may have on their ecosystems, particularly on macroinvertebrate species. This research also builds resources that are available to other students and researchers including the Digital Key to Aquatic Insects and the Digital Key to Freshwater Invertebrates.
- Toxicology Laboratory, managed by Assistant Professor Dr. Hilde van Gijssel. Her research examines the mechanism by which high concentrations of herbicides may increase the chance of birth defects. Fruit flies are used as a model organism because their genetic structure is similar to that of humans.
Presentation of Research
VCSU students have presented the results of their research at various national conferences including:
- National Idea Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE), Washington, DC, July 20 – 22, 2006. VCSU students Jamie Huelsman, Ryan Lorenz and Bridget Blunck (05) presented the results of their research with students and faculty from NDSU using molecular modeling software to test the ability of Atrazine to bind with larger molecules.
- Environmental Mutagen Society (EMS), Vancouver, Canada, September 15-21, 2006. Matthew Axtman and Ray Caylor presented the results of research they have performed in the Toxicology Laboratory at VCSU and research that used computer modeling to predict the effect herbicides will have on growth factor sensitive pathways in cells.
- North Dakota Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Valley City, April 27-28, 2006. Matthew Axtman presented 'Computer Modeling of Herbicides in Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors,' and was recognized with the Denison Award, Undergraduate Division. Additional research was presented by Amanda Bryson, Ryan Lorenz, Peter Nettleton and Ray Caylor.
- 47th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, Houston, TX, March 29 - April 2, 2006. Raymond Caylor and Peter Nettleton presented the results of the research they have done over the last year in the Toxicology lab.
- North Dakota Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Grand Forks, ND, April 28, 2005. Mindy Anderson (Wimbledon) and Sarah Dahl (Valley City) presented the results of their research on North Dakota's only federally listed threatened plant: the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid.