Students Spend Summer in Ashland University Science Laboratories
Twelve Ashland University students have been spending their summer this year conducting scientific research at Ashland University. Most of these students have been working side by side with their professors in the laboratories in Ashland University’s Kettering Science Center. Their research has been utilized to explore the areas of biology, toxicology and biochemistry, among other areas of science.
Ashland University’s science programs are well-known for providing students with hands-on lab experiences beginning in the students’ freshman year. And, the fact that most of the professors are in the lab with the students providing one-on-one interaction elevates the program to a greater extent. There are very few private programs in the state offering comparable science lab equipment combined with the willingness of the professors to be hands-on and available for students when they need help.
Some of those students who have been living and working on Ashland’s campus this summer include Charles Davis of New Haven; Jared Baisden of Wooster; Alicia McBride of Stockport; Heather Bensinger of Lodi; Christina Herbst of Avon; Shane Bemiller of Ashland and Mei Li of Shanghai, China.
A senior majoring in biology, Davis is working in the laboratory in Ashland University’s Kettering Science Center with the help of Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Steven Fenster and Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Rebecca Corbin.
Davis’s research focuses on the analysis and function of the protein Neuronal Interleukin-16 (NIL-16), a brain-specific protein expressed exclusively in neurons, which form the functional architecture of the brain.
“The main objective of my research is to identify unknown protein complexes that interact with NIL-16, which will contribute toward understanding how the brain works and will also provide improved diagnosis and treatment of nervous disorders,” Davis said.
After graduation, Davis plans on attending graduate school in a medical oriented program involving physician assistance, occupational therapy or pharmaceutical work.
Davis is the son of Arlette and Bryant Davis and is a 2008 graduate of Willard High School.
A junior majoring in biology, Baisden is working in the laboratory in Ashland University’s Kettering Science Center on two projects, with the help of Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Patricia Saunders and Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Dr. Jeffrey Weidenhamer.
Baisden’s first project involves analyzing the fatty acid content of pond daphnia to determine the seasonal changes in diet among daphnia and other micro-environmental animals. His second project will entail the identification of an unknown toxic compound in a common biological system for potential use in new medicine.
“Working so close with professors is an invaluable experience,” Baisden said of his laboratory experience. “I have learned more than I ever imagined.”
After graduation, Baisden plans to either continue research or attend graduate school in pursuit of a medical career.
Baisden is the son of Elaine and James Baisden and is a 2009 graduate of Wooster High School.
A junior majoring in biology, McBride is working in the laboratory in Ashland University’s Kettering Science Center to explore circadian clock-associated proteins in the fungi Aspergillus nidulans and Aspergillus flavus.
“All living organisms possess circadian rhythms that occur each day that control sleeping as well as various metabolic and physiological processes,” McBride said.
McBride, along with faculty advisor and Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Andrew Greene, is using such techniques as 2D gel electrophoresis, Western Blotting and Northern Blotting, among other techniques, to determine what proteins make up the oscillator controlling circadian rhythms in Aspergillus.
After graduation, McBride plans to attend Cleveland State University and become a physician's assistant.
McBride is the daughter of Joy and Roger McBride and is a 2009 graduate of Morgan High School.
A junior majoring in biology, Herbst is working in the laboratory in Ashland University’s Kettering Science Center with the help of Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Perry Corbin.
Herbst is researching organic synthesis and polymer chemistry as applied within pharmaceuticals.
Herbst is the daughter of Kathleen and Richard Herbst and is a 2009 graduate of Avon High School.
A senior majoring in biology, Bemiller is working in the laboratory in Ashland’s Kettering Science Center on two projects, with the help of Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Paul Hyman.
According to Bemiller, both projects involve different mutations of bacteriophage T4 with E. coli used as their host. Bacteriophage, he said, is a virus which attacks specific bacteria and uses its hosts’ energy to synthesize proteins and nucleic acids before assembling inside the bacterial cell and subsequently killing it.
Bemiller will graduate in December and is currently applying to several Ph.D. programs in cellular biology and microbiology and hopes to start in the fall of 2012.
Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) is a mid-sized, private institution conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.