Buena Vista University

Professor, Student Grow as Biomedical Researchers

Mar. 15, 2012

A BVU biology professor and one of her students were selected to participate in a program at the University of Iowa last summer that promotes undergraduate scientific education and research in colleges that do not offer doctoral programs.

Dr. Kristy McClellan, assistant professor of biology, and Caitlin Hof, a freshman biochemistry, biology and chemistry triple major from Yankton, S.D., were selected to participate in the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine FUTURE (Fostering Undergraduate Talent-Uniting Research and Education) in Biomedicine program.

“One of the best aspects of this program was the opportunity to bring a student. It was a great experience to work side-by-side with Caitlin and to see her grow as a scientist,” says McClellan.

Over eight weeks, McClellan and Caitlin worked on a collaborative research project in the laboratory of Dr. Pamela Geyer in the Department of Biochemistry. They investigated the role of a Drosophila zinc finger transcription factor in germline and neuronal development. The Drosophila, a fruit fl y, is a model for studying how human genes are regulated, says McClellan.

“Caitlin has been working on adapting what we learned in the FUTURE research into a behavioral lab for our neuroscience course which is taught in the fall semester,” says McClellan. “This would be an educational lab experience for students utilizing techniques that are being done in research today.”

“Before having this experience, I was sold on practicing medicine,” says Caitlin. “I thought that was the only way to make a difference or help in people’s lives. Now I have learned how research is a huge part of medicine and improving the quality of life for others. I now am looking at MD/ PhD programs to have a research component to my future practice.”

McClellan, who started teaching at BVU in 2009, has also had other faculty development opportunities, including a presentation in 2010 at the Society of Neuroscience in San Diego, Calif. Last October, she and a group of students attended the Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College. This year, she and Caitlin plan to present their FUTURE research at the Iowa Academy of Science.

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Buena Vista University
610 W. 4th Street
Storm Lake, IA 50588
800.383.9600

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