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Seven Biology Majors Awarded Biomedical Research Grants

December 17, 2013

Michael Morse
Communication and Marketing
(603) 641-7240

Ann Lehto '14, natural sciences majorSeven biology majors have been awarded the New Hampshire Idea Networking of Biomedical Research Excellence (NH-INBRE) grant for biomedical research. Through the grant each student focuses his or her efforts on a unique area of biology with the help of a faculty advisor who oversees their work.

The following are the seven students and their areas of research:

Steven Coyne, a senior biochemistry major, uses equipment at Dartmouth College, the University of New Hampshire, and Saint Anselm College to search for genes that cause cells to double the number of chromosomes they carry. Since the summer following his sophomore year, Coyne has worked with Dr. Daniel Broek, whose research has focused on understanding the mechanisms of tumor development. Coyne is personally responsible for reproducing clean pieces of DNA containing the mutations they have identified and inserting them into plasmids in order to investigate how the mutation affects the cells.

Senior biology major, Katherine Jordan, takes CT scans of slugs and analyzes the results. In her research Jordan uses a CT scanner to see the skeletal structures of various species of nudibranchs, or sea slugs, in order to properly understand their phylogeny and their physiology. This study helps understand how basal species' morphology can influence later species morphology. She began her work at the beginning of her senior year and works closely with Dr. Brian Penney, the chair of the Biology Department at Saint Anselm whose work focuses on invertebrate ecology.

Janna Moen is a biology major studying the protein in nine different strains of yeasts with abnormal amounts of genetic material. In her research Moen compares cancerous strains of yeast to their wild-type counterparts. So far she has found several different proteins of interest. The next step is to purify and definitively identify these proteins. Last summer she interned in a biochemistry lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and this semester at Saint Anselm College she has worked closely with biology professors Dr. Stephen Tobin and Dr. Robert Vallari, whose research focuses on alterations of cellular signaling cascades and how they contribute to the development of human breast and ovarian cancer.

Biochemistry major Brendan Reilly is currently studying the bacterial pathogens in the genus Bordetella, a group of bacteria that causes Whooping Cough (pertussis) in humans, Kennel Cough in dogs, and Atrophic Rhinitis in pigs. Since the beginning of this semester Reilly has worked closely with biology professor Dr. Elizabeth Greguske whose research focus is in microbiology.

Additional biology students researching with INBRE are junior biochemistry major Benjamin Berube, senior biology major Greg Colpits, senior biology major Alanna Hickey, and natural science major Ann Lehto.