Congratulations! SUPER Fellows 2015
L-R- “Ogie” Ognenka Aramovska, Nicholas Fried, Andrew Mecca, Jacob Nosewicz, Erika Sarno, Shaurya Srivastava, and Diana Xu.
“Ogie” Ognenka Aramovska will be a senior at MSU this fall. She is double majoring in Microbiology and Genomics and Molecular Genetics. Ogie is interested in a career as a physician scientist. She first honed her research skills in the laboratory of MSU Professor Dr. Peter Wolk exploring cyanobacteria using recombinant DNA techniques. She learned how to design primers, novel plasmids, and work with shuttle vectors that could transfer DNA between E. Coli and Anabaena variabilis. This past winter Ogie has been working in the laboratory of Dr. Brad Upham of MSU developing skills in tissue culture in WB rat liver cells and using fluorescent microscopy techniques. The main goal in the Upham laboratory is to determine if several pesticides deemed safe by the FDA/EPA have negative impact on humans. Ogie also works as a Resident Assistant in Armstrong Hall on the MSU campus. She is on-call 7pm to 7 am and has responded to a number of emergencies, including a fire and alcohol poisoning. Ogie will be working in the laboratory of Kefei Yu, PhD, which focuses on DNA breaks and their involvement in oncogenic translocations.
Nicholas Fried, a senior at the University of Maine in Orono, is majoring in animal and veterinary science and minoring in chemistry and innovation engineering. Nicholas is planning for a career in the field of zoonotic epidemiology. He would like to pursue a dual degree medical program (like the DO-PhD Program) and conduct PhD research in infectious diseases. In order to combine the fields of animal science and human medicine Nicholas believes an undergraduate program focusing on animal disease will enable him to easily move into a zoonotic disease research program for his PhD. He volunteered on a field crew with the United States Geological Survey & US Fish & Wildlife Service in Montana for 3 months in 2013 evaluating an oral vaccine against sylvatic plague for prairie dogs and returned in a paid position for the 2014. For his Capstone and Honors thesis, under the direction Dr. James Weber, DVM, PhD of the University of Maine, Nicholas will be able to determine the likelihood that Haemonchus contortus, a parasitic nematode of domestic sheep, is effectively transmitted between sheep and local White-Tailed Deer in the northern United States. Nicholas will be working in Disease Ecology laboratory of Jean Tsao, PhD on tick borne diseases.
Andrew Mecca, is a senior in the Neuroscience Program at MSU. Andrew is also interested in pursuing a dual degree medical program. He has been working in the laboratory of James Galligan, MSU professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology and Director of the Neuroscience Program since 2013. Andrew has been working on a project that focuses on visceral sensation/pain mechanisms in a rat that has had the gene encoding the serotonin transporter (SERT) “knocked out”. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in gastrointestinal sensory pathways and the serotonin transporter is responsible for terminating serotonin signals after it is released from sensory nerves. This rat model is ideal as humans with the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have a gene polymorphism that leads to low expression of the serotonin transporter. Andrew presented an abstract/poster at the Experimental Biology meeting in Boston this spring on the work he has done during the past year. Andrew serves as an editor for the Red Cedar Journal of Undergraduate Research. Andrew will continue to work in the laboratory of Dr. Galligan during the SUPER Program.
Jacob Nosewicz, is from Lincoln Park, Michigan and currently a senior at Cornell University in Ithaca NY. He is majoring in Biology and Human Ecology. Jacob is interested in musculoskeletal disorders, specifically functional scoliosis, and low back pain as a consequence of leg length discrepancy. To study this question Jacob will work in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Reeves at the MSU Center for Orthopedic Research this summer for the SUPER Program investigating compressive loading forces resulting from a lateral sacral tilt can cause degenerative effects in the intervertebral discs. At Cornell Jacob has been working under the direction of Martha Field, PhD in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Since early 2014 Jacob has been focusing on the biochemistry and enzymology of folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism. Alterations in folate metabolism can result from folate deficiency, polymorphisms in genes that encode folate-dependent enzymes, increased rates of folate degradation, and/or other B-vitamin deficiencies. Jacob is a Defensive Back for Cornell Varsity Sprint Football.
Erika Sarno is from Dalton Pennsylvania. She is a senior at the University of Scranton double majoring in Biochemical, Cell and Molecular Biology and Philosophy. Erika wants to apply to dual degree medical programs, e.g., DO-PhD Program at MSU. Erika was an Intern in the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Barro Colorado Island in Panama during the summer of 2014. This 10 week program exposed Erika to many scientists carrying out environmental research. During this internship Erika observed the social behavior of the nocturnal bee species Megalopta genalis, collected and dissected specimens for analysis of biogenic amine content. Erika also participated in “Extreme Physiology,” a three week research program in Arizona, through the University of Scranton in which she investigated human physiological adaptation to extreme environmental and aerobic challenges and with a team of other students measuring VO2 max, hematocrit, power output, heart rate, lactate threshold, and running performance in diverse environments. Erika is very interested in cardiac physiology. This summer she will work in the laboratory of MSU Professor Dr. Anne Dorrance, where the focus is identifying novel mechanisms to improve the outcome of acute ischemic stroke.
Shaurya Srivastava is a Senior at MSU. He is majoring in Human Biology. Shaurya has been carrying out research under the direction of Dr. Evangelyn Alocilja, a Professor in Biosystems Engineering at MSU. Shaurya was given the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research through the Honors College (Professorial Assistant Program). This is a highly competitive award granted to academically outstanding high school seniors, allowing them to begin to work immediately with a faculty member on research. His project direction in Dr. Alocilja’s Nano-Biosensor laboratory focuses on developing a new, rapid, cost-effective, and efficient method to diagnose pulmonary tuberculosis in resource limited areas through the use of nanoparticles and biosensors. Shaurya will be working in the laboratory of Donna Koslowsky this summer while in the SUPER Program. Her research focuses on mechanisms involved in the regulation of mitochondrial gene expression. She studies the complex life cycle of the Trypanosomes, which are a member of the kinetoplastid protozoa and cause medical and economic distress in Third World countries. They are responsible for diseases such as Sleeping Sickness, Leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease. Shaurya is a member of Pre-Soma and the American Medical Student Association. He is the recipient of the Honors College State Scholarship and the Michigan State University Promise Endowed Scholarship.
Diana Xu is interested in a career as a physician scientist and will apply to dual degree medical programs. A senior at MSU, she is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, she was provided the opportunity to carry out research under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Fenton, whose lab focuses on the relationships between nutrition and disease prevention. Currently, she is working with Dr. Fenton on a project focusing on nitrate/nitrites in the diet and their effects on hypertension in women. Diana is an author on two papers one published in 2014 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, and another manuscript to be submitted the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. Diana participated in a Biochemistry Study Aboard Program at Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf in Germany during the summer of 2014. There she mastered cell cloning and PCR. She was the Public Relations Director and Secretary for TEDxMSU promoting the TEDxMSU conference to the Michigan State University and greater Lansing community. She is the recipient of Professor Richard L. Anderson Endowed Undergraduate Research Prize and the College of Natural Science Undergraduate Research Support Scholarship among other scholarship awards. During the SUPER Program Diana will work in the laboratory of Dr. Laura McCabe, whose research focuses on understanding the mechanisms regulating bone cell (osteoblast) differentiation and bone formation. Her lab examines bone adaptation to diseases (such as diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease) and is working toward identifying mechanisms regulating bone formation by osteoblasts.