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2019 Participants

Class of 2019

2019 Participants

Buena Vista University   |  Cornell College  |  Drake University  |  Grinnell College
University of Northern Iowa  |  Student Affilate: Cornell College Fellow

Buena Vista University

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Fellow: Brittney Dinkel, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology

Student Research Assistant: Megan Wassom, Microbiology NSF REU Program

UI Faculty Host: Linda McCarter, PhD, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology

Project: Second messenger signaling in bacteria and surface colonization decisions


As a faculty member who is just starting a career at a small liberals college, the FUTURE program has provided me with a new perspective and ideas to take back home.  This summer allowed me to learn different techniques in microbiology and genetics while increasing my knowledge of admissions requirements for biomedical programs and various career paths.   I learned new lab techniques that I will be incorporating into my micro lab this fall.  I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to participate in the program and am looking forward to taking all of the information back to BVU.

Brittney Dinkel, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
“Characterization of c-di-GMP Signaling in Surface Colonization Decisions by Bacteria”


It was an honor to have the opportunity to be a part of the FUTURE program this summer. I was able to work with a professor from my home university and we were able to learn new techniques that we can take back to our university and share with our peers there. This was my first research experience, and I learned so much, both as a student and as a scientist. It was great getting to network with professors and students from other universities, and learn about the numerous programs that the University of Iowa has. When it comes to applying for medical school next year, University of Iowa will be on the top of my list! Thank you for this wonderful experience.

Megan Wassom, Microbiology NSF REU Undergraduate Researcher
"Second Messenger Signaling and Surface Colonization Strategies in Bacteria: Defining a c-di-GMP Driven Regulatory Network in Vibrio parahaemolyticus


Cornell College

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Senior Fellow: Barbara Christie-Pope, PhD, Professor of Biology

Student Research Assistant: Sydney Meeker

UI Faculty Host: Robert Cornell, PhD, Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Project: Investigation into the role of ion transporters in neurological diseases


It has been a true delight to once again participate in the University of Iowa’s FUTURE in Biomedicine program this summer.  Not only do I gain more experience with laboratory techniques but I am also afforded the opportunity to think full-time about a research question.  I bring these experiences back to my home institution.  I can talk to my students first hand not only about the techniques but also about the enjoyment and frustrations associated with working in a research setting.  Frustrations teach us a lot; enjoyment reminds us of why we became scientists.  My students also benefit from the contacts I have made at the University.  I can talk about the various opportunities available to my students while they are undergrads and after graduation.  In addition, I have added to my list of potential speakers to bring to my campus.  My time during the academic year is focused on teaching; my time during the summer is focused on expanding and invigorating my teaching.  Many thanks to everyone who makes this program available and accessible.

Barbara Christie-Pope, PhD, Professor of Biology
"Magnesium Ion Channels and Neurodegeneration"


The FUTURE program was a great opportunity to gain experience working in a lab alongside some amazing people. This experience working will certainly benefit me in my science courses throughout college and potentially in my future career, whatever it may be. I learned a lot this summer and am thankful I was able to participate in this program. 

Sydney Meeker, Undergraduate Researcher
"Investigating Ion Channels in Models of Parkinson's Disease"


Drake University

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Visiting Fellow: Alisa Drapeaux, MPT, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences

UI Faculty Host: Jason Wilken, PT, PhD, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Research Area: Biomechanics of Runners with Chronic Low Back Pain: the effect of manual therapy


The FUTURE program in Biomedicine has had a significant impact on my professional career as an Assistant Professor at Drake University.  The information that I have learned about the various medical programs and opportunities through the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine will support and strengthen my duties as an academic advisor to our Health Sciences students.  Also, the program has provided an opportunity for future collaborations with Dr. Wilken and several other UIHC providers for joint research between the University of Iowa and Drake University.  I would recommend this program to colleagues due to the knowledge gained for current students on admissions to several medical programs and also the opportunity to learn and collaborate with several renown Tier 1 institute research programs.”

Alisa Drapeaux, PhD, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences
"Changing Running Biomechanics with Manual Therapy - A Case Study"


Grinnell College

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Fellow: Charvann Bailey, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology

Student Research Assistants: Raghuram Inturi and Klarie Li

UI Faculty Host: Doug Spitz, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology

Project: Reactive oxygen species facilitate chemiresistance in cancer cells by activating SLUG


In  two months as a FUTURE Faculty Fellow, I  started a new project which will take my research in a new, and exciting direction.  It was also nice to be able to get back to actually doing experiments, since I do not have time to do much research myself during the school year.  I enjoyed my experience here mostly because I see that there is a collaborative environment both within my host lab and between other labs.  I learned new techniques that I will  be able to take back to my home institution that enhance the research experiences for my students.  Furthermore, many students in my courses desire to go to medical school, so the weekly meetings about the different programs (PhD, MSTP, MD) at Iowa will help me become a more informed advisor for my students at my home institution.

Charvann Bailey, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology
"The Efficacy of Sirtuin Inhibitors in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)"


I appreciate the opportunity of being able to participate in the FUTURE program. It is the first time in my life that I could get so close to front-line cancer research. I imagined being a researcher working in the lab would not be too much different from working in the office. But after spending my summer working with my mentor and other researchers in the lab, I found that our time schedule is really depending on how well the cells grow. Also, during the 2 months in the FUTURE program, I have learnt to do a lot of assays such as clonogenics and western blott. These are very important skills in biology research that I might not be able to learn during normal classes.

Yanxi (Klarie) Li, Undergraduate Researcher
"Erlotinib Resistance in Head and Neck Cancer Cells Confer Resistance to Radiation"


"My time in the FUTURE Program has been incredible in developing my love for becoming a researcher. Alongside my mentor from my college, it was very rewarding to be able to come up with interesting questions and design experiments to answer said questions. The invaluable skills my mentor and I have learned as a part of this program will definitely be used back at my college in order to improve not only our research, but also the research of other professors and their students.

Thanks so much for a wonderful summer. It was an amazing experience and it has spurred a passion for life-long learning."

Raghu Inturi, Undergradute Researcher
"The Role of Sirtuins and Oxidative Stress in Lung Cancer"


University of Northern Iowa

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Senior Fellow: Nilda Rodriguez, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology

Student Research Assistants: Victor Soupene and Ryan Lockard

UI Faculty Host: Mary Wilson, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology

Project: Time course of liquid accumulation in macrophages of male- versus female- origin infected with Leishmania infantum


Many STEM students at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) are interested in biomedical and healthcare careers. I have utilized my training in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases to develop a research program aligned with the interests of this student population. Our lab studies host-pathogens interactions and innate immune responses using Leishmania spp. and mouse macrophages as a model. The complex nature of this system requires an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach.

At UNI, countless students seek out biomedical research experiences in preparation for the next step in their careers. However, providing students with these experiences is challenging at a teaching institution. Our collaborations with The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine have allowed us to keep up a biomedical research program. Our lab is thriving! We have generated publishable data while involving UNI students in biomedical research. Simply stated, our participation in the FUTURE in Biomedicine Program has been crucial in the success of our research program.

Nilda Rodriguez, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology
"Immune Responses, Lipid Accumulation, and Disease Outcome in Leishmania infantum Infection"

Victor Soupene and Ryan Lockard, Undergraduate Researchers
"Lipid Bodies Accumulations in Leishmania infantum-Infected Macrophages of Male Versus Female Origin"


University of Northern Iowa

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Senior Fellow: Ali Tabei, PhD, Assistant Professor of Physics

Student Research Assistant: Mary Sutton

UI Faculty Host: Maria Spies, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry

Project: Modeling of the nucleoprotein filament formation in homologous recombination


The FUTURE program was an excellent facilitator to maintain an ongoing collaboration with the lab of Dr. Spies. As a result of the collaboration, which was seeded through the FUTURE program, we were granted an Iowa Space Grant Consortium Collaborative grant, which enabled me to return back this summer as a senior fellow.

Ali Tabei, MBBS, Assistant Professor of Physics
"Modeling of the Nucleoprotein Filament Formation in Homologous Recombination"


The FUTURE program allowed me to gain valuable experience working with a lab group at the University of Iowa. I was able to pursue interdepartmental studies well-suited to my double major in biochemistry and physics. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to expand my skill set to include computational methods and learn about other labs' areas of research as well. This program has really supported me as I look to explore possibilities for graduate school. 

Mary Sutton, Undergraduate Researcher
"Stochastic Lattice Simulation of the RAD51 Nucleoprotein Filament Formation on Single-Stranded DNA”


Student Affiliate: 

Cornell College Fellow: Zoe Randall

UI Faculty Host: Mark Niciu, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry


Coming from a small college the FUTURE program allowed me to see what research would be like in graduate school. This opportunity let me explore my options after graduation, as well as to connect and learn from people of all different career paths. 

Zoe Randall, Undergraduate Researcher
"Measuring the Effect of Antidepressants on Cellular Respiration in Differentiated Neurons"