2018 Participants

FUTURE 2018 Class

2018 Participants

Clarke University  |  Grand View University  |  Grinnell College  |  Loras College  |  Mount Mercy University
Waldorf University  |  Wartburg College

Clarke University - Dubuque

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Fellow: Laura Hecker, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology 2018 FUTURE Clarke University

Student Research Assistant: Nick Peterson

UI Faculty Host: Lori Wallrath, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry

Project: The functions of lamins in healthy & diseased skeletal muscle


The knowledge I’ve gained about Drosophila genetics and the resources available through continued collaboration with my UI host faculty member will greatly enhance the learning experience of the students I teach. I plan to incorporate the new research techniques and tools into my courses in the coming academic year as I feel they will better prepare my students for postgraduate programs such as those that were highlighted during the weekly FUTURE seminars. I also feel I can better prepare my advisees interested in these programs now that I have learned more about them.

Dr. Laura Hecker, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology


Going into this experience, I was planning on going to physical therapy school, but I was still considering research and getting a Ph.D.. I did not know what I wanted and what would make me happy. So, I was very excited about this opportunity and throughout the summer I have learned so much. I learned a lot about what really goes on during research and the steps that should be taken to work towards a PhD.

Also, the Monday meetings showed me the opportunities I can pursue while still going to physical therapy school. I can get a DPT degree and go straight into clinical work, or I can continue my education and go into research for physical therapy, or something else, if I changed my mind. This summer has helped show me the wide variety of opportunities that are open to me, while helping guide me to know what I need to do in order to achieve whatever goal I set for myself.

Nick Peterson, Undergraduate Researcher


Grand View University - Des Moines

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Fellow: Bonnie Hall, PhD, Assistant Professor of Chemistry 2018 FUTURE Grand View University

Student Research Assistant: Amanda Duplan

UI Faculty Host: Miles Pufall, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

Project: The effect of phosphorylation on glucocorticoid potency


This experience has been invaluable to me.  I was able to update my technical skill set, which is difficult to do at a small institution.  I've been to conferences and heard about new methods, but that is not the same as actually doing them.  I've learned several new methods I will be taking back to teach to my students.  This is useful to me, not only from a teaching perspective, but also because about 80% of our Biochemistry graduates go on to work at local companies in Iowa.  The methods I've learned this summer while at the FUTURE program provide a big step forward in terms of what my students will know how to do when they graduate.

I've also had time to make strides forward on a research project I brought with me.  At a primarily undergraduate institution, it is hard to carve out time to do research.  I was at a point where I needed to start a new research project, but couldn't get enough interrupted time to make any real progress.  I accomplished more this summer in 9 weeks than I had all year--enough to take the project back and have multiple students working on it in the fall.

I also really enjoyed hearing from the various programs on campus--I advise students regularly, and gained a lot of insight into advising them about the best way to pursue different health science careers.  I also have a better understanding of some of the newer programs, such as Genetic Counseling.  

Dr. Bonnie Hall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry


I have been fortunate to be an undergraduate research student in the FUTURE program. While in the program, I learned so many valuable laboratory skills as well as possible directions to take after I graduate.  Research is a passion of mine that I plan to continue. I have a research project that is very important to me, but it is difficult to progress at my small university. The FUTURE program has provided me with the time and resources I need to bring my research project to the next level. As I return back to my university, I am confident I have the knowledge and skills to continue quality work.

Amanda Duplan, Undergraduate Researcher


Grinnell College - Grinnell

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Fellow: Damian Kelty-Stephen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology 2018 FUTURE Grinnell College

Student Research Assistants: Nicole Carver and John Zbaracki

UI Faculty Host: Richard Shields, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Chair and Professor of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Project: Neuromuscular control in people with impaired movement


As I experienced myself as a student, going from a liberal-arts undergraduate institution to a research-university environment for postgraduate training can entail an immense culture shock. This program has been invaluable to me in helping show some of my finest liberal-arts students the research-university ropes in navigating the road ahead as they pursue science careers.

My students had had a relatively narrow understanding of what a science career could be, and the FUTURE in Biomedicine project has broken their view open to a much wider set of opportunities. They got to meet faculty and visit laboratories from all over the disciplinary map, and they have taken like fish to water in the exciting field of clinical research. My students are now much wiser and more cosmopolitan scholars, and they will bring the insights not just to their own individual futures but also to the student community back on our home campus.

As the faculty member, I have been able to build a collaboration in a new direction for my research, and more importantly, I got what a whole research sabbatical could not give me: the chance to test drive whether students from my home institution are ready to join me on this new fork in my research road."

Damian G. Kelty-Stephen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology


I never imagined as a psych major at a small liberal arts college to have the opportunity to work in a lab like Dr. Shields. Meeting so many faculty from the PT department like Kelly Sass and Jason Wilken was amazing and opened my eyes to the possibilities available to me right here in Iowa. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Shields really helped me grow as a scientist. The FUTURE program helped give me direction that I would not have otherwise.

Nicole Carver, Undergraduate Researcher


This program gave me the chance to explore my passion. During this program, I've had access to learn and use many cutting edge technologies while designing and executing a novel experiment to further Physical Therapy research. I have also had the wonderful opportunity to make connections with other professors, graduate students, and laboratories at the University. I would like to thank the program, as well as Dr. Shield's Laboratory, for this fantastic opportunity. 

John Zbaracki, Undergraduate Researcher


Loras College - Dubuque

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Fellow: Sarah Cassella, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor of Neuroscience 2018 FUTURE Loras College

Student Research Assistant: Angela Richardson

UI Faculty Host: Hanna Stevens, MD, PhD, Psychiatry

Project: The Impact of Stress Mediators on Cells in the Developing Brain


My experience in the FUTURE Fellowship program has allowed me to do a number of things that I would not be possible to do at my home institution. Of critical importance to me has been the ability to expose a Loras student, Angela, to the variability in Neuroscience research. She has actually learned how to perform techniques that simply aren’t available on our campus. Along with that, she is learning how to execute them with a high standard of excellence that is required at a large research institution. She has also been able to network with other PIs and figure out what kind of mentor style works for her as she begins to complete her applications for graduate school.

As for me, this summer has given me the opportunity to learn and optimize new techniques and protocols, form collaborative relationships, and re-focus on my own research questions. I will be continuing my work with Dr. Stevens into the future and will also be able to utilize some of her equipment to investigate my own research questions.

This program has offered me so many resources that will help me be the best researcher I can be. Although I was only here for 8 weeks, the benefits will last many years.

Sarah Cassella, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology


“The FUTURE in Biomedicine Program provided me with the opportunity to work full time as a researcher and truly experience firsthand the demands and challenges of being a ‘scientist.’ The skills and techniques that I was able to learn while at Iowa far exceed the opportunities at my own institution and will serve as a solid foundation for when I explore the next phase of my life and look to graduate school.”

Angela Richardson, Undergraduate Researcher


Mount Mercy University - Cedar Rapids

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Fellow: Danielle Rudd, PhD, Assistant Professor2018 FUTURE Mount Mercy University

Student Research Assistant: Jenna Bemiss, Microbiology NSF REU

UI Faculty Host: Wendy Maury, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Project: Innate immune response of keratinocyte and the impact of Ebola virus


I am beyond grateful for my experience as a Fellow in the FUTURE program. In addition to establishing a research collaboration with a Carver College of Medicine faculty member, my undergraduate student and I have also learned a lot about admissions for numerous post-graduate programs. So not only have I gained experience in new research techniques, I feel like I am much more prepared to advise undergraduates at my home institution. Last, but not least, the administrators of the FUTURE program have been so helpful it is clear that they are committed to this program and making it the best that they can for everyone involved. Going through this program has reminded me how proud I am to be an alumna of the University of Iowa!

Dr. Danielle Rudd, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology


Participating in the FUTURE program has brought me many opportunities that I never knew I could have. Not only were we given time to conduct research that would not be possible to do at our home institutions, but were given valuable information on different scientific careers. This program has opened doors for me in the field of science by introducing myself to people that will help me as a I further my education and start applying to grad school. 

Jenna Bemiss, Undergraduate Researcher


Waldorf University - Forest City

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Fellow: Carol Fischer, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology2018 FUTURE Waldorf University

Student Research Assistant: Jennet Hojanazarova

UI Facuty Host: Rob Cornell, PhD, Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Project: Exploring the genetic underpinnings of orofacial clefting


It has been an exciting and busy summer working in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Cornell. It has been a pleasure spending the summer doing research alongside one of my students, watching her learn and grow academically in just a few short weeks. During this project her interest in research increased to the point where she is now considering an MD/PhD program. One of my main goals was to learn some different techniques that I could incorporate into classes. Not only did I learn a lot this summer but I’ll be taking part of this project back to Waldorf University and will continue this work with students at Waldorf. I’m also very excited to incorporate some of these techniques into courses so students can feel the excitement of working on a “real” problem. Finally, through this project I have made a connection that will hopefully become a long-term collaboration. 

Dr. Carol L. Fischer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology


I am very thankful to the FUTURE in Biomedicine program for giving me this opportunity to experience full-time research. During this research, I worked with orofacial clefting— the most common craniofacial birth defect — in the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) level. I am so happy that I contributed to determining functional SNPs. Also, I learned about many career opportunities such as MD/Ph.D. during weekly seminars. I hope so much that we will be able to continue this summer research at Waldorf University and that I can come back to Dr. Cornell’s lab after my next semester in the winter. 

Jennet Hojanazarova, Undergraduate Researcher


Wartburg College - Waverly

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Fellow: Patricia Storlie, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology 2018 FUTURE Wartburg College

Student Research Assistants: Andrew Linkletter and Ali Ali

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

Project: Molecular cloning and generation of recombinant Leishmania spp parasites


I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the FUTURE in Biomedicine program this summer. I have been able to teach my students about laboratory work and how to think like a research scientist in a way that is not possible during academic year. We have had the chance to work alongside experts in my field and have benefited greatly from their generosity of time and knowledge. I setout this summer with the goal of designing tools and a model system that will allow our work to continue in a small college setting. We have succeeded beyond what I had hoped and I could not have accomplished this without the UI FUTURE program!!

Dr. Patricia Storlie, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology


My time at the FUTURE program has been an incredible experience for me. I would never have imagined that I would have the opportunity to study and work with CRISPR in a lab with experienced scientists so early in my college career. Especially from the convenience of having everything in my hometown. Everyday I went to the lab this summer, I felt so thankful that I had this opportunity. I learned a lot about what it takes to conduct research, both on the gathering of data and the presentation of such data. The people in my lab exhibited great patience with my lack of experience, and never failed to guide me through whatever obstacle I came across in experiments. This experience has left me with a greater appreciation for research, and I am far more confident in my abilities and dedication to pursuing this path I have set myself on. I would recommend this program to any undergraduate student I know who is studying a biology-related science. Thank you University of Iowa College of Medicine for everything.

Ali Ali, Undergraduate Researcher


"The FUTURE in Biomedicine program has opened a plethora of doors for me and has allowed me to connect with a diverse group of people that I would not have otherwise.  This program offers great opportunities for students and professors from small private colleges to conduct research at the University of Iowa and to further continue this work at their home institutions." 

Andrew Linkletter, Undergraduate Researcher