2022 Participants

2022 Participants

Coe College | Cornell College | Dordt University | Grinnell College
University of Northern Iowa


Coe College

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Senior Fellow:  Randy Christensen, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology

Student Research Assistant: 

UI Faculty Collaborator: Lori Wallrath, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Thank you for the FUTURE program.  It has allowed me to forge new collaborations, learn new lab skills, and perform experiments using the latest innovations in biotechnology.  These experiences with cutting-edge technology at UIowa will spread far beyond my own enrichment, as every undergraduate I teach will benefit from my deeper understanding and new-found expertise.

~Randy Christensen, PhD

Working over the summer in the Wallrath Lab, through the FUTURE program, has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I have learned so much about how to work in a lab environment and what life in graduate school would be like. The Wallrath lab truly has been a positive place to work over summer and I am extremely grateful to everyone for being so welcoming and supportive. Participating in the FUTURE program has given me so many new skills and allowed me to learn about many different career and education options, and I would like to thank everyone who has made this amazing opportunity possible.

~Emily Symons


Cornell College

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

Student Research Assistants: James Hoyle, Rachel Adewusi, and Payton Douglass


Although my UI collaborator moved to another university this year, I benefited from continuing my connection to the FUTURE in Biomedicine Program by bringing 3 research students to the weekly events. The breadth of topics helped expose them to opportunities for future training and careers, and let them become acquainted with students at other colleges in Iowa who share some similar interests.

~Barbara Christie-Pope, PhD

The FUTURE program was essential for my development as a scientist, and I gained a lot of excellent skills and resources that I will continue to use for the rest of my time in school and my career moving forward.  This experience reassured me that this is the field I want to continue to be a part of and grow in my understanding of medicine and psychiatry. I plan to go to school to become a physician. During my time in the FUTURE program, I worked for an M.D., Ph.D. doctor and encountered M.D., Ph.D. students during a zoom meeting. A dual doctorate is a route I never considered, but I've developed a great appreciation for conducting research, and now I'm strongly considering this path.

~Payton Douglass


Dordt University

FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Senior Fellow: Manuela A.A. Ayee-Leong, PhD, Assosciate Professor of Chemical Engineering

Student Research Assistants: Erin Holmberg and Lucas Lopes

UI Faculty Collaborator: Robert Piper, PhD, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


It was wonderful to once again participate in the FUTURE in Biomedicine program this summer. Although my team was unable to make it to Iowa City, we performed research on our campus and had the opportunity to log in to the Monday seminars via Zoom. This flexibility enabled us to stay connected with the program remotely while benefitting from the diverse seminar topics. We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to continued productive collaborations.

~Manuela A.A. Ayee-Leong, PhD

The FUTURE program gave me a great introduction to the world of biomedical research. I especially loved hearing from so many people who are actually working in the field right now, both in academia and in industry. Getting to hear about the many possibilities of working in biomedicine has led me to consider how I can be involved in research in the future!

~Erin Holmberg

This summer I had the chance to work with research. This opportunity was given to me through the FUTURE in Biomedicine program from University of Iowa. Even though I was not inside a lab, I greatly appreciated the fact that I was able to apply everything I learned on my biology and chemistry classes for performing computational simulations of proteins. Also, the opportunity of learning all the possibilities for a Biomedicine graduate in all the Zoom meetings every Monday was excellent because now I know that I have several possibilities to work with afterwards. This was an amazing experience that challenged me to my best and it will bring several benefits for my life later on.

~Lucas Lopes


Grinnell College

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

Student Research Assistant: Koffi Amegble

UI Faculty Collaborator: Douglas Spitz, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology


Before my two summers in the University of Iowa’s FUTURE in Biomedicine Program, I thought that scientific research was scientists randomly experimenting with ideas until they encountered an exciting finding. Now, I understand that biological processes, their underlying proteins, and genomic information must undergo thorough examination and comprehension before experimentation. Obtaining this foundational understanding from scientific literature and mentorship allowed me to determine what to observe, how to measure it, and most importantly, how to interpret the results. The support from my faculty mentor, Professor Bailey, and the University of Iowa staff helped me navigate the world of research and the countless career pathways available for undergraduate students like me to explore. As my summer research concludes, I am filled with a sense of gratitude and purpose that inspire me to pursue medicine and research opportunities further.

~Koffi Amegble


FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Senior Fellow: Keisuke Hasegawa, PhD, Associate Professor of Physics

UI Faculty Collaborator: Maria Spies, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


I would like to thank Dr. Madeline Shea and the FUTURE in Biomedicine Program for giving me the opportunity to spend another exciting summer at the Carver College of Medicine. This was my third time to participate in the program, and it allowed me focus on research, something that is difficult to do at a small liberal arts college. My UI host, Dr. Maria Spies, and the members of her laboratory have been very helpful, and I have benefitted tremendously from their generosity and expertise. I was also able to meet faculty from other primarily undergraduate institutions in Iowa, and learn about their research as well as pedagogies. In addition, the program helped me to access the Central Microscopy Research Facility for my own research and collect data for an NSF grant proposal. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the program again this summer, and I am excited to continue collaborating with Dr. Spies in the future.

~Keisuke Hasegawa, PhD


FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Visiting Fellow: Pascal Lafontant, PhD, Professor of Biology


University of Northern Iowa

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

Student Research Assistant: Kevin Lu, University of Iowa undergraduate

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


At the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), numerous 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 through the FUTURE in Biomedicine Program have allowed us to keep a viable and productive biomedical research program in which to involve UNI students. Being current in techniques and contents in biomedicine has also been invaluable to provide engaging and relevant instruction in the classroom and teaching labs. In addition, it allows me to provide better advice to students interested in pursuing graduate and professional studies, many of whom continue their education at the University of Iowa.

~Nilda Rodriguez, PhD

I would like to first recognize FUTURE fellow Dr. Nilda Rodriguez as well as the collective group of Wilson lab, thank you guys for teaching me so much about what it means to do research in a field like cell biology!  As an undergraduate with little to no research experience going into the summer, I can say with confidence that the FUTURE program has helped steer me in the right direction. This learning opportunity has been nothing short of amazing, and I would highly recommend the program to other students wondering if research is right for them. I was able to focus on an advanced research project in the Wilson lab, which has taught me so much about what it takes to be a researcher. The FUTURE program also hosted talks from many different professionals weekly, helping students like me to envision what the future could hold for us. Thank you, FUTURE!

~Kevin Lu


FUTURE in BiomedicineSM Senior Fellow: S. M. Ali Tabei, PhD, Associate Professor of Physics

Student Research Assistant: Sabryn Labenz

UI Faculty Collaborator: Maria Spies, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


The FUTURE in Biomedicine=Program has been great for my students and me.

The sustainable collaboration I have built through this program has been academically fruitful for me and has been key in my tenure process. My students have benefited from the first-hand experience that the University of Iowa has provided them.

~Ali Tabei, PhD

The FUTURE in Biomedicine Program has done a brilliant job of introducing me to new avenues within biomedical careers and research. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the speakers hosted by this group. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in research through this program as well.

~Sabryn Labenz