2010 Participants

2010 FUTURE Class

Drake Univ.  |  Loras College  |  Morningside College  |  Wartburg College

Drake University

FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: Chinh Dao, PhD, assistant professor of biology

Student Research Assistant: Randi Rumbold

UI Faculty Host: Fred Quelle, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology

Project:Erythropoietin receptor ubiquitination and trafficking effects on signal transduction.


The FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program started at The University of Iowa should be a national model for summer research programs. It has created unique synergisms that have driven scientific endeavors forward, facilitated collaborations between research programs in Iowa, provided cutting-edge and practical research experience to undergraduates from smaller liberal arts colleges and universities, and promoted the professional programs at The University of Iowa. The program has been a wonderful experience and will be highly recommended to all of my colleagues.

The program combines the efforts of science faculty and undergraduates in productive ways. Faculty at small liberal arts institutions often have limited resources to perform research and enabling them take advantage of the programs and instrumentation at The University of Iowa helps them accelerate their own research programs. Host laboratories gain the experience of scientists who bring different scientific perspectives and training obtained from other institutions. They help drive the research aims of their host laboratory forward and help progress their own research programs as well. The undergraduates benefit from cutting-edge and hands-on experience with ‘science as science is currently being done’.

Enabling the research fellow to identify a talented undergraduate helps ensure that the individual is deserving, easy to mentor, and motivated to do science. Pairing a student as a research assistant with a faculty member helps minimize the potential encumbrance that a summer research student may potentially pose to the host laboratory. That student has a known and immediate resource in the laboratory. The program has staying power. The faculty members return to their home institutions with increased knowledge of Iowa’s programs and intellectual and research resources. This helps them be more informed as advisors, it helps them promote the programs at Iowa to their advisees, and helps them establish professional contacts at Iowa. Students complete the program with a good sense of what a career in science would be like, what graduate school will entail, and a favorable impression of the Iowa campus. Overall, Dr. Shea has developed a creative program that should not only continue into future years, but be expanded.

Chinh Dao, PhD
FUTURE in Biomedicine

Being a researcher in the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program has given me great insight into the world of graduate school that I never would have seen at Drake. This experience has given me the skills and confidence I will need to be successful in my future career; it has prepared me for a demanding but rewarding career in the sciences. I have made wonderful connections to other undergraduate students at participating Iowa institutions, as well as with graduate students in the lab where I work, and the neighboring lab.

Randi Rumbold
Undergraduate Researcher

Loras College

FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: K. Mac McLaughlin, PhD, assistant professor of psychology

Student Research Assistant: Stephen Brandt

UI Faculty Host: Natalie Denburg, PhD, assistant professor of neurology

Project: Allostatic Load in Older Adults: Relationship to Prefrontal Cortex Integrity.


I cannot emphasize enough how valuable the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program is for faculty and for students. From a faculty viewpoint, being involved with a project outside of my expertise, yet one that demands me to rely upon my knowledge and research ability, has been invigorating. The experience has broadened my understanding of the clinical work that, in the past, I have simply used as a rationale for experimentation. In addition, our project this summer has annihilated any stereotypes I had about the aging brain! The knowledge and experiences I have gained working in the laboratory will hopefully foster continued research collaborations and new opportunities for my students and me.

The interactions with highly qualified and passionate colleagues, in addition to working with exceptional technology, make for an enjoyable and active summer. Importantly, the experience rejuvenates those of us who enjoy teaching but maintain our passion for research and many times are not able to address this desire due to faculty meetings, committee work, student interruptions, and course requirements. The time has gone by too quickly, and I feel so honored to have been part of such a unique collaboration. I highly recommend the program to other professors; although, I wish I could participate EVERY summer!

Mac McLaughlin, PhD
FUTURE in Biomedicine

My summer experience with the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program has introduced me to research at a professional level, an opportunity I would not have had at my school. I would highly recommend this program to other interested undergraduates.

Stephen Brandt
Undergraduate Researcher

Morningside College

FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: Rachel Robson, PhD, assistant professor of biology

Student Research Assistant: Johan P. Conradie

UI Faculty Host: Alexander Horswill, PhD, associate professor of microbiology

Project: Molecular analysis of Staphlococcus aureus from asymptomatic nasal carriage.


The FUTURE in Biomedicine program allowed a great question, asked by a small-college sophomore, to become a publishable paper, and for a small-college professor to collaborate with a world-class researcher.

As a professor at a small liberal arts college, obviously my first priority is being an effective teacher. For me, that means involving students in real research projects as early as possible. As a brand-new assistant professor at Morningside College in the fall of 2007, a student in my sophomore-level microbiology class wanted to do a research project to test for nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. "But which nostril should I swab?" he asked, “the right or the left?" I asked my students to do a literature search to find out the answer to that question.

It turned out that there wasn't an answer, just an assumption underlying the published studies of this question. That assumption, that nostrils in a single person are the same when it comes to the carriage of these potentially-pathogenic bacteria, was shown by my students to be false. This was an intriguing result, but I despaired that it would never be published. We really needed genetic data on the bacteria we had collected to make our project publishable, and the equipment and supplies to gather that kind of data are just out of reach for a small college like Morningside. Thanks to the generous support of the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program, though, one of my students and I were able to access the scientific infrastructure needed to answer our genetic questions about the S. aureus samples we had painstakingly collected over the course of three years. Now, we plan to submit our study to a clinical microbiology journal by the end of the year. None of this would have been possible without the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program, and I'd be extremely grateful if this had been all that I had gained from it.

But it's not. Because through our work on the genetics of nasal isolates of S. aureus, my student J.P. and I were introduced to many intriguing new questions through the lab of our P.I., Alex Horswill. In the next year, I'll be having my sophomore microbiology students collect more bacterial samples to answer these new research questions on which the University of Iowa and Morningside College will now be collaborating.

I'm incredibly grateful for the investment the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program made in me and in my students' research. I think that gratitude will grow even more in the years to come. I would recommend this program to a friend because the FUTURE in Biomedicine program is a great opportunity for small-college professors whose first love is teaching, but who want to do serious research, to be able to do so. The financial support for both professors and students allows the participating professors to bring their very best, most talented students with them--not just the students who can afford to spend an entire summer without a job. This program is a great way to introduce those great students to the real world of biomedical research. The student I brought with me this summer, J.P., is now planning on pursuing a PhD after graduation.

Rachel Robson, PhD
FUTURE in Biomedicine

The FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program is an amazing program because it enables students to do research by putting them in real world lab settings, allowing them to get the feel for the everyday flow of a big research lab. Students often learn only about the success of researchers, but do not realize the process that went into reaching that success. The FUTURE program allows students to get the full experience of research, from experimental design to budgeting funds and all the failed experiments in between.

What I have enjoyed the most about the research experience at the University of Iowa is how helpful all the fellow researchers are. After one of our gels didn’t turn out well a group gathered around and began suggesting ways to get better results. Every lab we worked in was extremely hospitable.

Johan "J.P." Conradie
Undergraduate Researcher

Wartburg College

FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: Shawn Ellerbroek, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry

Student Research Assistant: Molly Wernli

UI Faculty Host: Kris DeMali, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and dermatology

Project: Structural determinants of Rho protein activation.


The FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program has been a tremendously encouraging and helpful opportunity that will positively impact my career for years to come. One of the many unanticipated benefits of the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program was the productivity of a complete immersion into my research outside of the day-to-day obligations at my college.

By the end of the first month, I was able to catch up on literature, generate exciting data, and formulate new directions for my study. I am leaving the program reinvigorated with a long list of innovative experiments for the fall. I've made new friends and colleagues, and come away with a positive impression and understanding of the many great professional programs at the University of Iowa. I will recommend the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program with enthusiasm to any and all fellow college science faculty in the future.

Shawn Ellerbroek, PhD
FUTURE in Biomedicine

The FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program has been absolutely invaluable to me. The chance to be in the laboratory full time allowed me to experience what life is like as a graduate student. Not only that, but the technical skills I’ve learned as well as confidence I’ve gained in the lab will be extremely beneficial as I enter a challenging year back at Wartburg.

This program is a great a fit for anyone interested in a challenging summer that will allow them to hone their laboratory skills and gain insight into a life of research.

Molly Wernli
Undergraduate Researcher

Support for the 2010 Program

  • CCOM Office of the Dean
  • Drake University
  • Loras College
  • Morningside College
  • Wartburg College