Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

2011 Participants

2011 FUTURE Class

Buena Vista University  |  Coe College  |  Cornell College  |  Mount Mercy University  |  Waldorf College  |  Wartburg College

Buena Vista University

FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: Kristy McClellan, PhD, assistant professor of biology
Student Research Assistant: Caitlin Hof

UI Faculty Host: Pamela Geyer, PhD, professor of biochemistry and obstetrics and gynecology

Project: Investigation of the role of Drosophila zinc finger transcription factor in germline and neuronal development.


I can’t emphasize enough how rewarding this experience has been for me as a new faculty member at Buena Vista. I applied to the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program because of the opportunity to do research while getting to know more about the University of Iowa. My time here has met and exceeded my expectations. I have been working with a new model system and am leaving here with some exciting new findings that I can continue to work with in collaboration with the Geyer lab at Iowa. One of the best aspects of this program is the opportunity to bring a student along for the summer. It has been a great experience to work side-by-side with one of my students and to see how much she has grown as a scientist throughout the summer.
On a personal note, my family has really enjoyed Iowa City. We have had a great time finding all of the kid-friendly activities to do around town. We will all take some great experiences and memories with us.

Kristy McClellan, PhD
FUTURE in Biomedicine

My experience in the FUTURE program has been a great one! I have learned a ton including

  • determining the sex of flies
  • furthering my education in the MD/PhD program
  • using a confocal microscope, and
  • experiencing real lab life.

Caitlin Hof
Undergraduate Researcher

Coe College

Ruth Ann Henriksen FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: Maria Dean, PhD, professor of chemistry

Student Research Assistant: Katelyn Marshall

UI Faculty Host: Sheila Baker, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry and ophthalmology and visual sciences

Project: Evaluating transgenic Xenopus as a model system for the expression of secreted proteins.


What an exciting time this has been! The time to do research in a cooperative and supportive environment is invaluable for a professor from a small, undergraduate institution. I am thankful and appreciative for the opportunity afforded to me to participate in the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program. This has been an outstanding experience for my student, Katelyn Marshall, who has an appreciation for her options in graduate research and a confidence in the tremendous set of lab skills that she has developed.

The FUTURE program is a wonderful opportunity to work at a UI lab in cutting edge research. This experience has been a time to learn new techniques, get a new direction for my research, and to develop a collaboration that will be beneficial on many levels. We are returning to Coe College with an outline of a joint paper and plans for a continued collaboration with our University of Iowa host, Sheila Baker.

I was able to broaden my horizon in both research and teaching. I will be taking “new and improved” research techniques back with me to share in my undergraduate research program, and in my teaching labs. It is my sincere hope that other faculty from Coe College can participate in the FUTURE program and take advantage of this wonderful resource.

The FUTURE program has also made available a wealth of information on graduate research and professional health programs. We had the opportunity to meet the program chairs, ask questions, and find out how to optimize the preparation and application process for our undergrads.

Maria A. Dean,PhD
Ruth Ann Henriksen FUTURE in Biomedicine

When I decided to participate in the FUTURE program, I already knew I wanted to pursue a career in scientific research. This experience has helped me discover what working in the lab looks like by interacting with graduate students, lab technicians, and my principal investigator on a daily basis, and it reinforced what I already knew: this is what I want to do with my life! Not only that, but I have learned techniques that will be valuable to me in future labs at my college, and I’ve had access to techniques and instruments that I wouldn’t have been able to utilize at my home college. This experience has made me realize that there are even more options for me in research than I could have imagined, and I now have a solid foundation to be able to decide what field of research I might want to go into. Participating in the FUTURE in biomedicine research has been invaluable in helping me decide what my post-graduation plans are, and what career I want to pursue."

Katelyn Marshall
Undergraduate Researcher

Cornell College

FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: Barbara Christie-Pope, PhD, professor of biology

Student Research Assistant: Federica Ot'alora-Roselli

UI Faculty Host: Robert Cornell, PhD, associate professor of anatomy and cell biology

Project: The ion channel TRPM7 is necessary for the differentiation of dopaminergic neurons.


For the last two months I have been fortunate enough to become a student again complete with both frustrating moments and "A HA" moments. Scientists at small liberal arts colleges are frequently isolated from colleagues in their same field. The FUTURE program brings a small, yet significant, break from that isolation. I worked in a lab that asks questions in my area but uses techniques that I have only described to students. I am thrilled that my knowledge of these techniques has expanded through actual use. I look forward to continuing the relationships and collaborations started this summer. Perhaps more importantly, I feel that my teaching and my own research have been rejuvenated. Everyone should become a student again!

Barbara Christie-Pope, PhD
FUTURE in Biomedicine

The FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program has opened up a new door for me in science and medicine. Prior to the program I had only had lab experiences in my classes and never knew what it was like to be in a real lab setting. Working full time and independently on a project over the course of eight weeks really showed me the challenges and major accomplishments that can be made from doing research.

Fika Ot'alora-Roselli
Undergraduate Researcher

Mount Mercy University

FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: Joseph Nguyen, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry

Student Research Assistant: Molly First

UI Faculty Host: Richard Roller, PhD, professor of microbiology

Project: Characterization of essential herpesvirus assembly interactions.


Participation in the fellowship has been extremely valuable experience to me as an educator and a professional. Not only will I be able to bring back continue the research through this collaboration at Mount Mercy, I will be able to incorporate many new ideas into the classroom and laboratory. The workshops involving the graduate and professional programs are invaluable as an adviser. Finally, the CCOM faculty and staff have been tremendously gracious and helpful with their time and energy throughout the process, and the outstanding research facilities compliment them very well. Without a doubt, this experience is highly recommended for any science professor at a small college or university, especially since an undergraduate student is able to accompany the faculty.

Joseph Nguyen, PhD
FUTURE in Biomedicine

This summer has been the greatest experience of my life! I have met many new people and made new friends especially with the people I work with in lab. I loved to learn how to perform research outside of the class lab environment. It was such an awesome experience that I would definitely recommend to anyone of my friends looking into doing summer research. I learned a lot about how to manage my time well, how to get accepted into graduate programs at the University of Iowa (which was VERY helpful), and how to properly set up a scientific poster presentation! I am also going to continue my research with my PI throughout the upcoming school year which I think is awesome! It is very exciting to continue working in collaboration with the Carver College of Medicine!

Molly First
Undergraduate Researcher

Waldorf College

FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: Gary Coombs, PhD, assistant professor of cell and molecular biology

Student Research Assistant: Cody Barnes

UI Faculty Host: Dawn Quelle, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and pathology

Fellow Project: Proteomic studies of NIAM, a novel ARF interacting protein.

Student Project: Analyses of NIAM mRNA expression in glioblastoma tumors.


I greatly enjoyed participating in the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program this summer. It was rewarding on several different levels.

First, I enjoy research! It was great to have the opportunity to delve into a new arena (tumor suppressors) this summer. We made progress in understanding PARF and NIAM function, and developed protein expression tools and protein complex isolation methods for mass spectrometry that should be the basis for future collaborations.

Second, I made connections among faculty at UI and other FUTURE participants and had many useful conversations about teaching, grant writing, bringing in speakers, and other subjects which will benefit me in my efforts to build a career at Waldorf College. I particularly enjoyed discussions with Dr. Dawn Quelle and Chinh Dao (a FUTURE alumnus). I appreciate feeling more connected and having more resources to work with.

Finally, I learned a lot about admissions requirements and curricula of multiple graduate programs which should help me with advising and with tailoring courses to help Waldorf students in building successful careers. This includes my research student this summer, Cody Barnes, who is interested in becoming a physician’s assistant. In addition to fulfilling an internship requirement for graduation, he had the opportunity this summer to meet one-on-one with the admissions director of UI’s P.A. program and get advice on how to tailor his application. He came away from that conversation greatly encouraged.

Gary Coombs, PhD
FUTURE in Biomedicine

The FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program gave me the opportunity to experience working in a lab at a larger university, learn an extensive amount of information, and increase my repertoire. In addition to the research, I was grateful for the opportunity to meet and learn from many important members of the various graduate programs offered at the University of Iowa.

I would highly recommend the FUTURE in Biomedicine℠ program to anyone who is interested attending graduate college, individuals who enjoy conducting research, or individuals who are unsure what they want to do with their lives but really enjoy science.

Cody Barnes
Undergraduate Researcher

Wartburg College

FUTURE in Biomedicine Fellow: Stephanie Toering Peters, PhD, assistant professor of biology

Student Research Assistant: Islam Qadous

UI Faculty Host: C. Andrew Frank, PhD, assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology

Project: Analysis of Drosophila mutants that impair synapse development or function.


When I first heard about the FUTURE program, my initial response was disbelief. It sounded too perfect. I would be paid to come to the University of Iowa to spend two months doing interesting experiments, going to talks, and initiating collaborations? And I could bring a student? And the program would house me and my family? I scoured the web site for the catch. There wasn’t one. I knew this would be an excellent professional development opportunity, and I wanted to participate.

As my time as a FUTURE fellow is coming to a close, my enthusiasm for the program persists. I anticipate that I will continue to collaborate with my host laboratory; our current problem is to decide which experiments to pursue. It has been a joy for me to immerse myself in research again and I leave here mentally invigorated. As a faculty member at a liberals arts institution, one of the things I miss most from my graduate school days is the opportunity to attend talks about cutting edge research. This summer, I was able to attend numerous talks, including ones relevant to the courses I teach. I will be able to share these unpublished ideas with my students in the coming year, and demonstrate to them the emerging nature of scientific inquiry.

The goals of the FUTURE program are to expose faculty from small colleges to the University of Iowa and to bring together teaching and research. It certainly meets these goals. I am not a native of Iowa, and now I know much more about the graduate and professional programs available to my students here. I can advise students more knowledgably about the programs here, and I can refer them to actual people at Iowa if they have questions.

This program is an incredible experience for the fellows and the undergraduate students that participate. I hope to maintain the collaboration I initiated this summer, and I expect to reap the benefits from this summer experience for many years to come.

Stephanie Toering Peters, PhD
FUTURE in Biomedicine

I was fortunate to be part of the FUTURE in Biomedicine Program. The program helped me to learn about the research process and how it is done because before I had no idea how the research process even worked. Now I have been able to be part of the research and to work full time in a lab. The program also expanded my knowledge through learning about the experiment and helpful techniques. Along with that, it gave me new approaches to understand science without making it complex. Even if it was complex, I learned how to make it simple. The program helped me determine my future career path by narrowing down my interests and making me realize that research is something I always wanted to do. Thank you FUTURE for giving me this opportunity, and for the efforts you put into making it a unique experience.

Islam Qadous
Undergraduate Researcher

Support for the 2011 Program

  • CCOM Office of the Dean
  • Buena Vista University
  • Coe College
  • Cornell College
  • Mount Mercy University
  • Waldorf College
  • Wartburg College