D-Lab: News & Stories
In 2012-14, the D-lab completed one of its most productive phases of change and renewal. We achieved all our research aims of the current NIH R15 AREA grant that we received for 2007-2012, which resulted in three manuscripts featuring the work of thirteen undergraduates: Two were published in 2011 and one is being prepared for review (undergraduate authors asterisked). Several ongoing projects are enjoying continuing progress and some additional new projects are being initiated in summers 2013 and 2014.
2011 Fiske, M*#, Valtierra, S*,# Solvang, K*, Zorniak, M*, White, M.*, Herrera, S*, Brezinsky, R*, Konnikova, A* and DebBurman, SK. Contribution of serine phosphorylation and alanine-76 to alpha-synuclein membrane association and aggregation in yeast models. Parkinson’s Disease Volume 2011, 12 pages, Article ID 392180; doi:10.4061/2011/392180
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2011 Fiske, M*#, White M*#, Valtierra, S*, Herrera, S*, Solvang, K*, Konnikova, A* and DebBurman, SK. E46K Alpha-Synuclein Familial Mutant Binds Membranes, Aggregates, and Induces Strain-Selective Toxicity in Yeast Models. ISRN Neurology, vol. 2011, Article ID 521847, 14 pages, 2011. doi:10.5402/2011/521847
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Paul Jones ’18, a neuroscience junior, has received a 2016 Nu Rho Psi research grant to investigate potential risk factors linked to sporadic Parkinson’s disease. Paul is planning to be a train to be a physician scientist (MD/PhD) and pursue a career in academic medicine.
Emily Ong ’17, a neuroscience senior, has received a 2016 Parkinson’s Disease Foundation summer grant (one of ten awards from a national pool of 60+ applications from medical, graduate, and undergraduate students). Emily will investigate how newly identified familial mutants of alpha-synuclein cause Parkinson’s disease in yeast models. Emily hopes to attend medical school after graduation.
Morgan Marshall ’16, a biology major with an Art minor, won the First Prize in the undergraduate research competition for presenting her senior research project on new familial mutants of the parkinson’s disease protein at the 2016 Chicago Society for Neuroscience meeting on April 8. Morgan is planning for a future career as a physician after working for 1-2 years in full-time biomedical research at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.
Saul Bello Rojas ’16, a neuroscience major with a chemistry minor, won the Second Prize in the undergraduate research competition for presenting his research on the properties of naturally occuring alpha-synuclein variants at the 2015 Great Lakes Chapter American Society of Pharmaceutical and Experimental Therapeutics meeting. Saul is planning to pursue PhD studies in pharmacology and is currently a research technologist in Opthamology De[artment at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.
Alexandra Roman ’16, a neuroscience major with minors in chemistry and music, has received a 2015 Nu Rho Psi summer grant (one of just two awards made annually). She also won the Third Prize in the undergraduate research competition for presenting her Richter fellowship initiated research at the 2015 (March 20, 2015). Alex is planning to be a physician and is pursuing her senior thesis in the lab.
Charles Alvarado ’16, a neuroscience major with an educational studies minor, won the First Prize in the undergraduate research competition for presenting his research on the effects of c-terminal truncations of alpha-synuclein at the 2014 Great Lakes Chapter American Society of Pharmaceutical and Experimental Therapeutics meeting on June 13. Charles is planning for a future career as a high science teacher.
Maiwase Tembo ’15, a biology major and neuroscience major, won the First Prize in the undergraduate research competition for presenting her endocytosis regulation of alpha-synuclein at the 2013 Great Lakes Chapter American Society of Pharmaceutical and Experimental Therapeutics meeting (June 14, 2013). More recently, she has also won the Third Prize in the undergraduate research competition at the 2014 Chicago Society for Neuroscience meeting meeting (April 4, 2014). Wase is planning for a PhD degree in neuroscience after graduation.
Katrina Campbell ’14, a biology major and neuroscience minor, won the Second Prize in the undergraduate research competition for presenting her Richter fellowship initiated research at the 2012 Great Lakes Chapter American Society of Pharmaceutical and Experimental Therapeutics meeting (June 19, 2012). Katie is planning to apply for a PhD program in biology/neuroscience after a gap year where she is working as an NIH-IRTA fellow at the NIH-NIAID Rocky Mountain Labs in Hamilton, MT researching prion disease biology with Dr. Byron Caughey.
Natalie Kukulka ’13, a biology and neuroscience graduate, has received a 2013 Parkinson’s Disease Foundation summer grant (one of 15 awards from a national pool of 60+ applications from medical, graduate, and undergraduate students). She also won the Third Prize in the undergraduate research competition for presenting her Richter fellowship initiated research at the 2013 Chicago Society for Neuroscience meeting meeting (March 7, 2013). Natalie has applied to medical school and is currently working at Northwestern Memorial Hospital doing biomedical research in urology.
Madhavi Senagolage ’12, a biology senior with minors in neuroscience and chemistry from Colombo Sri Lanka, has received a competitive 2011 FUN (Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience) Undergraduate Travel Award to present her senior thesis research at the annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting to be held in Washington (DC) from November 11-16. At this meeting, she presented a science education poster on Eukaryon as its Publication Board Chair. She also co-presented with Daniella Brutman ’12 another science education poster on the 2010 Brain Awareness Week at Lake Forest College. Previously, she received the 2nd Prize at the 2011 Chicago Society for Neuroscience meeting. She was also awarded a undergraduate research travel award from the American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB) to present her Parkinson’s disease project on endocytosis at the 2010 ASCB meeting in Philadelphia (Dec 11-14). Madhavi is currently pursuing a PhD in biology at Northwestern University.
Keith Solvang ’11, a biology 2011 graduate, won the First Prize in the undergraduate research competition for presenting his Parkinson’s disease research at the 2011 Great Lakes Chapter American Society of Pharmaceutical and Experimental Therapeutics meeting (June 10, 2011). He was supported by an summer fellowship from the 2009-10 NIH American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to conduct his Parkinson’s Disease research project. Keith completed a Masters degree in biomedical sciences at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Sciences and is currently pursuing his MD studies there.
Alina Konnikova ’11, a biology senior from Vernon Hills Illinois, won the First Prize in the undergraduate research competition for presenting her Parkinson’s disease research on autophagy at the 2010 Great Lakes Chapter American Society of Pharmaceutical and Experimental Therapeutics meeting (June 19, 2010). Alina is pursuing her MD studies at the University of Illinois School of Medicine.
Jaime Perez ’10 graduated with a biology and art double major and was the 2009-10 Foster G McGaw Scholar at the college and received the 2009 Lincoln Laureate Award. He received his Masters degree in graduate in Prosthetics and Orthotics at University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center and completed his residency in orthotic and prosthetics in Boston (MA). He is now working in Chicago, Illinois.
Michael Fiske ’10, a biology 2010 graduate and a Barry Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention, won the First Prize for his Parkinson’s research senior thesis project at the national undergraduate poster competition of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) held in Anaheim California (April 24-28, 2010). He was also a UAN-ASBMB undergraduate travel award recipient from ASBMB. He conducted his senior thesis with a research grant he received from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Michael was initially pursuing his PhD in biology at the University of Washington, where he was awarded Honorable Mention on his NSF predoctoral grant application in 2011. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Neuroscience at Northwestern University.
Alum Updates & Campus Returns
Alexandra Ayala ’09 is thoroughly enjoying teaching math and science to middle school aged students in Houston as a Teach for America teacher. Read more here on her daily challenges and joys.
Stephanie Valtierra ’08 (Northwestern University) returned to LFC participate in the biology department and neuroscience program career panels in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Mithaq Vahedi ’08 completed his MD from Thomas Jefferson University in 2012 and is pursuing his residency at Wayne State University.
Michael White ’07 completed his MD from the University of Buffalo in 2012 and is pursuing his residency in Neurology at Washington University (St. Louis).
Michael Zorniak ’07 and Jessica Price ’06 hosted over 35 Lake Forest College students when we visited University of Wisconsin Madison on May 19 for the 2011 Oliver Smithies Symposium and met and heard Nobel Prize winners Stanley Prusiner and Eric Kandel and National Medal of Science winner Susan Lindquist discuss their groundbreaking research. Thanks Jessica and Mike for being such terrific alums! More here.
Katrina Brandis ’06 visited Lake Forest College as the 2011 Eukaryon Inauguration speaker and gave a seminar on her PhD work at Washington University on how cholesterol is metabolized. More here.
Lokesh Kukreja ’08 (Northwestern University), Michael Zorniak ’07 (University of Wisconsin), and Nijee Sharma ’04 (Loyola) visited the college on March 25 (2010) to lead a roundtable discussion on their PhD neuroscience research projects as part of the 2010 NeuroFrontiers Workshop.
Jessica Price ’06 returned to campus in Fall 2010 to present a biology department seminar on her PhD work on modeling land conservation at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Sara Herrera ’05 has completed her MD in 2011 from Medical College of Wisconsin and is pursuing her surgery residency in Detroit.
Arun Paul ’05 received his PhD in 2010 from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and is now completing his MD. His graduate work was published in Journal of Virology, PLOS Pathology, Virology, and Cancer Research. Arun returned to campus to give a biology department seminar and career panel on 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Isaac Holmes ’05 has completed his MD from Rush Medical College in 2009 and is pursuing his Residency in cardiology at Rush University Medical Center. Isaac returned to campus to give a biology department career panel on 2010.
Nijee Sharma ’04 received her MD in 2011 and PhD in 2009 from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. She will continue her MD residency in Neurology at University of California Davis. She published several papers, including in Experimental Neurology, Laryngoscope, and Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience. Nijee returned to campus to give a Biology Department seminar on 2008 and participated in career panels in 2009 and 2008.
Samantha England ’04 received her PhD in biology in 2011 from the University of Rochester and was selected as a 2012 New York Stem Cell Foundation Druckenmiller Fellow. Congratulations, Samantha! Her graduate work has now been published in the journals Blood and Heredity. Samantha returned to campus to give a biology department seminar on 2009.
Brandon Johnson ’03 received his PhD in 2010 from Stanford University and is continuing a postdoctoral fellowship there. His work has been published in PNAS USA, PLOS Genetics, PLOS One, and Journal of Experimentation. Brandon returned to campus to give a biology department seminar on 2005.