Ten science undergraduate scholars pursue cutting-edge research in Chicago area medical schools

Grace Elizabeth Groner Grant Foundation recipient Victoria Egedus worked in summer 2012 investigating epigenetic changes i...
August 02, 2012

Ten Lake Forest College science majors aiming to be future health professionals and scientists conducted cutting-edge research in a variety of medically related areas, including neuroscience, cell and molecular pharmacology, cell biology and anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, psychology, and physiology and biophysics this summer at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS), Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, and Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.

Eight of these students were selected as 2012 LFC-RFUMS summer research fellows, a unique research collaboration between a liberal arts college and a medical school that began in 2009. It offers the paid opportunity for Lake Forest students to work with faculty and students at RFUMS labs during the summer, and continue this research during the academic year through academic credit based internships.  Seven of them are conducting senior thesis research in neuroscience, biology, and psychology that will extend their summer research into the entire academic year.

Professor of Biology Shubhik DebBurman
, who has coordinated this program at the college’s end, notes that it has been wildly successful since it began. Over 35 science majors, including seven first-year students, have benefited from this program garnering significant research training that provides them an enviable professional edge and the support of additional scientific mentors, as students plan out their future careers. Some students who participated last year already have won professional recognition at scientific conferences  such as the Great Lakes Chapter of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (GLC-ASPET) and the Chicago Society for Neuroscience meeting and have become authors on major scientific publications for the work they conducted through this program. Some graduates have already headed for medical school, physical therapy, optometry, and PhD programs.

RFUMS Professor of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology Dr Amiel Rosenkranz
, who has mentored four psychology and biology majors (Emily Venheim ‘09, Derek Atchley ‘10, Shabana Yusufishaq ‘12, Carli-Ann Pentz ‘13) for their senior thesis efforts, states: “I have participated in this program because the Lake Forest College students have been great to have in the lab, and have even managed to produce novel, interesting findings over the relatively short summer internship. I think this partnership benefits both LFC and RFUMS: the students get access to a wider range of research opportunities, and we at RFUMS get the opportunity to have new, productive researchers in our lab. Without exception, the LFC students that have worked in my lab have been excellent. They have all been conscientious, hard-working and bright. It has been a pleasure having them in the lab.

Professor DebBurman also initiated two new summer research partnerships with nationally known summer research programs at Loyola University (its Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics Program) and Northwestern University (its Summer Research Opportunity Program), pairing one student each in these programs, with the hope to sustain and expand student placements in the future, and develop similar bridges with other Chicago area research universities and medical schools. The expansion of these new bridge partnerships with Chicago area medical schools was possible with the generous participation and support of the Groner Elizabeth Groner Grant Foundation Program that selected and funded three neuroscience majors (Victoria Egedus ‘14, Lani Leong ‘14, Anhar Mohamed ‘14) as Groner recipients.

Groner recipient Egedus ‘14 states: “I applied for a Groner Scholarship because I knew it was a great way to find a lab to work in this summer. With a grant of my own, any lab I applied to would take me as a free researcher.  My desire was to gain research experience at a big research university in Chicago.  I’m grateful that this opportunity has allowed me to research my next options thoroughly, and to bridge the gap between undergrad and grad school.  I feel more confident about my future options and the paths I want to pursue. We are studying the epigenetic changes in fetuses induced by in utero alcohol exposure. By identifying the epigenetic changes induced by alcohol exposure in different brain regions, we can understand the causes for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, as well as better understand the role of igf2r and igf2 in the adult brain. The Groner Grant gives you a tool to step outside of any usual internship because almost any vision can become a reality with monetary support. That’s really exciting!  Because I realize the generosity and goodwill of Grace Groner’s donation, I am grateful for the gift she has given Lake Forest students.

The full list of student researchers, their faculty mentors and their research topics:

2012 Northwestern University Summer Research Fellow:

Victoria Egedus ‘14, Neuroscience major (Mentor: Dr. Eva Redai, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

2012 Loyola Summer Research Fellow:

Lani Leong ‘14, Neuroscience major (Mentor: Dr. Karie Scrogin, Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics)

2012 LFC-RFUMS Summer Fellows:

Kim Diah ‘13, Neuroscience and Psychology major (Mentor: Dr. Kuei-Yuan Tseng, Cell & Molecular Pharmacology)

Alexus Edmonds ‘13, Neuroscience major (Mentor: Dr. Helen Wilson, Psychology)

Chanalee Hocharoen ‘13
, Biology major (Mentor: Dr. Kuei-Yuan Tseng, Cell & Molecular Pharmacology)

Anhar Mohamed ‘14, Neuroscience major (Mentor: Dr. Janice Urban, Physiology & Biophysics)

Carli-Ann Pentz ‘13, Psychology major ( Mentor: Dr. Amiel Rosenkranz, Cell & Molecular Pharmacology)

Samantha Pinto ‘13
, Biology major (Mentor: Dr. Dominick Duelli, Cell & Molecular Pharmacology)

Ashley Reich ‘13
, Neuroscience major (Mentor: Dr. Michelle Hastings, Cell Biology & Anatomy)

Kaila Stephens ‘13, Biology major ( Mentor: Dr. Rachel Greenley, Psychology)