National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence

WINNERS of the NAIPI-VSA-Sponsored
Take Your IDeA Science to Capitol Hill’ Travel Award


Northeastern IDeA Region

Amelia McCue, St. Anselm College. Project funded by New Hampshire-INBRE.
Amelia is an undergraduate beginning her senior year this fall. Her project involves light-responsive therapeutic agents that offer the promise of targeted treatment with the benefits of localized drug activity, reduced adverse side effects, and overall reduced systemic dosage. She developed technology that affords control of drug activation using wavelengths of light that maximally penetrate tissue. This research has the potential to control the anatomical location of drug activity by controlling the area of light exposure.

Selena Lorrey, Bowdoin College. Project funded by Maine-INBRE.
Selena’s research focuses on understanding how environmental conditions impact where an RNA-binding protein that is important for virulence of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans is found in the cell. This information will provide insight into the function of this protein. 


Southeastern IDeA Region

Rebecca Barnes, West Liberty University. Project funded by West Virginia-INBRE
Rebecca investigated the mechanism of erythrocyte invasion by Francisella tularensis, an infectious bacterium with bioterror implications. She has shown that spectrin, a major erythrocyte cytoskeletal element, is required for red blood cell invasion.

Danielle Redd, Jackson State University.  Project funded by Mississippi-INBRE.
Danielle is a first year master’s student who participated in the INBRE summer program as a senior. Her research involves investigating the social context and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) risk for black men who have sex with men (BMSM). BMSM are disproportionately affected by HIV, especially in the Southeastern United States. Factors beyond individual-level risk behaviors that may explain variations in BMSM populations, including policy barriers, are being explored.   


Central IDeA Region

Jenna Guthmiller, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Project funded by Oklahoma-INBRE.
Jenna is a Ph.D. student trainee. Her dissertation work is focused on examining pathways that regulate protective antibody responses against the parasite that causes malaria. Malaria is a devastating disease that results in over 500,000 deaths each year. A better understanding of the antibody response during malaria infection will lead to more effective and successful immune-based interventions and therapies.

Christopher Alderman, Emporia State University.  Funded by Kansas-INBRE.
Christopher was a Summer Scholar and will be supported as a Star Trainee in the next grant year. His research is focused on discovering the therapeutic effects of miRNA on melanoma cells. A specific miRNA, miR-15a, was found to have several anti-cancer effects in vitro and in vivo. Cells treated with miR-15a have an increased proportion in the G1/G0 phase as well as a reduced ability to grow and invade. A novel target gene of miR-15a was elucidated and a gene-knockdown study with this target will determine if there is causality with the anti-cancer effects. Over the next year he plans to use a new technique to induce the expression of miRNAs in situ. This will allow miRNA research to become more affordable and be a potential method for miRNA delivery in the future.


Western IDeA Region

Anna Rodriguez, University of Idaho. Project funded by Idaho CMCI COBRE
Anna is a senior from Nampa, Idaho, majoring in Animal and Veterinary Science and minoring in Microbiology and Spanish. She works on the effects of viral co-Infection on disease severity. She designs and performs experiments that parameterize and validate mathematical models to describe and predict outcomes in biological systems.

Cobi Kipp, Blackfeet Community College. Project funded by Montana-INBRE
Cobi’s research investigates how stress in Blackfeet people contributes to the health disparities these people experience. He is determining how different sociological factors contribute to disease processes and how some contribute to resilience to disease.