Biology Students Present Research
Recently, several biology students conducting independent research were given the opportunity to present their findings at regional conferences.
Under the supervision of Janet Williams, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, Eddie Innarelli '14 has been analyzing bacteria strains in healthy horses before and after treatment of Anthelmintics-a drug that fights parasites.
Ashanta Ester '13 and Carly Muniz '13-who were also in the four credit independent research class- joined Eddie in presenting their research at the 67th Annual Eastern Colleges Science Conference at Providence College. "It's a great opportunity to get in the lab and get that research experience," Eddie said.
After Eddie graduates in 2014, he plans to take a year off before applying to physician assistant graduate programs. "I'm currently a pharmacy technician and originally I wanted to go to pharmacy school but I've realized that I really want that patient-care aspect of healthcare," Eddie said. Carly is also planning a patient-focused career, and will begin by enrolling in the physician's assistant program at Baypath College following graduation.
Emalee Furtek '13 will graduate in May with a bachelor's in biology, but has already proven herself a worthy biologist. Along with Kevin Krupczak '13, Emalee signed up for a year-long independent study with Nina Theis, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, and completed an extensive research project under Dr. Theis' supervision.
Emmalee's project, titled "The Inhibitory Effect of Flower Fragrances on Microbes in Flowers," looked at whether or not fragrances prevent the growth of bacteria the way antibiotics do. She completed all of the research on her own-from preparing the Petri dishes and concocting the broth to inoculating the bacteria and checking on the specimens each day.
Kevin's presentation was based on continued research from last summer involving the Texas gourd plant.
Upon completion of her research, Emmalee submitted her work to the Northeast Natural History Conference. She was asked to present at the 2013 conference in Springfield, where she met other biology majors from across the northeast as well as working biologists.
"I was so proud of my work, but it was great to get feedback from peers in the field," Emmalee said. "I would highly recommend both the independent study and the conference to other biology students."
As a four-year competitive swimmer, Emmalee was confident in her ability to manage multiple responsibilities, so checking on her work at night or between classes seemed natural.
Emmalee is applying to graduate schools, and hopes to enroll in a natural pathology or tropical medicine doctoral program. She's interested in how herbs, essential oils, and other natural remedies can complement traditional medical interventions. "I want to be involved in treating the whole person, not just the symptoms," Emmalee said.
Elms College's small size allows faculty to focus more time and attention on supporting student research than at a larger institution. Because faculty are not required to publish or conduct research of their own, they are able to prioritize student needs and nurture their enthusiasm for independent scientific study.