Summer 2009 research projects
Peter Dornbos and Rachel Abma spent the summer doing research with Professor Keith Grasman called: Impacts of Environmental Contaminants on Colonial Waterbirds of the Great Lakes and Impact of Mercury on Immune Function in Common Loons. Their main project dealt with the impacts of environmental pollutants on birds in the great lakes region. They studied several colonies of herring gulls and caspian terns that nest on islands in the great lakes. They took body measurements and blood samples from the chicks in these colonies so that they could see whether their immune systems were working properly, or if they had been affected by pollution. They also studied the affects of mercury on common loons in the Adirondack Mountains of New York by using similar tests.
"The research that I did this summer was memorable not only because of the results we got or the data we collected, but also because of the relationships that were built and the glory of God's creation that was revealed to me every single day". - Rachel Abma
Geoff Scott spent the summer at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore working
with Professor Anding Shen. They were looking into whether resting T cells infected with HIV can be reactivated by stimulation from a molecule called CD58 on the surface of B cells. This is a small but important component of research into HIV Latency, which is the most significant problem preventing a cure for AIDS right now. According to Geoff, "This summer research was an amazing experience and a fantastic opportunity to learn from an expert in her field."
Dan Mlnarik and Ben Konynenbelt worked with Professor John Ubels on Cytotoxicity Testing of Contact Lenses Soaked and Multipurpose Disinfecting Contact Lens Solutions. According to Dan, “Summer research at Calvin College is a rewarding opportunity to expand lab experience, garner understanding in a particular area of biology, and build relationships with extraordinary people.”
Josh Garone and Jodi Unema surveyed three central populations within the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve: breeding birds, small mammal populations, and a Tree Census. Data on these topics helps us to monitor the health of the preserve as it develops and matures. We were also responsible for maintaining the trails and eradicating invasive, non-native plants. Learn more >>
Jodi: "Doing research at Calvin this summer greatly enriched my knowledge of creation as well as prepared me for conducting research and teaching children about God's world in the future."
Josh: "This summer really allowed me to gain an intimate knowledge of the Michigan landscape and the beauty within. Grand Rapids isn't just a bunch of strip malls and bowling alleys."
Tim Langenberg's summer research project was to maintain/grow the several forest mitigation sites around Calvin's campus (Ravenswood, Van Reken, the tree nursery, and Burton Street site), and at one specific mitigation site, the Burton Street entrance, to conduct a weed study focusing on what soil treatments promote the most weed growth when converting a former bluegrass lawn back into a native forest. Tim says, "This summer has been an awesome time of growth, not just of the natural areas around Calvin we're trying to restore, but of our knowledge in how better to do that".
Jonathan Eilers worked with Professor Arlene Hoogewerf. Their project is titled: Biofilm Bacteria & their Mechanisms to Evade Host Cell Defense.
Robert Strodtman worked with Professor Randy DeJong on a project titled: Immunobiology of Biomphalaria snails, hosts for Schistosoma mansoni
Jennie Heidmann and Professor David Dornbos have a project called: Characterization of Woody Invasive Shrubs as Potential Sources of Biomass for Cellulosic Ethanol.
Emily Resseguie has worked with Professor Arlene Hoogewerf investigating Heavy Metals and Resistance Mechanisms in Bacteria.