Summer 2011 On-Campus Research Fellowships
Daniella Hartwig and Professor Randy DeJong are researching phage, the virus that infect bacteria, found in mosquitoes, bedbugs and snails. Daniella suctions mosquitoes off of her own arms and legs by inhaling through an apparatus. Then she extracts the insect guts to make bacterial colonies to see how the phage are behaving. The hope is to "find a phage that could be modified to interfere with a mosquito's ability to be infected by malaria", according to professor DeJong. Read more>
Emily Huizenga and Chris Bouma are working with Professor Dave Warners investigating the aesthetic and financial implications of introducing native habitats into Calvin's campus. They are managing the habitat plantings that were established previously and creating new ones while doing a comparison of paired native and non-native quadrants.
Alyssa Moore, Will VanDenHeuvel and Sylvia Fuhrman are working with Professor Keith Grasman on two projects: Effects of Pollutants on the Health of Colonial Waterbirds of the Great Lakes, and Impact of Environmental Contaminants on Immune Function in Common Loons. >>Here is a video about the research.
Kelly Peterson is living and doing research this summer at the Flat Iron Lake preserve, 25 miles northeast of Grand Rapids. She is studying small mammals in five habitats at Flat Iron Lake preserve. Kelly is also making a biological inventory of the birds in the preserve. She works with Professor Randy Van Dragt.
Kara Bielema is also staying at the Flat Iron Lake preserve studying the flower phenology of the prairie and working to restore native prairie in abandoned agricultural land. She will use various treatments and set up permanent quadrants while collecting baseline data. Kara is working with Professor Dave Warners.
Rachel Van Dyken and Alex Stoddard are working with Professor John Ubels. They are evaluating artificial tears and contact lens solutions using corneal epithelial cells in culture. A major focus of the research this summer is evaluation of artificial tears containing antioxidants and genetic analysis of accessory lacrimal glands.
Abby Streelman is working with Professor John Wertz and Professor Serita Nelesen to generate Python-based software for automated MALDI-TOF based phylogenetics and ecological analysis of microbial communities. When completed, this program will be a powerful new tool for microbiologists and microbial ecologists allowing them to gain valuable data much more quickly and cheaply than ever before.
Ari Davis is is studying how phage, the virus that infect bacteria, interact with the good and bad bacteria in the intestines: “We think that phage play a huge role in keeping us healthy when it comes to digestive issues,” she said. Her project with Professor John Wertz is titled “Investigating the Role of Bacteriophage in Human Health and Disease. Read more>
Emily Diekema who works with Professor Amy Wilstermann is investigating the effect of bacterial infections on the integrety of fetal membranes by exploring prokaryote-stimulated expression of matrix metalloproteinases. The goal of this research is to determine the role of bacterial vaginosis in the premature rupture of fetal membranes which is a common cause of misscarrage.
Owen Selles is working with Professor Dave Warners on native tree propagation. Since so few nurseries promote native genotypes of Michigan trees such as hickories, oaks and tulip poplars, he is investigating the optimal growing conditions for raising these trees from locally collected seed. Owen is collecting seeds and working on experimental tree plantings in Calvin's native tree nursery.
Kristin Van Kampen is researching the potential for woody invasive plants to produce biomass for ethanol and improve soil quality. Professor David Dornbos is her faculty mentor. Autumn Olive is a fast growing invasive that fixes nitrogen in the soil. With this research Kristin hopes to evaluate the potential of Autumn Olive to provide nitrogen to neighboring plants and contribute to biomass for cellulosic ethanol, and to increase soil organic carbon.
Katelyn Geleynse is doing a research project out west on Whidbey Island, Washington at the Pacific Rim Institute. She is working with Professor Randy Van Dragt. They are studying the impact of a common herbivore, the Townsend's vole, on the Pacific lowland prairie restoration. This summer the vole popualation will near its peak. Katelyn is trapping, identifying and marking the small mammals as well as evaluating the plant cover in the areas where she is trapping.
Mike Ryskamp, Scott Jones and Anna Vanderloo are working as preserve stewards monitoring and managing Calvin's two nature preserves: the Ecosystem Preserve and the Flat Iron Lake Nature Preserve. They work with Professor Randy Van Dragt and Jeanette Henderson. Their research involves long-term monitoring of breeding birds, small mammals and camera traps, as well as assessing the impact of restoration projects in various parts of the nature preserves.