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Research: On-Campus Summer 2012

Summer 2012 On-Campus Research Fellowships

Daniella Hartwig, Kelsey Veldkamp and Randy DeJongDaniella Hartwig and Kelsey Veldkamp are working with Professor Randy DeJong to investigate the effects of isolated phage on bacterial communities in the guts of snail hosts. They are pursuing the genomic analysis of at least one of the phages isolated from the snail gut. Their project is called: Bacteriophages from the microbial community of the aquatic snail Biomphalaria.


Clayton LuykGwen Oster









Clayton Luyk and Gwen Oster are working with Professor Dave Warners and Nate Haan on Native Plant Propagation, Ecological Restoration and Management. They are investigating germination and growth requirements for seedlings of native species and evaluating variables such as growth medium, mycorrhizal inoculation, temporal factors and out-planting strategies. Gwen and Clayton are also managing and maintaining Calvin's native tree nursery, as well as previously established habitat plantings on campus.

Grasman research group

Sylvia Fuhrman, Monica Langeland and Meagan Mc Rae 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 Mercury on Immune Function in Common Loons of New York's Adirondack Park.

>>Here is a video about the research.



Julia Hilbrands


Julia Hilbrands is working with Professor Arlene Hoogewerf investigating the antimicrobial effects of the non-toxic microbiocide SAFI. SAFI is a non-chlorine-based, non-toxic biocide that is being used in Haiti and Rwanda for treatment of drinking water. Julia is using standard microbiological methods and fluorescence methods to evaluate the conditions and effectiveness of SAFI against known pathogens, as well as evaluate its potential use as a disinfectant for other applications, such as a wash for fresh produce.



Kevin Peterson is living and doing research this summer at the Flat Iron Lake preserve, 25 miles northeast of Grand Rapids. He is studying the benthic (bottom-dwelling) community of the lake at Flat Iron Lake preserve. Kevin is also monitoring the physical and chemical parameters of the waters in the areas being sampled. He works with Professor Randy Van Dragt and Randy DeJong.

Neil GilbertNeil GilbertNeil Gilbert 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. Neil, an avid bird-watcher is also studying the avian population of Calvin's preserves. He is working with Professor Dave Warners.


Jenna Kennedy and Alex StoddardAlex Stoddard and Jenna Kennedy 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. Alex is experimenting with rabbit eyes at WMRL and Jenna does her work invitro in the lab.




Abigail Streelman and Grant FaheyAbby Streelman and Grant Fahey are 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


Ari Davis is is studying the role of bacteriophage in maintaining bacterial homeostasis in a host-associated system. Bacteriophage, the most abundant virus on the planet, have been isolated from a plethora of different environments, but no one has attempted isolation of phage from termite guts. This work will provide valuable knowledge of new tools and techniques that can be translated into the next generation of our Bacteriophage Research Course (Biol. 123N). Ari is working on her project with Professor John Wertz.

Read more>



Emily Diekema, Margot Oliver and Amy Wilstermann


Margot Oliver and Emily Diekema are working with Professor Amy Wilstermann who is investigating the effect of bacterial infections on the integrity 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 miscarriage.


Owen SellesOwen Selles is working with Professor Dave Warners to write a natural history of the Knollcrest campus and Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve. He is doing an in depth assessment of ecological and anthropogenic changes, which includes land use practices, changes in ownership, various construction projects and landscape alterations. The product of this work will be an expanded manuscript that begins to lay out the structure and foundational information for an eventual book project.




Mike Ryskamp, Emily Huizenga dn Merideth BeukelmanEmily Huizenga and Merideth Beukelman are working with Mike Ryskamp 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.

Jillian Konyndyk and Jenna TenneyJillian Konyndyk and Jenna Tenney are working with Professor David Koetje and Herb Fynewever from Chemistry as well as other professors from Math and Biology to develop and test multi-week investigatory modules for Biology 224. The idea is to devise learning environments in cellular and molecular biology laboratory courses where mastery of interdisciplinary science competencies is integrated with best educational practices. Jillian and Jenna will also assist with project assessment/evaluation.




John MorrisYelena Boykov and Anding Shen








John Morris and Yelena Boykov are assisting Professor Anding Shen with her HIV-1 research this summer. Their project is, The roles of endothelial cells on HIV infection and latency formation in resting T helper cells. In this study, a replication incompetent pseudotyped virus system is used to investigate how endothelial cells interact with resting T helper cells to promote HIV infection and latency formation. This is the first summer that this front-line HIV research is being done at Calvin College. In the past Professor Shen worked at Johns Hopkins University. Read more>>

Dave Warners and Geneva LangelandGeneva Langeland is exploring the trajectory of environmental and sustainability programs at Calvin College with Professor Dave Warners. Environmental stewardship and sustainability efforts at Calvin have been happening in a variety of departments and through a wide range of initiatives.  Geneva is working to organize all these disparate contributions together into one comprehensive report while comparing our efforts at Calvin with what is happening at other colleges and universities.

Austin De Groff


Austin De Groff is doing research this summer with both Professor Amy Wilstermann and Professor John Wertz. The name of their project is, The role of Verrucomicrobia in Cephaloties ant guts. This involves isolating this novel bacteria and studying the cell physiology to see what this bacteria does.



Alex Vande Guchte

Alex Vande Guchte is doing an internship at the Ecosystem Preserve with Jeanette Henderson and several biology professors. He is entering ornithology data into a national database, propagating native plants from seeds, surveying aquatic macro invertebrates in Nature Preserve ponds, and caring for the animals in Nature Preserve exhibits.


Bandy Hammond

Brandy Hammond is working with Professor Amy Wilstermann and Calvin's Enterprise Center on a radioactive sensitivity assay for canines. A recent Catholic Central High School graduate, Fabiola Enriquez is also working on this project.

Summer 2011 research projects

Summer 2010 research projects

Summer 2009 research projects




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