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Summer Research: 2010 Projects

2010 science summer research projects

During the summer of 2010, 90 student worked on 63 different research projects across the science division.

Research covered a wide variety of topics. Some research dealt with diseases or had implications for health and our environment. Other students did research dealing with nanotechnology, virtual reality, geometry and computer modeling. Some students did outdoor research and others studied outer space phenomena.

Here is a sampling of those projects, organized by scientific field:


  • Isaac Armistead and Andrew Adkins worked with David Dornbos studying invasive woody plants.
  • Scott Jones and Jacob Artz lived at Flat Iron Lake Preserve. Scott continued an ongoing study of wild flowers and initiated a tree inventory project on the property using GPS technology and software. Scott was supervised by David Warners. Jacob worked on plankton and fish inventories. His supervisor was Randy Van Dragt.
  • Rebecca Allen worked with John Wertz and a "library" of over 100 bacteria from the human intestine to study their potential contributions to health/disease of the human host.
  • Rebecca Allen studied bacteria from the human intestine.


Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Tim Atallah worked on a project with Ron Blankespoor in collaboration with a Pfizer laboratory in Ann Arbor. The goal of this research is to provide another synthetic tool for making safer and more effective drugs.
  • Doug Vander Griend's student researchers Lauren Manck and Alex Wrobel worked on a project using UV-vis spectroscopy. A significant element of their research involved collaboration with graduate labs at Indiana University and the University of Pavia, Italy, and an industrial lab at Pleotint, LLC.
  • Daniel Oram's research has implications for diabetes treatment.
  • Matt Salie, Daniel Oram, Alexandra Cok and Christina Plaisier all worked on several projects with Larry Louters which have implications for diabetes treatment.

Computer science

  • Nekody Lenkner worked with Victor Norman implementing a 3D Virtual Reality system for visualization of small molecules docking to proteins.


  • Sungmin Youn, with Xiuhua Si, studied methods to remove scale and other deposits from surfaces without causing pollution to the environment.
  • Mark Stehouwer and Bonnie Robison worked on projects with David Wunder that dealt with drinking water treatment, both here and in developing regions.

Geology, geography and environmental studies

  • Seth Kenbeek and Abbie Belford worked on a project examining the movement of dunes using geospatial remote sensing and GPS technology.They were supervised by Jason VanHorn and Deanna van Dijk.
  • Michael Swierenga worked with Ralph Stearley and Randy Van Dragt on a preliminary study of the ecology of Plaster Creek.
  • Randy Van Dragt, Michael Swierenga, Ralph Stearley


Mathematics and statistics

  • Josh Keilman, Andrew Mis and Shaun Alsum worked with Michael Bolt to establish a Beckman-Quarles theorem for the inversive double plane.
  • Ben Lewis, Jake Christiansen and Todd Kapitula worked with eigenvalue problems in applied mathematics.
  • Ben Lewis, Jake Christiansen and Todd Kapitula



Physics and astronomy

  • Dan Evans and Nhu Pham worked with Loren Haarsma and John Ubels on interdisciplinary research relevant to dry eye disease.
  • Tom Wilhem and Alex Verseput examined the kinetics of crystal growth and Rachel Boerner studied the kinetic behavior of sucrose and salt solutions. All three worked with Paul Harper.
  • Research by Catherine McKay, Andrew Hess, Lucas Leisman and David Sebald took them into outer space. Catherine studied the dynamics of asteroids with Larry Molnar. Andrew researched contact binary stars with Larry Molnar and Steve Steenwyk. Luke and David investigated centers of galaxy clusters with Deborah Haarsma.
  • Larry Molnar and Catherine McKay studied dynamics of asteroids.




  • Charlotte Du Laney studied the neuronal function of Probsts bundles in brain tissue with Paul Moes and Loren Haarsma.
  • Chelsea Schnabelrauch examined the effects of religious beliefs in the development of American adolescents and emerging adults with Julie Yonker and Laura De Haan.

Senior Jodi Unema and junior Josh Garone explain some of their work as summer science research fellows in 2009. Read more about their research.




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Learn more

See a complete list of the 2010 summer research projects.