2016 Undergraduate Summer Research Runs the Gamut

Augustana University Student Jordan Bormann did summer research at Massachusetts General Hospital through the University's summer research program.

In conjunction with Augustana's 2016 undergraduate summer research program, AU student Jordan Bormann '17 spent 12 weeks this summer participating in research, shadowing physicians and scientists, and attending presentations during her work at Massachusetts General Hospital.

This summer, AU students explored the Natural Sciences through cancer pathways, laser spectroscopy, and beer – yes, beer.

For 12 weeks this summer, biology major Jordan Bormann ‘17 had the ultimate insider’s look at what it’s really like to be a physician and a researcher. 

The recipient of a research grant through the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Catalyst, Bormann spent the summer working at Boston’s famed Massachusetts General Hospital under Dr. Eric Klawiter, a neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis.

She participated in multiple sclerosis (MS) imaging research, shadowed physicians and residents over amazing-but-grueling 30-hour shifts, witnessed the compassion of a doctor delivering an MS diagnosis to a patient, and attended “Brain Cutting Presentations” and brain autopsies at Harvard Medical School. 

And she loved every minute of it.

“[Interacting with] patients like these further motivated me to commit to a life of healing,” said Bormann, a native of Parkston, South Dakota. “Medicine’s ability to make advancements in the form of new procedures and medications that help patients such as the multiple sclerosis population provides me with enthusiasm for what lies ahead."

"These experiences further piqued my curiosity surrounding medicine’s promise of a career allowing lifelong learning." 

Jordan Bormann '17

"I would like to thank Dr. Klawiter, an Augustana alumnus from the Class of 2000, and his lab group and fellows for an incredible summer experience in Boston. This opportunity was truly an ‘Augie Advantage,'" Bormann said.

Bormann is just one of nearly 70 Augustana students who gained invaluable hands-on experience and personal perspective this summer by participating in undergraduate research, internships, and volunteer opportunities organized through the University’s Natural Science Division and supported through agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN), the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), the Avera Genomics Institute, and more.  

By working alongside Augustana professors and with researchers at labs and centers throughout the U.S., students end up learning far more than they anticipate, University officials say.

“The skills students learn in research are many and can be applied to every career that they might pursue after graduating from Augustana,” said Dr. Jenny Gubbels, an associate professor of biology at  Augustana who also worked with students this summer on a research project related to understanding how ovarian cancer spreads through the body.

“Some of the skills [learned in research] include watching for minute details that can mean a hypothesis proved right, wrong, or inconclusive; critical analysis of data and the ability to look at a piece of information from many different angles; perseverance when experiments must be repeated over and over again to get conditions right; and knowing when to seek help when dealing with problems beyond one's expertise.”

— Dr. Jenny Gubbels
Associate Professor of Biology

On campus, much of the summer research took place in the new Froiland Science Complex, Augustana’s new 125,000-square-foot science facility which will be officially dedicated on Friday, Sept. 23.

It was there, inside a glass-enclosed lab, that Brianna Grandprey, a native of Windom, Minnesota, spent her summer working with Gubbels on a project entitled “Investigation of ovarian cancer cells utilizing platelets as a shield to avoid immune attack.”

Grandprey, a biology major, said the experience she gained through her summer research will be invaluable as she pursues veterinary school after Augustana.

In another lab just down the hall, AU senior Dan Schmidtman (Sioux Falls) and Dr. Paul Egland, chair and associate professor of biology, researched the “Isolation of Native Microbes” in a project designed to provide a local brewing company with yeast strains from South Dakota to use in its brewing process. Learn more about this project.

Across the globe in Africa, senior Natalie Walter, a native of Rochester, Minnesota, spent the summer volunteering at the Cape Coast University Hospital in Ghana and doing a project for the Public Health Program in Dodowa. Learn more about Walter’s experiences.

Summer Research Photos:

2016 Undergraduate Summer Research

2016 Summer Researchers

Nick Antonson, Class of 2017, Beresford, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology/Secondary Education. Mentor/advisor: Steven Matzner. Funding source: EPSCoR.
  • Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Determining the relative importance of olfactory versus visual attractive cues by carnivorous plants using olfactory and visual mutant Drosophila.”

Paige Baker, Class of 2018, Luverne, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biology/Psychology. Mentor/advisor: Patrick Ronan. Funding source: BRIN.
  • Research location: USD.
  • Project description: “Mechanisms of Immunosuppressant Induced Attenuation of Ethanol Consumption.”

Lucas Bartl, Class of 2018, Aberdeen, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Seasson Vitiello.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Characterization of two novel TARS2 variants.”

Hugo Bethancourt, Class of 2017, Guatemala.

  • Major: Physics/Math. Mentor/advisor: Nathan Grau.
  • Funding source: NSF. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Identification and Measurement of Forward Rapidity Neutral Pions in d+Au Collision at RHIC-PHENIX.”

Christian Boechler, Class of 2018, Rapid City, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology/Chemistry. Mentor/advisor: Kyle Roux.
  • Funding source: EPSCoR. Research location: Sanford Research.
  • Project description: “Extracellular applications of the BioID method.”

Jordan Bormann, Class of 2017, Parkston, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Eric Klawiter.
  • Funding source: NIH. Research location: Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • Project description: “Extracellular applications of the BioID method.”

Michael Brandt, Class of 2018, Rochester, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biology. Funding source and location: Mayo Clinic.
  • Project description: “Neuroradiology.”

Brooklyn DeVries, Class of 2018, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Seasson Vitiello.
  • Funding source: SPUR. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Characterization of two novel TARS2 variants.”

Kaitlyn Dorn, Class of 2017, Litchfield, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Jianning Tao.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Sanford Research.
  • Project description: “Analysis of osteosarcoma cell lines transformed by different oncogenic drivers.”

Alexandra Fairchild, Class of 2018, Watertown, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology/German. Mentor/advisor: Peter Vitiello.
  • Funding source: EPSCoR. Research location: Sanford Research.
  • Project description: “Comparative Approaches for Conditional Deletion of Thioredoxin-1 in vivo.”

Tyler Field, Class of 2017, Maple Grove, Minnesota.

  • Major: Exercise Science. Mentor/advisor: Brittany Gorres-Martens. 
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Establishing a Model of Type 2 Diabetes in Female Wistar Rats.”

Kaitlynn Foss, Class of 2017, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Mark Larson.
  • Funding source: EPSCoR. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Omega-3 fatty acid effects on platelet function; platelet/cancer cell interaction.”

Andrew Gardner, Class of 2017, White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

  • Major: Physics/German/Math. Mentor/advisor: Lindsay Erickson.
  • Funding source: South Dakota Space Grant.
  • Research location: Augustana. Project description: “Gamification of Nim on graphs via the K_{3,3.”

Brianna Grandprey, Class of 2017, Windom, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Jennifer Gubbels.
  • Funding source: EPSCoR. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Investigation of ovarian cancer cells utilizing platelets as a shield to avoid immune attack.”

Geoffrey Gray-Lobe, Class of 2017, Vermillion, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology/Math. Mentor/advisor: Etienne Gnimpieba.
  • Funding source: BRIN/Bioinformatics core. Research location: USD.
  • Project description: “Using bioinformatic analysis to discover genetic pathways involved in soybean root nodule development.”

Luke Hurley, Class of 2018, Canton, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology/Business Administration. Mentor/advisor: Mark Larson.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Omega-3 fatty acid effects on platelet function; platelet/cancer cell interaction.”

Stephanie Jahnz, Class of 2019, Lewisville, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Jennifer Gubbels.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Investigation of ovarian cancer cells utilizing platelets as a shield to avoid immune attack.”

Ryan Johnson, Class of 2019, Lincoln, Nebraska.

  • Major: Biochemistry.
  • Funding source: BRIN Biotech Fellow. Research location: POET.

Kyle Kettler, Class of 2018, Andover, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biochemistry/Philosophy. Mentor/advisor: Seven Matzner.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Determining the relative importance of olfactory versus visual attractive cues by carnivorous plants using olfactory and visual mutant Drosophila.”

John Klecker, Class of 2017, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biochemistry/Classics. Mentor/advisor: Margaret Slupska.
  • Research location: POET.
  • Project description: “Lignocellulosic research.”

Chase Klingaman, Class of 2018, Mitchell, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biochemistry/Modern Foreign Languages. Mentor/advisor: Jared Mays.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Enzymatic Hydrolysis of 2,2-Diphenylethyl Glucosinolate.”

Kayla Knutson, Class of 2018, Hurley, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology/Spanish. Mentor/advisor: Jill Wiemer.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Sanford Research.
  • Project description: “Exploring treatments of CLN6 Batten disease using repurposed pharmaceuticals in Cln6nclfmice.”

Jacob Kunkel, Class of 2017, Albert Lea, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Jennifer Gubbels.
  • Funding source: SPUR. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Investigation of ovarian cancer cells utilizing platelets as a shield to avoid immune attack.”

Martina LaVallie, Class of 2016, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biology.
  • Research location: University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Bereket Mamo, Class of 2017, Ethiopia.

  • Major: Biology/Physics/Math. Mentor/advisor: Drew Alton.
  • Funding source: NSF. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Gamma rays in the DarkSide detector.”

Abby Martin, Class of 2018, North Prairie, Wisconsin.

  • Major: Math. Mentor/advisor: Lindsay Erickson.
  • Funding source: South Dakota Space Grant and the AU Research and Artist Fund. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Visualization of graph theoretic applications using computer programming.”

Daniel Matzner, Class of 2018, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Kristi Egland.
  • Funding source: SPUR. Research location: Sanford Research.
  • Project description: “Requirements of SUSD2 for Galectin-1 Surface Presentation on Breast Cancer Cell Lines.”

Deeksha Mohan, Class of 2017, India.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Cecelia Miles.
  • Funding source: SPUR. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Relationship between terminal filaments and ovariole number in Drosophila lines selected for divergent egg size.”

Joseph Napierala, Class of 2017, Alta, Iowa.

  • Major: Physics/Biology. Mentor/advisor: Eric Wells.
  • Funding source: South Dakota Space Grant. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Computer control for adaptive femtosecond control.”

Skyy Pineda, Class of 2018, Millbrae, California.

  • Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Andrew Klose.
  • Funding source: South Dakota Space Grant. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Cavity Enhanced Laser Spectroscopy of Oxygen.”

Caden Quintanilla, Class of 2018, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Cecelia Miles.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Relationship between terminal filaments and ovariole number in Drosophila lines selected for divergent egg size.”

Joshua Reider, Class of 2018, Crooks, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Seasson Vitiello.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Characterization of two novel TARS2 variants.”

Elizabeth Renner, Class of 2017, Crooks, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biology/Spanish.
  • Funding source: NSF/REU.
  • Research location: Kansas State.

Reed Ritterbusch, Class of 2018, Sheridan, Wyoming.

  • Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Andrew Klose.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location:  Augustana.
  • Project description: “Construction and characterization of a cavity enhanced spectroscopic apparatus.”

Jessica Roetman, Class of 2017, Rock Rapids, Iowa.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Dr. Khazaie.
  • Funding source: NSF/REU. Research location: Mayo Clinic.
  • Project description: “Immune Control of Breast Cancer Dormant Tumor Cells.”

Alison Rollag, Class of 2018, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biology/Psychology. Mentor/advisor: Patrick Ronan.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: USD.
  • Project description: “Mechanisms of Immunosuppressant Induced Attenuation of Ethanol Consumption.”

Daniel Schmidtman, Class of 2017, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biology/Spanish. Mentor/advisor: Paul Egland.
  • Funding source: BRIN Biotech Fellow. Research location: Augustana and Fernson Brewing.
  • Project description: “Isolation of native microbes for use in commercial brewing.”

Nawshin Sharif, Class of 2019, Maple Grove, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biochemistry.
  • Funding source: NSF/REU.
  • Research location: University of Minnesota. 

Taylor Siewert, Class of 2017, Lake City, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biology/Psychology. Mentor/advisor: Cecelia Miles.
  • Funding source: EPSCoR. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Relationship between terminal filaments and ovariole number in Drosophila lines selected for divergent egg size.”

Katelyn Stevens, Class of 2019, Elk River, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Jetty Duffy-Matzner.
  • Funding source: BRIN. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Lewis acid mediated ring opening to produce novel isoxazolines that will be tested as anti-fungal agents.”

Selamawit Tegegn, Class of 2017, Ethiopia.

  • Major: Engineering Physics. Mentor/advisor: Eric Wells.
  • Funding source: NSF. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Image -based feedback for adaptive femtosecond control.”

Zachary Tuschen, Class of 2017, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Keith Miskimins.
  • Funding source: SPUR.
  • Research location: Sanford Research.

Amber Veldman, Class of 2018, Hudson, South Dakota.

  • Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Mark Larson.
  • Funding source: EPSCoR. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Omega-3 fatty acid effects on platelet function; platelet/cancer cell interaction.”

Ellen Voigt, Class of 2017, Rapid City.

  • Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Pradip De.
  • Funding source: Avera Genomics Institute. Research location: Avera Health.
  • Project description: “Efficacy of MDM2 inhibitor alone and with mTOR kinase inhibitor in ER+ breast cancer models.”

Matthew Wagner, Class of 2018, Sioux Falls.

  • Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Jared Mays.
  • Funding source: EPSCoR. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Enzymatic Hydrolysis of 2,2-Diphenylethyl Glucosinolate.”

Natalie Walter, Class of 2017, Rochester, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biology/Psychology.
  • Funding source: Ghana Health Program. Research location: Ghana.

John White, Class of 2018, Ralston, Nebraska.

  • Major: Physics/Computer Science. Mentor/advisor: Nathan Grau.
  • Funding source: NSF. Research location: Augustana.
  • Project description: “Identification and Measurement of Forward Rapidity Neutral Pions in d+Au Collision at RHIC-PHENIX.”

Geyang Zhou, Class of 2018, China.

  • Major: Engineering Physics. Mentor/advisor: Nathan Grau.
  • Funding source: NSF.
  • Project description: “Development of a Large-Scale Test Station for Silicon PhotMultipliers (SiPMs).”

Blake Ziegler, Class of 2018, Luverne, Minnesota.

  • Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Kevin Frances.
  • Funding source: SPUR. Research location: Sanford Research.
  • Project description: “Interaction between wnt and cholesterol signaling in Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome.”

2016 Summer Internships and Volunteer Positions

Katelyn Eeten, Class of 2017, internship, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls

Katelyn Graber, Class of 2018, genetic counseling internship, Avera Cancer Institute and Avera Maternal Fetal Medicine, Sioux Falls

David Hanson, Class of 2019, inventory and journal writing internship, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Washington, D.C.

Kirby Hora, Class of 2018, internship, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls

Bethany Kinney, Class of 2017, internship, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls

Chelsey Kothe, Class of 2017, internship, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls

Austin Krohnke, Class of 2018, ministry internship, Messiah Lutheran Church, Vancouver, Washington

Spencer Lucas, Class of 2019, Health Operations program volunteer, Douglas County Hospital, Alexandria, Minnesota

Evan Meyer, Class of 2017, internship, Good Samaritan, Sioux Falls

A. David Morales Maldonado, Class of 2017, internship, Alumend, Ecuador

Truman Nord, Class of 2017, internship, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls

Clarissa Petersen, Class of 2017, Phenology internship, EROS Data Center, Sioux Falls

Emily Roseth, Class of 2017, internship, Omaha Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska

Austin Saugstad, Class of 2017, Sanford Live & Learn Internship in Critical Care Unit, Sioux Falls

Rebecca Sittig, Class of 2017, internship, Avera Health, Sioux Falls

Jadah Thaemert, Class of 2019, internship, Avera Health, Sioux Falls

Kevin Waggoner, Class of 2017, internship, Avera Health, Sioux Falls

Allison Warne, Class of 2017, internship, Avera Health, Sioux Falls