Research student spotlight: Tyler Nielsen

April 1, 2011 —

Tyler Nielsen M.S. '10

Tyler Nielsen M.S. '10

I received my B.A. in biology at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, in 2008. I am currently working with Dr. Brittingham and Dr. Wilson on the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism in the trichomonads. We are specifically studying Trichomonas vaginalis which is the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection (STI) worldwide. By happenstance we received T. tenax which is a trichomonad in the oral cavity but is generally considered non-pathogenic. It is interesting because I hope to go into dental school after I receive my masters and we have now shifted our research to include a parasite which has implications in the dental field.

Recently I won a grant from the Sigma Xi Research Society and gave an oral presentation, “Glycogen Storage by Parasitic and Commensal Trichomonads” at the North Central Branch American Society for Microbiology meeting.

Outside of lab (very rare occasion) I enjoy playing golf, trying small local restaurants and after playing lacrosse for 4 years at Augustana, I am trying to continue to progress the game by coaching West Des Moines Valley Lacrosse. We have the first high school lacrosse team in the state of Iowa (we are entering our second year, the first at varsity competition) and I hope that interest in the sport grows in the Midwest, especially at the high school level.