M.B.S. students land research awards


Students in DMU’s young M.B.S. program, including Tyler Nielsen and Katie Welliver, enrich DMU’s research environment.


Two students in DMU’s master of biomedical sciences (M.B.S.) degree program won research awards within two weeks of each other in January.

Tyler Nielsen was awarded an $800 grant from the national research society Sigma Xi for his research on carbohydrate metabolism and glycogen storage in Trichomonas vaginalis, the causative agent of trichomoniasis – the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection worldwide – and its close relative, Trichomonas tenax. He presented the research at the annual meeting of the North Central Branch of the American Society for Microbiology.

Katie Welliver received the Caroline tum Suden Professional Opportunity Award from the American Physiological Society for her research. The award includes $500 and registration for the society’s experimental biology meeting in Anaheim, CA, in April, where Welliver presented an abstract about part of her research.

“I applied for the award as a long shot,” she says. “It’s been a great experience, and I’ve learned so much in the program.”

The awards reflect well on the two students, who plan to graduate this year, and the M.B.S. program, which began enrolling students in 2007. Sigma Xi awards only about 20 percent of applications for grants in aid of research, and most applicants for the Caroline tum Suden award are doctoral students.

“It’s exciting to be part of the program and work with the professors here,” Nielsen says. “The faculty work with us as peers.”

The 40-credit-hour M.B.S. program is designed to give students advanced knowledge and expertise in medical and scientific research for careers in academia, government, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology-dependent industries. Students select a faculty laboratory in their first year while completing most of their courses; in the second year, they focus on research and producing a thesis. Their work, much of which is done in campus laboratories during evenings and weekends, enriches DMU’s research endeavors.

“I’m really pleased that our graduate students have the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work in the laboratory,” says Julia Moffitt, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology and Welliver’s research mentor. “The research productivity on campus is fueled in large part through the efforts and contributions of our graduate students, and these awards reflect a job well done.”

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