As a biochemistry and chemistry major at Drake University, Zachary Kadow had done some research in the laboratory and for his classes. When he was accepted into DMU’s undergraduate research program last summer, though, he found his passion.
“When you’re doing chemistry labs for classes, they know what the results will be. It’s like a cookbook,” he says. “The uncertainty of the outcomes of the research I’m doing at DMU appeals to me.”
Kadow’s research also appealed to the American Physiological Society (APS). He was named one of six recipients of the 2013 APS Undergraduate Research Excellence Fellowship Awards, which will support his continued research at DMU and enable him to attend the 2014 Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego.
“This is exciting for DMU. It shows we’re competitive at the national level and that we’re putting out well-trained students in research,” says Matthew Henry, Ph.D., chair of physiology and pharmacology who’s worked with Kadow.
The Manitowoc, WI, native, who will be a senior at Drake this fall, enjoys that it’s “very easy to see the practical applications” of his DMU research. While he’s assisted with various projects at the University, his latest study investigates the effects of deconditioning and conditioning on the frequency of supraventricular arrhythmias and atrial connexin 40 expression.
“More simply put, this is a project looking at how the lack of exercise and exercise impact muscle contraction of the heart,” Henry explains. “Zach is hoping to characterize the impact of these conditions on the normal cardiac rhythms while also determining the molecular changes that may be the underlying cause of altered rhythmic patterns of the heart.”
Kadow admits it was “really intimidating” when he began his research at DMU. “It’s medical school and I want to go to medical school, so I don’t want to screw up,” he says. “But the lab has been very supportive. I like the patience that everyone has had with me. There are expectations but also the attitude that we’re here to help each other.”
Julia Moffitt, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and pharmacology who’s worked extensively with Kadow as well as other undergraduates, describes him as a “team player who is really open to instruction, who listens to others and who is a fast learner.” She adds he’s well-suited for pursuing his goal of earning a medical degree and a Ph.D.
“Most people are either analytical or more people-skilled,” she says. “It’s rare to find both qualities in the same person, as you do with Zach.”