Undergraduate Student Research  

Previous Research

May 2014-2015 May 2013 - 2014 May 2012 - 2013 May 2011 - 2012
May 2010 - 2011 May 2009 - 2010 May 2008 - 2009 May 2007 - 2008
May 2006 - 2007 May 2005 -2006    

May 2014-2015

Development of an "Under Air" Direct Arylations
Lindsay Armstrong
Lindsay Armstrong

We will work towards developing conditions that would allow direct arylation reactions of simple aryl halides to be run in “under air” conditions.  Direct arylations offer an inherently greener alternative to Suzuki-Miyaura cross-couplings for the synthesis of the (hetero)biaryl scaffold.

Faculty mentor: Dr. Jonathan Fritz, Chemistry
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


Effective Factors Guiding Carbon Management in West Michigan Companies
Madeleine Burns
We will be researching carbon management among West Michigan companies, and what techniques and factors make them effective in their approach. We will do this by conducting interviews with business managers and owners. Having more information about companies sustainability approaches might allow for other companies to utilize carbon management to a higher potential with this research information.

Faculty mentor: Dr. Deborah Steketee, Sustainable Business

Funded by: Aquinas College Summer Scholars Program

The Topological Structure of Citation Networks
Krystin  Dreyer
Krystin Dreyer

A citation network is a directed graph whose nodes represent some kind of item and whose edges represent an influence of one item on another. For example, the nodes of the network could be academic journals with edges pointing from Journal A to Journal B if Journal A is cited in Journal B. The purpose of this research project is to adapt methods from algebraic topology, graph theory, and linear algebra to study properties of citation networks, such as a ranking of the most “important” objects in the collection as well as the general shape of a network, thus obtaining a geometric description of the flow of influence.

Faculty mentor: Dr. Joe Fox, Mathematics
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Uses of "yo" (I) in the Spanish of Heritage Speakers
Azra Fazil
Azra Fazil

The study will concentrate on discerning the specific contexts in which yo is being used as a discourse marker in the speech of Heritage Speakers. Because we believe this is a new phenomenon, only used in oral speech, younger speakers are expected to show more cases of yo as a discourse marker and, given the fact that women are known to lead linguistic changes towards innovative forms, female speakers are expected to use yo as a discourse marker more often than male speakers. Data for this project will come from the semi-casual speech of Spanish speakers in the Grand Rapids area, in Michigan. We plan to interview and analyze the speech of 10 to 20 Heritage Speakers.               


Faculty mentor: Dr. Carmen Ruiz-Sanchez, World Languages
Funded by: Aquinas College Summer Scholars Program

Achievement Gap: Exploring Students' Achievement in Dual Immersion Programs
Cari Hough
Cari Hough

This project explores the existence of an achievement gap between native English-speaking students and native Spanish-speaking students within English-Spanish Immersion Programs.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Rui-Niu Cooper, School of Education/ESL
Funded by: Aquinas College Summer Scholars Program

Synthyris bullii: Its presence, abundance, and conservational status in Michigan
Chuck Hyde
Chuck Hyde

Synthyris bullii (known as kitten-tails) is an endangered species of plant in Michigan. We plan to visit known populations of S. bullii, collects samples and data (soil samples, population size, light availability,etc.), and perform molecular techniques to assess the conservational status of the plant in Michigan. This will help add to a pool of data on S. bullii from Michigan and surrounding states in the Midwest.

Faculty mentor: Dr. Clark Danderson, Biology
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Squaring the Circle in Elliptic Geometry
Kyle Jansens
Kyle Jansens

Constructing a circle and square with the same area is impossible in Euclidean geometry and possible in hyperbolic geometry. Elliptic geometry is the only non-Euclidean geometry remaining to consider. Our initial work indicates we can square the circle in elliptic geometry and the obstacles are completely different from hyperbolic.

Faculty mentor: Dr. Michael McDaniel, Mathematics      
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Perceptual-Motor Recalibration of Rotational Locomotion
Hannah Mahoney

Prior research indicates that humans can adjust the magnitude, direction, and force of their actions to adapt to changes in the environment. Previous work exploring rotational locomotion has hypothesized the contribution of two primary components: a perceptual-motor learning mechanism and a sensory-adaptation mechanism. The current experiment isolates the hypothetical sensory-adaptation mechanism in order to clarify it theoretically and measure its respective contribution in recalibration.


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ben Chihak, Psychology


Mutagenesis of a TfdA-like B. pertussis Enzyme
Nick Pierce
Nick Pierce

α-Ketoglutarate- (αKG) dependent dioxygenases are mononuclear non-heme Fe(II) enzymes that couple the oxidative decarboxylation of αKG to substrate oxidation.  TdfA is an Fe(II)- and αKG-dependent dioxygenase that initiates the biodegradation of the widely used herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).  A TfdA-like sequence has been identified in Bordetella pertussis, however this organism is not known to metabolize 2,4-D, and the purified protein has no identifiable TfdA activity.  It is hypothesized that this B. pertussis gene shares a recent common ancestor with TfdA.

Using a 3D model, we have identified amino acid residues seem to be important in determining the specificity of the B. pertussis TfdA-like enzyme.  Our project this summer will be to change these residues to the corresponding sequence in TfdA.  We will then test our mutant proteins for TfdA activity.

Faculty mentor: Dr. Tim Henshaw, Chemistry
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

The Honeybee and Sustainability
Jamie Sansone
Jamie Sansone

The outcome of our research will be to answer the following questions: How do the beekeeping business approaches vary in diverse geographical locations and environments? How is beekeeping providing environmental, social, and economic value to communities? What are the factors that make for a successful business in beekeeping? This research will contribute valuable information to help move Aquinas’s sustainability and economocology efforts forward, specifically with Aquinas’ Keeping Bees Club and on campus start up beekeeping business.


Faculty mentor: Krista Badiane, Sustainable Business
Funded by: Aquinas College Summer Scholars Program

Mutagenesis of NOD1 and NOD2 Receptors
Jamaal Tarpeh
Jamaal Tarpeh

Nod1 and Nod2 encode cytosolic innate immune receptors that bind either, or both, intracellular Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. The important role of NOD receptors in intestinal immunity is well established, but not fully characterized. In past work, we cloned zebrafish Nod1 and Nod2 genes. Our goal this summer will be to use these cloned genes and, through the method of site-directed mutagenesis, generate and express putative dominant-negative NOD1 and NOD2 proteins in zebrafish intestinal epithelial cells.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Larry Peters, Biology
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


May 2013-2014

A Study of Mancala Sowing Action

Noah Armstrong

Noah Armstrong

In the game Mancala, stones are moved using a “sowing” action. Sowing is taking all the stones from a single bin and placing one stone in each successive bin until all stones are placed. We will study how to move specified stones to specified bins in as few moves as possible. Variations will include number of bins, number of stones initially in each bin, and number of specified stones we wish to place.


Faculty mentor: Joseph J. Spencer

Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Interpersonal Physical Attraction Study

Brittany Fata

Brittany Fata

The purpose of the study is to develop the scale measuring cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of interpersonal physical attraction. We are going to validate the scale in longitudinal investigation of early development of romantic relationship.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Victor Karandashev

Funded by: Aquinas College Summer Scholars Program

Directed deletion of virulence-factor encoding genes in Renibacterium salmoninarum
Kendra-Marie Garcia

Kendra-Marie Garcia

Renibacterium salmoninarum, is a gram positive bacterial fish pathogen that causes bacterial kidney disease (BKD). BKD causes significant morbidity and mortality in wild salmonid populations, and interferes with fisheries used for both ecological restoration and commercial production. Using the published genome of Renibacterium salmoninarum, we will attempt to delete genes encoding known virulence factors in Renibacterium salmoninarum using homologous recombination.


Faculty mentor: L. Rob Peters

Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Hyperbolic Constructions

Jackie Gipe

Jackie Gipe

The constructible hyperbolic lengths are known. As in Euclidean, there are certain lengths which admit nifty, brief constructions. Brief constructions for complicated hyperbolic lengths is largely unexplored territory. We will scour the literature and build our own constructions.

Faculty mentor: Michael McDaniel
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Human Rights and Responsibility to Protect: An Analysis of Israeli-Palestinian Relations
Brandon Heritier
Brandon Heritier

Current Israeli-Palestinian relations remain tense. At least 70 years of formal attempts at creating more peaceful dynamics has resulted in some positive changes. Despite this, violence remains a threat in the Gaza Strip and surrounding areas, tensions continue in the West Bank, Israel continues to hold a significant preponderance of power – and exercises it from time to time as Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah continue to engage in guerilla type warfare. Most crucially, Palestinians remain a “nation without a state” and lack the international legal recognition of sovereignty. This continued violence includes potential Crimes against Humanity and violations of international norms and laws. Through an application of “Responsibility to Protect” and international laws, the questions addressed in this research include whether or not there is any evidence of Crimes against Humanity or Human Rights violations in historical or current Israeli-Palestinian relations; and if so, whether or not the international community has the responsibility to protect those involved in the conflict.


Faculty mentor: Roger Durham

Funded by: Aquinas College Summer Scholars Program

Investigating Pre-contact Alaskan Exchange Networks through Ceramic Sourcing
Mitchell Kohler

This project will analyze a newly excavated collection of ceramics from the Kobuk region of Alaska along with previously excavated samples from several of the major sites in the region. Going beyond the aforementioned study, the analysis will also include four clay sources that may have been used in ceramic production. The artifacts and clay samples will undergo compositional analysis using Inductively Coupled Plasma -Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and multivariate statistical techniques will be applied in an attempt to relate artifact (ceramic shards) to raw material (clay sources).


Faculty mentor: Thomas Urban (Oxford University)

Funded by: Earhart Emerging Scholars Grant and National Science Foundation

Native Woodpeckers and the Invasive Emerald Ash Borer

Evan Kowalski

Evan Kowalski

The emerald ash borer is an invasive, nonnative species of insect that feeds on the phloem of ash trees, an important Michigan tree species. Native woodpecker species are known to feed on the larvae of ash borers, but the factors influencing the levels of their predation are poorly understood. We will be investigating whether tree health, stand density, diameter at breast height, and/or tree species increases the level of woodpecker attacks on ash trees infected with the emerald ash borer.


Faculty mentor: Jeffrey McKelvey

Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Discursive Functions of the Neutral Demonstrative "eso" ("that") in Semi-Casual Speech

Elizabeth Nelson

The main goal of our project is to account for the new communicative functions of the Spanish demonstrative pronoun "eso" ("that") that has been observed in the semi-casual speech of Southern Spain but has not yet been studied. Our research will concentrate on discerning the specific contexts in which "eso" is being used as a discourse marker and will also compare the use of "eso" in different social groups in this community.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Carmen Ruiz-Sánchez

Funded by: Aquinas College Summer Scholars Program

A Structure-Based Predictive Model of the Substrate Specificity of the Tobacco Etch Virus Protease
Marissa Saladin
Marissa Saladin

The purpose of this project was to develop a structure-based predictive model for protease specificity using the Tobacco Etch Virus protease as a platform. We used the Rosetta macromolecular modeling program to generate structural models of experimentally determined cleavable and generated uncleavable sequences and used the components of the energy interaction between the protease and peptides to train support vector machines for developing a predictive classifier. These studies may lead to the development of a new structure-based protocol for the design of proteases with novel specificities, which will serve as leads for a new class of therapeutic drugs.


Faculty mentors: Dr. Sager Khare and Manasi Pethe at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

Funded by: RiSE at Rutgers

A Post Glacial History of Southwest Michigan
Brian Woodin
Jim Rasmussen & Brian Woodin

This study utilizes paleo-limnological techniques to unravel the history of landscape use and land cover in Southwestern Michigan during the Holocene. We specifically focus upon a comparison of pre and post 19th Century European agriculture in the region.


Faculty Mentor: Jim Rasmussen

Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Effect of Additive Structure on Regioselectivity in a Direct Arylation

Andrew Zahrt

Andrew Zahrt

An ongoing theme in organometallic chemistry is the development of more atom economical routes to the synthesis of molecules. One such strategy, direct arylation, is efficient in theory but not in practice for some substrates due to poor selectivity. The goal of this project will be to vary additives in a direct arylation reaction with the hope of achieving high selectivity for one of the regioisomeric products.


Faculty mentor: Jonathan Fritz

Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


May 2012-2013

Market Research for Blue Star Sportswear, Inc.

Rachel Bartels

We will prepare a case analysis and a market analysis for Blue Star Sportswear, Inc. The case analysis for the company will include a breakdown of buyer demographics, their buying behavior, current positioning, unique selling points, product portfolio, methods of distribution, and promotions. The market analysis will explore Blue Star Sportswear’s competition and will include competitors’ brand positioning, market share, methods of distribution, pricing, and avenues of promotion.

Faculty mentor: Kristel Heinz Ciullo
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program

Characterizing the ability of allicin and garlic extract to inhibit biofilm formation in Streptococcus mutans

Lauren Bauer

Lauren Bauer

We will be characterizing the inhibition of biofilm formation on orthodontic wire, primarily. We also hope to gather a genetic profile of biofilm formation-associated genes under different culture conditions.

Faculty mentor: Jennifer Hess
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Self-Identified Needs of the Urban Homeless

Molly Cook

This research is both a scholarly inquiry and a community needs assessment. As such, two separate by related questions will be asked: How can Park Congregational Church best provide services and support to the homeless of Grand Rapids? What are the self-identified needs of the urban homeless, and how do these compare with the needs identified by service providers?


Faculty mentor: Kathy Kremer
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program and Aquinas Department of Sociology

Hyperbolic Circle Quadrature
Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Janôs Bolyai wrote that squaring the circle (constructing a regular quadrilateral with the same area as a circle with given radius) could be done in hyperbolic geometry. His description is notoriously convoluted. He did not, however, have a model in which to actually perform this construction, nor did he have a distance formula to use in verifying the result. Noah and I will find the construction in the Poincare disk model and prove that a direct construction from the circle to the quadrilateral, without knowing the radius of the circle, is impossible. We will connect these results with known work in analytic hyperbolic geometry.

Faculty mentor: Michael McDaniel
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Paleolimnology of a West Michigan Pond
Bradley Farley
Bradley Farley

This project will utilize paleolimnological techniques to reconstruct the landscape history of south western Michigan. We specifically will assess the sediment depth and physical characteristics and also intend to utilize rudimentary palynological analysis to reconstruct vegetation coverage and climate over the past 14,000 years.


Faculty mentor: James Rasmussen

Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


Development of a Paper Analytical Device for the Detection of Insecticides

Tom Finn

Tom Finn

We will develop a paper-based device for detecting the insecticides permethrin and deltamethrin, which are commonly used on mosquito netting.

Faculty mentor: Elizabeth Jensen
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Diagnostic value of the Steinman test in Evaluating Meniscal tears

Ben Hagge

We will determine the reliability of the Steinman test as a diagnostic tool for detecting meniscal tears in subjects presenting with knee pain. The Steinman test will be compared to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well as other special tests for meniscal tears.

Faculty mentor: JoAnne Gorant
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program

Psalm of the Piano Key: Faith and Philosophy in Notes from Underground

Jarrod Irwin

We will attempt to illuminate the Underground Man’s religious predicaments, place him in the context of Dostoevsky’s other major characters, and discuss what this would have meant in terms of nineteenth-century thought about religion.


Faculty mentor: Daniel Brooks
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program

Sex, Age and Quantitative Motor Unit Recruitment

Janie O'Donnell

Janie O'Donnell

Female and male subjects (ages 40-55) will be studied to determine each group’s ability to recruit motor units by increasing grip strength using the iWorx physiological recording system.


Faculty mentor: Tom Bahl
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Establishing a Contemporary Art Image Database at Aquinas College
Tom Olson

We will research the best way to properly attain, organize and store contemporary art images and accompanying text by emerging artists. We will also establish a system for receiving and using these images for use in the Aquinas Art Department and campus-wide.


Faculty mentor: Dana Freeman
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program


May 2011-2012

From Climbing the Promotional Ladder to Navigating the Promotional Labyrinth: Professional Women in Leadership Positions

Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen

Sarah is examining the pertinence of the labyrinth model (rather than the glass ceiling model) for professional women.  Her qualitative examination is based on interviews conducted with professional women and analysis of their experiences.  The results of her research will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society, and the Michigan Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. Sarah has been selected by the Michigan Colleges Foundation as one of two 2011 Earhart Emerging Scholars at Aquinas College.


Faculty mentor: Susan Haworth-Hoeppner

Kayla Berigan and Bernadette Poirier
Kayla Berigan, Robb Bajema and Bernadette Poirier

We will characterize ant colonies at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and investigate the effect of temperature on ant foraging.

Faculty mentor: Robb Bajema

Funded by Pierce Cedar Creek Institute URGE

The Role of Visual Input on Motor Unit Recruitment During Finger Flexion
Tim Carew
Tim Carew and Tom Bahl

The goal of the project is to assess the ability of individuals to determine intensity of grip strength with and without visual input from the Iworx electrophysiological recording system.

Faculty mentor: Tom Bahl


Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Almost Dominating Steps in Graph
Ian Hart
Ian Hart & Joseph Spencer

We will study sets of vertices that almost dominate a graph. We will consider a couple of definitions for almost domination. We will study the concept for various families of graphs and consider other relationships that hold for normal domination.

Faculty mentor: Joseph Spencer

Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Modeling the Dynamics of Sand Ripples
Jacob Jeffers
Jacob Jeffers

Sand Ripples have an interesting uniform pattern and can be see on many of our local beaches on a windy day. Observations in wind tunnels and nature directly were used to learn about sand movement. Our goal was to create a mathematical model that shows the initiation, formation of shape, growth, stabilization of height, and translation of these ripples.

Faculty mentor: Dr. Tim Pennings, Hope College

Funded by the National Science Foundation.


Demographic and Economic Characteristics of Ethnic Groups in Grand Rapids: 1920

Devin Lea

Devin Lea & Rich McCluskey

An analysis of the occupational states of specific ethnic groups especially within the furniture manufacturing sector.

Faculty mentor: Rich McCluskey

Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Fugue for Wolf and Bear: Cases for and against Chechen Sovereignty

Aimee Shemanski

An analysis of the historical context of the current conflict in Chechnya and the evolution of Russian policy since 2001. Especially addressed is the rhetorical and ideological evolution of combatants on either side of the conflict.

Presented at the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists meeting, Petosky, Mich., October 14, 2011.


Faculty mentor: Roger Durham

With F*R*I*E*N*D*S like these...: Media, Liberalism, and Haiti

Joseph Spaulding
The mainstream press has decided en masse that the solution to all of Haiti's problems is the appearance of opening up and securing of markets with a large supplement of private charity; to accomplish this, the massive earthquake is framed as a new zero point from which "new" frameworks can be constructed. Unfortunately, while the physical structures may have crumbled, the structure of Haiti's relationship with the developed world, and the legacy of domination and exploitation contained within it, not only continue to function, but are able to do so with even more impunity under the false guise of being a non-ideological reaction to a merely humanitarian disaster

Presented at the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists meeting, Petosky, Mich., October 14, 2011

Faculty mentor: Roger Durham

The Study of Spectroscopic Properties of the Additives in Biodiesel
Jacob Streng
Jacob Streng & Li-heng Chen

We will try to identify the characteristic peaks in different spectroscopies of the additives used in biodiesel. Based on the peak intensity, the quantity of the additives may be determined.

Faculty mentor: Li-heng Chen


Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


99 Points of Intersection in Hyperbolic Space

Megan Ternes
Mike McDaniel and Megan Ternes

Walser's Euclidian constructions have hyperbolic versions which may or may not hold.

Faculty mentor: Mike McDaniel

Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Potency and Selectivity of three clinical drugs at N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor subunits
George Van Den Driessche
George Van Den Driessche

Xenopus oocytes were used to selectively screen for NMDA receptor subunits 2A, 2B, and 2D. Oocytes were then profused in a drug solution to test for 50% inhibition (IC50 curves). 2B and 2D receptors were determined to be the most selective to atomoxetine at equal blocking without magnesium present, however when magnesium was added to the solution only 2D receptors continued to demonstrate significant block occurring.


Faculty mentors: Dr. Scott Myers, NeurOp CNS Drug Discovery Inc.


Funded by: Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (BRAIN: Behavioral Research Advancements In Neuroscience)

Human Trafficking in the Kingdom of Bahrain

Kathrine Woodhouse
The Kingdom of Bahrain suffers from myriad political, socioeconomic and employment problems is also entrenched with the heart breaking issue of human trafficking and all its manifestations.

Presented at the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists meeting, Petosky, Mich., October 14, 2011.

Faculty mentor: Roger Durham


May 2010-2011

Baily Agattas
Baily Agattas

I participated in a one-week-long Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) Undergraduate Modeling Workshop on the topics of Epidemiology and Stochastic Dynamics. Here, a group of about 30 students, including myself, were given presentations on previous research activities and methods, mostly in epidemiology, the study of health and diseases in populations and their contributing factors. We learned basic statistical equations and analysis, and how to apply them to SIR, SIS, and SIRS models. At the end of the week, after being broken up into groups of three, we were given 24 hours to use all of the information from the week to analyze ten years of national flu data in a creative and applicable way.


Faculty mentors included SAMSI professors, grad students, and professionals.

Optimization of a B12 Fast Melt Tablet
Teresa Buiocchi
Teresa Buiocchi

I'm evaluating raw materials, altering formulas, conducting consumer product evaluations for sensory testing to create a panier that the group can choose from once they have established goals for cost, marketing claims, ease of manufacturing, etc. Planned presentation on August 4th in Buena Park, California.


Mentor Janira Intra; Funded by an Internship at Nutrilite in California.

Synthesis and Characterization of Ionic Liquid Crystal Compounds
Lauren Cichon
Lauren Cichon with faculty mentor Dr. Beth Jensen

Liquid crystals are materials with structures intermediate between crystalline solids and isotropic liquids. They find use in electronic devices such as digital displays. In this project, we will synthesize a series of compounds that are expected to have liquid crystalline phase transitions at relatively low temperatures. The compounds are composed of an organic ligand with one or two long carbon tails, a transition metal ion, and a halide ion (chloride or bromide ion). These compounds will be characterized by Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometry, among other techniques. This work is related to the 2008 project by Molly Soper and Elizabeth Jensen. We plan to present our results at the 2011 Central Regional meeting of the American Chemical Society.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Beth Jensen; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Tree survey of Eastown
Kaila Crisler & Kirsten Borek
We are aiding in the creation of more green spaces in the Eastown community by first conducting a tree survey of the area. By performing this survey, we will learn not only what types of trees are already growing there, but also their size and the state of their health. This information will then be used to note where additional trees might be planted, as well as which trees should be monitored for possible removal due to health issues in the future.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Summer Silvieus; Volunteer effort

Sex with Isabel: Circumventing Machismo and Marianismo in Latin America.
Josi DeVrou
My project explored women, sexuality, and Isabel Allende's use of these themes in her narratives. This work was presented at the Michigan Academy at Calvin College in March 2010. I would like to acknowledge the assistance that both professors have given me with this project. Dr. Rottschafer for teaching the class that inspired my research and Dr. Romero for assisting me with the research and paper writing process as well as being present when I presented my research at the conference. I have just graduated from Aquinas and have been accepted to Western's MA program in Spanish.
Faculty mentors Dr. Shelli Rottschafer and Dr. Marcus Romero; Supported through the Spanish310 - Special Topics - Isabel Allende; Fall 2009 course.

Bio-directed fractionation and investigation of anti-plaque (dental plaque) activity of Lippia sidoides
Aimee Gowell
The purpose of my project is to effectively fractionate the natural product Lippia sidoides using Bio-directed fractionation, as well as characterize the fractionated components.  Once fractionated, the different fractions will be investigated for activity against the bacteria that causes dental plaque as a potential natural oral care agent.  I will be giving a presentation at the end of the summer, but an official date has not yet been set.
Faculty mentor Amit Chandra; Funded by Amway Internship

Purifying and Characterizing Recombinant IdeZ and Associated Mutant Enzyme Constructs and Their Interaction with Cystatin C
Andrew Howard
Andrew Howard with faculty mentor Dr. Jen Hess

The goal of our summer research is to study the cleaving effects of the streptococcal enzyme, IdeZ, on human IgG, one type of antibody in the human immune system.  We are also exploring the relationship between this enzyme's ability, and the ability of other mutants IdeZ enzymes made in our lab previously, to cleave IgG in the presence of cystatin c, a cysteine protease inhibitor, which has been shown to enhance enzymatic activity in previous studies. 


Faculty mentor: Dr. Jen Hess; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Woodpeckers and Their Preferred Trees
Jacob Jeffers
Jacob Jeffers with faculty mentor Dr. Robb Bajema Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema; Funded by URGE Grant

Possible recognition of nest (colony) mates in the American cockroach: evidence for memory in a group-living insect
Genevieve Kendall
Genevieve Kendall with faculty mentor Dr. Tom Bahl

We will present our findings as a poster at The West Michigan Undergraduate Research Conference at Van Andel Institute in October, 2010.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Tom Bahl; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


Acquisition of Information Regarding Services for Kent County Residents

Leah Kicinski
Leah Kicinski

October and November 2010 - Leah Kicinski interviewed a stratified sample of 104 Grand Rapids food pantry users and eight pantry directors to determine if installing digital signage or a video loop system at a food pantry would effectively engage pantry users and inform them about available resources.  Her research also focused on determining which types of resources are being used in addition to the food pantry, and the ways in which pantry users became informed of the resources and the ways in which they preferred to receive information about these resources.  Her research suggests an incongruity between the agency’s desire to use technology to pass along information and the pantry user’s preferred methods of acquiring information on available community services.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kathy Kremer

Development of  Homochiral Group 2 Reagents in Asymmetric Synthesis
Kayla Lewis
Kayla Lewis

The current use of Mg(HMDS)3-, an organometallic substance where HMDS is a ligand, has a Lithium cation that impedes further reactions, so I am working to replace that metal cation with a new, less obstructive cation.  This would let the organometallic ion react much more readily in other organic chemistry reactions. I have a presentation at Hope College on July 30 and possibly at Notre Dame on August 6, 2010.


Faculty mentor Dr. Ken Henderson; Funded by REU at Notre Dame

Glycine Receptors and their Function
Marissa Mikkelson
Marissa Mikkelson

In order to study the structural information about the resting, opening, and desensitizing stages of the glycine receptor, I am making double mutants of cysteine crosslinked with benzophenone. I will be presenting at an undergraduate research symposium on July 30, 2010 at Duquesne.


Faculty mentor Dr. Michael Cascio and graduate student mentor Chelsee Kraushaar;
Funded by NSF Grant for Integrated Computational and Experimental Chemistry REU-ASSURE Program

Work with Pancreatic Cancer
Katie Partyka
Intern at the Van Andel Institute for an independent study.
Mentor: Dr. Haab

Research at the Davis Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory at the University of California
Carly Plank
Poster presentation at the University of California in late summer 2010.
Faculty mentor Dr. Jay Stachowicz; Funded by NSF Grant for REU program.

Alhazen's billiard problem in hyperbolic space
Nathan Poirier
Nathan Poirier with Provost Dr. Chad Gunnoe

In 1997, it was proved that constructing an inscribed isosceles triangle in a given circle with each of two given points on a leg is impossible with compass and straightedge. That was in Euclidean space. We are attacking the hyperbolic case. In our first few weeks, we have found two ways to turn the hyperbolic case into the Euclidean case. We are trying to extend these ways to all possible hyperbolic solutions, thus demonstrating that the problem is impossible in hyperbolic space.


Pictured at left with AQ Provost, Dr. Chad Gunnoe; Faculty mentor: Dr. Mike McDaniel; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

Homeownership & Foreclosure In The Creston Neighborhood: An Analysis of Neighborhood Change
Breane Proctor, Leah Kicinski, Drew Anderson, Regina DeVries, Mayerlyn Magana, Marilyn Buford, Abigail Schippers, Chris Jacobs, Tracey Morairty
Grand Rapids’ Creston Neighborhood is experiencing population decline, household incomes below city median; and high foreclosure rates. In April 2010 Aquinas College students partnered with the Creston Neighborhood Association to identify resident awareness of programs available residents and their concerns related to vacant housing and changing housing conditions in the neighborhood. Two target areas of the neighborhood were surveyed, and the qualitative and quantitative data that was collected will guide the Neighborhood Association’s response to the community change.
Faculty Advisor Dr. Kathy Kremer

K-Step Domination
Tayler Spellis
Tayler Spellis with faculty mentor Dr. Joe Spencer Faculty mentor: Dr. Joe Spencer; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant

May 2009-2010

Identifying Oak (Quercus) species at Pierce Cedar Creek using amplifications of the matK gene.
Kirsten Borek
Kirsten Borek (left) with faculty mentor Dr. Summer Silvieus

Oak species hybridize within across species fairly readily, which makes identification of them through morphological characteristics very difficult in the field. Through the use of DNA isolation, amplification, and sequencing, we were able to compare DNA sequences of the matK gene region of various oak species and their hybrids. Ideally, the sequences will be very similar from oak samples of the same species, and more different when compared to samples from different species.


Planned presentations: (1) Pierce Cedar Creek Institute on September 19. (2) Poster at West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference on October 31.


Faculty mentor Dr. Summer Silvieus; Funded by URGE Grant & AQ Student Senate Research

Teresa Buiocchi
Teresa Buiocchi (right) with faculty mentor Dave Fochtman As a Personal Care R&D Intern, I am working on three intertwined projects at Amway. (1) Understanding G&H Body Shampoo in the Chinese market based on a usage and attitudes study prompted by a drop in market share, (2) cost analysis of polymers, and (3) in-vitro studies to test irritation levels of formulas.
I will be presenting at Amway's World Headquarters on August 6 at 1 p.m.

Faculty mentor Dave Fochtman; Funded by Amway.

Determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) using polymerized ionic liquid (PIL)-coated fibers with SPME-GC-FID
Katie Brandt
Katie Brandt

Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) is a technique used to pre-concentrate chemical compounds from various matrices by exposing a coated fiber to the sample. This fiber is then desorbed in a gas chromatograph where the analytes are separated. In this project, new coatings based on polymeric ionic liquids (PILs) were used to identify the optimal extraction parameters for harmful aromatic compounds (polyaromatic hydrocarbons). The effect of extraction parameters on the fiber reproducibility was examined.


Graduate student mentor Yunjing Meng; Faculty advisor Dr. Jared Anderson; Funded by NSF grant

Is Sexual Behavior in the American Cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) Innate or Modified by Experience?
James Carrow
James Carrow (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Tom Bahl
Results to be presented in the fall of 2009 to the Aquinas College community and later to The West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference in October 31, 2009.
Faculty mentor Dr. Tom Bahl; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

The Ethnogeography of Grand Rapids – 1920
Nicole Caswell
Nicole Caswell (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Rich McCluskey

A systematic sampling of the residents of Grand Rapids, Michigan from the 1920 US Census with special emphasis on the spatial and aocioeconomic characteristics of immigrant populations. The spatial distribution of the residents is compared to qualitative descriptions of immigrant neighborhoods and enclaves revealing significant variations between the census data and previously published historical analysis. Planned presentation at the East Lakes Division of the American Association of Geographers Conference in Dayton, Ohio, on October 24, 2009.


Faculty mentor Dr. Rich McCluskey; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

K-step Domination
Ember Clark
Ember Clark (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Joe Spencer

We worked at and succeeded in deriving formulas for a few different kinds of graphs which would yield the domination number of the graph when given "n" and "k."  We did this mostly by constructing efficient dominating sets and finding upper bounds, lower bounds, and patterns.  We are also striving to make some more general statements involving diameter, radius, and center. Poster session at Aquinas College on October 1, 2009.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Joe Spencer; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Identifying the non-fuel layers formed from biodiesel fuels
Caylee Fias
During this summer's research, we worked with biodiesel fuel to identify the different compounds present in the two non-fuel layers that occur during formation of the fuel. The present compounds included soaps, glycerol, methanol, water and another carbon-based compound we were unable to study fully during our time this summer. We also determined many simple ways to extract the soaps present in the non-fuel layers and tested the extracted soaps for their effectiveness in cleaning grease. Planned presentation at Aquinas in September, 2009.
Faculty mentor Sister Katrina Hartman; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Rebecca Hyatt
Rebecca Hyatt (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Jen Hess

The goal of our summer research is to study the cleaving effects of the streptococcal enzyme, IdeZ, on human IgG, one type of antibody in the human immune system.  We are also exploring the relationship between the enzyme's ability to cleave IgG in the presence of iodoacetate, a known inhibitor, and cystatin c, which has been shown to enhance enzymatic activity in previous studies. Planned presentations: (1) Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology Fall 2009 (2) West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference on October 31, 2009.


Faculty mentor Dr. Jen Hess; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Nested Hyperbolic Polygons
Jullian Russo
Jullian Russo (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Mike McDaniel

We studied hyperbolic polygons. Jillian discovered some constructions which, combined with hyperbolic trigonometric formulas, give us all the angles, lengths and areas of the hyperbolic polygons and parts of hyperbolic polygons. We use her construction to prove the constructible hyperbolic regular polygons have the same number of sides as the constructible Euclidean polygons. We have a paper entitled, "Hyperbolic Polygons Spirals." It will be published in the fall 2010 Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Math Journal.


Faculty mentor Dr. Mike McDaniel; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Low temperature transcriptional networks and their effect on the transcript of cold-regulated
genes in Arabidopsis thaliana
Elliot C. Sedlecky
Elliot C. Sedlecky

In this lab, we are particularly interested in identifying and understanding the low temperature transcriptional networks that plants have evolved to survive freezing temperatures.  Specifically, I am working with Arabidopsis thaliana t-DNA insertion mutants in transcription factors that are believed to have roles in the low temperature transcriptional network.  I am examining these knock-out mutants for changes in expression of cold-regulated genes in response to low temperature.  I am using quantitative Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR) to examine the transcript levels of these genes in the mutant plants compared with that of wild-type plants.  The goal is to better understand cold acclimation with an ultimate goal of decreasing crop loss due to freezing temperatures.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Sarah Jane Gilmour and Principal Investigator Dr. Mike Thomashow at Michigan State University; Funded by the MSU Undergraduate Summer Research Experience in Plant Genomics

Molly Soper
My project for the summer was to consolidate 4 methods of testing sunscreen actives by HPLC into one in order to increase the Amway quality assurace lab efficiency.  In addition, I optimized the method in order to use less solvent and decrease waste.  I presented at Amway on August 27, 2009. 
Mentor: Kem Charron; Funded by: Amway

Eric Tank
An Exploration of Iconography in the Eastern Churches
Eric Tank

My goal was to explore the icon tradition of the Eastern Churches by studying the particular method and style of Western Ukrainian Iconography. I was able to accomplish this goal by writing an icon in studio, learning the theory of iconography through lecture, and understanding the historical development of iconography by participating in various excursions to museums, churches and monasteries. Presented a general historical overview of iconography in Dr. Marko's Eastern Christian Churches class this semester. 


Faculty mentor Dr. Robert Marko; Partial funding from Aquinas Student Senate Grant

Joanne Vanderhyde and Alyssa Fleser
Joanne Vanderhyde Faculty mentor Dr. Robb Bajema; Funded by URGE Grant

Van Andel Institute (VAI) Student Independent Study
Christopher Madziar - The Characterization of Mucin-1 and its Associated Proteins That Carrythe Concanavalin A and Bauhinia Purpurea Lectin Binding Moieties. Intern at the Laboratory of Cancer Immunodiagnostics at VAI.
Emily Popma - Mutagenesis of GCCR and PTH1R as Part of the Construction of Inducible Expression Systems for GPCRs. Intern at the Laboratory of Structural Science at VAI.
Marian Testori - Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1: Incorporation of Mutant VP16 into the Viral Genome. Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

May 2008-2009

(SMDEP) Summer Medical Dental Program
Courtney Banks
Courtney Banks (far right) at SMDEP Involved in a six week Summer Medical Dental Program (SMDEP) designed to give students a chance to experience medicine or dentistry through observations, simulation clinics, migrant camp visits, and lectures in health care.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Douglass Jackson, DMD, Ph.D., MS at the University of Washington-Seattle
Funded by SMDEP

Environmental Effects on Zooplankton Cyclomorphosis
Katie Brandt & Jackie Plough
Katie Brandt with mentor Dr. Robb Bajema

Zooplankton often times go through a process called cyclomorphosis. The actual cause is unknown although predation is the most popular theory at this time. Using controlled aquatic systems, the goal of our experiment is to observe cyclomorphosis in zooplankton with the hopes of finding other factors that can induce this change. A factor that will be observed is the presence of predators, which is already believed to induce cyclomorphosis, and changing certain chemical properties of the water which includes pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. The results of this experiment will allow people to gain a better understanding of cyclomorphosis and the factors that allow zooplankton to undergo this physical change.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Social Capital and Entrepreneurship within the Context of La Fundacion Mariana San Isidore Labrador in
El Llano, Dominican Republic
Jessica Coffelt

This case study examined characteristics of leadership grounded in social capital and social entrepreneurship within the context of the Fundacion Mariana San Isidro Labrador in El Llano, Dominican Republic. Findings of the fieldwork conducted over several months suggest that this grassroots community development organization has a two-person leadership team that includes a social entrepreneur, and a leader who regularly invests social capital in the community. While previous research suggests using both social entrepreneurship and social capital can limit efficiency of the CDO, this examination pointed to the effectiveness of development when grounded in both. Presented at the 2009 Meetings of the Midwest Sociological Society, Des Moines, Iowa, April 2-5, 2009.


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kathy S. Kremer

Algebraic Reasoning for Teachers and Students
Stephanie DeFouw
Stephanie DeFouw with mentor Dr. Kathy Burgis Performed qualitative research to investigate the growth of teachers' algebraic reasoning, and consequent impact on classroom practice. Analyzed interviews and journals, and worked on the design of a follow-up survey. Planned presentation: Research Council for Mathematics Learning."
Faculty mentor: Dr. Kathy Burgis
Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Mutagenesis of the recombinant streptococcal IdeZ protein and the resulting functional effects
Kyle Flippo
Kyle Flippo with mentor Dr. Jen Hess

Studied recombinant enzymes originating from a streptococcal species. We tried to create DNA mutations that might affect the functioning of the enzymes. We hope to create several amino acid substitutions in the IdeZ protein that change enzyme's function.
Planned presentations: (1) Poster presentation for Aquinas College's Mohler/Thompson Scholar symposium, September 2008. (2) Poster presentation at the Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology Semi-annual meeting, October 10-11 2008, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI. (3) Poster presentation at the West Michigan Undergraduate Scientific Research Conference, November 1, 2008, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Jen Hess; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Solid phase micro extraction using ionic liquid as a stationary phase
Tien Ho
Tien Ho in the lab. I coated a bare 50 micron column fiber with an ionic liquid and used this fiber to extract organic analytes (such as esters). After extracting these analytes, I desorbed them into the gas chormatograph and, based on the output, I determined the extraction efficiency of the coated fiber, as well as its reproducibility.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Jared Anderson at the University of Toledo in Ohio, Grad student mentor: Christa Graham at the University of Toledo in Ohio, Funded by NSF Grant

All chord diagrams from the wheel are self-invertible
Jane Kraemer
Jane Kraemer (bottom right) with mentor Dr. Michael McDaniel (far left) The knot invariants of finite type can be studied using chord diagrams - oriented circles with chords. Finding the existence or non-existence of a non-invertible chord diagram remains an open question. We show that any chord diagram of odd order which has a closed vertex path using alternating arcs of the outer circle is self-invertible. This partially answers the open question in the negative. Submitting paper to "The Journal of Knot Theory and Its Ramifications." Jane's paper "Fibonacci numbers when counting chord diagrams" was accepted at the Pi Mu Epsion Journal.
>>Download Jane Kraemer's Paper (pdf)
Faculty mentor: Dr. Michael McDaniel; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Stress in Correlation with Emotional Attachments: A Study of Undergraduates
Kelsey Leonard
Kelsey Leonard (left) with mentor Terry Keller This research hypothesized that if a student does not have a high emotional attachment with his or her parents, they may lack self-efficacy, leading them to feel stressed in overwhelming situations. Research was grounded in Bandura's theory of self-efficacy. Analysis of two questionnaires administered to undergraduate students identified no correlation within the variables of age, year in school, the amount the individual talks to their parents each week, and whether they live on campus or commute. This suggests that having a high emotional attachment with parents does not mediate students' stress in overwhelming situations.
Faculty mentor: Terry Keller, Department of Psychology

Comparison of Various Population Parameters for Green Frogs (Rana clamitans) Across Three Different Wetland Habitats at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Becca Lodewyk
Becca Lodewky in the field. We are studying how populations of Green Frogs vary across three different wetland habitats. Some factors we are comparing are the sizes of adults, the ratio of males to females, timing of breeding activity, and development of tadpoles at each location. We are also comparing habitat parameters such as water temperature, air temperature, vegetation, temporary vs. permanent habitats, and other factors of each habitat. With this data we can see which habitats are better suited for reproduction and survival.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Stephen Burton from Grand Valley State University, Funded by PCCI Faculty-in-residence Program

Nocturnal Thermal Stratification in Selected Valleys at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and Conklin, Michigan
Melissa Menerey & Meghan Fish
Melissa Mereney (left) and Meghan Fish in the field. We are looking to see how temperature stratification develops throughout the evenings, how wind speed will influence stratification, how elevation will influence, and how vegetative cover will influence such stratification. We've selected several sites at Pierce Cedar Creek & Conklin, MI and monitored the temperature at the top, middle and bottom of all hills. We've also been recording wind speeds at both locations.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Paul Bieneman
Funded by URGE Grant

Amplifying and Sequencing DNA from Common Garden Plants Utilizing
Universal Primers for the potential use in DNA Barcoding
Ivana Pasalic
Ivana Pasalic in the lab

We extracted and amplified approximately 600bp of DNA from common plants, including tomato, green pepper, chives, and watermelon. We first tested a set of primers suspected to be universal across a diverse range of plant families. Finding that these primers worked well, we proceeded to sequence the DNA that was amplified. We hope to find enough differences between these sequences that they could be used to identify the plant species. Presentations included (1) Poster presentation at Aquinas' Mohler/Thompson Scholar symposium, September 2008. (2) Poster presentation at the West Michigan Undergraduate Scientific Research Conference, November 1, 2008, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Summer Silvieus; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Ionic Liquid Crystalline Compounds of Transition Metals with Tetraalkylammonium Ligands: Synthesis and Thermal Properties of [(C18H37)2(CH3)2N]2[MX4], M = Cr3+, Mn2+, Fe2+, Fe3+, Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+, Zn2+, Pd2+, Pt2+, X = Cl, Br
Molly Soper
Molly Soper in the lab. We synthesized twelve compounds by combining one of ten transition metal halides and either dimethyldioctadecylammonium chloride or the analogous bromide. In compounds of this type, the long-chain organic ligand produces liquid crystalline phases near room temperature while the metal ion may contribute other interesting physical properties. Differential Scanning Calorimetry was used to characterize the phase transition behavior of each compound.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

The Influence of Allatectomy on the Sexual Behavior of Male Periplaneta Americana (American cockroach)
Marian Testori
Marian Testori Juvenile hormone (JH) is produced by a pair of glands known as the corpora allata found posterior to the brain of insects. JH has been well-studied in female insects with respect to reproduction. However, the role of JH in male insect sexual behavior has been minimal. This study investigated how the sexual behaviors of male American cockroaches are possibly affected by the removal of the corpora allata.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Tom Bahl; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Measuring Self-esteem, Leadership, Self-efficacy, and Civic Engagement in At-risk Adolescent Girls
Elise Wisnieski
Elise Wisnieski (left) with mentor Kathy Kremer

This study examined the effects of a high school leadership program on self-esteem, leadership, self-efficacy, and civic engagement among program participants by analyzing responses from questionnaires completed before and after completing the program. Results indicate increases in self-esteem and self-efficacy levels from pre-test to post-test, but little increase in civic engagement and leadership levels. These findings are consistent with previous research on self-esteem and self-efficacy in adolescent girls (Gibbs 1985, Gurney 1986, Orenstein 1994 and Steese et al. 2006). An additional finding is how leadership is defined by program participants and the implications this has for use of standard measures of leadership in sociological research.


Presented at the 2009 Meetings of the Midwest Sociological Society, Des Moines, Iowa, April 2-5, 2009.
Presented at the 2009 Michigan Campus Compact Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich, February 12 & 13, 2009.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Kathy S. Kremer; Research supported by: Michigan Colleges Foundation Earhart Emerging Scholar Award

Van Andel Institute (VAI) Student Independent Study
Left to right: Randi Van Ocker, Kevin Coalter, Kathleen Pollock, Vinh Ho, Christina Gourlay

Randi Van Ocker-Search for an in vivo template: Examining the Evolutionary Conservation of the C-Reaction Protein-Kininogen Complex in Mus musculus. Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Kevin Coalter -
Identification of Human PXDNL as a Mediation of Oxidative Stress. Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Kathleen Pollock - Establishing a Model for Human Osteosarcoma and Therapy. Intern at the Laboratory of Noninvasive Imaging and Radiation Biology at VAI.


Vinh Ho - The TDH3prom/rt-TA-M2 Dual System and its Effects on Tetracycline-Regulated Gene Expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Intern at the Laboratory of Structural Sciences at VAI.

Christina Gourlay
- Analysis of ARS606 Origin Structure in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for Identification of an Inhibitory Sequence Element. Intern at the Laboratory of Chromosome Replication at VAI


May 2007-2008

Kevin Coalter
Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant
Mutated Immunoglobulin-degrading Enzymes of Streptococcus Species and Their Effects on Human IgG
Jamie Fink
Jamie Fink in the lab.

We studied recombinant enzymes originating from two streptococcal species. We tried to create DNA mutations that might affect the functioning of the enzymes. We were successful in creating one serine to alanine amino acid substitution in the IdeZ protein that seemed to abolish the enzyme's function. Presentations: (1) Oral presentation for Aquinas College's Mohler Scholar symposium, September 26, 2007. (2) Poster presentation at the Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology Semi-annual meeting, October 12 & 13, 2007, Traverse City, Mich. (3) Poster presentation at the West Michigan Undergraduate Scientific Research Conference, October 19 2007, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Jen Hess; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Lead Concentrations in Soils at Fruit Orchards in the Grand Rapids Area
Shannon Henderson
Shannon Henderson In the 1940s, lead arsenate was frequently applied to apple trees as a pesticide. To determine whether this compound persists in the soil, and at what level, we quantified the concentration of lead in soil samples taken from apple orchards using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry.

Presented at the Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Columbus, Ohio, June 2008.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Jane Kraemer
Faculty mentor: Dr. Michael McDaniel
Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Audrey Sanders
Faculty mentor: Dr. Tom Bahl
Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Formation of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Interactive Tree Key for Common Plants Along Trails
Molly Soper
Molly Soper in the field. Surveyed angiosperm plants along the orange trail of PCC. Recorded species, morphological traits, location, and abundance of plants. This information was then utilized in the formation of an electronic interactive key for visitors to utilize to aid in identification of the plants.

Presentations: Oral presentation at Pierce Cedar Creek for URGE members, September 2007.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Summer Silvieus
Funded by URGE Grant

Kathleen Pollock
Faculty mentor: Dr. Claire Hartmann-Thompson at Michigan Molecular Institute
Funded by REU Grant

Van Andel Institute (VAI) Student Independent Study
Van Andel Institute (VAI) Student Independent Study

Liz Block - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI. Started a full-time position fall 2007

Krysta Collins - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Natalie Kent - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI. Started a full-time lab tech position in summer 2007.

Sara Kunz - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.


Mien Nguyen - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Audrey Sanders - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Rebecca Trierweiler - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.


May 2006-2007

An Analytical Study of Heavy Metal Concentrations In Soils at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Rob Sturm and Lianne Griffiths
(Left to right:) Dr. Elizabeth Jensin, Rob Strum, Lianne Griffiths Vehicular traffic is thought to be the main source of roadside pollution. We quantified the concentration of lead, copper, and zinc in soils near roads using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry to determine whether distance from the road bed was correlated to metal concentration.

Presented at the Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Covington, Kentucky, May 2007.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen
Funded by URGE Grant

Jessica Higgins
Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema
Funded by URGE Grant

Kyler Carroll
Faculty mentor: Dr. Cora Lind at the University of Toledo
Funded by REU Grant


May 2005-2006

Water Chemistry of Brewster Lake, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Meghann Broderick and Melissa Conklin
Melissa Conklin (left) and Meghann Broderick Seven properties of the water of Brewster Lake were measured weekly for ten weeks as indicators of water quality. Surface temperature, pH, alkalinity, and conductivity were measured and the concentrations of phosphate, nitrate, and dissolved oxygen were determined. Presented at the Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Frankenmuth, Michigan, May 2006.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen
Funded by URGE Grant

David Baylis and Loreina Van Strien
Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema
Funded by URGE Grant