Scientists Present Research

Students have the opportunity to present their research close to home.

Cobber scientists represented the chemistry and biology departments in October with five oral presentations and three poster presentations at the 14th annual Undergraduate Research in the Molecular Sciences (URMS) conference held on the Minnesota State University Moorhead campus.

Dr. Graeme Wyllie, assistant professor of chemistry, represented one of the sponsoring organizations (the local ACS Section) and serves on the URMS organizing committee.

“URMS provides an invaluable opportunity for local undergraduate chemistry and molecular biology students to come together and share their research in a friendly environment to their peers and undergraduate research mentors,” Wyllie said. “Concordia has a long tradition of representing strongly at these events and this year’s students continued that trend.”  

Andre Schaum ’20 won a travel award to the National Meeting for his talk. The National Meeting is the American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting in spring 2020 in Philadelphia. It’s a twice-annual conference by ACS that draws both industry and academic chemists together to share their science.

All but two of Concordia’s participants at the URMS are included in the above photo. In the back (from left) are Andrew Trowbridge ’20, Wyllie, Schaum, Andrew H. Johnson ’20, and in the front are Alexis Adrian ’20, Sofia Palme ’21, Anh Nguyen ’21, and Vy Tat ’21. Not pictured: David Fehr ’21 and Zachary Strickland ’21.

“It’s especially rewarding to see research done by Cobbers both on campus and across the world being showcased,” Wyllie said.

Nguyen conducted research at Scripps in California, Schaum in the Czech Republic, and Trowbridge in South Dakota. At Concordia, Palme and Johnson worked with Wyllie, and Fehr worked with Dr. Donald “Chopper” Krogstad, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Drew Rutherford, associate professor of chemistry. Strickland did his research with Dr. David Mork, associate professor of chemistry.

Tat worked with Dr. Jahan Dawlaty ’01 at the University of Southern California for 10 weeks this past summer and Adrian worked for two summers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., as a summer undergraduate research fellow (SURF).

“In my time at Mayo, I worked under the mentorship of Dr. Maria Irazabal in the polycystic kidney disease (PKD) center,” Adrian said.

Her projects identified betaine as a metabolite of interest in PKD and also investigated how supplementing betaine might mitigate disease progression in PKD.

“I have had many opportunities to present my work within the world of kidney research, but it is exciting to take this research back to my home institution and share it with biologists and chemists, both faculty and peers, at the URMS conference,” Adrian said.