Undergraduate Bio-Medical Research Earns Honors

A research project by senior biology major Carl Hjelmen (Garretson, S.D.), senior bio-chem major Nicole Ensz (Sioux Falls) and Leah McComas (biology major from the class of 2012, Maplewood, Minn.) was named a recipient of the 2011-12 Student Travel Award from the Biology Division of The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). Dr. Mark Larson, assistant professor of biology and Augustana’s Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) coordinator, served as a faculty mentor for the project.

The research, entitled "Exogenous modification of platelet membranes with the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA impairs thrombogenesis" illustrated the effect of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils on blood platelet function and the formation of the clotting protein thrombin. Hjelmen, Ensz and McComas presented a poster detailing the work at the Experimental Biology 2012 Convention, held in San Diego, Calif., in April.

This summer, Hjelmen is one of nearly 70 Augustana students who are conducting undergraduate scientific and bio-medical research throughout the U.S.  He is currently working on research related to genome sizes as a member of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program within the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The initiative is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Ensz is spending the summer studying abroad.

McComas is beginning a dental hygienist program at the University of Minnesota.

Carl Hjelmen  Leah McComas  Nicole Ensz

Carl Hjelmen               Leah McComas                  Nicole Ensz