Students win top awards at microbiology conference

Biology research lab students at Missouri State University won top awards for their research presentations at the Missouri Branch of the American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting March 22-23.

Presentations included research related to medical microbiology, environmental microbiology, molecular and cell biology, general microbiology and undergraduate biology research. Awards were given to the top graduate and undergraduate student presentations, including three Missouri State students:

  • Katelyn Bartlett, a graduate biology student, received first place in the graduate student oral presentations. Bartlett presented her research called “Reassessment of Microdomains in Budding Yeast.”
  • Katie Schmelzle, a senior wildlife biology major, received first place in the undergraduate student oral presentations for her research, “The Functional Cooperation Between Vps1 and the Retromer for Endosome-to-Golgi Recycling.”
  • Michelle Williams, a senior microbiology student, placed second in undergraduate student oral presentations for her research, “Vps1 at the Trans Golgi Network and Functions with Clathrin.”
  • Richard Wells, a biology graduate student, placed second in the student oral presentations for his research, “Infection Rates of Amblyomma Americanum and Dermacentor Variabilis by Borrelia Burgdorferi and Borrelia Lonestari in Southwest Missouri.”

“Although my major is in wildlife, I was fascinated by the cell biology aspect of how things work in nature,” said Schmelzle. “Studying mutations in the retromer complex can help us better understand the mechanisms in which Alzheimer’s disease is kicked on. Although I study the retromer complex in yeast (saccharomyces cerivasiae), about 20 percent of human disease genes have counterparts in yeast, which makes it a beneficial model organism for this study.”

For more information, contact Dr. Kyoungtae Kim, professor of biology, at (417) 836-5440.

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