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Summer Research Experience for Teachers and High School Students

To enhance the science and math curriculum in Iowa high schools we engage teachers and students in hands-on research. We are partnering with two well-known Iowa State programs coordinated by Dr. Adah Leshem, an Education Outreach Director at Iowa State University:

Research Experiences for High School Teachers (RET)

2015 High School Teacher, Aaron Hahn (Carlisle High School): Aaron Hahn is a high school teacher at Carlisle High School in Carlisle IA, where he teaches Biology, Chemistry and Advanced Placement Chemistry. Aaron has participated in the RET program for two summers at Iowa State.  Aaron worked with graduate student, Bri Vidrine and post-doc, Satiander Rana to functionally characterize candidate genes that are predicted to participate in the synthesis of lipids that accumulate on the surface of maize silks.  Aaron used bioinformatic analyses, molecular biology techniques, protein expression and fatty acid analysis to study these maize genes in an appropriate bacterial host.

Aaron at his work bench.  Aaron and Satiander analyzing protein.

Pictures: Aaron at his bench, planning an experiment (Left); Aaron and Satiander preparing to analyze a protein gel (and having a laugh!)


Young Engineers and Scientists (YES): http://www.cbirc.iastate.edu/education/precollege/young-engineers-and-scientists-program-at-cbirc/

2015 Young Engineer and Scientist, Jasmine Moreno: In Summer 2015 the Maize Surface Lipid team hosted Jasmine Moreno, a junior at North High School in Des Moines, Iowa.   Jasmine worked with USDA Research Technician Miriam Lopez.  Jasmine's project focused on a recombination screen targeted at 10 candidate loci that are associated with changes in surface lipid accumulation on maize silks.  Jasmine's work provided her with experience in high throughput DNA isolation, assay design, marker design and quantitative genetics.

Miriam Lopez and Jasmine Moreno performing 96-well DNA extractions from maize seedlings.  ​
USDA technician and research mentor Miriam Lopez and YES student Jasmine Moreno performing 96-well DNA extractions from maize seedlings.

2015 Young Engineer and Scientist, Zac Jones: In Summer 2015 the team also hosted Zac Jones, a junior at Dallas Center-Grimes High School in Iowa.  Zac worked with Ph.D. graduate student Tes Posekany.  Zac's research project involved profiling silk surface lipids from maize populations that exhibit resistance to silk damage by corn ear worms.  Zac and Tes conducted statistical analyses to identify correlations between silk surface lipid profiles and growth characteristics of corn earworm larvae in bioassays that include silk powders with diverse silk surface lipid metabolomes.  Zac learned how to conduct metabolite extractions, GC-MS analysis, and data and statistical analyses.

Zac Jones extracting lipid metabolites from dried maize corn silks.
YES student Zac Jones extracting lipid metabolites from dried maize corn silks.  

2014 Young Engineer and Scientist, Allyson Jorgensen: In Summer 2014 the Maize Surface Lipid team hosted Allyson Jorgensen, a junior at Hoover High School in Des Moines, Iowa.  During the six week program, Allyson worked with Ph.D. Candidate Bri Vidrine.  Allyson's research project focused on candidate genes involved in surface lipid accumulation on maize silks.  Her work included tissue sampling in the field, genotyping in the lab and gene expression analyses.

Bri Vidrine and Allyson Jorgensen with Cy
Graduate student and research mentor Bri Vidrine and YES student Allyson Jorgensen in the lab with the ISU mascot, Cy.