Professors and their students from four private Iowa colleges are pursuing special research projects this summer using advanced equipment at the University of Iowa. Madeline Shea, a biochemistry professor at the U-of-I, is director of the project, what’s called the FUTURE in Biomedicine.
Shea says, “FUTURE stands for Fostering Undergraduate Talent, Uniting Research and Education and that really summarizes what we’re trying to do, to bring educators who are also interested in scientific research to the University of Iowa to do a project with a faculty member here in Iowa City.” This is the second summer for the two-month program. The eight students and faculty taking part this time are from: Drake University in Des Moines, Loras College in Dubuque, Morningside College in Sioux City and Wartburg College in Waverly.
Shea says FUTURE can enable promising research projects from the smaller schools to continue using the large university’s wider net of resources. She says, “The faculty who are coming often have very sophisticated research programs going that they have continued for many years but sometimes need access to equipment that is very expensive or rare or hard to justify at a smaller institution.” The research projects cover a variety of topics.
Shea says one project involves the study of staph infections and how they may change in different parts of a person’s body. Shea says, “They’ve brought samples that they’ve been collecting for three years in Sioux City and are working with physicians and scientists at the College of Medicine to try and figure this out, to type the bacteria and figure out if somebody has it in one part of their body if it’s the same as what they have in another part of their body.”
Shea says the program aims to strengthen science education and research connections across the state by opening research labs and expertise, and sharing the U-of-I’s resources with Iowa college professors and their students. The program started in early June and runs through July 30th.