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University Relations

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Aug. 1, 2006
Contact: Sharon Graham, Self Graduate Fellowship, (785) 864-7249.

Future scientists and doctors display summer research projects

LAWRENCE — Before her summer at the University of Kansas, Tessa Howard didn’t know words like thromboxane. But this week, she’ll be presenting a scientific poster on the compound that stimulates aggregation of platelets and constriction of blood vessels and its relationship to the heart.

Howard, a biology/pre-med major at Bethany College in Lindsborg, is participating in KU’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program poster session, along with 42 other undergraduate students from around the country and here at KU.

“It’s the culmination of student research over the summer,” said Sharon Graham, program associate of the Self Graduate Fellowship, which is helping fund the research program. “It gives the students the opportunity to see what their peers are doing.”

The students study for 10 weeks at KU with the guidance of undergraduate research directors. The Self fellowship held a professional development seminar for the students earlier in the summer.

“It’s just a really good opportunity, especially coming from a smaller school that doesn’t have the research facilities,” said Howard. “It’s a good opportunity to see the procedures that take place and see what else is out there besides the classroom.”

Howard’s director, James Orr, professor in KU’s Division of Biological Sciences, said within just a few weeks, Howard was collecting data and conducting experiments on her own.

“It certainly benefits our research program to have another individual in the lab. She’s certainly contributed to collecting data and moving our research forward,” Orr said.

Other posters at the session will include projects from chemistry, chemical and petroleum engineering, medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry and the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis.

The poster session will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. today in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union.

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