IWU undergraduate research project accepted for publication in scientific journal

Indiana Wesleyan University’s Dr. Matthew Kreitzer, professor of Biology, recently received notification that research work he and his team of undergraduates have been pursing as a collaborative study with a lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago has been accepted for publication in the scientific research journal PLOS (Public Library of Science) ONE.

The ongoing research study focuses on the nervous system and seeks to better understand mechanisms that regulate neuronal processing in the retina. Funded by multiple grants awarded to IWU from the National Science Foundation since 2009, the study has involved more than 30 IWU undergraduate students.

“Having undergraduates play a central role in discovering key answers to an important physiological question has been exciting to see. No doubt such an experience is invigorating for young scientists,” said Kreitzer. “Allowing them to engage in the scientific method while solving problems and learning cutting-edge techniques prepares them for a future in science in a way that is difficult to create in the traditional classroom.”

Seven IWU students are coauthors on the PLOS ONE manuscript, including current IWU students Michael Gongwer, Lexi Shepherd, and Hannah Caringal along with IWU alum David Swygart (Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience PhD Program), Chad Heer (University of Chicago Neurobiology PhD program), Ryan Kaufman (Indiana University School of Medicine), and Marin Young (Kettering College Physician Assistant Studies). Nine IWU students also involved in this collaborative work were authors on a parallel manuscript that recently appeared in the December issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology. 

Boriana Tchernookova from the University of Illinois at Chicago is the lead author of the paper. Robert Paul Malchow and Jason Jacoby, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, are also co-authors on the paper.

“It has been exciting to be a part of collaborative, decade-long journey that has played a pivotal role in the development of a number of young scientists,” said Kreitzer, “and has shed light on a mechanism that may solve a long-standing puzzle in vision research.”

To view the article on PLOS ONE’s website, visit http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190893

This work was supported by National Science Foundation Grants 0924372, 0924383, 1359230, 1557820, and 1557725, an IWU Hodson Research Institute Grant, a Grants in Aid Award from Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, a Laura and Arthur Colwin Summer Fellowship from the Marine Biological Laboratory, a LAS Award for Faculty in the Natural Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a gift from the estate of Mr. John C. Hagensick.

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