Undergraduate Research Eduction Program

Undergraduate Research Education Program

Wood Hudson's Undergraduate Research Education Program, UREP, is a vibrant and beneficial educational program for students. As more students are extending their education beyond the bachelor's degree, admission into medical or other allied health schools is becoming more competitive. Students in UREP have the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience by working along side our scientists doing biomedical research. Since the program started, 300 students from 46 univerisities and colleges have been trained in our laboratory while receiving college credit for their hands-on research experience.


Summer 2020 UREP Video

Summer 2020 UREP posed new and unique challenges! How could we run a laboratory program while social distancing? While most student labs dropped research all together because of COVID-19, Wood Hudson pioneered a 10 student, virtual program that was an extraordinary success. Hear what our students have to say:

Wood Hudson Cancer Research Laboratory | Summer 2020 UREP Experience - VIDEO

Summer 2020 Undergraduate Research Education Program (UREP)

While most students with summer research internships around the world missed out this year, Wood Hudson hosted ten students in Summer 2020 UREP. It was a different program this year, being virtual, but with creativity and talented staff, we found a way to provide an extraordinary experience for these ten students. Students met Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays via Zoom. They studied cancer biology from a textbook. They studied and presented journal articles to the group. Students learned laboratory techniques and attended cancer research seminars given by cancer researchers and physicians. Students chose a cancer provocative question provocative question from the National Institute of Health, and prepared and presented this problem as their summer capstone project. These capstone projects, complete with background, experimental design, anticipated results, and discussion, included a written report and an oral presentation. See project titles HERE They were orally presented via Zoom on August 4th. It was impressive and inspiring to see each student's personal interests, knowledge, and creativity show forth in each presentation. Thanks to Dr. Julia Carter, Dr. Larry Douglass, Dr. Ron Snyder, and Professor Diane Fritz for successfully executing summer UREP.

"Dr. Carter snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. COVID-19 made the regular summer program impossible, but in a grand move, Dr. Carter devised a meaningful program complete with study, virtual learning, journal presentations, guest speakers, and, most importantly, challenging and rewarding capstone projects."

----Dr. Ron Snyder, Wood Hudson Board of Trustees

Great Job Summer 2020 UREP!

To learn more about the program, which operates year round, contact us.

NKU Senior Ryan Moore Senior Researcher at Wood Hudson

Ryan Moore is a senior at Northern Kentucky University majoring in Biochemistry and has been part of the Wood Hudson’s Undergraduate Research Education Program for nearly three years. In that time, Ryan has been involved in projects including nicotine and bladder cancer, the physiological characteristics of bladder cancer, the metabolism of asparagine in breast cancer, and the inverse relationship of cathepsin-L and cell proliferation in bladder cancer. He spends a lot of time in the tissue culture lab and is the expert of protein quantification. Ryan is planning on attending graduate school after graduating in spring 2020. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys hiking, being with friends, and good food.

Student Researcher Anna Oliverio at Wood Hudson

Anna Oliverio is a Junior at Thomas More University, majoring in Biology with a focus on cellular and molecular biology. She has been in the Undergraduate Research Education Program at Wood Hudson since September 2019. Her project here involves the serine biosynthesis pathway in a breast cancer study. Anna is looking at this pathway in different breast cancer cell lines and observing how the cells grow and possibly metastasize. She has learned the important techniques of tissue staining, western blotting, and cell culture. Anna hopes to pursue a graduate program in the future in cell and molecular biology or cancer biology. Outside school and the lab, Anna can be found hanging out with her family, especially watching movies with her sister, and cross-stitching.

Michael Parritt Student Researcher at Wood Hudson

Michael Parritt has been a student researcher at Wood Hudson since May 2019. In that short time, his research has resulted in a Kentucky Academy of Science presentation entitled, “P21 Activated Kinase-1 Transforming Growth Factor a and Ki67 Expression in Human Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction Adenocarcinomas.”

Michael won third prize for this presentation. Michael is especially adept at lab work associated with tissue culture. He is a senior at Xavier University, expected to graduate in spring 2020, and is planning on either medical school or a Ph.D. in the future. When Michael’s not in the lab or at school, you’ll find him on the golf course, camping, or possibly anywhere in the great outdoors.

Leah Focke Joins Wood Hudson

Leah Focke graduated from Mount St. Joseph University this month. Pictured here are Leah Focke; Dr. Eric Johnson, her Chemistry Professor and Advisor, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry; and Dr. Julia Carter. Dr Carter was her advisor at Wood Hudson for her senior Capstone Project which she did on a study of transforming growth factor beta signaling in ovarian cancer. Leah was nominated for Co-Op Student of the year which is the document she is holding. She also won the Chemistry Department Student of the Year. Leah has started full time as a Research Assistant at Wood Hudson.

Kalin Russell Joins Medpace

Kalin Russell shown giving his talk at the KAS meeting at WKU. His talk was on his Senior Capstone Project for the University of Cincinnati. He analyzed data from seven biomarkers in ovarian cancer and discovered he loved working in data analysis. Kalin has recently started at Medpace as a Data Analyst.

KAS 2019

The annual Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) meeting was held this year November 1-2, 2019 at Berea College. KAS features the work of 600 scientists in Kentucky from 14 different areas of scientific research. Over 300 scientific reports were given as either poster presentations or oral reports.

Wood Hudson’s Undergraduate Research and Education Program (UREP) was well-represented at KAS with three poster presentations and one oral presentation. J.T. Reagor (Gatton Academy) presented a poster reporting immune aspects of breast cancer. This work was done with Natalie Cooper (Gatton Academy). Louis Fritz (University of Louisville) gave a poster presentation on bladder cancer research completed in partnership with Ryan Moore (Northern Kentucky University). Leah Focke, a Wood Hudson research assistant and former UREP student, presented a poster on ovarian cancer research. Audrey Giesler (Eastern Kentucky University) and Olivia Frederick (Ohio State University) were also involved in this project. Michael Parritt (Xavier University) gave an oral report on ongoing studies of gastric cancer that he is pursuing as his senior project. We are proud of these UREP students and all they have accomplished!

Poster presentations and oral presentations are challenging and add greatly to the research experience. This is because the researcher must think through and present work clearly and be prepared to answer an array of questions, from basic to technical. On top of the growing experience each student received, we are pleased to report that two of these UREP students won awards in the Undergraduate Research Competition: Louis Fritz won first place in the Physiology and Biochemistry Section for his poster presentation, and Michael Parritt won third place in the Physiology and Biochemistry Section for his oral presentation.

New Summer UREP Initiatives

The Wood Hudson Cancer Research Institute is proud to be an inaugural partner in summer 2019 with the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky's brand-new Gatton Summer Internship Program (GSIP). The mission of this partnership, (a tax-deductible, private-public commitment), is to provide a project-based summer internship to a Gatton Academy student. Internships can be in any discipline, in any field, and can take many forms.

Requirements are simple: 1.) Partners provide an eight-week, full-time internship to a Gatton student; 2.) Students must have a consistent mentor-supervisor to seek guidance; 3.) Students work on a specific project with an outcome as the goal; and 4.) The mentor-supervisor assesses the student at summer's end.

Wood Hudson has already firmly supported The Gatton Academy, having worked with six Gatton students since 2009. These alumni have gone on to successful undergraduate, graduate, and medical school careers. Dr. Julia Carter was honored as The Gatton Academy's Commencement Speaker in 2017 as the school graduated its ninth graduating class.

We look forward to continuing our relationship with The Gatton Academy through this innovative endeavor, which helps to prepare our Kentucky STEM students for successful futures. If your company or organization is interested in hosting a Gatton Academy student intern, Cheryl Kirby-Stokes, Academic Opportunities Coordinator, can be contacted at Cheryl.kirby-stokes@wku.edu.

The two students from The Gatton Academy who will be participating in UREP this summer are Natalie Cooper and JT Reagor. Natalie and JT are technically high school Juniors, but are now completing their Freshman year at Western Kentucky University. Other summer UREP students include: Louis Fritz, a Morehead State University, Craft Academy for Excellence in Science graduate who will be beginning as a Junior at the University of Louisville; Audrey Giesler, a rising Junior at Eastern Kentucky University, David Kelly, a rising Senior at Thomas More University; Ryan Moore, a rising Senior at Northern Ken- tucky University; Michael Parritt, a rising Senior at Xavier University; Olivia Frederick, a rising Senior at Ohio State University and Adam Neltner, a rising Junior at Ohio State University. These ten students will participate in ongoing research projects studying breast, bladder, and ovarian cancers.

5 UREP Students to Begin Medical School in 2019

All of Kentucky is medically underserved. The Undergraduate Research Education Program (UREP) at Wood Hudson Cancer Research Laboratory has the goals of encouraging undergraduates to remain in the science major (Chemistry, Biology, etc.), graduate, and choose careers in science and medicine by giving them hands-on experience in biomedical research and training in scientific communication. So far 92% of UREP participants over the past 37 years have done just that. Thus UREP addresses the unmet need in Kentucky of more healthcare and science professionals.

Everyone at Wood Hudson congratulates the five UREP participants who have recently been accepted into medical school. Three of these students have been accepted into the inaugural class of 35 students at the new University of Kentucky College of Medicine Northern Kentucky Campus. They are: Morgan Bahnsen (Thomas More University Graduate), Austin Johnson (University of Kentucky Graduate), and Alex White (Miami University Graduate). Morgan, an Ohio resident, was also accepted by Ohio University College of Medicine, Dublin Campus and is on the wait list at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine (Dayton, OH), which, of course, would offer her in-state tuition. Kyle Damen (Mt. St. Joseph University Graduate) will be attending Marian College of Osteopathic Medicine, Marian University, in Indianapolis, IN. Stefan Marasligiller (Vanderbilt University Graduate) has been accepted by the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Stefan is also on the wait list at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University (NYC).

We congratulate these former UREP students and future doctors for these achievements which represent not only intellectual talent but also hard work and perseverance.

KAS 2018

Working with Students and Scientists Across Kentucky The Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) is Kentucky’s statewide scientific society composed of thousands of members across the Commonwealth. This annual gathering of the diverse scientific community introduces our Undergraduate Research Education Program (UREP) student interns to professional scientific research being shared in an academic setting. The 104th annual meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science was hosted by Western Kentucky University. The educational weekend began with poster presentations Friday, November 2 spanning three floors of the Downing Student Union. Wood Hudson scientists and UREP mentors, Dr. Leila Valanejad and Professor Diane Wilkening Fritz aided KAS in judging the poster presentation session in the category of Physiology & Biochemistry. The Friday evening event introduced the National Corvette Museum, giving the inside story on the famous sinkhole, revealing how an interdisciplinary team of scientists and technicians came together to study and repair the sinkhole, as well as develop the Corvette Cave-In Sinkhole Exhibit at the museum. On Saturday, November 3, three of our UREP students competed with oral presentations. David Kelly earned the second place award, in the category of Physiology & Biochemistry. Ryan Moore worked with Dr. Zachary Taylor and Dr. Julia Carter to present preliminary research surrounding our current bladder cancer findings relating to HSP-90, Cathepsin-L, and proteins of the MAPK pathway. Kalin Russell presented recent outcomes of the ovarian project regarding the role of eIF4E in ovarian cancer with the assistance of Dr. Julia Carter. David Kelley presented research surrounding early detection of breast cancer through changes in amino acid metabolism under the guidance of Dr. Leila Valanejad. We congratulate these efforts and also thank Ms. Denise Lucas, Dr. James Deddens and Dr. Larry Douglass for their assistance with these research projects. Congratulations to Dr. Leila Valanejad who was chosen as Secretary of the Physiology & Biochemistry Section for 2019. Dr. Julia Carter was the Chairman of the Physiology & Biochemistry Section of the KAS for 2018.

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