Bioscience Graduate Testimonials

Freshman at ASU 0118
Mrs. Landry
   Last semester I could not have imagined what college would be like if I hadn't taken Biotech. It was not only the information that helped me so much, but it was the note taking and time management skills I learned that saved me. I had so many friends spending hours retyping notes because they never learned how to take them in high school. Biotech also taught me an incredible work ethic and that if I work hard enough I can do it. Now I am in Bio 201, which is anatomy, and I can honestly say I would be a dead man if I hadn't taken 4 years of biotech. It is so incredible to have such a a strong foundation in this material and makes everything so much easier. You guys really did a fantastic job preparing students for college along with building confident students. Thank you so much for all the time and love you have invested

CREST Graduate published research paper as a junior at BYU
Junior at BYU 1217
I'm a co-author on a paper now!!! 

It's not in print quite yet, I think, but it should be in BMC microbiology (a small journal) soon! It was already edited and accepted, so in the next few months look out for "Phosphate signaling through alternate conformations of the PstSCAB phosphate transporter", primary author Ramesh Vuppada. He's our grad student, and me and a few other people in the lab helped him redo a few experiments and edit the paper. So cool!! 

I'm coming up on finals at the end of next week, so it's crunch time up here. Hardly any snow yet, just SO cold. Hope all is well in CREST! 
Keilen Kelly

First Semester ASU Sophomore 0917
Hi Mrs. Landry,

Just wanted to give you a quick update about my sophomore year, because things are going great!  I got a 102% on my first organic chemistry exam and a 93% on my first microbiology exam.  In addition, I've been working at my virus lab since January and I love it.  I've learned the entire process of what we do in the lab and I am now working on my own sample sets.  I'm getting 3 credits for my work their this semester and I believe they're going to have my published for all the sample sets I've completed within the next couple of months.  Hope everything is going well at CREST! I'd love to come visit soon!

First semester BYU Junior 0917

Just thought I'd share really quick - 
The grad student in our lab got some reviews back on his paper but needs some extra help with revisions and more tests since he's not really around right now. So... my professor has opened it up to the other 2 undergrads and myself to work on it with co-authorship if it gets published!! I'm so excited! 
In other news, I know LITERALLY everything we've covered so far in cell bio, and ochem isn't kicking my butt yet. I'm crazy busy but it's looking to be a good semester! My lab professor also talked to me for a long time a few weeks ago about grad school and how to prepare, and I'm getting excited - it's actually not super far into my future! 
Currently my project is to create a double mutant lacking the ppk/ppx genes that control polyphosphate metabolism, and it's actually so fun to do the transformations and PCR and selection and all that! We're trying to figure out a way to visualize polyphosphate in the cell since I guess it shares a lot of properties with DNA that make it tough to quantify without breaking it down to smaller phosphate chains. Which kind of defeats the purpose. 

First semester UofA Freshman 0917
Hi Mrs. Landry!
It seems like forever since we last talked. I just felt the need to let you know that I just got back from an interview for a research position here at U of A. My interviewer seemed really impressed that I got to use and learn all the technology we have a CREST. When I initially told her what we did, she thought that we went to ASU, but haha we had it all at PV! The research she is doing seems super cool and I can honestly say that all the lessons we did will help me out here in college. 
So how has the CREST program been? I saw your videos about that Da Vinci robot and I was so jealous that all of you got to interact with it. 
I'm also applying for the Honors College Study Abroad trip for this upcoming summer. I was just wondering if you'd be willing to fill out a 10-25 minute survey for a recommendation instead of a letter. The system will automatically send you a link to the survey if you can fill it out for me, so just let me know. 

I hope I get to see you sometime soon!
Thank you so much for all you've done for me throughout high school.
Deja Taggart
First Semester NAU Freshman 0917:
Hey Landry!
     I hope your semester is going good so far! I miss being in the Crest lab and in your class haha! I just wanted to share with you,  that I recently had an interview for a lab assistant position at one of the labs here at NAU. It’s a paying job and I should here back by Monday! After they read my resume and met with me they said it was very interesting to see a first year student with so much lab experience!
        I brought in my lab book and allowed them to look through it, and they were so impressed. One lady asked me about the E.coli DNA extraction lab that was in my lab book, and asked me to further explain it because it goes along with one of her current research projects! All that’s to say I am loving NAU and fingers are crossed I get this position, I should know by next week! Thank you for teaching me so much, and pushing me through the labs that I thought were so hard! I am so grateful to be able to use all that information to help further my studies and get connections! Hope to see you soon! Miss you!

With Love,
Macie Milich

First Semester ASU sophomore 0917:
Hi Mrs. Landry,

How are you? I hope everything is going well with the new cohort. I wanted to update you on the end of my internship and reintegrating back into ASU.

When we last left off, I was at UCDenver doing a developmental neuroscience internship and I was having issues with in-situ RNA hybridization that wouldn't work. Well, that never really changed. We had in-situ issues all the way up until the finish. However, it was the whole lab having problems not just me. SO, I'd like to think I was doing things right.

However, the biggest things were the meetings I had with the PI there about potential projects and new findings I made doing personal research on the topics they were studying. I created a great project involving the Eph:Ephrin pathway that is known for regulating segmentation in somites and the gut. I hypothesized that the Eph:Ephrin pathway was responsible for segmenting the neural tube into different progenitor domains and I found quite a bit of good evidence involving this. I went even further and challenged the PIs hypothesis by insinuating that Notch triggers Ephrin to segment the neural tube and the Ephrin then causes an increase in signaling strength of Sonic hedgehog to further specify neural progenitors.

He said that he has never heard of an undergraduate who had the capabilities to propose projects and make sound hypotheses like myself. It was quite an amazing compliment.

So, I'm back at ASU. This is my course load:

  • Animal Physiology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics
  • RNA World : A Genomics Approach
  • Object-Oriented Programming 
  • Calculus 3
  • Organic Chemistry
It's quite a hefty load, but I'm managing it all pretty well. 

I'm also doing research for about 10 hours a week in the lab I was in before. My progress with the immune gene family evolution in reptiles is going quite smoothly and I'm really enjoying it. Hopefully I'll have more to talk about regarding it soon.

Talk to you soon!
Matheo Morales

Update from an end of year freshman 0617 at ASU
Hi Mrs. Landry,

I thought it would be fun to give you an update on my internship here at the Anschutz Medical Campus of UCDenver. 
I have much more information on my project now compared to the last time we talked. Essentially, my project involves the differentiation of oligodendrocytes and NG2 cells in the developing spinal cord.

DETAILED PART:

So, NG2 cells were long thought to simply be precursor cells to oligodendrocytes. However, it was "recently" discovered that NG2 cells have many different functions. They can differentiate into astrocytes, neurons (possibly) and primarily oligodendrocytes. They also have the capability to stay as NG2 cells for reasons unknown at the moment.

Both oligodendrocytes are developed in the pMN domain of the developing spinal cord which is ventral to the midline. The pMN domain is characterized by a certain concentration of Shh (Sonic hedgehog) signaling in a gradient derived from the floor plate of the neural tube. It is also characterized by the expression of the Olig1 and Olig2 genes which encode bHLH (Beta Helix-Loop-Helix) proteins that are significant in the differentiation of precursor cells in this domain into either a neuronal or oligodendroglial fate. The neuronal specification happens before the oligodendroglial one.

Back to NG2 cells, it is known that the Delta-Notch signaling pathway is a promoter of the oligodendroglial fate at the start and then proceeds to become an inhibitor for full specification of the mature oligodendrocytes in favor of NG2 cells. Along this same strain, fbxw7 is a gene that encodes for a protein that hinders the Delta-Notch signaling pathway. 

So, what are we doing exactly? Well, we're confirming that fbxw7 hinders the Delta-Notch signaling pathway by quantifying the NG2 cells in the developing spinal cord. We're also doing in-situ RNA hybridization on myrf (myelin regulatory factor) to detect mature oligodendrocytes. Then, we're testing certain drugs on the zebrafish including cyclopamine to determine the effect on the creation of mature oligodendrocytes and NG2 cells.

TL;DR - Lots of neuro stuff.

I've gained a lot of new skills and have developed old ones:
- Gel electrophoresis
- PCR
- Primer design
- CRISPR/Cas9
- In-situ RNA hybridization
- Antibody staining
- Embryo sorting
- Embryo embedding
- Confocal microscopy
- Other forms of microscopy
- Cryosectioning
- I'm probably missing some but those are the ones I can remember right now
Overall, everything is going pretty swell over here and it looks like this project might turn into a paper!
Hope everything is going well for you! Matheo

Update from an end of year freshman 061417 at NAU
Hi Landry!!

I want to say thank you again for everything you've done for me.

And I'm gonna tell you all about my job so far at the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute!
First, cool news, I recently got my BSL2 qualifications. I can now work in the BSC independently!

My group, under Emily Cope, who you spoke with before, is studying the effect of bacterial communities in the airway microbiome and how it contributes to chronic disease, specifically chronic rhinosinusitis. We're primarily working with a fungus that is commonly found in the airway microbiomes of people with CRS called Malassezia, and the interactions it has with bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

I've done QPCR (real time PCR) which I'm sure you know about, but basically we can watch the amplification of a DNA segment in real time and see when it starts to amplify significantly, for the purpose of observing the presence or absence of a gene. I used it to test if a series of isolation streaks was getting a purer product of Malassezia. It was purer, but not Malassezia. The weirdest thing about that is that we were using a media that is supposed to turn Malassezia colonies purple when they're plated on it. I took the most purple-y colony I had, and it didn't turn out to be Malassezia! Oh well.

I know I just told you the faults in this media, but most of the time it works well. We think the problem might have been that the fungi that was turning purple is just very similar to Malassezia, or produces something very similar to whatever the media binds to in order to change the color of the colony. Anyways, I was thinking this might be a really cool media to use to show to CREST students when they're in Microbiology. The media is CHROMagar (http://www.chromagar.com/).

So, our main projects include performing inhibition assays, which is making a lawn of fungi (Malassezia), and placing sterile paper disks (which have been dipped in broth containing bacteria at different stages in growth, biofilm, and supernatant)

We're also starting an experiment to see how the co-culture of all of these fungi and bacteria grow biofilms, and if the structure and amount of extracellular matrix present in the biofilm differs from when the bacteria/fungi grow biofilms by themselves/with their own species.

Another project that might get started is the eye microbiome project, but that's been rumored for about a year and hasn't started yet, so who knows.

Yet another project; characterizing the sinus/lung microbiome of CRS patients using a DNA extraction kit, PCR (with cool barcodes!), gel electrophoresis, and then sequenicing and using a cool microbiome bioinformatics program (developed by people who work in the same office as I do!) called Qiime2.  

ANOTHER project is FISH (Fluorescent in situ hybridization) staining the fungi and bacteria, and then eventually staining cross-sections of CRS patient's lungs/sinuses and seeing the placement of all of the different genus and species when a person has the disease.

I'm sure there's a bunch of stuff that I'm forgetting, but for right now this seems like a long enough email.

Has Matheo told you everything that he's doing recently?? Especially about his potential first author-ship on a paper and going to Colorado for the summer for a research internship concerning neurons????? If he hasn't, you have to (first) yell at him, and (second) get him to tell you! We talk on the phone all the time and just freak out about science, it's pretty fun :)

Emily (Dr. Cope, but she's not too big on formalities) just told me that she wants to nominate me for the Goldwater scholarship, which is for students who want to pursue a career in research. https://goldwater.scholarsapply.org/

Megan Lane

Update from an end of year freshman 060717:
Hello!

I'm in Provo for the spring/summer semesters, working on campus. I'm still a TA for Biology 100, which I love! We taught the students about microbiomes yesterday, and I got to give my little spiel about allergies and the gut microbiome and antibiotics, so basically all my favorite things 😉 In the second half the summer, the professor I'll work for is going to miss a few days, and I think I'm going to get to teach those days!! I'm super excited about that.

But more notably, I'm also working in a microbiology lab!! My professor is really cool - I had Advanced Bacterial Physiology with him in the winter semester, and during the final exam (which was oral) he offered me a lab position for the summer! Our lab studies phosphate transportation systems in E. coli, specifically a system called PstSCAB and PhoU. It's essentially a protein transportation system (PstSCAB) that communicates with a two-component system (PhoB/R) through PhoU to give a feedback response based on internal phosphate concentration. This is the BYU page for the lab: http://mcclearylab.byu.edu/

The research is super cool and relates heavily to the class I took from him! He also gives me papers to read that relate and that can help us find the next step in our research. 

I started the first week or two being responsible for preparing cultures and washing glassware, but there's only one or two students in the lab besides me, so I started working on actual lab work pretty quick. Someone did a Tn-seq a while back looking for mutations that affected growth rates and phosphate transportation in different levels of phosphate-containing media, and my professor had me do a huge growth curve study (I ended up with almost 30,000 data points...) that I've been analyzing data from all week. I'm getting really good at Excel 😁 I'm so speedy that my professor has told me multiple times that I'm doing excellent work and that I'm more helpful than previous grad students. So I'm feeling pretty good!

I'm currently only hired for Spring/Summer, but he said back when he hired me that the lab might have funding that extended into the fall too, so he might be able to keep me on. I think I'd offer to volunteer anyway, because I really like the lab and the research. 

I'll be home for the first two weeks of July, so I just barely miss being in Phoenix during ILC! Good luck to all your students (and to you, for taking so many of them!!), and cheer for Liz for me! Is anyone running for national office this year? 

I'm so grateful for everything you taught me! You were (and are) awesome teachers, and you really do wonders for your students. My time in CREST was so valuable to my path now and my success as a student and employee. You rock! Thank you for everything you do!
Keilen Kelly

Article written for National HOSA by CREST graduate Keilen Kelly

My Scientific Journey

Up until I was about 13 years old, I hated science. I mean, I truly loathed it. The only thing I dreaded more than social studies in elementary school was the 45 minutes of the day when my teacher would start talking about rocks and volcanoes. Year after year, science was the same boring subject. But everything changed in high school. I learned that there are dozens of other scientific fields, including chemistry and biology. I was no longer limited to sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. I could study the chemical composition of life, learn what makes organisms tick, and see tiny lifeforms I had never imagined existed.

My name is Keilen Kelly, and HOSA has transformed the way I see science.

I joined a fantastic program called CREST in Phoenix, Arizona, when I started high school. The biotechnology strand of CREST became my home and allowed me to start learning about cells, viruses, and molecules. In my sophomore year, my teacher encouraged her students to join a new chapter for a club on campus — HOSA! Our new HOSA chapter would give us the opportunity to delve even deeper into our brains and satiate the need for knowledge and research.

At my first SLC, I earned a gold medal for the biotechnology competition and was given the opportunity to progress to the national event. At my first NLC, I earned a silver medal for the very same event. I was so grateful and proud to prove that I had what it took to be a researcher, and that what I was learning at school was really training me for a career. My friend practiced and competed with me at both levels, earning a bronze medal at both events. Our experiences taught both of us the power of working together towards the same goal. More importantly, it taught each of us how to be humble and how to be a supportive friend.

Our chapter’s success in our very first year was overwhelming, which helped our chapter grow very rapidly. The second year I competed, so many of my peers were encouraged to try their hand at the biotechnology event that I was outperformed. I was so proud of my chapter and my friends for succeeding! HOSA’s positive attitude and the support of the chapter helped me stay positive when I didn’t move on to compete at NLC that year. In fact, they made me want to try even harder and come back again.

While I was practicing and competing, I was also learning how to be a leader. The year I placed at NLC, I was a committee head within my chapter, and the following year, I was my chapter’s vice president. I learned that it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to be a leader, or even just play one role in a group of leaders. I distinctly remember being reminded again and again that being a leader isn’t about putting your position on your resume, but about being willing to step up and do more work to help others succeed. It’s not always fun, and it’s definitely not easy, but it’s worth it for the good you do, the trust you gain, and the thanks you’re given.

My senior year arrived. I was the chapter’s Sergeant-at-Arms, comfortable with my members and my officer team, and I was ready to rock the conferences. I decided to try a different competition: Researched Persuasive Speaking. I was heavily influenced by the fact that one of the possible topics was parent choice on childhood vaccines. In my four years of high school, I had developed a passion for allergies, viruses, and the immune system, and a strong opinion about the necessity of vaccinations. I have always loved speaking, and I love competing in HOSA, but my main motivation for the event was the passion I’d developed from school and from HOSA itself. I loved finding facts to support my argument, working with others to hear their opinions, and using my skills to educate others and (hopefully!) improve public health. I didn’t care if I placed or not. All I wanted to do was have fun, be proud of myself, and prove that I was ready to work towards a health career. Though I didn’t earn a medal at NLC, I walked out of my event and the conference with more confidence and satisfaction than any year before.

HOSA has shaped my life for years. I am so excited to start college, further my education, start my career, and continue competing with this organization. Because of HOSA, I’m more confident, I’m a leader, I’m successful, and most importantly…I’m a scientist!

Keilen Kelly, Utah HOSA


Megan Lane - 032217 2nd semester Freshman
Megan,

Congratulations! I'd like to formally offer you a position in my lab and within the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute. The next step is to determine a start date, which can be as early as one week from now. As with all new employees, you'll need to do a background check, but that doesn't typically take too much time. 

Let me know when you'd be able to start, and welcome to the lab!

Dr. Emily Cope



Dylan Fox - 021917 2nd semester Freshman

4:59 PM (13 hours ago)
to me
Hi Landry!

Sorry for not keeping in touch! Here are some updates on how everything's going:

I'm working in the ASU cultural neuroscience lab (psych lab)
I'm double majoring in psychology and Neurobiology
I have a huge advantage in my lab classes thanks to what I learned in biotech!
College is awesome....!

021717

Tristan Neal - 2nd semester Sophomore

Feb 17 (2 days ago)
to me
I'm in Boston for the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting, the largest general scientific conference in the world. I will be presenting my research regarding the repurposing of FDA approved drugs for the treatment of glioblastoma (brain tumor) patients. This research has been conducted on behalf of TGen's brain tumor unit and is being funded by the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, with the goal of eventually being able to bring drugs to glioblastoma patients faster and without all the time and cost requirements of a full clinical trial. The trip itself has been made possible thanks to a hugely generous travel grant I was awarded by Barrett Honors College. I am here with ten other students and I will be presenting to and attending seminars by leading scientists, engineers, educators, and policy makers.
ME:
Awesome. But you left our the part about  meeting Charpentier, study abroad,or her invite to tour her lab!

Oh sorry! I thought you just wanted a summary of the conference. Yeah I met Dr. Charpentier after a seminar she gave: "CRISPR: A Game-Changer for Gene Editing". When I'm in Europe next semester I will be travelling and visiting many different countries, and I've been invited to tour her lab while I'm in Germany (hopefully she'll still remember and be ok with it by then. I'll try and reach out within the next week to solidify plans). Dr. Charpentier worked in collaboration with Dr. Doudna to invent the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing guideRNA system and shared the Gruber Genetics Prize in 2015.

On a separate note, I was accepted into the University of Manchester study abroad program last week. Manchester is one of the top research institutions in the UK; it's part of the Russel Group (the UK equivalent of an Ivy League), has a heavy focus on research, and was ranked 29th in the world this year just behind Berkeley. I think it'll be a great opportunity to experience another university and foreign education system as well as expand my cultural knowledge!


Hello Mrs. Landry, - 2nd semester Freshman

Second semester is so much better.  I got 100% on both my first chemistry and calc exams, but an 80% on my bio exam.  I studied so well for the bio exam and still did not get a good grade, but hopefully I can improve on the next one.  I'm switching my major to Microbiology, because I like it a lot more and it seems like a lot more fun.  I'm also doing research in a virology lab.  We're searching for new viruses and studying viral evolution.  It's a really fun environment and I feel like I'm actually doing something real.  Viruses are so cool! You should teach more about them in the microbiology class.  I also just found out that I'm going to be shadowing doctors in a hospital in Portugal this summer, so I'm very excited for that as well.  Hope everything is good at Crest!
Josh Schreck

Hi Mrs. Landry!

College is...well, let me just say there sure is a learning curve. Especially living in the dorms, which, I can almost compare to living in a giant petri dish (my first semester I was sick 3 times....gross...). Overall, though, I'm having an enjoyable time and learning a lot about life, as well as school. 

Interesting updates:

I am about to declare biomedical engineering as my major, and ideally work with mind controlled prosthesis in time. 

I was accepted into a study abroad trip to Germany, which was beyond exciting, but had to turn it down because it was very expensive. Hopefully by this time next year I'll have enough money saved up to actually go! 

Harrison Wagner and I live on the same floor of the same dorm, so we hang out together pretty much every day. This is totally cool since we met our freshman year in your class! 

The chemistry labs we do here are nothing compared to what we did in your class. Yours were way more fun, relevant, and definitely more challenging! Thank you for teaching me the skills I needed to succeed in the lab.

How is your year going? Any more Moroccan trips? Has biotech had a lot of incoming freshman?

Sincerely,
Lydia Hermida

2nd semester sophomore at BYU:

Hello!

I'm back at school and I have fun news! I'm in two really cool classes - Infection and Immunity, which I've been excited about since I started college, and Advanced Bacterial Pathogenesis, where I am practically the only student who isn't graduating these calendar year. 

Infection and Immunity looks SO fun - there's a section on immunity (including allergies and all that), a section on viruses, and a section on bacteria. I like that the higher I get in my classes, the less weird assignments I get. In this class, I have reading, short homework assignments to assess my reading, and a paper. Also, my professor mentioned the hygiene hypothesis in class in passing, and that's like my favorite random topic in microbiology/immunology, so I'm looking forward to hearing more from him. It's going to be so great!

Advanced Bacterial Pathogenesis is even cooler - it doesn't have a textbook, it's just primarily discussion-based and based in analyzing current literature. There's a lot of group work, and we will present to the class a few times during the semester. But pretty much everyone in the class is a senior or almost a senior, so it's a little daunting! One of the guys in the class turns out to work in the same lab that I'm officially working in now, and my afternoon was free, so I went to help him work on his project! He's about to graduate and might do his Ph.D. here too. His project is analyzing microbial DNA from soil samples to determine whether different soil tilling techniques changes the microbial composition. So I was helping him prep DNA extractions! There was a really fancy vortexer/centrifuge thing that he used, but everything else was familiar 😊 Also, I could see that every lab has its issues... over break, one of the two -80 freezers broke and someone moved everything in it to the other -80, but moved all the samples of DNA this guy had extracted so far, and they're currently MIA. So he has to start over on about 50/150 samples he'd completed. I'll probably be helping him a lot in the next few weeks. 

Hopefully I'll be able to actually start my work soon. I'm mad because every time I go down to the lab that has the grinder I need, all the staff is gone! I've even called ahead to check their hours, but they're STILL not there when I come. It's very frustrating.

Mrs. Landreville, I think that the app you recommended me, molecule world, only works on apple products, and unfortunately don't have any. So I'll stick with what I've got. Thanks for the recommendation, though!

And Mrs. Landry, I don't think my Molecular Biology lab did anything super different from what you guys teach in CREST. We did GFP, ELISA, RFLP, PCR, transformation, etc. etc... we did do a western blot, and I don't remember doing that with you (I could have forgotten, though), and we did enzyme kinetics, but that was boring and I don't feel like I learned anything from it anyway (it was complicated algebra/graphing that went over our heads paired with reaaally simple solution prep). 

Anyway, thanks for reading my novel! Have an awesome semester, I'll keep you updated as I work and find cool things in my classes!

2016 Grad update after 1st college semester.

Hello Mrs. Landry!
How are you? It's been forever since we've talked. I really want to come by PV in the upcoming semester so that we can catch up. Anyways here is everything that's been happening with me.

First of all, my classes went absolutely amazing. I ended with a 4.04 GPA this semester and an A+ in Chemistry! Because of this, I bumped up the rigor in my course load to see how I can handle it. I'm taking 23 credit hours :
  • Conceptual Approaches to Biology II
  • General Chemistry II
  • Human Event
  • Intro to Computer Science
  • Calculus II
  • Philosophy of Science
  • American Film Musicals
I wish I could start taking the harder classes like Genetics and OChem but I'm stuck behind the barrier of Bio II. I'm really sad that I wasn't able to skip them with my AP scores.

The projects in my lab have been going wonderfully. The project that I was first working on with the tortoise micro biome is almost complete! I was able to BLAST the 16S rRNA sequences of the microbes present in lung, blood, and brain tissue and now I'm doing an metagenomic analysis utilizing a program called MG-RAST to compare the different families of microbes in each. 

The next project that I will be doing involves comparing the RNA transcripts of desert tortoises consuming wild-type grass species versus a new invasive grass species that is rich in silicon. In some ways, I'm the data cruncher of the group.

I'm also going to be shadowing with one of the graduate students who works on differential expression of the spine in lizards. The professor I'm working under gave me a huge neuroscience textbook to prepare me for the task. He seems to like giving me textbooks to read. He's already given me a development biology, human science, and microbiology textbooks as well. 

I'm also applying to four different summer opportunities:
  • Cold Springs Harbor REU for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Helios Scholars at TGen
  • Biostatistics and Computational Biology REU at Harvard
  • Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program
Although most of the programs require college professors to write recommendation letters, I was wondering if you could write me a letter of recommendation for the Helios Scholars program. The application deadline is February 1. If you can, let me know!

Overall, it has been a pretty successful semester and I can't wait for this upcoming one. I hope to see you soon!

1st Semester Freshman at GCU
Hey mrs. Landry!! Schools going great so far!!! I've gotten A's on all my quizzes and tests so far, and am going strong! 🙂 Also i just found out I was selected as on of the top 40 performing honors college students (out of all grade levels) that get to go to a meet and greet with admissions representatives from the PA/med schools in the state (a privilege usually only offered to juniors) 🙂 so thank you so much for all your help!! 🙂 I'll tell you how it goes once I attend! Brianne 🙂 

Hi Mrs. Landry!

It's Matheo. I just wanted to update you on everything that's going on right now, because a lot of cool things have been going on! My classes have been fantastic. I've been acing my Bio and Chem classes with 100% on my first Chem class and nothing under 100% on my first three tests in Bio. I've actually been tutoring some people in Bio considering I learned most of this stuff 2 years ago in Genetics and AP Bio. It's kind of boring in that respect considering we just learned about glassware in Chem lab. All new material of course... 

Bio lab was a little eye opening whilst being kind of boring. We just learned about Bradford assays and such again and we recently did some DNA fingerprinting. Obviously I already knew all of the concepts, but the most interesting part was our TA. He's a 5th year senior and the way he handled a micropipet annoyed me. You should've seen how many times he held it above 90 degrees with the DNA ladder still in the tip. Our gel turned out the best in the class though, so I'm happy about that.

Oh, and I can't forgot about the lab. I've been assimilating nicely over the past couple of weeks. The postdoc that's mentoring me got me into a really cool bioinformatics reading group with a bunch of grad students, postdocs, and professors. I'm the only undergrad in the entire group! Plus, I've been sitting in their lab meetings and I have a one-on-one session with my postdoc every Tuesday. I've been learning a lot about de novo assemblies, batch effects, and de Bruijn graphs. This upcoming Monday I start my individual project identifying the various bacteria in the lung microbiome of the Sonoran Desert Tortoise. They're giving me an account with access to their supercomputer to do my research! Plus, they want me to dissect tortoises to collect tissue samples with another postdoc and they said that I could travel with them to Nevada to do field work at the bottleneck of the Mojave Desert Tortoise and the Sonoran Desert Tortoise. 

Sorry this email was so long. There was a lot to tell! I miss having classes with you and I'll make sure to keep you updated for the future. 

Thanks!

Hi Mrs. Landry!

I've been thinking of you and your classes a lot lately. I did my first review for Bio 100 students as a TA today, and I had so much fun! I know the information so well because of you. I used examples that stuck with me in your classes to help teach them - for example, I reviewed monomers/polymers with the plastic pop-beads idea that you used for us freshman year. I had a girl come up to me and just thank me for being so helpful and several students told me they learned a lot from me. The other TAs are so impressed that I'm a freshman in this job!

College has been super easy so far! Your classes and the rigor of the CREST program totally prepared me for the workload and reading level of college. I'm so grateful for the last 4 years!

My chemistry professor had a meet and greet thing for our section this afternoon, and he talked to us about med school/grad school admission and how important research experience can be for grad school. He and another professor also talked about post-docs and becoming a professor, which is something I really want to do. 

I'm in a microbio careers class right now, and I was introduced to a new job possibility: science writing! I don't know if I could do it, because it can require relatively good knowledge across several scientific fields (astrophysics to molecular biology to geology to marine biology...), but it just was kind of a new idea for me and I thought it was interesting enough to share. Maybe the CREST kids now would like to hear about it as an option? It's just cool, because it can work on levels from media outlets to science journals to advertising teams to even just research teams. They have a high starting salary, a great job outlook, and can even write textbooks and grants. Some of your kids who are good writers might like to hear about it if they haven't already. 

That same class is also teaching about resumes right now, which is interesting. I'm learning a lot about the little things like spacing and titling of sections that can make a huge difference. 

My intro to microbio/health and disease class is less boring than a few weeks ago, because even though I still know the stuff we're talking about, I'm learning little bits and pieces that I either missed the first time around or just didn't learn at all. It's really fun to get those little details and piece my knowledge together a little more firmly! We've talked about lariats in RNA splicing, I've gotten a little more detail on ribosomal subunits, I've learned about chaperone proteins and enhancers a little more clearly than I had in the past... all good stuff. 

I'm really enjoying my TA position. I love teaching people about the concepts I love to learn about! I think my academic and career goals right now are to get a Ph.D. in immunology or virology and eventually be a professor somewhere, because I just really love the subject and getting other people excited about it.

Keilen

Hi Mrs. Landry,

How are things going in the CREST labs? From what I've heard from Bowers, the labs are running pretty well. Any big changes to while I've been gone? 

Things here have been going fantastic! I'm sure Bowers told you about my new position. I'm assistant director of upper division labs now, so I manage physical chem, analytical chem, and inorganic chem labs alongside the new assistant professor. It's been an interesting job so far, although I'm not sure I like the bureaucracy and politics of administrative work. However, it does pay really well for a student job(12/hr) and looks fantastic on my resume.

I'm also teaching a course at ASU this semester called BCH392, Introduction to Research Techniques. It's a small(~5 person course) where I show undergrads how to work in the laboratory and have them help me on one of my research projects. So far, all of the students I've met have been juniors and I can confidently say that juniors in the CREST program have better lab skills than these students. 

As far as research goes, I've got some really, REALLY interesting papers coming out, most likely in the next few months. One of the more prominents ones that comes to mind is a novel method for hydrolysis that changes NMR sample preparation time from roughly 48hrs to about 30 minutes. On top of that, I'm fully in charge of the silkworm program at ASU now that my mentor graduated and I've been talking with professors all over the world about getting new samples in (I even got to lecture to a visiting professor from China! Was probably the most stressful moment of the semester!). It feels so awesome when professors ask me for advice about how to proceed with caterpillar related projects. I hope to go overseas over the summer to Japan to do some field work with caterpillars and hopefully analyze some asian species.

How have you been? It's been quite a while since we last talked. Sorry about that, the semester has been a pretty busy one. I hope to stop by and visit soon (maybe give a lecture? hahaha) and see how things are going. 

Talk to you soon. Jacob

Mrs. Landry,

Following my graduation last spring, I spent the summer working weekdays at TGen in the Brain Tumor Unit of the Cell and Cancer Biology Division, while I worked weekends at Einstein's bagels. I left Einstein's towards the end of the summer, and I continued working at TGen until I started at ASU in the fall. Despite my personal wish to remain in my lab, my freshman year schedule was set for me and TGen determined that I wouldn't be able to consistently put in enough hours to have a year-round internship (however, I was assured that there would be a place for me in the lab Sophomore year). After starting at ASU, I have mostly been focused on my academics. I've taken or am currently taking Statistics for Life Sciences, Basic Biology, Basic Chemistry, The Human Event (philosophy, sociology, and English class), and Calculus for Life Sciences. I am also the current  Officer of the Arts for an ASU Japanese Culture club, which has been fun and a good leadership role, but it hasn't exactly been science related. I have been going through the long and tedious interview process to become a Community Assistant next year, and I've made it past the final interview so I'm feeling optimistic about the position. Being a CA means training for conflict resolution, leadership opportunities, a bigger community to network within, and free room and board, which is all pretty exciting.


Thank you,
-Tristan 
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