Metabolomics Interns
present research

 Angel Figuero, Sarah Schneider and Keith Lofton

(From left to right) Brett Mitchell, Neway Araya, Kyler Wilson, Kiran Boyinepally

After eight weeks of hard work, four ODI scholars not only presented their research projects but also talked about how doing undergraduate research changed their lives.

The four students were the inaugural Metabolomics Summer Interns, an internship created through a collation between the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Food Science and Technology Foods for Health Discovery Theme. The internship will expose underrepresented ODI Scholars to emerging research in metabolomics and its associated careers.

The research presented was as follows:

Kyler Wilson, who was mentored by Dr. Vicki Wysocki, presented research entitled, “Powder Project,” where he used mass spectrometry to measure the mass of two protein powders to determine which brand they were. An anthropology major and pre-med, Kyler had never done research before. The internship opened Kyler’s eyes to the possibility of additional research in the anthropology lab and that “if I try to do something and it doesn’t work, I need to keep trying and not give up.”

Paired with Dr. Ken Riedl and Dr. Ewy Mathe, Kiran Boyinepally’s research was “Curation of a Lipidomics Database for Lipidyzer.” A neuroscience major on the pre-med track, Kiran worked on updating three lipid databases to ensure that IDs matched and discrepancies with fixed. Kirwan had previously conducted research as an undergraduate student but stated that this experience helped him to see research through a different lens.

Neway Araya, a neuroscience major, worked with Dr. Matthias Klein and researched “Assessing Qualification Limits and Linearity in Sensitivity-Enhanced HSQC NMR Spectra for Metabolomics Analysis.” Using the NMR, Neway was able to determine the amount of material needed to be analyzed effectively. A first-time undergraduate researcher, Neway said that the internship was a good learning experience and that he enjoyed finding answers to his many questions with his mentor.

Mentored by Dr. Willa Hsueh, Brett Mitchell, who is majoring in biology, studied the “Effect of Western Diet on Atherosclerosis Development in the Aged LDLR -/- Mouse Model.” Brett found that mice on a western diet had increased weight, adipose tissue immune cell inflammation, liver fat, and atherosclerosis lesions. He said that research is like going to a different country for an education abroad: reading about something in a classroom is very different from actually experiencing it.

Even though their research experience is over, the interns will continue to receive mentoring and research opportunities from their faculty mentors throughout the 2018-19 academic year.