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s p r i n g 2 0 1 1 V O L U M E 5 6 N U M B E R 3 “ “I want my students to have the experience of ‘doing’ science, not just learning about it. ” Jaclyn Ver Mulm, Dr. Tony Jelsma, and Seth Vande Kamp examine tissue sections on the computer using a digital camera and microscope in the histology lab. Research Momentum INSIDE 4 Student callers reach out to at-risk teens 5 11 Media students get a local gig Wubben named all-American Jelsma and his students get their work published Sally Jongsma M omentum is a huge part of doing research,” says Biology Professor Tony Jelsma. And momentum is what Dr. Jelsma and his students have going right now. The results of their research appeared as the cover story in the March issue of Biology of Reproduction, one of the premier academic journals in reproductive biology today. The eight Dordt College biology majors listed as contributors to the research each worked for one or more of the past nine summers in either Dordt College labs with Jelsma or the lab of Dr. Gregory Vanden Heuvel in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Jelsma gives credit to Vanden Heuvel for the momentum that he and his students have been able to sustain in their research. He describes Vanden Heuvel’s contribution as “selflessly doing whatever he can for students.” “Doing original research can be challenging at teaching institutions because we have heavier teaching loads and fewer resources,” he says. That’s why the relationship between Dordt’s biology department and Vanden Heuvel’s lab are so important. It allows Jelsma and his students to build on research Vanden Heuvel is doing on kidney development and disease. It gives good undergraduate students a place to work in the summer and, as importantly, opens up companion projects that Jelsma and his students can pursue at Dordt. Jelsma and some of his students have the opportunity to do original research on campus during the DORDT COLLEGE summers without the pressure of having to meet grant deadlines during their busy school year. “He helps us, and we help him,” says Jelsma. When a lab takes on a specific project funded by a grant, interesting side questions often arise that the researchers can’t take time to explore because of grant deadlines. That’s what started Jelsma’s research on the CUX 1 gene. Vanden Heuvel was studying the role of this gene in the kidney but wondered if it was also present in other organs. So while his lab was examining the kidneys, Vanden Huevel sent Jelsma samples from other organs. Jelsma’s students found the CUX 1 gene in the testes of the mice samples. In the kidneys and other developing organs, the CUX 1 gene keeps cells in a proliferating state. In the testes, however, the cells that turn on the CUX 1 gene are not dividing so CUX 1 must be regulating some other process. (continued on page 2)

Voice Spring 2011

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