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Bioscience board meets new interns

By July 3, 2019 No Comments

June 29, 2019
Temple Daily Telegram | Janice Gibbs

Members of the Temple Health and Bioscience District board of directors met four of its summer interns at its June meeting.

The Bioscience District supports a summer scholars program for college students and other internships for Texas Bioscience Institute students.

Alexis DeGraaff, a student at Texas A&M University and a graduate of Texas Bioscience Institute, is interning with Dr. Chetan Jinadatha, a lead researcher with the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System.

“He has his hands in so many projects I’m getting to do a little bit of everything,” DeGraaff said. “I’m getting to do whole gene sequencing.”

Part of the project is tracing back viruses to determine how they spread, she said.

Tori Hagan is from Austin and is a student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She is getting a degree in biology. Her goal is to become a physician’s assistant.

Hagan is working with David Dostal, a researcher at the VA, where she analyzes echoes.

“I’m working with data right now and I think I’m pretty good with the echoes,” she said.

Lun Gualnam is a senior at the University of Texas at San Antonio and will graduate with a public health degree.

“I came to Temple specifically for this program,” Gualnam said. “I saw a flyer at my school and thought it as a good opportunity.”

Gualnam is working with Dr. Whitney Thomas, an epidemiologist at the Texas Department of Health Services.

“She does case investigation,” she said.

Amy Nguyan is a graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and will be attending medical school in San Antonio.

Nguyan is working with Sharon DeMarrow at the Dell Medical School, whose research is in liver cancer.

The board approved a $6,000 grant to the Temple College Biological Research Institute for three student-driven research projects to measure Zebra Mussel Growth and Public Awareness in Lake Belton and Stillhouse Hollow Lake.

“Our lakes are changing,” said Thomas Baird, chairman of the Temple Health and Bioscience District board. “Oxygen levels are dropping, which means fewer fish.”

The zebra mussel research is under the guidance of Jason Locklin, chairman of the Temple College biology department.

The study will compare zebra mussel growth rates in different Bell County lake environments; assess the effectiveness of eDNA sampling as a means of monitoring zebra mussel presence; and assess local public awareness of zebra mussel infestation and spread.

Cara Wessels, a potential accelerator tenant, wants an office in the Bioscience District’s facility, Tami Annable, Bioscience District executive director, reported.

Wessels participated in the pitch competition at the District’s annual conference in May.

She has her doctorate in reproductive physiology in animal science. Her focus is on selecting the healthiest embryo to transfer for better pregnancy outcomes. Wessels founded a start-up company to commercialize her efforts.

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