U of I Undergrads Study Stem Cells, Brain Disorders with Unique Research Award
June 08, 2018
A University of Idaho sophomore is working to create tendon from stem cells while a senior studies neurological disorders – all with the help of a 15-month undergraduate research award.
LeeAnn Hold, a sophomore from El Dorado Hills, California, and Alexandra Flores, a senior from Caldwell, are among undergraduate students from 12 colleges and universities in the United States accepted into the most recent class of the Beckman Scholars Program for undergraduate research.
Hold is focusing on creating tendon from stem cells to assist those with tendon injuries, while Flores is studying the brains of mice to analyze gene patterns with a connection to neurological disorders.
“Studying these disorders will let me find a connection to or cure for autism one day,” Flores said.
Flores is majoring in biochemistry in the College of Science and Hold is majoring in biological engineering in U of I’s College of Engineering. As Beckman Scholars, both students want to continue their research and studies with the goal to eventually become university faculty members.
“We are thrilled that the University of Idaho was selected as a 2018 Beckman Scholars Program award recipient to provide 15-month mentored research projects for several excellent students,” said Anne Hultgren, executive director of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.
U of I is being awarded $130,000 split between five students over the next three years. Students will receive up to $21,000 and their faculty mentors will receive $5,000 for supplies, publication fees and conference fees. At the conclusion of their work, the students and their mentors will present their projects during the Beckman Symposium in California.
“Alexandra and LeeAnn truly stood out (as applicants), not only for their firm grasp of their proposed projects, but also for their great potential to develop into outstanding leaders in science-related careers,” said David Pfeiffer, director of U of I’s Office of Undergraduate Research.
Flores and Hold begin their work this summer. Additional information on their programs is available at the U of I website.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu