Passion begins at the cellular level
Katie Streufert credits her decision to participate in student research at UW Oshkosh to her fascination with how things work.
Streufert, who is working toward a major in biology with a cellular molecular emphasis and a microbiology minor, has been working collaboratively with UW Oshkosh chemistry professor James Paulson on histone research.
Histones are proteins that condense DNA and go through various modifications during the cell cycle. Streufert has specifically focused on histone acetylation during her research.
She said she chose to concentrate on this area because her passion lies with the inner workings of a cell.
“The cell cycle is the most important process,” Streufert said. “Investigating this process could potentially lead to insight to everyday medical problems, such as cancer.”
Along with the chance to help solve some of the world’s problems, Streufert said she has also had the opportunity to gain real life experience and further develop her interests through research.
She has participated in research through the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program in Proteomics and Functional Genomics, collected water samples and tested for Escherichia coli in Door County, monitored the tributaries of the Lower Fox River, and repeated exercises and adjusted lab procedures to help improve a plant physiology class at UW Oshkosh. Besides Paulson, Streufert has also worked with professors Teresa Gonya of UW Fox Valley and Robert Wise of UW Oshkosh.
Streufert said she would encourage all students to participate in research during their college careers because you learn a lot about yourself and your interests.
“If you try and find out that you don’t like it, that is fine,” she said. “But for some people, like myself, you can find the outcomes to be very rewarding.”
She said research was the best thing she has done so far in her educational career, and because of this, she has decided to choose a professional career that allows her to continue researching.
Her next step after graduation from UW Oshkosh in May 2011 is graduate school, although she is still undecided on where she will attend. There she hopes to find an area of research on which to focus.
“I feel the more experience I get, the more I will be able to narrow down my personal interests,” Streufert said.
She added that she wants students to know there are many areas of research available, and not all research needs to take place in a lab.
“If you are interested in information technology, art, history, physiology or biology, there are always aspects of your field that need improvement.”