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University of Iowa News Release


July 31, 2008

Local student conducts research in University of Iowa lab

(Student name) of (hometown) is foregoing the summer sun for a taste of life in the lab as (he/she) spends nine weeks conducting research in a University of Iowa microbiology laboratory.

(Student last name), a (year and home institution), is one of eight undergraduate students from around the country participating in the Summer Microbiology Undergraduate Research Program hosted by the Department of Microbiology at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. The program is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The students conduct basic research under the guidance of UI microbiology faculty and attend lectures to broaden their understanding of microbiology and to learn about graduate school, career options and responsible conduct of research. At the conclusion of the program, the students prepare written reports describing their projects and results and participate in a campus-wide summer program poster session.

(Student last name) is working with (UI supervisor)(project description)

NOTE TO EDITORS: Students and information about their projects are listed below alphabetically by state/hometown, with Iowa students listed first.


Luana: Marshall Lenth; a junior at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa; Alexander Horswill, Ph.D., UI assistant professor of microbiology; studying the enzyme acteyl-CoA synthetase (ACS) in the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, the most common cause of staph infections. The ACS enzyme may be linked to biochemical pathways that determine survival and persistence.

Muscatine: David Bentley; a senior at the University of Iowa; David Weiss, Ph.D., UI associate professor of microbiology; studying one of several new proteins recently discovered to be involved in cell division. Using E. coli bacteria, Bentley will look at how different combinations of gene knockouts and environmental stresses affect cell division.

West Amana: Crystal Hopp; a senior at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa; Tim Yahr, Ph.D., UI associate professor of microbiology; examining various structural features of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and their role in the immune response.


Rockford: Loc Nguyen; a junior at the University of Iowa; Michael Feiss, Ph.D., UI professor of microbiology; studying how a bacterial virus, lambda, packages its genomic DNA.


DeRidder: Stephanie Montgomery; a junior at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La.; Craig Ellermeier, Ph.D., UI assistant professor of microbiology; studying how bacterial cells sense and respond to environmental signals. Specifically, Montgomery is investigating a toxin-sensing system in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis that consists of three proteins. By looking at bacteria with mutations in the system, Montgomery hopes to learn more about how these proteins interact with each other.


Tunica: Renada J. Scott; a senior at Alcorn State University; David Weiss, Ph.D., UI associate professor of microbiology; characterizing three new proteins from the bacterium E. coli that are involved in cell division. By monitoring the growth of mutant strains of the bacteria at different temperatures, Scott hopes to learn more about the role these proteins play in cell division.


Guaynabo: Maritza González Román; a junior at Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan, Puerto Rico; George Stauffer, Ph.D., UI professor of microbiology; studying gene regulation in the bacterium E. coli. In particular, González Román will determine the molecular mechanism by which one gene called gcvB controls the regulation of two additional genes.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, UI Health Care Media Relations, 319-335-9917,