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Creighton Undergraduate Research to be Highlighted

Creighton Undergraduate Research to be Highlighted

Creighton University undergraduate student research – ranging from developing new dental resins for tooth fillings to understanding the biological roots of birth defects – will be showcased on Monday, Oct. 22, during the second annual Ferlic Undergraduate Science Poster Presentation.

The event will take place 4-6 p.m. in the Hixson-Lied Science Building atrium, 27th and Burt streets.

Among the 11 presenters will be Robert Thomen, a junior physics major. He worked with Physics Professor Michael Cherney, Ph.D., to develop measurement control systems for ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment), an international collaboration involving 86 research institutions to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities. For his research, Thomen traveled to Switzerland, where ALICE is located.

Thomen and 10 other undergraduate students in Creighton’s College of Arts and Sciences participated in the second year of a summer research program, supported by Randolph M. Ferlic, M.D., and his wife, Teresa Kolars Ferlic, and designed to foster scientific research by undergraduates.

The students conducted research 40 hours a week for 10 weeks under the direct supervision of Creighton faculty. They also met weekly with fellow student researchers and faculty mentors.

Each student received a stipend of $3,200 for living expenses and $500 for research materials as well as access to financial support for attending meetings and presenting their work externally.

James Fletcher, Ph.D., program administrator and assistant professor of chemistry, said the program offers students in-depth research opportunities normally not available at the undergraduate level, benefiting both students and faculty.

“While it is obvious that the faculty mentors support the students with their hands-on guidance, it is important to realize that the students, in turn, support the scholarly interests of their faculty mentors with their research results,” Fletcher said.
This symbiotic relationship makes programs such as the Ferlic Summer Research Program a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Ferlic earned bachelor of science and medical degrees from Creighton in 1958 and 1961. Before his retirement, he had a distinguished career as a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon. He performed the first heart transplant in Nebraska.