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Three Creighton Students Receive Awards for Undergraduate Research

Three Creighton Students Receive Awards for Undergraduate Research

Winners of the 2008 Richard Holland Future Scientist Award for undergraduate students from the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures were announced at the annual Institutional Development Award Program (IDeA) Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE)/Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) conference, held recently in Grand Island, Neb.

First- second-and-third place awards were given to winners of oral and poster presentations. The awards were accompanied by a $500, $450 or $400 cash prize. Creighton students, John Olley, and Kelley Wanzeck, took first, and second place, respectively for oral presentations. Tim Smith, Littleton, Colo., took third in the poster session.

The awards are named to acknowledge the support of Omaha philanthropist Richard Holland. “We want to encourage students to pursue careers in research and reward excellence,” said Sandy Goodman, coalition president.

Olley, a junior biology major from Haleiwa, Hawaii, said he gained research experience through the BRIN Program. “The program has proven to me in one short summer that research is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This program not only exposes you to the challenges of research but verses you in the art of scientific prose and presentation,” he said.

The BRIN program exposes students to biomedical research, and builds a statewide biomedical research infrastructure between undergraduate and graduate schools, strengthens the infrastructure of undergraduate institutions and increase the capacity to conduct cutting-edge biomedical and behavioral research.

"I am so grateful for the experience I was given as a BRIN scholar this past summer. The time I was able to spend in the lab helped solidify my passion for science and give me the opportunity to network with other researchers at my institution”, said Wanzeck a junior biochemistry major from Aurora, Colo. She spent her summer working with Professor Garrett Soukup in the biomedical sciences department of Creighton's School of Medicine.

Julie Soukup, associate professor of chemistry at Creighton, said the INBRE program is essential not only to ongoing biomedical research in her laboratory but in Creighton’s College of Arts & Sciences as well.

“The INBRE grant has brought exceptional undergraduate students into our laboratories and has provided funding for our individual research programs. The grant has supported collaborative projects with graduate faculty in Creighton’s School of Medicine. Support from the INBRE grant enabled my group to perform studies that resulted in two publications in top-tier journals and extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health,” said Soukup.

BRIN scholars enter the program after completing their sophomore year of college upon recommendation by their college professors.