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Creighton undergraduates continue to rack up biomedical research honors

Sep 19, 2023
2 min Read
Eugene Curtin
Undergraduate researchers posing and smiling.

Creighton undergraduate scholars netted three awards after displaying posters and making oral presentations at the annual Nebraska INBRE meeting held Aug. 6-8 in Nebraska City. 

INBRE, which stands for IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, is a grant-funded program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences that seeks to enhance the competitiveness of biomedical research by supporting undergraduate scientific research. 

The awards continue Creighton’s strong showing in INBRE competition. Since 2008, Nebraska INBRE has given 111 awards, 42 of which were won by Creighton students. 

“The students chosen as INBRE Scholars at Creighton are the ‘best of the best,’” says Julie Strauss-Soukup, PhD, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and vice provost for research and scholarship

“They are committed to their research projects, engaged in learning about the research of all the INBRE Scholars, and they are passionate when they present their work to the scientific community. In addition to presenting at the Nebraska INBRE meeting, our Scholars present at regional, national and international meetings and bring home top presentation awards at these meetings as well.” 

Seven senior Creighton INBRE scholars gave poster presentations on various research projects while eight juniors gave oral presentations. The seniors were Adam Burr, Sophie Ciechanowski, Grace Jaworski, Andree-Zeid Kakish, Jonathan Li, Olivia Nicholson and Caitlin Sousley. The juniors were Ellie Alberts, Emily Ekstrum, Emma Foley, Noah Greenwood, Hannah Ladwig, Greer Porter, Abe Saks and Andrew Wegner. 

The students chosen as INBRE Scholars at Creighton are the ‘best of the best.’
— Julie Strauss-Soukup, PhD

Biology senior Grace Jaworski took second prize for a poster describing the thermodynamics of protein interactions involved in gene expression within the human cell. 

 “When I get the opportunity to present my research, I feel an overwhelming sense of vocational clarity that I am doing something I am meant to be doing,” she says. 

Biochemistry junior Emma Foley netted second place for her oral presentation dealing with the problem of disease spreading from livestock to humans. 

“I think the smaller class sizes and the opportunities for research here have been a big contributor to my academic success,” she says. 

Biology junior Hannah Ladwig won an honorable mention for her oral presentation dealing with the role of gene expression in bacteria as a contributor to the development of antibiotic resistance. 

“I have had an amazing experience at Creighton so far,” she says. “I feel that it was Creighton’s close community that allowed me to develop relationships with other students and professors as well as get involved in research as an undergraduate.” 

Creighton has been a recipient of the Nebraska INBRE grant for more than 20 years. The current five-year, $17.2 million grant supports undergraduate research with the goal of producing more scientists throughout the state.