Two Students Recognized at National Biology Meeting

Two Ursinus students were cited at the Experimental Biology Meeting held in San Diego, Calif., April 21-25: Jacob Kohler 2013 and recent graduate Kaitlyn Kennard.

Jacob Kohler 2013 and Kaitlyn Kennard 2012

Kohler, a junior Biology major, is the recipient of a Summer Research Fellowship from the American Physiological Society. He is one of 24 Undergraduate Research Fellows and will spend the summer in the laboratory of Ursinus Professor of Biology Beth Bailey, studying the physiological effects of aerobic exercise in mice using a swim-training model.

“This research combines two of my greatest passions at Ursinus – medicine and sports,” said Kohler. “I’m a starting pitcher on the Ursinus College baseball team and am a pre-med student.” He hopes to become a doctor specializing in orthopaedics and sports medicine. Kohler is also a Senior Resident Advisor, and will be a Senior Admission Fellow.

Each Fellow receives $4,000 to cover living expenses during the 10-week program. Fellows also receive an additional $1,300 in travel funds to present their research at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting in Boston, Mass., which is expected to attract nearly 14,000 scientists.

“Jake is an outstanding student athlete, and we worked to combine his interests in medicine and exercise with my lab’s research on cardiac growth and hypertrophy,” said Dr. Bailey. “His project will look at sex-based differences in the heart’s response to exercise. He will be working with another excellent student athlete, Amy Galvin 2014, and while their project is very ambitious, I’m confident that they will make significant progress on an important question,” Bailey added.

Kennard 2012, who won an APS Fellowship last summer, presented a poster titled “Pregnancy Induces Cardiac Hypertrophy with Hypercontractile Ventricular Myocytes,” which was co-authored by Deb Yanessa 2010, Lianna Foster-Bey 2013 and Professor Beth Bailey, at the San Diego conference.

She first received the David S. Bruce Outstanding Undergraduate Abstract Award by the American Physiological Society, which is  based on the submitted abstract, a letter by the applicant, and a letter of support from her research mentor. Students who were granted this award were invited to compete at the Experimental Biology meeting for a second award, The David S. Bruce Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. Kennard was one of 11 students from around the country who were given this $500 award which, for Kennard, was based on an oral presentation of her poster to a series of judges at the Experimental Biology meeting.

Kennard’s passion for physiology was ignited when, as a sophomore, she studied abroad in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico with Ursinus biology professors, and became interested in the science of the function of living systems. The Biology major and Spanish minor from New Jersey has worked as a Board Certified Pharmacy Technician, and will attend medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in the fall.

The American Physiological Society is a professional scientific membership organization devoted to fostering scientific research, education, and the dissemination of scientific information. The two Ursinus students are noted on the APS site:  http://www.the-aps.org/mm/awards/Other-APS-Awards/Undergraduate/award-recipients