Current Student Spotlights

Current Student Spotlights

Lauren Atkinson (Biology)

Lauren received a fellowship from the NASA Connecticut Grant Consortium to conduct research on the scorpion microbiome and its possibility to produce new antibiotics.  Researching alongside her mentor, Biology Professor Barbara Murdoch, Lauren said:  “We tested bacteria naturally found in the abdomens of scorpions for their ability to produce antibiotics.  We hypothesize that scorpions have formed symbiotic relationships with bacteria that produce antibiotics that protect the scorpions from these pathogens.” Speaking to this experience, she added:  “Formulating my own research question and developing a way to test it was a challenging but exciting learning experience.”

Jacob Dayton (Biology)

Jacob received a summer research fellowship from Eastern, which he used to study the Eurasian Whiskered Tern, a European bird species that’s been exhibiting a peculiar range expansion of the past 20 years.  “The experience and knowledge I’ve gained from sifting, digging and tackling all the literature is really going to help me in the future,” said Jacob, who also spent long hours in the lab analyzing samples from Europe.  “Learning how to find , organize and synthesize all these sources is huge.”  Jacob’s mentor is Professor Patty Szczys.

Haley Grimason (Biology)

As a freshman, Ms. Haley Grimason earned a Marc Freeman Scholarship to conduct research over the summer of 2017. Haley explains that she “extracted, amplified, and analyzed DNA from black-clawed scorpions to test hypotheses about their responses to climate change in the Mojave and Great Basin deserts.” Haley presented preliminary results from her work during the fall 2017 Biology symposium, and continues to make progress on her project. In addition, she is now working on a similar project concerning scorpions in the southeastern United States. Haley states that “being ambitious and gaining experience early on has helped tremendously in classes, especially genetics, and has allowed me to better understand what goes on in a research lab.” Haley is being mentored by Professor Matthew Graham.