Lake Superior State University
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"LSSU has a great reputation for placing students in graduate and professional schools. Many of my classmates from LSSU are now pursuing graduate and professional studies at some of the finest universities in Canada and the United States."

"The student-faculty interaction and the ability to conduct research at the undergraduate level really helped me to achieve success in a competitive graduate program. My professors at LSSU were always interested in helping us succeed."

Luke Ferra of Sault Ste. Marie graduated from LSSU in 2006 with a degree in biology and is now working toward a master's degree in epidemiology at University of Western Ontario in London. He plans to continue his studies in the medical sciences.

Luke Fera '06
Biology Major

Biology

LSSU biology students hard at work

LSSU - MSU Early Assurance Program

An agreement signed by Lake Superior State University and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine will provide an enhanced opportunity for LSSU pre-med students to attend medical school, especially if they are interested in practicing in an underserved area of medicine.

The goal of the partnership is to make a substantial contribution to the physician work force of the future and enhance LSSU's presence as a partner in the upper Michigan health care community. MSU College of Human Medicine will benefit by being ensured of a continued pipeline of well-qualified students who will likely return to northern Michigan to practice.

Announced on April 2, the LSSU-MSU Early Assurance Program provides preference to students who are likely to practice in an underserved geographic area or those who express interest in a high-need medical specialty area.

"This program will be extremely beneficial to our pre-med program at Lake State and will put primary care physicians into the Upper Peninsula pipeline," said Nancy Kirkpatrick Ph.D., head of LSSU's Biology Dept. and an advisor to pre-professional students at LSSU. "It is a win-win situation."

Kirkpatrick noted that LSSU students have long been known for their performance in medical school and this new agreement will encourage even more LSSU students to take that path. In 2009, six LSSU students applied to various professional schools and all six were accepted, some at more than one school, including MSU College of Human Medicine, as well as schools of dentistry and optometry.

"Our early assurance program supports the mission of our college," said Marsha D. Rappley, MD, dean of the MSU College of Human Medicine. "Together with Lake Superior State University we will enhance our communities in the Upper Peninsula by offering medical school admission opportunity to local students and responding to the needs of the medically underserved."

In addition to meeting academic standards, students must demonstrate an interest in and knowledge of medicine through participation in the LSSU Pre-Professional Society, must obtain direct healthcare experience through volunteering, employment or acting as a job-shadow in medical/clinical settings, as well as demonstrate commitment to the service of humanity through consistent community service activities.

The program will start immediately with LSSU students who are intending to graduate in 2011. MSU will begin with one seat reserved for this program with LSSU.

Investigat- ing the Use of QPCR: An Early Detection Method for Toxic Cyano- bacterial Bloom

Garrett Aderman

Harmful algal blooms (HABs), including cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs), are a global phenomenon. In the US, annual economic loss due to HABs was recently estimated at $82 million. Furthermore, the consensus amongst the scientific community is that the frequency and duration of CHABs in freshwater systems will increase as a result of climate change and anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. Due to the ability of some strains of CHAB genera to produce toxic compounds, larger and more sustained CHAB events will become an even greater threat to drinking water. Of all the known cyantoxoins, one of the most ubiquitous is microcystin (MCY). Humans are primarily exposed to cyantoxins through drinking water consumption and accidental ingestion of recreational water. The increasing risk presented by these toxins requires health officials and utilities to improve their ability to track the occurrence and relative toxicity. Current tracking methods do not distinguish between toxic and non-toxic strains. Biochemical techniques for analyzing the toxins are showing considerable potential as they are relatively simple to run and low cost. My goal was to develop a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method to measure the amount of mcyE gene in a Lake Erie drinking water and compare the levels of the mcyE to toxin produced. This is the first step to determining if the presence of mcyE of the mycrocystin synthestase gene cluster in Microcystits, Planktothrix and Anabaena cells can be used as the quantitative measurement in an early detection warning system for recreational and drinking waters.

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