Maximizing Access to Research Careers Program

Pre-MARC Mentors

Dr. David Blake, Professor of Biology

See Faculty Mentors page for description.

Dr. Bill Collins, Professor of Chemistry

Phone: (970)-247-7133
Email: Collins_W@fortlewis.edu

Education:
B.S., 2003, New Mexico Institute of Technology, Socorro
Ph.D., 2009, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009-2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

MARC Involvement:
During the 10-week, 2012 summer research period Khalyd Clay and Dr. Collins investigated whether it was possible to synthesize a variety of dye molecules. The two projects that this research focused on were: 1) the direct, synthetic incorporation of trifluoroborate functional groups onto the leukoindigo dye scaffold, and 2) the synthetic preparation of electron-rich aromatic dyes for intermolecular encapsulation studies with tetracationic iodonium macrocycles.

Dr. Steven, Fenster, Professor of Biology

Phone: 970-247-7237
Email: sdfenster@fortlewis.edu

Education:
B.S., 1991, University of California-San Diego
Ph.D., 2000, University of Alabama-Birmingham
Postdoctoral, 2001, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Postdoctoral, 2005, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

MARC Involvement:
Dr. Fenster has worked with undergraduate research students on a wide variety projects ranging from neuronal development to genomic analysis.  Dr. Fenster is currently working with a Pre-MARC awardee investigating the gene expression patterns of the PCLO gene in zebrafish.  The PCLO gene codes for the piccolo protein, a multidomain protein, with restricted expression at nerve synapses.  Due to the location at the nerve terminal, it is believed that piccolo plays a key role in development and maintenance of synapses.  Research investigating the expression of the piccolo protein may lead to a better understanding of the structure and function of synapses and the potential role piccolo may play in human depression. The Pre-MARC student and Dr. Fenster will be examining the alternative slicing patterns of the zebrafish PCLO gene.  Alternative splicing results in different variations of the parent gene, or isoforms, and a variation in functionality.  They will be conducting real time PCR experiments on the PCLO isoforms to analyze the PCLO gene expression patterns in the zebrafish brain. By examining alternative splicing patterns between zebrafish and mouse PCLO, they hope to validate zebrafish as relevant model genetic organism to study the function of piccolo in the brain.

Dr. Sue Kraus, Professor of Psychology

See Faculty Mentors page for description.

Dr. Devin Leahy, Professor of Physics and Engineering

Phone: 970-247-6092
Email:  pdleahy@fortlewis.edu

Education:

B.S., 2004, The Ohio State University
Ph.D., 2012, Colorado State University

MARC Involvement:

Dr. Leahy’s research emphasis is on the study of traumatic injuries to the head and neck area through physical experimentation and computational simulation.  Dr. Leahy has been working with a Pre-MARC student investigating concussion susceptibility of humans with the purpose of learning how well helmets protect the sensitive parts of the skull, with future goals of improving helmet materials and geometries to decrease concussion likelihood.  They are physically simulating various impacts on existing helmets using an impacting device and instrumented manikin headform.  The results from the impact study will be used as inputs for a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) model of the skull, which predicts the likelihood of concussions. End results can determine what type of impacts brain injury is most likely to occur from, and thus where helmets need to concentrate protective properties.

Dr. Erin Lehmer, Professor of Biology

See Faculty Mentors page for description.

Dr. Kenny Miller, Professor of Chemistry

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Dr. Aimee Morris, Visiting Instructor of Chemistry

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Dr. Les Sommerville, Professor  and Chair of Chemistry

See Faculty Mentors page for description.

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