This summer there are four exciting research projects being conducted at Franciscan University! Students have the opportunity to work with professors one-on-one to conduct scientific research in the fields of biology, chemistry, and biopsychology. I am one of these fortunate students staying in Steubenville this summer to work in the lab.
Some of the other students conducting these projects and I got together for some food and fellowship to discuss the work that we are doing and the progress we are making.
- Chris Radlicz and Will Kern are working with Biology Professor Dr. Dan Kuebler to confirm the ability of adipose-derived stem cells to differentiate into cartilage and bone cells. The two researchers are also collecting data on gene expression of the different growth media used to culture the stem cells.
- Rosita Asawa and Jessica McGee are working with Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Derek Doroski, studying properties of adult stem cells when placed on polymer gels.
- Ben Burnham and Patrick Sutter are working with Chemistry Professor Dr. Jeffery Rohde to develop drugs for multi-resistant tuberculosis.
- Ryan Nash, Kevin Carlston, and I are working with Psychology Professor Dr. Stephen Sammut on Post-Abortive Depression studies in an animal model.
All of these projects are part of the Franciscan Institute for Science and Health which aims to provide students with real-world research experience and lay groundwork for developing healthcare solutions. I think the other students would agree that having the opportunity to work on these research initiatives is a real blessing in moving them towards their careers.
From my experience in our animal lab and what I’ve seen in the other labs, science and faith are intimately integrated into the work being done. This aspect does not compromise the integrity of scientific research but rather enhances it to focus the efforts on sanctifying the temporal order. This is truly what sets Franciscan apart from other research institutions.
I learned of Franciscan University while I was in High School. I was adopted from China as a baby. My birth mother was unable to keep me and she left me in a basket with only a note including my name, birthday, and asking that I be taken care of. (I kind of feel like Moses.) The name she gave me, “Zheng Pan,” in Chinese means, “Hope for a Better Life”.