Dordt College News

Spending the summer in a biomedical lab

August 21, 2012

Engineering Professor Dr. Kayt Frisch and one of her students spent eight weeks studying lung tissue at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine.

The program, whose acronym stands for Fostering Undergraduate Talent—Uniting Research and Education in Biomedicine, opens University of Iowa laboratories to professors and students from Iowa colleges that do not have doctoral programs. Frisch was one of five fellows selected for this summer’s program.

Now in its fourth year, the FUTURE program provides opportunities for faculty at undergraduate institutions to collaborate with faculty at the University of Iowa, and it gives valuable research opportunities to talented undergraduates who will be the next generation of physicians and biomedical scientists.

The program also aims to help improve science education in the state as faculty translate biomedical discoveries and methods into educational materials to use in their college classrooms.

“There’s a growing understanding that learning through investigation is better than sitting in class and taking notes,” says Frisch. Graduate programs across the country are looking for applicants with meaningful research experiences.

Frisch and Lee Veldkamp, a junior bio-medical engineering major, worked at Iowa Comprehensive Lung Imaging Center, which uses CT imaging (three dimensional images created by taking x-ray images from many positions) to study lung behavior and disease progression. Taking images of the lung at different points in the breathing cycle allows researchers to see to how lung tissue and ability to breathe change as a result of diseases like emphysema and asthma. Frisch and Veldkamp collected images of lungs using decreasing radiation doses. Their goal is to use the data to determine how low a dose of radiation can be used, while maintaining sufficient image quality to study disease-related mechanical changes in the lungs.

The future bio-medical engineers Frisch teaches are going to be involved in research throughout their careers, she says. Ongoing collaboration with the lab at the University of Iowa will benefit both how she teaches and how her students learn. It will also provide other students with the opportunity to help her sift through and analyze the pile of data she brought back with her to campus.


Media Access: Download Word Version | High Resolution Image: 1