February, 09

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February, 09
Creighton core facility to partner with INBRE program
An online reservation system allows
researchers to book time with the
microscope. The fee is $25 per hour.
Dr. Hallworth said he uses the
microscope in his own research on
deafness. He is particularly interested in
how the dealth of hair cells from aging
or noise leads to deafness. He also
wants to learn how to prevent those cells
from dying.
Several INBRE scholars have worked
on this research with Dr. Hallworth, as
well as some undergraduate students at
Richard Hallworth, Ph.D., director of the Integrated Biomedical Imaging Facility at
Creighton University’s School of Medicine, and research imaging specialist Heather
Smith, Ph.D., at the controls of the Zeiss LSM 510 multi-photon confocal microscope.
INBRE scholars and faculty
associates soon will have
a new core facility with a
powerful microscope to turn
to for their research.
The Integrated Biomedical Imaging
Facility at Creighton University’s School
of Medicine will be available to everyone
in the INBRE program beginning in May,
said Richard Hallworth, Ph.D., director of
the facility.
Dr. Hallworth, who also is a professor of
biomedical sciences at Creighton, has
been a faculty associate in the INBRE
program for four years.
“The main instrument in the core facility
is the Zeiss LSM 510 multi-photon
For more information contact Dr.
Hallworth at (402) 280-3057 or visit the
Web site at: http://biomed.creighton.
confocal microscope, the only one in
Nebraska,” Dr. Hallworth said.
INBRE funding helps library
The microscope, he said, is especially
useful in capturing high resolution
images of living cells.
One of the most important tools in an
INBRE scholar’s arsenal just got better.
Much of science, Dr. Hallworth said, is
moving toward using high resolution
imaging, particularly in structural biology,
which is the study of how proteins
function in the cell.
“This core facility will enhance the work
of researchers involved in the INBRE
program and help make their research
more competitive for grants,” he said.
Researchers who want to use the
confocal microscope will be trained on
its use.
The McGoogan Library of Medicine
at the University of Nebraska Medical
Center will see an increase in the funding
it receives from the INBRE program.
Since its inception in 2001, the INBRE
program has donated $55,000 a year
to the medical library. That support
will increase to $70,000 for the 2010
subscription year.
Library officials use the money to pay for
online subscriptions to scientific journals
that they otherwise would never have
Library continued on page 2
Bioinformatician joins INBRE program as faculty associate
joins Hesham Ali, Ph.D., the director of
the core facility, as the newest INBRE
faculty associate.
As an INBRE associate, Dr. Bastola is
working with several undergraduate
students at UNO interested in
bioinformatics, two of whom are INBRE
By working in bioinformatics, Dr.
Bastola is able to help scientists extract
knowledge out of the data they gather
from their research.
Dhundy “Kiran” Bastola, Ph.D.
In the world of bioinformatics,
collaboration is key.
“Every question brought to us is unique
and it helps to have a biologist and
computer scientists working side by side
to find answers,”said Dhundy “Kiran”
Bastola, Ph.D.
The NE-INBRE Bioinformatics Core at
the University of Nebraska at Omaha
(UNO)/Peter Keiwit Institute aims to
provide such an environment, and
promote collaborative research between
life scientists and bioinformaticians.
Dr. Bastola, an assistant professor of
bioinformatics, is the associate director
of the bioinformatics core facility. He
While he uses computational tools to do
this, it is the collaboration between Dr.
Bastola and the researcher that ultimately
nets the answers the scientist seeks.
Dr. Bastola began his career in science
with a degree in molecular biology and
earned his Ph.D. from the University of
New Hampshire.
He worked as a molecular biologist at
various laboratories at the University
of Nebraska Medical Center before
his interest in bioinformatics led him to
There, Dr. Bastola hopes to develop
better software to allow scientists to
manage and analyze biological data
obtained from molecular biology
Library continued from page 1
been able to afford – journals that the
INBRE scholars use regularly.
“Nature, Human Molecular Genetics,
Bioinformatics, Cell and Neuron are just
a few of the 26 scientific journals that we
now have available,” said Mary Helms,
associate director of the McGoogan
The best thing about having the journals,
Helms said, is that everyone involved in
the INBRE program can use them.
“These journals are for everybody and
we wouldn’t have them if it weren’t for
the funding we receive from the INBRE
program,” Helms said.
“I would not be able to do my research
without the access to these journals
“Bioinformatics makes the information
scientists are getting from their research
available in a concise way so they can
ask bigger and better questions,” Dr.
Bastola said.
For example, many scientists use
microarray technology to measure
changes in the expression levels of
proteins and to find polymorphism in
thousands of genes.
The resulting data then needs to be read
and stored in such a way that will help
the scientist glean the information they
“Just like a meteorologist uses multiple
datasets to make weather forecasts,
meaningful information from microarray
data is only possible after comparing
multiple datasets from similar
Computational tools allow the scientist to
achieve this goal,” Dr. Bastola said.
The Nebraska INBRE is funded through
a grant from the National Center for
Research Resources, a division of the
National Institutes of Health.
Jim Turpen, Ph.D.
[email protected]
Program coordinator:
William Chaney,Ph.D.
[email protected]
Grant coordinator:
Penni Davis
[email protected]
Lisa Spellman
UNMC Public Affairs
Participating Ph.D.-granting institutions:
University of Nebraska Medical Center,
Creighton University and the University of
Mary Helms
that the library provides,” said Andrea
Holmes, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry
at Doane College.
Dr. Holmes said that access to the variety
of scientific journals available is limited
at Doane and she often uses this service,
especially when traveling.
Participating undergraduate institutions:
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the
University of Nebraska at Omaha, the
University of Nebraska at Kearney,
Creighton University, Nebraska Wesleyan
University, Chadron State College, Doane
College, Wayne State College, Little Priest
Tribal College and Western Nebraska
Community College.
Once a week students from Crete Middle School join INBRE scholar, Jacob Francis, (far left) in the lab of Andrea Holmes, Ph.D., at Doane College for hands-on science. Pictured, from left to right, are eighth-graders Garrett Wahl, (standing next to Francis), Nate Harms,
Anthony Fitzgerald and Alexis Page.
Partnership brings college level science to eighth-graders
As any student knows,
learning about chemistry can
be boring or it depends on
the teacher you get.
retired Crete Middle School enrichment
teacher, who asked Dr. Holmes if
she would give a few classroom
For 10 high achieving eighth-graders
from the Crete Middle School Enrichment
Program, chemistry class is a blast. At
least on the days their teacher, Kerry
Lucas, Ph.D., decides to blow something
“Middle school is one of
the best times to get these
kids excited about science.”
Andrea Holmes, Ph.D.
Since the school year began, the students
have spent an hour a week in the
chemistry lab of Andrea Holmes, Ph.D.,
a chemistry professor at Doane College,
where Dr. Lucas is completing a postdoctoral fellowship.
Dr. Holmes, a faculty associate in the
INBRE program, sees the enrichment
program as an opportunity to capture the
interest of these students early.
“Middle school is one of the best times to
get these kids excited about science,” Dr.
Holmes said.
Her involvement with the program began
with a request from Barb Kuzma, a
Dr. Holmes’ participation grew into
a more formal agreement when she
wrote the enrichment program into her
National Science Foundation grant,
which she received in March 2008.
“I thought, why not formalize
the relationship I had developed
with the school and make it more
comprehensive,” she said.
Dr. Holmes hired Dr. Lucas to teach
the class and Kuzma as the outreach
coordinator. A service learning grant
from Doane also helps fund their work.
“Dr. Lucas is doing an exceptional
job teaching the class,” Kuzma said.
“The middle school students are able
to connect with the core concepts
because of the care Dr. Lucas has
taken to develop and sequence the
Dr. Lucas said she designs the
experiments to include things the students
would use in everyday life.
“Baking soda, salt, vinegar, sugar, even
fruit juice is used to show the students
that there are chemicals all around
them,” she said. “The students have a lot
of fun and so do we.”
Dr. Lucas is joined by INBRE scholar
Jacob Francis, a sophomore chemistry
major at Doane, who helps with the
Christa Flitcroft, a 2007 INBRE scholar
and senior chemistry major at Doane,
conducts a similar program at Crete
Elementary School. Flitcroft takes simple
chemistry experiments to the school and
does demonstrations for the students.
Outreach activities complement national commitment to science education
President Barack Obama has made a
national commitment to education in
science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM).
The president has underscored the
impact that science and technology will
have on our national goals and our
economic well-being in both the near
future and long term.
The INBRE program has recognized the
importance of providing opportunities
for students at all educational levels to
become exposed to the thrill of discovery
and the challenges of science.
The program underscores the importance
of the development of a pipeline to bring
talented students into careers in science
and the health professions.
In past issues of INROADS we have
highlighted the accomplishments
of many of our students at both the
graduate and undergraduate levels and
have taken pride in our success with the
This issue of INROADS recognizes an
important activity taking place at Doane
College, as faculty members bring
science to the middle school classroom
in Crete, Neb.
Identifying and nurturing budding
scientists at the pre-college level is an
important next step in the development
of our commitment to STEM education.
This timely juncture illustrates how we
in INBRE have science and educational
programs already in place that enable us
to respond to national recognition of the
importance of science and the national
commitment to science education at all
Here in Nebraska, we have focused
primarily on our undergraduate
campuses and our commitment to
providing research experiences to
college-level students.
Nebraska INBRE Administrative Office
University of Nebraska Medical Center
986395 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-6395
As we move
with a new
administration in
Washington D.C.
and a renewed
emphasis on
the importance
of science in
our society, it
is important
James Turpen, Ph.D.
to recognize
once again the
exceptional vision shown by our leaders
at the National Center for Research
Resources when they established the
IDEA program and especially the INBRE.
Omaha, Nebraska
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