Montana State University

Montana 4-H'ers present bioscience research projects at MSU

February 8, 2013 -- MSU News Service

4-H members from the BioScience Montana project visited Montana State University in January and, as one of their hands-on projects, participated in a blood draw with Dr. Ed Dratz and his students.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN--Thirty-five 4-H members and leaders from throughout Montana visited the Montana State University campus on Jan. 18-19 to present research findings from the first half of a yearlong bioscience project.

The teens are participating in BioScience Montana, a project funded by the National Institutes of Health as a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) given to MSU. The 4-H members have conducted scientific research and learned about bioscience-related careers while collaborating via distance learning technologies.

The January presentations were on neuroscience and infectious disease research projects the students had developed during the fall 2013. Some teams measured bacteria levels at locations in their schools, such as water fountains, doorways and railings. Another team studied whether dogs' mouths are cleaner than humans'. Another team studied bacterial levels in the backwash of shared soft drinks.

The participating students traveled to MSU from counties across Montana, including: Cascade, Lake, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Ravalli, Sanders and Toole counties.

The Cascade County team is led by Kathy Dunn, with participants Samantha Morris, Emily Berg, Hayden Broesder and Amanda Melton.

Lake and Flathead Counties have a combined team led by Tracey Wheeler, with participants Madisen Wheeler, Natalee Wheeler, Claudia Hewston and Ian Caltabiano.

The Sanders County Team is led by Rusty Kinkade and includes students Abby Croft, Josh Wulfekuhle, Logan Naegeli and Tyler Riffle.

The Toole County Team is led by Kristi Aklestad, with participants Riley Hellinger, Jacob Aklestad, Grace Aklestad and Hayley Fretheim.

Lewis and Clark County has two teams. One is led by Marca Robbin Gibson and includes participants Holt Gibson, Christopher Gransbery, Logan McNeil and Katie Merchen. A second Lewis and Clark team is led by Kristina Carlson, with participants Elizabeth Carlson and Emma Carlson.

Ravalli County also has fielded two teams: One led by Wendi Fawns with participants Chloe Solorzano, Zach Jones and Star Lange, and another team led by Holly Jones, with participants Emily Jones, Alyssa Solorzano, Pamela Fawns Wiebke Dirksen.

BioScience Montana combines hands-on science with distance learning technologies in order to help participating teens experience basic research, which creates new knowledge, as well as applied and translational research, which use knowledge to solve problems and improve quality of life.

After spending a week on the MSU campus in August, students have now completed a module on neuroscience led by John Miller, a professor in MSU's Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, as well as a module on infectious diseases led by Jovanka Voyich-Kane, assistant professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases.

During the January weekend, they began a module on metabolomics with Ed Dratz, a professor in the Chemistry/Biochemistry Department. Over the next three months, students will be analyzing and comparing nutritional consumption of themselves and a family member, and will conclude the project by sharing findings in their communities.

BioScience Montana combines aspects of MSU's teaching, research and service missions and was developed by MSU Extended University, the 4-H Center for Youth Development, and the MSU Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience.

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Contact: Suzi Taylor, (406) 994-7957 or