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Dordt College News

Dordt College professor and student selected for biomedicine research program

July 12, 2012

Dordt College Engineering Professor Dr. Kayt Frisch was selected to be one of five Fellows in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine FUTURE (Fostering Undergraduate Talent – Uniting Research and Education) program.

Frisch, along with Dordt College junior Lee Veldkamp, is spending two months this summer engaged in intensive research in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Hoffman, University of Iowa professor of radiology. They are researching the mechanical properties of lung tissue, focusing on how disease-related changes may cause breathing difficulties.

“We believe that mechanical changes in the tissue may be detectable earlier than the global breath volume changes currently used to diagnose and monitor treatment for lung disease,” said Frisch. “Toward that end, Lee and I are using sequences of CT images to look for ways to measure those changes and to understand the structural factors that influence them.”

Each Fellow in the FUTURE program selects one undergraduate from their college to participate in the research with them. Veldkamp was chosen from the Dordt College applicants. “Lee was a student in two of my classes last year, and I was impressed by his enthusiasm for learning and his willingness to help his classmates,” said Frisch. “Being part of the FUTURE program is a great opportunity for him to see what a large research university is like and to participate in graduate-level research projects.”

The partnership that UI initiated aims to strengthen science education and research connections across the state by developing long-term partnerships between faculty from the university and professors and students from Iowa undergraduate colleges like Dordt College.

“This summer’s FUTURE program is off to a wonderful start. Everyone is enthusiastic about collaborating on new research and excited by the opportunity to learn and discover together,” said Dr. Madeline Shea, UI professor of biochemistry and director of the FUTURE program. “The success of the program is clearly demonstrated by the numerous ongoing collaborations between our faculty and alumni of the program, many of whom will return this summer to participate in 2012 FUTURE events, and by the fact that undergraduates who have participated now are graduate students and medical students at top research universities, including the UI.”

The partnership will enhance Dordt’s research options for its biomedical engineering students. “Biomedical engineering is an exciting area of engineering, and Dordt has a growing program,” said Frisch. “One of my goals for our biomedical engineering program at Dordt College is for our students to have research experience before they graduate. The fellowship provides opportunities to build connections that will help facilitate this goal.”

For more information about Dordt College’s engineering program, visit www.dordt.edu/engineering. For more on the UI research, visit www.healthcare.uiowa.edu/futurebiomedicine.

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