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Research Description:

Jeremy received his B.S. in Animal Science from Michigan State University. His research project focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that result in placental cells intercellular communication and fusion defects. To address these questions, he will use a model of in vivo gestational chemical exposure and in vitro techniques, including primary cell culture, gap junction intercellular communication assays, and RNA sequencing.

Outreach Project

Jeremy’s outreach project focuses on educating children and their grandparents through MSU’s Grandparent’s University (GPU) program. Jeremy has newly developed and lead a course titled “Ultrasonography in Sheep: Is She Pregnant?”. In this course, 8-12-year old’s and their grandparents, most of whom are MSU alumni, learn about sheep reproduction and ultrasonography during pregnancy through hands-on engagement. All course participants had the opportunity to guide an ultrasound during veterinarian-supervised pregnancy exams. Jeremy plans to continue teaching through the GPU program and looks forward to next years’ sessions! See more about this year’s GPU session.

Robert Vanderkamp

Robert Vanderkamp previously received his B.S. in Physiology from Michigan State University, where his undergraduate research focused on the modulation of neuroimmune interactions in the inflammatory bowel diseases. Robert is a now a Physiology Ph.D. student in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology. His research project focuses on the discovery of novel genes regulating extravillous trophoblast invasion in normal or preeclamptic pregnancy. He hopes that his findings will translate to the identification of predictive biomarkers that can be correlated to pregnancy outcome.

Planned Outreach:

Robert plans to volunteer his time at the Michigan Statewide Science Olympiad competition.

Arianna Smith

Assistant Professor of Biology, Kenyon College

Arianna Smith Research Description

Dr. Smith received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from North Carolina State University and her Ph.D. in Genetics from Michigan State University. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Karen Racicot’s Lab at Michigan State University.  Her studies are aimed at elucidating the mechanisms by which maternal stress during pregnancy alters offspring asthma susceptibility. Using an experimental mouse model, the effect of maternal stress on immune cells in the progeny lung is being investigated.

Recent conference presentations:

Smith, A., Witte, E., Harkema, J., Jackson-Humbles, D., Knott, J., Racicot, K. 2016. Chronic maternal stress during pregnancy alters the microenvironment of the developing fetal lung and causes sex- specific changes in offspring allergic asthma response.  Michigan Alliance for Reproductive Technologies and Sciences Meeting

Smith, A., Witte, E., Harkema, J., Jackson-Humbles, D., Knott, J., Racicot, K. 2016. Stress hormone suppresses GM-CSF in the placenta via an epigenetic mechanism and affects the allergen response of female offspring. Annual Society for Studies of Reproduction Meeting

Arianna Smith Outreach Project Description

For the past six years, Dr. Smith has been a regular volunteer at the Michigan State Science Olympiad held at Michigan State University.  At the Science Olympiad, middle and high school students compete in STEM based activities.  She has volunteered for activities like Write It, Build It, an engineering focused competition or All in the Genes, a competition where students display an impressive body of knowledge on genetics.  Science Olympiad’s purpose is to inspire future scientists.

Meghan RuebelMeghan Ruebel Research Description

Dr. Ruebel received her B.S. from University of Missouri, Columbia in 2008, a MAEd in Exercise Science from the University of Nebraska in 2010 and her PhD Clinical and Translational Sciences from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2016.  Her project will use RNA-Seq to identify gene expression profiles changes that vary with differences in egg quality. Cumulus and granulosa cells associated with oocytes will be collected from a variety of species (bovine, porcine, and human) from various models of decreased oocyte quality, to identify genes, pathways, and processes that contribute to fertility.

Meghan Ruebel Outreach Project Description

University that promote STEM within children and young adults including MSU Science Festival and Science Olympaid.

Ashley Severance

PhD in Genetics Program conferred summer 2018, now postdoctoral researcher Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Ashley Severance Research Description

Ms. Severance received her Bachelors degree from Albion College in 2010, and her Masters degree from Central Michigan University (CMU), where she studied germ cells in C. elegans. In her current studies, she examines oocyte spindle biology. Although the meiotic spindle is similar in some ways to the mitotic spindle, it has many meiosis-specific mechanisms controlling spindle formation and meiotic progression. She is interested in factors affecting spindle structure and function, which can result in aneuploidy if perturbed. My PhD research has involved in vitro maturation of mouse oocytes in a variety of conditions to determine the downstream affect on MI and MII spindle structure.

Recent conference presentations:

Severance AL, Latham, KE. 2016. “4E-BP1 Serine 65 phosphorylation at the meiotic spindle is responsive to Plk1” Michigan Alliance for Reproductive Technologies and Sciences, Ann Arbor, MI

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Ashley Severance Outreach Project Description

Ms. Severance began her Girl Scouts outreach program with the hope inspiring young women in science. Previously a Girl Scout, she understood the value of Girl Scouts and thought it would be the perfect medium to teach girls about being in STEM fields. During the activity, they perform DNA isolation, run a crime DNA gel, and make a DNA model. It is a new and fun experience for the girls. They talk about doing experiments, and about what it’s like to be a scientist.