Franciscan Institute for Science and Health Research Presentations


On Oct. 6 students gathered in Sts. Cosmas and Damian Science Hall for the annual Franciscan Institute for Science and Health, or FISH, summer research presentations.  The purpose of FISH is to provide real-world experience and research training for undergraduate science, math and pre-engineering majors at Franciscan University.

The presentations served to show other students and faculty the research opportunities available through Franciscan and students who were involved in them. In the future, FISH hopes to extend its internship programs for computer science, pre-engineering and psychology majors and continue to expand and bring other students to Franciscan University for internships.

There were three presentations and 12 posters created by students to display their research conducted during their summer internships. The students stood and presented their posters to anyone walking by who was interested. The event attracted many faculty and research associates and several students who were interested in research.

All of the research experiences presented a wide range of topics in places all across the United States. Naomi Coutinho, a sophomore chemistry major, stayed on campus over the summer and conducted physical chemistry research on the interaction between halothane and lipids, explaining how “by studying the surface tension of the samples, we can test the effect of halothane on the arrangement of the lipids on the surface of a sample.”

Daniel Gray, a junior biology and chemistry major, traveled to the University of Pittsburgh over the summer to conduct developmental biological research. He explained how his research consisted of “determining a good injury model and then using that model to screen compounds by taking zebrafish with metronidazole, causing kidney injury and then treating those fish with many potential drug treatments for kidney injury.” He explained how “we hope to find key compounds that can be used for kidney treatment.”

Sophomore mechanical engineering major Emily Johnson also stayed on campus over the summer and conducted research under the Engineering Department. She explained that her research was “a combination of a couple of different concepts. It is a biostability mechanism that has two stable states mechanically, and I attach that to a proof of concept of a wax thermostat, so that the switch actuates at a high temperature which we hope to combine into a temperature sensitive value.”

Following the poster presentations were three different presentations in Pugliese Auditorium, where biology students discussed their research and experience at places both on and off campus. Students and faculty had the opportunity to ask the students questions about their research afterwards. After the event concluded, people were encouraged to ask questions and seek further information about FISH.