Senior Collin Wells (Louisville, Kentucky) recently won first place for his oral presentation at the meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences for physiology and biochemistry, held at Berea College.
The road to his winning presentation began when Wells took advantage of an opportunity to work in the research lab with Professor of Biology and Biochemisty & Molecular Biology Stephanie Dew, also chair of the biology program. Throughout the past summer, he and his research partner Yuzhang Li, along with Dew, collected data for their research, titled “Retinol esterification in the hepatopancreas of the American lobster (Homarus americanus).”
“The reason why undergraduate research is so essential, for me at least, is because it allows me to think more deeply about biochemistry in general and expands my scientific intuition by actually getting hands-on experience with such nuanced techniques,” explains Wells.
His presentation at the meeting provided an equally fulfilling, yet challenging, experience. He says the win came as a welcomed surprise.
“I really appreciate Centre College and Dr. Dew for giving me the opportunity to take part in such an interesting research study and allowing me to present it at the conference. It’s a really rewarding feeling to see something you’ve put a lot of work in receive recognition,” he concludes.
Wells says this research has aided him in narrowing his career path by giving him the opportunity to gain top research skills. He adds that the College also has provided him the setting to learn new techniques outside the classroom, such as radioisotopic labeling, protein isolation and column chromatography, as well as helping him shape essential lab skills that are difficult to gain outside of a research environment.
After graduation from Centre, Wells plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry, with hopes of becoming a college professor.
by Makenzie Dries ’21
December 5, 2019