Experiential Learning

The Science of Success

“Small sizes allow us to collaborate with our students on genuinely original research projects. This not only allows them to become familiar with modern scientific techniques and technologies, but also often results in publications for international journals or presentations for prestigious regional and national conferences.”
Michael D. Mosher
Professor
Department of Chemistry

  
For molecular biology and comprehensive chemistry major Laura Emmerich, UNK’s commitment to personal attention translates into gaining invaluable experience in real and meaningful research, even as an undergraduate student.

When she took a freshman course in general chemistry with Professor Mosher, he was quick to note her keen interest in organic chemistry. So, after hearing at a national conference about a potential drug called ISO-1 that could prevent Type 1 Diabetes, he approached Laura (and her best friend Katie Frost) to see if they wanted to help him develop a synthetic route to the preparation of ISO-1. “Our aim was to show that certain inexpensive compounds could be converted into the potential therapeutic agents related to ISO-1,” says Dr. Mosher.

Laura—now ready to embark on her dream research career in preventive medicine—recalls long days spent in the lab. “When we began, Dr. Mosher spent a lot of time with us in the lab teaching us new techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and high resolution mass spectrometry,” she explains. “By the end of the first year, however, Katie and I were both conducting independent research, meeting with Dr. Mosher only once a day to discuss our findings.” Three years later, Dr. Mosher’s team has successfully produced a small quantity of ISO-1 to demonstrate that their procedure works. Their findings also are being reviewed by the Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry, an international journal.