Biology students attend stem cell workshop

UW-Platteville stem cell reseach
April 23, 2013

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UW-Platteville stem cell students

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Ten University of Wisconsin-Platteville students recently traveled to Madison College for an induced pluripotent stem cells workshop. The workshop gave the students the opportunity to work with Madison College’s cutting edge stem cell research technology, and is part of a recent collaboration between the UW-Platteville and Madison College biology programs.  Madison College is one of the top biotechnology and biochemistry schools in the United States.

Only students from UW-Platteville attended the workshop. “It was a special invitation,” said James Waldschmidt, a junior chemistry major from De Pere, Wis. “It was especially geared toward us.”

“It was great to actually work with the stem cells, and all the high-tech equipment Madison College has,” said Tiffany Engling, a senior biology major from Dubuque, Iowa.

During their time spent at Madison College, UW-Platteville students learned various techniques and methods for studying stem cells. “We changed their media, which is kind of what they feed on,” said Waldschmidt. “If a dish was too crowded, and the stem cell’s growth was restricted, we did what’s called passaging, which is moving them to other dishes, allowing them to grow. We also learned how to pick stem cells for differentiation so that they developed into certain tissues.”

While learning how to desensitize stem cells, UW-Platteville students used a new machine, used by only a few universities in the nation. “It could take a picture of the stem cells and show which cells expressed which genes,” said Waldschmidt.

“My favorite part was desensitizing the stem cells,” said Engling.  “Taking pictures of the cells under a microscope was really cool.”

“It was a good experience to see what state-of-the-art labs are out there,” said Waldschmidt. “It gives an implication of what types of labs you will work in, and what kind of programs you might study with, after graduating from UW-Platteville.”

“I’m graduating in May,” said Engling,” and I applied to Madison College’s stem cell research certificate program.  It was nice to see the lab I might be using in a few months.”

The new collaboration between UW-Platteville and Madison College, called “3.5 plus .5,” allows UW-Platteville students to finish their bachelor’s degree while attending Madison College’s semester-long biotechnology baccalaureate program.

“This collaboration is all for the students,” said Dr. Esther Ofulue, professor of biology at UW-Platteville. “It gives them the opportunity to use research equipment that we don’t have, and it also connects them to work in the research industry. Students can’t lose by participating.”

“After this workshop, students want to take advantage of this collaboration,” said Ofulue.  “It gave students a sense of interest in the field, and in doing state-of-the-art research.”

Contact: Esther Ofulue, (608) 342-1331, ofuluee@uwplatt.edu; James Waldschmidt, waldschmidtj@uwplatt.edu; Tiffany Engling, englingt@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Jacob Reecher, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, reecherj@uwplatt.edu

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