UW-Platteville student completes summer internship in Washington D.C.

October 4, 2011

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PLATTEVILLE- University of Wisconsin-Platteville student Kurstin Wiewel, from Elgin, Ill., completed an internship at the United States Army Medical Research and Material Command Center for Environmental Health Research at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md.

The last shuttle launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration came back to earth on July 21 and Wiewel worked with other researchers to figure out why cells don't heal in space. "We had wounded cells that have been shaken up so that they can go into the healing process. They were then placed into bioreactors along with non-wounded cells so we could work with both in the lab," said Wiewel.

"The controls we used were the cells that weren't wounded aboard the Atlantis in space, and both wounded and not wounded in the lab on earth. We had samples of both so they could have a comparison to see what is different between the cells," Wiewel said.

Wiewel, a chemistry major with emphases in biochemistry and DNA criminalistics, also worked on a project in which she was helping to try and identify biomarkers to be used in a diagnostic test for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. "We hope to be able to genetically screen emergency personnel to see if they're more susceptible to develop PTSD beforehand."

While working on these various projects, Wiewel was able to work with many instruments in the lab that she wouldn't have been able to work with anywhere else. "I was learning a lot of new techniques, but also applying everything I Iearned in class." said Wiewel. "I was even training someone else while I was there."

One of the best parts of the internship for Wiewel was watching the final shuttle take off from the Kennedy Space Center. "It was so cool seeing it take off and being able to work on a project that was in it," she said.

Wiewel plans to attend graduate school after UW-Platteville and hopes to become a medical technician.

Contact: Kurstin Wiewel, student, wiewelk@uwplatt.edu Written by: Sarah Kessler, UW-Platteville Office of University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, kesslers@uwplatt.edu

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