April 15, 2020 at 9:45 am

Biological Sciences Students Named as Prestigious Goldwater Scholars

Madeline Sudnick (Biological Sciences), of Twinsburg, Ohio, in the field collecting data.

Madeline Sudnick, of Twinsburg, Ohio, in the field collecting data.

From Ohio University News

Three Ohio University Honors Tutorial College students were selected as 2020 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, two of them majoring in Biological Sciences and working on research projects mentored by Biological Sciences faculty.

Madeline Sudnick is a junior working on her senior thesis, which consists of research in offspring development in passerine birds (relating to or denoting birds of a large order distinguished by feet that are adapted for perching, including all songbirds) and how it is influenced by the natal environment and physiology. She has worked in the lab with Dr. Kelly Williams since her freshman year.

The research project Sudnick has been working on stems from the past two summers of fieldwork and data collection. Sudnick visited seven different field sites to monitor the growth and condition of different nests and tree swallows in eastern bluebirds. She determined how fast the birds are growing through repeated measurements. She then drew blood to determine their oxygen carrying capacity. Every fall semester, Sudnick brings the collected data into the lab in order to work collaborate with others that have collected data such as counting and measuring insects to determine habitat quality.

Sudnick plans to pursue a Ph.D. and her dream of working as a wildlife biologist or academic researcher.

Hailee Sorensen (Biological Sciences), of Galena, Ohio, works in the lab at the Life Sciences Building.

Hailee Sorensen, of Galena, Ohio, works in the lab at the Life Sciences Building.

Hailee Sorenson is a junior here at Ohio University and has been working in the lab with Dr. Ronan Carroll since her freshman year. Sorenson has done a few different things throughout the years, but her main research goal is to look at the issue of antibiotic resistant bacteria. This entails bacterial infections that are no longer treatable with typical antibiotics, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium with antibiotic resistance).

These infections are challenging to treat because the antibiotics we normally use are starting to fail. The main reasons for this failure include clinicians and patients not using the antibiotics properly and the ability of the bacterium to develop mechanisms to protect itself from the toxic actions of antibiotics. Sorenson’s overall goal is to find new cellular targets for novel drug development. She is trying to gain a better understanding of how bacteria function normally so as to discover new cellular targets that when properly manipulated with small molecule drugs will inhibit bacteria from causing infections in humans.

After graduating from Ohio University, Sorenson intends to eventually earn her Ph.D. Her long term goal is to work at a university teaching and conducting her own research. She enjoys being able to create and come up with her own ideas and apply what she knows to take new paths that have not been taken before.

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