Roanoke College student presents research in Portland, OR

by Marcus Stewart on February 11, 2016

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Angela Montalvo, a senior majoring in Biology at Roanoke College, presented her research at the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology in Portland, Oregon this January. She worked with Dr. Jorgensen in the Biology department for her project. Angela first decided to do research during her freshmen year. She became interested working with crabs and lobsters by watching fellow lab partners work with them on underwater treadmills. She then became inspired to do her own research after seeing a recent alumni’s research on the project.
Angela studies the immune response of the American lobsters to an acute bacterial challenge.

“I inject lobsters with a bioengineered bacteria (it is resistant to two antibiotics and expresses green fluorescent protein) and trace where the bacteria lands in their body. I work to better understand how lobsters respond to a bacterial infection and try to determine which organs are best for clearing the bacteria from their hemolymph (blood).”

Angela really enjoyed working with Dr. Jorgensen.

“He pushed me to better myself in class, in the research lab, and as a person. I appreciated having someone I could bounce ideas off of and problem solve.”

One of Angela’s favorite parts about presenting was the questions she’s been asked about her project.

“My favorite one by far is “So, do you still eat lobster?”… the answer is a simple “yes!”. The questions that some ask generate discussion about things that could be done in the lab that would help us better understand what exactly is going on in the lobster. There is not much written about the immune response, which makes this data difficult to interpret at times. New projects have been started because of conversations held at my poster!”

Angela highly recommends students to get involved in research.

“Find an area that you are interested in and talk to a professor about it; there could be an opening in a lab that does similar research or start your own project as an independent study. Doing research taught me how to think through a difficult problem and learn from my mistakes.”

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