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You are here: Home About News Articles 2018 News Articles Rachel Bruning and Joaquim Diego Santos recieve Honorable Mentions in the Undergraduate Research Exhibition, Library Literacy Awards Category

Rachel Bruning and Joaquim Diego Santos receive Honorable Mentions in the Undergraduate Research Exhibition, Library Literacy Awards Category

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“Investigation of Microbial Diversity Within the Mutualistic Symbiosis Between the Hawaiian Squid and Vibrio Fischeri

Rachel Bruning

Rachel Bruning and Joaquim Diego Santos received honorable mention at the Undergraduate Research Exhibition Bruning and Santos, both freshman at Penn State, are making the most of the opportunities a world class institution has to offer.  Both are members of the Miyashiro Lab and are conducting research investigating the microbial diversity within the mutualistic symbiosis between the Hawaiian Squad and Vibrio Fischeri.

In this symbiosis, the bacteria are provided with nutrients and shelter within the squid, while the squid is able to camouflage from predators using the bioluminescence produced by the bacteria.  The duo began their research by dissecting an adult squid to obtain their own novel strains of V. fischeri bacteria.  To determine the characteristics of their newly acquired strains, they performed experiments such as bioluminescence, motility, DNA sequencing and squid-colonization assays.  Their hope is to use their results to provide insight into what characteristics best allow the bacteria to colonize the squid.

 

Diego Santos

Bruning was always interested in science, but it wasn’t until she took an AP biology her junior year of high school that she began to look more specifically at molecular biology.  Once she got on campus she began looking for ways to become active in research and discovered the NASA PA Space Grant Consortium Women in Science and Engineering Research (WISER) Undergraduate Research Program.  She was accepted in a lab in December of 2017 and started at the beginning of the Spring 2018 semester.

Santos’ parents, from a young age, guided him towards a path in science.  His family is originally from the Philippines and he took it upon himself to take advantage of any opportunity available to him.  Santos also went looking for research opportunities once he arrived at University Park and found the NASA PA Space Grant Consortium where he was accepted to the Minority Undergraduate Experience (MURE)/Freshman Undergraduate Research Program (FURP).

 

The Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium provides undergraduate research opportunities through programs such as WISER, MURE and FURP.  The WISER, MURE and FURP programs at Penn State University Park offer research experiences and mentoring in Penn State’s most exciting and prestigious labs in the Colleges of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Education, Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, Health and Human Development, Liberal Arts, Information Sciences and Technology and the Eberly College of Science. You can learn more about the NASA PA Space Grant Consortium and their programs by visiting the NASA PA Space Grant Consortium website.