Aug 262003
Authors: Lindsay Robinson

CSU senior Aubrey Peiffer will be spending her summer in a different environment than many students.

Peiffer, a zoology major, was chosen as one of 12 students nationally to receive the American Physiological Society Summer Research Fellowship, during which she will work with an APS member for 10 weeks during the summer.

The award, for which 57 undergraduate students competed, provides $2,000 to cover travel and living costs and an additional $800 for the student to present his or her research at the Experimental Biology meeting.

“I needed the funds to continue my research over the summer and into the school year,” Peiffer said. Peiffer will be working with CSU biology professor Gregory Florant to conduct her research.

The focus of the duo’s research is on fat cell size and lipid content in relation to the resistance of an insulin-signaling protein called Kinase B. The pair is studying yellow-bellied marmots because their insulin-resistance characteristics are similar to that occurring in Type II Diabetes in humans.

Peiffer, who has been doing research for four years, thinks the APS Research fellowship is a fantastic program.

“I’ve learned there are possibilities out there to fund research,” she said.

She believes having a program such as the fellowship is of, “immeasurable importance. It promotes kids to get in the lab. Usually, the limiting factor in a lab is financial,” Peiffer said.

The program is also beneficial to organizations such as APS because it introduces students to physiological research, which is why it was initially created four years ago.

“We’d like to get (undergraduate students) to consider a career in physiological research,” said Melinda Lowy, higher education program coordinator for APS.

Aside from research funding, students receive the option of presenting their findings at the Experimental Biology meeting, which is attended by many major scientific societies and nearly 15,000 scientists. It is a good opportunity for students interested in the biomedical field, Lowy said.

“Experience-wise, it’s huge,” Peiffer said. “It’ll be the first time I’ve presented any of my data in front of anyone besides coworkers and professors. It’s also a big opportunity to meet people and network.”

The meeting is held in Washington, D.C. in April.

Peiffer said she’s always been interested in science.

“I’ve just always been a curious person and [in science] there’s always something out there that needs to be fixed or changed,” she said.

She intends to continue her education after she graduates this year.

“My plan is to get my doctorate and then conduct my own research while I teach at a university,”

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