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SURFing Through Summer
SURFing Through Summer
Lacey Berry '13: "SURF is the perfect opportunity for me to gain hands-on experience."
Randolph-Macon College student
Lacey Berry ’13
major with a keen interest in genetics.
“I took Biology Professor Traci Stevens’ genetics course during my sophomore year, and I have been interested in genetics ever since,” says Berry. “Then I worked in her lab for a semester, and that experience left me itching to conduct my own research. The
(Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship) program is the perfect opportunity for me to gain hands-on experience.”
Berry’s SURF project is titled
Regions on the third chromosome that genetically interact with Bcr-abl in Drosophila melanogaster
“I hope to gain a better understanding of abl, a gene that is crucial in cell migration,” she explains. “When mutated, abl has been linked to Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) in humans. I am specifically looking at the third chromosome in the fruit fly to determine whether there are any gene regions that interact with the mutated form of abl known as Bcr-abl.”
A typical day in the lab begins with Berry sorting through hundreds of fruit flies and collecting the females. Later in the day, she sets up “crosses”—two groups of flies with different genotypes.
“I then collect embryos and I make slides,” she says. “Using these slides, I categorize the embryos, which allows me to analyze my data.”
For Berry, mentorship is an integral part of the SURF program.
“Professor Stevens has been extremely helpful throughout my SURF experience,” she says. “She helped me plan my experiment and keeps me on track, all while allowing me to think critically and apply concepts on my own. She is an amazing mentor and I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with her.”
“Lacey is a hard worker and has made tremendous progress on her project this summer,” says Stevens. “In addition to the results that she will present at the SURF symposium in August, she has set up several experiments that she will finish in the fall as part of her senior project. In addition to Genetics, Lacey took a First-Year Experience (
) course that combined molecular biology and
and several other courses in biology and
. Her strong background in the sciences prepared her for this ambitious research project and will serve her well in graduate school and beyond.”
Berry is president of
Beta Beta Beta
and the Ways and Means Chair for
sorority. In addition, she has played
for the Yellow Jackets throughout her college career.
Berry’s post-R-MC plans include nursing school.
“Then it’s on to graduate school. Ultimately I want to earn a master’s degree in nursing,” she says.
was introduced in 1995 as an endowment to support scholarly undergraduate research by students in all disciplines. Students conduct 10 weeks of full-time, original research during the summer months, under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The initial gift for the program was made by Benjamin Schapiro ’64 and his wife Peggy.
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