Elizabeth Ricci

Where did you transfer from?

Century College

Why did you want to come to the University?

I came to the University of Minnesota because I wanted a undergraduate degree from their great biology program.

What did you research?

During my HHMI research mentorship, I helped to isolate individual species of bacteria cultured from an environmental sample. I isolated colonies based on unique morphology. I continued to culture them until I had a pure culture, extracted the DNA, and had each sample sequenced. From there, I attempted to determine if any of the species were able to degrade the collagen present in a small piece of bone over a two week time period. This experience allowed me to learn about a variety of procedures common to microbiology including making media, culturing, DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), gel electrophoresis, sequencing, and spectrophotometry. Before this, I was completely unfamiliar with research lab techniques. This research was used to supply our lab with pure strains of identified bacteria for future use and identify members of the microbial community present in biofilms associated with long-term degradation of bone in simulated tanks.

What did you get out of this experience?

It allowed me to gain experience in common lab techniques and familiarize myself with the work of graduate students. I read journal articles and participated in lab meetings with the other members of the lab. It helped me get a sense of the work done in a research lab. Most importantly, participating in the HHMI grant program allowed me to meet and work with my exceptional mentor, primary investigator, and graduate students. They were all very kind, incredibly intelligent, and willing to accept me back into the lab even after my time in the grant program. This experience has continued to keep me excited about studying science.

What are you interests outside of school?

Reading and scuba diving.

What are you plans for the future?

I am hoping to get a Ph.D. in marine biology. Since this isn't offered at the University of Minnesota, I will finish my undergraduate degree and move on to a graduate school with a marine biology program.

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