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Legislators to See Student Research Work First Hand


Jess Moser, Black Hills State University senior biology major from Gregory, is among 17 undergraduate students from South Dakota colleges and universities who will bring their research projects to the state Capitol, meeting with lawmakers and the public.

The 2010 Student Research Poster Session runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in the State Capitol Rotunda.

The 17 represent students statewide who are pursuing research in a variety of disciplines. “The work of these student researchers is nationally competitive,” said Gary Johnson, system vice president of research for the South Dakota Board of Regents. “Their excellent work demonstrates firsthand the important linkages between research and a quality higher education experience.”

Now in its 13th year, the poster session features a small number of students from public, private, and tribal colleges, who earned this special opportunity to present their research to legislators. In addition to the students’ research, there will be displays from the state’s six public universities, the South Dakota Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN), and South Dakota’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). These higher education institutions and programs have greatly benefited from the state’s investments in research, Johnson said.

Moser plans to pursue a career in optometry and attend the Illinois College of Optometry after he graduates from BHSU this year. For the past three years at BHSU Moser has been actively involved with research as an SD-INBRE Undergraduate Research Fellow. Under the advisement of Dr. Garth Spellman, his research has primarily been focused on avian evolutionary biology.

Moser has worked on numerous projects in the past which have led to presentations at the American Ornithologists Union and the Society for the Study of Evolution annual meetings. His current research is titled “Malarial Parasite Infection and MHC Variability in the White-winged Junco.” Avian malarial parasites play an important role in the study of human malaria, being a stimulus for the development of medical parasitology. Malarial parasite’s use in epidemiological and ecological investigations has led to many new insights into the evolution of host-parasite-vector interactions.

Undergraduate research is an essential part of education at BHSU. The strong research-based educational experience provides graduates with the opportunity to go on to professional programs and graduate schools or to enter teaching and research-based careers. In turn the fresh perspective that undergraduates bring to faculty research stimulates new research directions.

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