Summertime Standouts: College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Courtney Katz, biomedical sciences

courtney.katz.cropIt’s not the luck of the Irish that took Katz to Dublin this summer — it’s her interest in molecular genetics. Katz is working in a rheumatoid arthritis research lab at University College Dublin, where she collects knee cartilage biopsies for research, and actually gets to put faces to the cells she’s studying. Katz is also gaining hands-on experience growing tissue cultures and will follow the process through to the final clinical results.

“This internship has allowed me to see how a human genetics lab works compared to a plant genetics lab, where I currently work at CSU,” said Katz. “It has definitely helped me gain experience in the molecular genetics field.”

Luna Martinez, environmental health

luna.martinezMartinez (right) is passionate about helping the public become better informed about living healthy lives. It goes beyond eating a daily dose of fruits and vegetables — we’re talking mold and mildew. Martinez is conducting free assessments of Fort Collins homes and sharing how they can find air quality triggers for respiratory issues, like chemical pollutants and biological contaminants. She also provides low to no-cost suggestions to improve the resident’s quality of life as an intern for the Fort Collins Healthy Homes program.

“I know really interesting things about keeping mold at bay and where to look in the washer for sources of mold as well as furnace maintenance tips,” said Martinez. “Renting and owning a home doesn’t come with a manual, so I feel very lucky to have ideas about radon, building code, the furnace, and pest entryways.”

Jackson Lee Runte, environmental health

Jackson RunteRunte has spent his summer vacation rafting down the San Juan River and spending hours with puppies and kittens, all in the name of public health. Runte is interning with the Indian Health Services in Shiprock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation Reservation inspecting and sanitizing areas where people have contracted hanta virus, and is working with a research team to collect water and sediment samples in the San Juan River to study the late effects of the Gold King Mine spill. More recently, he delivered rabies vaccinations to 1,746 cats and dogs on the reservation.

“The internship has helped me realize I prefer working in environments that involves hands-on work and my knowledge base,” said Runte. “It has motivated me to further my education into a technical skill, like dentistry or veterinary school.”

Elijah Ullman, neuroscience

Elijah UllmanUllman just completed his freshman year at CSU and was awarded a research fellowship at the University of Montana at Missoula. No, you didn’t misread that. Yes, it’s kind of a big deal. The young scientist is probing cells with electrodes to search for clues that could one day create more effective drugs for epilepsy patients who experience seizures. You could call him a cell-mutation detective.

“I’m a CSU Ram on the trail of mutations,” said Ullman. “I may be young, but I want to help science find drugs that will finally help bring relief and rejoice to the millions of epilepsy sufferers and their loved ones.”