Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster

Gatton Academy Student Presents Research at Scientific Symposium

watch 300Gatton Academy student Gretchen Walch is pictured with Dr. Graham Hatfull, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Professor.BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (6/18/13) - Gretchen Walch, a rising Gatton Academy senior from Alexandria, represented the 2012-13 WKU Genome Discovery and Exploration class at the 5th Annual SEA-PHAGES (Science Education Alliance – Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) scientific symposium, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Gatton Academy student Gretchen Walch is pictured with Dr. Graham Hatfull, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Professor. Dr. Hatfull is the Principal Investigator for the HHMI Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomic and Evolutionary Science program, a research-based laboratory course aimed at undergraduate students who are new to college-level science and have had little or no independent research experience.

Walch received an honorable mention for her presentation titled “Isolation, Characterization and Genomic Analysis of Mycobacteriophages Achebe, MooMoo, Simpliphy and Updawg.”

The meeting took place June 7-9 at the Janelia Farm Research campus in Ashburn, Va. This year’s symposium featured more than 75 undergraduate poster presentations.

Dr. Rodney King and Dr. Claire Rinehart, professors in WKU’s Department of Biology, have co-mentored Walch over the past year and attended the symposium with her.

“Gretchen was chosen to represent the WKU Genome Discovery and Exploration class because she demonstrated enthusiasm, maturity, perseverance and genuine curiosity,” Dr. King said. “She spent many extra hours in the lab learning as much as she could about her phage and ensuring her lab notebook was complete and up-to-date. Gretchen also embraced the collaborative nature of the scientific process and willingly helped her classmates with laboratory protocols.”

The WKU Biology Department has participated in the SEA-PHAGES program since the fall of 2009. The Genome Discovery and Exploration Program at WKU is designed to engage freshman students in meaningful and authentic research that produces publishable results.

Course participants isolate and sequence novel viruses from the soil, contribute the genomic sequences to a public database and address scientific questions of viral diversity and evolution.

Walch came away from the SEA-PHAGES symposium with a renewed interest in continuing research.

“The SEA-PHAGES Symposium was inspiring,” she said. “The environment and guest speakers expanded my imagination in research. Every part of the program from the presentations and poster sessions to the meals and coffee breaks fostered the wonderful concept of scientific dialog. My mind has been racing with excitement since I heard the first talk.”

A number of additional Gatton Academy students contributed to the work presented on Walch’s poster. Gatton students who are co-authors on the presentation include: Corbin M. Allender, Grace E. Babbs, Barry C. Blair, Carolyn M. Clark, Joseph E. Crafton, Ajit R. Deshpande, Samantha M. Dinga, Hannah N. Graff, Alex W. Kearns, Azlin L. Lewis, Mary-Grace E. Luscher, Patrick G. Osterhaus, Lindsey R. Porter, Lindsey M. Shain, Domnique C. Thayer, Vishnuteja Tirumala and Connor M. VanMeter.

For information about WKU’s SEA-PHAGES research class, contact Dr. Rodney King at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Dr. Claire Rinehart at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

SurfKY News
Information provided by WKU News

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

April 16, 2014 19910

UPDATE- Sheriff's Office Following Leads…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 17, 2014 4519

KSP Nabs St. Charles Man Wanted by U.S.…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 16, 2014 3542

Sheriff's Deputies Nab Central City…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 17, 2014 3401

Meet The Hopkins County Magistrate…

in News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 16, 2014 2094

Rand Paul - 'We Need a New President'

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

April 17, 2014 4519

KSP Nabs St. Charles Man Wanted by U.S.…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 18, 2014 1251

Talking Teen Trashed Telephone Pole,…

in Top Stories by MPD
April 18, 2014 1000

Earlington Traffic Stop Results in Meth…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 19, 2014 988

Fifth Third on Main Street Comes Down

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 17, 2014 798

Center Street-Island Ford Connector in…

in Top Stories by Rebecca Hanchett

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

April 16, 2014 1373

New Home Health Care Opens in Owensboro

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
April 18, 2014 1361

Daviess County School Board Hears…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
April 18, 2014 1333

One Arrested, Another Injured in Single…

in News by J.D. Marksberry
April 16, 2014 1152

DCPS to Celebrate National Volunteer Week

in News by Lora Wimsatt
April 17, 2014 347

Owensboro Public Works Declares 'War on…

in Top Stories by Abby Shelton

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

April 16, 2014 3542

Sheriff's Deputies Nab Central City…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 17, 2014 1773

Bremen Man Charged for Possession of…

in Top Stories by Muhlenberg Sheriff Curtis McGehee
April 16, 2014 1748

South Carrollton Woman Injured in Head-on…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 17, 2014 1598

Watson Family Tragedy Inspires Muhlenberg…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 16, 2014 1559

Three Injured in Kentucky 70 Collision

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03