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RISE Student Jordan Smink Does Research at Eastern Virginia Medical School (Summer 2012)


Photograph of Jordan Smink at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Academy of ScienceUndergraduate Jordan Smink was in the right place at the right time. While attending the Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in St. Louis, Missouri, with the RISE Program, she learned about a great opportunity. Eastern Virginia Medical School (in Norfolk, VA) was offering a 10-week long Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Jordan joined the program this past summer.


Jordan writes, “I was honored to be a part of a research team at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). Working under the mentorship of Claretta Sullivan PhD and Michael Soult MD in the EVMS Department of Surgery, we studied the ability of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli membrane vesicles to induce an inflammatory response typical of sepsis in a human umbilical vein endothelial cell model.”  Their objectives were threefold: (1) to isolate outer membrane vesicles from enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), (2) to assess the sterility of outer membrane vesicle preparations, (3) and to measure NFkB translocation after exposure to outer membrane vesicles. Preparations of ETEC outer membrane vesicles were confirmed free of viable bacteria via a plating assay and atomic force microscopy. 

Photograph of Jordan Smink at the PURC Symposium Photograph of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli

Photos: (above left) Jordan at the Sixth Annual (2012) UNCP Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium; (above right) image of enterotoxigenic E. coli as viewed by Atomic Force Microscopy

Jordan is majoring in Biology and is in her second year as a RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) Fellow at UNCP. The RISE program has afforded her several golden opportunities to attend and present at scientific conferences. She presented her EVMS research on 20 August 2012 at the RISE End-of-Summer Research & Creativity Presentation. Most recently, she presented this work at the 8th Annual State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium (SNCURCS), which was hosted by Duke University on Saturday, 17 November 2012. Her research poster was titled, “The Effects of Bacterial Enterotoxigenic E. coli Membrane Vesicles on the Endothelium.”

The RISE program is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Students who are interested in joining the RISE program should contact Dr. Robert Poage (Program Director) or Prof. Sailaja Vallabha (Co-Program Director). The program paid for Jordan’s travel to the ABRCMS conference and for housing during her summer at EVMS.

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Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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