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Bridging the Gap Between Knowledge and Experience

by Dr. Kendall Baker, President, Ohio Northern University

For Ohio Northern University students, undergraduate research bridges the gap between knowledge and experience and provides for career exploration and development. Research also produces original results and contributes to the body of knowledge and creative works within the discipline.

ONU’s Student Research Colloquium celebrates academic achievement among students of all disciplines by providing them the opportunity to discuss their research with and demonstrate their expertise with the larger academic community, enliven the intellectual climate on campus, and stimulate discussions and collaborations within and across disciplines, all while developing skills important to your long-term personal and professional success.

Faculty members also enhance their teaching and contribution to society by remaining active in research and by involving undergraduates.

Dr. Boyd Rorabaugh, associate professor of pharmacology and cell biology, has received the largest National Institutes of Health-funded research grant in the University’s history for his work investigating the role of regulators of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins in cardiac ischemic injury. A collaboration with Richard Neubig, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, this research involves understanding how interactions between RGS proteins and G proteins protect the heart from ischemic injury, or the injury that occurs when there is a lack of blood flow during a heart attack. Four pharmacy students have assisted on the project.

One of the benefits of undergraduate research is for students to start thinking independently.

Joshua Szekely, a 2010 Goldwater Scholar and chemistry major from Madison, Ohio, is examining the complexes formed between azobenzene dyes and metal ions, utilizing various forms of spectroscopy and the implementation of quantum mechanics-based computer modeling to characterize the specific nature of the metal/dye interaction. Research on photo-isomerization will improve the design of new optical information storage devices and optical computers.

At Ohio Northern University, undergraduate research opens an arena for the development of crucial educational goals such as fine-tuning critical thought and then carrying out discovery