Researching the biology of public health

Albright biology major Jaquan Harley hopes that studying pond-dwelling, single-celled eukaryotes, called Vorticella convallaria, will one day impact the public health of underprivileged communities.

Through an Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) project, Harley is conducting research with a faculty mentor, outside of regular semester sessions. ACRE proposals must be accepted by a faculty review board and are rewarded with college stipends. As in Harley’s case, many collaborative teams of students and faculty present their research at academic conferences or publish their results in professional journals.

“The central purpose for this research is to determine how different drug concentrations affect the contractile vacuole in Vorticella convallaria and analyze how quickly the contractile vacuole cycles,” said Harley. “The research I am doing is connected to my future plans, as it involves an organism that is related to another organism that causes a disease in Africa. I really want to focus on medicine and drugs that are able to affect those types of organisms, and essentially benefit public health.”

biology major Jaquan Harley

Harley worked one-on-one with Amy S. Greene, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

“She has been an amazing mentor to me so far in my research experience and I have learned valuable skills from her that I will employ later in my research career,” said Harley. “In 10 years, I see myself being an internist at a hospital working on public health issues surrounding underprivileged communities.”

> Learn more about undergraduate ACRE research at Albright College.

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