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2019 Ralph Jones Pre-Medical Summer Research Fellowship Recipient: Morgan Hansen

Photo of Morgan Hansen working in lab

One of five 2019 Ralph R. Jones, MD, FACS Pre-Medical Fellowship recipients was Morgan Hansen, pre-medical health science student in the School of Public and Population Health, who studied in the lab of Juliette Tinker, associate professor for the Department of Biological Sciences.

The end goal of the project that Hansen worked on included creating vaccines for bovines to prevent Salmonella. Hansen worked alongside Tinker to research the strain of Salmonella that is responsible for producing harmful effects in both humans and animals.

Juliette Tinker and Morgan Hanson working in the lab together.
Juliette Tinker, left and Morgan Hanson, right, working in the lab together.

Hansen’s task while in the lab was to find characterizing toxins to understand the roles in which the toxins played so that they could further understand the activity of the toxin. The toxins Hansen worked with most were called, A/B5 toxins.

In order to test for accuracy, Hansen worked through a process in which she would grow Salmonella, kill the cell to access its ribonucleic acid, a nucleic acid present in live Salmonella cells, and isolate the ribonucleic acid to further test and understand if the toxin was expressing the disease qualities.

With each trial and error process she went through, Hansen would also look for specific genes to be able to see what was working accurately to improve the vaccine.

“This opportunity allowed me to realize my ability and passion for working in a medical setting where I could perform extremely intense research and learn about difficult concepts to achieve an overall goal in helping the lives of patients,” said Hansen. “I am so grateful for this unique experience which was provided for me by the Dr. Ralph Jones Pre-Medical Summer Research Fellowship. It’s typically very hard to gain enriching research opportunities as an undergraduate, such as this one, and being able to have this opportunity has really prepared me well for my application for medical school and given me the experience I need to stand out when applying.”

Morgan presenting research at conference
Hanson presented her research from the summer fellowship at Boise State’s Undergraduate Research Conference.

“The funding allowed me to dedicate time to my research this summer in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do before and I can’t say thank you enough to Dr. Ralph Jones family for providing that kind of experience to enhance my education.”

“Working with Morgan was very enjoyable,” said Tinker. “I was very impressed with her ability to catch on so quickly as well as her knowledge and passion for the research we’ve been doing.”

Learn more about the Ralph R. Jones, MD, FACS Pre-Medical Fellowship.

By Taylor Music