Need Me This Summer? I’ll Be in the Lab

Meet Anna Lunderberg. Don’t let the relaxed pose in the hammock fool you. This summer, Anna is hard at work on campus, doing things like studying the brain tissue of rats and running Western blots. (Yeah, I had to Google that, too.)

Anna, a soon-to-be sophomore at Hope, is collaborating with biology and chemistry professor Dr. Leah Chase on neuroscience research through the summer. For Anna, who is still uncertain about her major, this is a great opportunity to explore possibilities.

Anna came to Hope last year thinking she would be a physics major. During the summer of 2016, before her freshman year had even started(!), she participated in lab-based research at Hope with physics professor Dr. Jennifer Hampton. During the fall semester, Anna continued her physics research and participated in Hope’s Phage Discovery program. Students in this program do microbiological and molecular research to isolate, identify and investigate phages (viruses that infect bacteria.) They then share their discoveries in public databases used by researchers worldwide.

So, by the end of her first year, the Phage program had made Anna a bona fide researcher. What’s more, the program drew her into the biochemistry lab, where she discovered interests beyond physics.

Today in the lab, Anna is conducting research that will benefit mental health treatment. She studies rats that have been exposed to a derivative of homocysteine, a chemical found in higher concentration in the blood of individuals with neuropsychiatric disorders. She then determines if these rats respond better to lithium, a common treatment for bipolar disorder, or ketamine, a common treatment for depression. Using Western blots, Anna also studies how the proteins in the rats’ brains changed. The goal is to better understand the neurochemical changes associated with neuropsychiatric disorders.

“Even though things don’t always work the first time, it’s such an amazing feeling when things go right or everything falls together,” says Anna. “Procedures don’t always go well, but this is a universal part of science, and there is such a supportive environment here since everyone is going through the same thing.”

On any given day, Anna’s work is varied and well-supported, thanks to the active summer research community at Hope. She may be running tests in the lab, examining published research in her area, presenting her own findings to faculty and students or participating in weekly seminars. And, with programs like Chemistry Club’s Tuesday night beach picnics, she’s having fun with others her share her interests.

At Hope, you’ll hear a lot about collaborative student-faculty research. You’ll also hear about opportunities to participate in graduate-school-style research. Anna Lunderberg is making the most of both of these, and in the process making Hope a better and more interesting place.

The First Snow Has Arrived!

The first snow always brings two sentiments to the students. The first one is comforting, because snow makes campus even more beautiful and it creates the true Christmas atmosphere. Especially with all the Christmas lights around campus starting to shine. The second feeling is negative. The first snow is a clear sign of a beginning of a long and cold winter. In the theme of cold and long winter here are three important tips to keep on mind, which makes long and cold winter in Michigan more livable.

1. Wear a winter a heat or beanie.

Believe or not, wearing a winter hat is one of the most important things to wear while being outside during extremely low temperatures, and still a lot of people do not do it. More than 50% of the whole body heat leaves through the head, if one does not wear a hat or a beanie. It makes a major difference in keeping body warm.

Picture is clear. Wear a winter hat!
Picture is clear. Wear a winter hat!

2. Dress in layers.

Dressing in multiple layers is the best way to keep as much heat as possible. Firstly, it creates multiple “zones” or “barriers” which the heat needs to beat to leave the body. It is better to have three or four different layers than one heavy sweater under the jacket. Secondly, due to quick weather changes in Michigan, the temperatures are changing all the time, which causes students  to dress warmly for their first class, but after the class they feel hot because the sun came out. If a student is wearing a multiple layers, one can just put one or two layers in the school bag and feel comfortable.

This is what dressing in layers means graphically.
This is what dressing in layers means graphically.

3. Drink a lot of water!

Yes, during winter people do not sweat, but the body is made up from more than 70% of water. Because of this, people lose a lot of water by simply breathing and from the steam that comes from their mouth. Many people do not realize these facts, which results in dehydration without even knowing it. So drinking plenty of water in winter is as important as doing it during the summer time.

Drinking a lot of water in winter is extremely important, despite the fact that people do not sweat.
Drinking a lot of water in winter is extremely important, despite the fact that people do not sweat.

Celebration of Research

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that Hope College would have research opportunities for Accounting majors, but then again, that’s the beauty of Hope. One of my accounting professors contacted me last spring asking if I would have a desire to apply for a Frost Research Grant to study the Affordable Health Care Act and its impact on our tax system. My professor knew that I had an interest in going to law school, and that having research experience would separate me from my peers. Several weeks later, after applying for funding, we learned that we had received the grant, and that our summer would be filled with court cases, survey design, Human Subjects Review Board, and abstract writing.

Working as an undergraduate research assistant was a great experience. I found it challenging and rewarding all at the same time. It was challenging to learn about survey design and how to correctly ask questions. Even after analyzing my survey results, I can’t say that I perfectly asked my questions. But at the end of the day, it’s such a cool thing to say that I’ve designed my own research project.

Fast forward a year to last Friday, when I participated in the Celebration of Undergraduate Research. All Hope College students who either have research grants or have completed research for class present their projects. It was so exciting to see so many of my fellow classmates and friends presenting their hard work. And who can know – maybe in twenty years one of those people will be famous for some great discovery, which started at Hope!

If you have more questions about participating in undergraduate research please don’t hesitate to email me at I’m so thankful for the opportunity that Hope gave me to learn about an issue that is so important in today’s political arena (and business world). Not only did I learn academic knowledge, but I also learned the importance of being an informed and engaged citizen – both of which are important!

Celebration of Research
Celebration of Research
Research Poster
Research Poster


Hello Hello Helloooo!

I am Forrest, the newest Blogger and I’d like to share with everyone what I have been working on during these cold, icy days.

Budgetting! Woooooo. NO MORE IMPULSE BUYING.big_9424e990d16d234fe3c61b02c4a3fc4a6471a006

It is important to always remember to be proactive about your bank accounts everyone.

I would like to spend a few moments and confess that shopping therapy is my favorite kind of therapy during weeks when exams and papers dominate my life.  My philosophy is: “TREAT YO SELF” moments are important to remaining healthy and motivated.  Going out occasionally for an ice cream or a dinner at the CityVu Bistro (such a nice view of Holland) can really make a rough day more relaxing.  However, I am often prone to making these special nights on my own or with my girlfriend the new standard and am tempted, making every night possible a “TREAT YO SELF” moment therefore destroying the special value behind the experience.  So here are some tips on how I analyze my spending habits and not have to worry about paying for emergency laptop repairs.


Yeah, simple right? I am pretty lazy and I personally do not like having to go to the ATM to withdraw cash, but I have found that if I leave my debit/credit card(s) at home, I’m forced into a position where I must count the pennies leaving my pocket rather than just swiping the card. You feel the weight of your wallet lighten with each day and it forces you to reconsider whether that 4-dollar coffee from your local coffee shop is really worth 4 dollars (buy a coffee machine, you save so much after the initial cost of purchase). By limiting yourself to a certain amount of cash per ATM visit, you can successfully save 70% of your paycheck for something bigger than coffee and before you know it, you’ll have the purchasing power to pay off student debts, fix your car, buy books, or invest in a personal hobby.


So, now you are a student, but it is never too early to build your FICO score. Credit cards may have a bad rap, but keep in mind the people that are giving credit cards a hard time probably don’t know how to use one. Credit cards have many benefits to college students, “Discover” often do not require a FICO score and will give 5% cashback opportunities on purchases for gas or office supplies. The only time credit companies will charge you is if you are late on your monthly statement. These “APR Fees” are usually slapped on top of the amount owed and can range between 16-24% so pay those bills on time to avoid the late fee! Keep in mind some credit cards will require annual fees, do not get those. You’re a student; bootstrap your capital, there are plenty of credit companies that do not require you to pay a fee.

Here are some nice tips:

  • Don’t get too many credit cards, just stick to one, maybe two as credit companies will become wary about your intentions and it could hurt your FICO score in the long run.
  • Do not spend more than 20% of your credit limit within a month
  • Just use your credit card to build credit score, it will pay off if there is ever a day you wake up in Botswana and your bank account is frozen and you need to pay for an emergency plane ticket back.

Nerdwallet is a nice website to learn more about credit cards.

3. ANALYZE PURCHASES MADE ON YOUR CARDS is my best friend. I have it on my phone and I check on it every evening before I sleep to make sure I have not overspent during the day. Go ahead and take a look, it’s slim UI helps you budget your spending and attach your debit/credit accounts for free. It also has a cool pie graph to show where your money went.

The library

Hello fellas,

So we, as Hope College students, just left the Fall Break behind. As I mentioned before, I’m terribly homesick and therefore cannot really focus on the stuff I am supposed to be focusing on; unfortunately that involves classes. This break, I meant to complete my Middle East Politics portfolio, study for Economics and write my essay for Calculus. Yes, I need to write a paper on a class is is entirely based on numerics

Spent hours in this position…

.Hence, I am constantly torn between clinomania and polyphagia.

My biggest goal was to get a jump start on my research that I will be conducting next semester as an independent study. Of course after countless hours of procrastination, I just ended up with taking notes on Ben Ali and psychotic features of an average dictator, looking into Arab Spring’s Egypt branch and even reading dozens of news articles on democratization of Middle East. S/O to BBC, I would not get anything done without your wisdom and generosity for world news.

So with a great appetite for learning, researching and salted caramel gelato, I found myself at Van Wylen library at 2 PM on a Friday, technically right around when my Fall Break has started. Now, before you jump to conclusions, let me make it clear that I do have a legitimate social life and friends; I, sometimes, happen to choose silence of books over “OH MY GOD IT’S FRIDAY, LET’S TURN UP!!!!!!!!!!” craziness and loud Spotify House Mix songs that my housemates put together. (If you guys are reading this, love you all, more than life itself)

Anywho, so I found myself at the library, trying to put together my research question in my mind without sounding like brain- removed version of Christiane Amanpour. As I approached the “Research Help Desk” on the first floor, two young ladies who seemed like their greatest pleasure in life is helping me, asked me what I was looking for. I started blurbing keywords and with the whitest smile I’ve seen, one of them said “Here I found a few books.” Yeah, she found all 59 of them.

To eliminate, we both sat down and went through what the library’s search engine left us with. After narrowing down the list to 8 books, we decided that I need more subject specific material. So, this lovely lady sat down with me for another half- hour to look for books on MeLCat which is the Michigan eLibrary database and helped me choose other 3 books (two of them being in Turkish) about Islam, Arab Spring and Politics. She also ordered one -just in case- from Western Seminary. I put my phone number and email down, so she could email me the book list and TEXT ME when the books get here. Also, because I am difficult, I asked her if I could order this particular book online through Hope’s library system eventhough it cannot be found in any other libraries- she noted the book down before I finished my sentence and told me it should be here soon.

As she was walking me upstairs (because I am such a baby) to show me the exact spot for these books we just looked up, I asked her if we could order a couple of videos and just with a glance she said “Oh no problem, I will pull those up for you.” What is life…

This lovely with a huge smile dropped me off on the third floor right between the Middle East politics and Asian Politics section. She showed me how to read the labels and told me that she will email me the ebooks as soon as possible. I got the email 5 minutes after she went back to her spot.

So there I was reading one of my 8 books that we pulled up, wondering if it would be okay if I spend the night there. There is something about that library, I’m telling you. It is soothing but it is also like a stimulant for your brain. Did not even realize that it was kind of getting dark until I actually looked out one of the many windows that oversees the Hogwarts-like part of the campus. Thought it is time to leave and checked out the books on the first floor, as I walked out of the building, half- heartedly.


Update: Today is Wednesday (the day Fall Break ended) and I got all my books that we ordered on Friday (the day Fall Break started).


Looking Forward to Summer

How time flies! Crazy to think that tomorrow is the last day of classes for my junior year. In some ways I feel sad that the year is coming to an end. These past several months have been filled with so many great memories: Bible studies, exciting classes, date nights, new friendships, reuniting with old friends, IM games to watch, a proposal, and laughter. While I know that I will miss all of these great times during the summer, there are also things to be excited for in the coming months:

  1. Rest and Relaxation: Being at college is pretty fun; however, being at college is exhausting. All those nights staying up late studying or hanging out with friends catches up to you. So, it’s wonderful to go home and enjoy some rest, Netflix, or a good book!
  2. Chick-Fil-A: While Michigan is a pretty great place, they don’t have Chick-Fil-A. And, being from Texas, I have a slight addiction to CFA iced tea and nuggets. So, let me tell you, I can’t wait to be home and eating at my favorite place again!
  3. Time with Family: It is true, Hope College is like one big family, but sometimes you just need to go home and see your parents (enjoy mom’s cooking).
  4. Baseball Games: I know that the Rangers aren’t the popular team in Michigan, but, you’ve got to admit, there’s nothing like spending a summer night at the baseball field.
  5. Internship/Research Opportunities: Hope College does a great job of helping students apply for, and accept, internships or research positions. For example, this summer, I have been offered a research position where I will work with one professor to complete a project.
  6. Pets: As I’ve sad, college really is great, but one downfall of college is you can’t take your dog. I love going home and playing with my puppy. She’s always full of energy…sometimes a little too much energy!
  7. Motivation to Come Back: Summer is great, but I know that I get a little bored after a couple weeks. Around July, you’ll be shocked at how excited you are to return to school.

I hope all of you finish out the school year strong! Good luck during exam week! Study hard and once you’re home, enjoy your summer break!

Meet the Coolest 3D Printer

This week was pretty easy for me. Both of my engineering labs were cancelled because of the winter break, so I did not have any lab or report on Thursday. Technically, I just had two school days this week. I also realized what my life was gonna be without labs. This was called a real life 🙂

Last week, the TA in my lab told me that everyone could use the 3D printer in the engineering lab. I was thrilled to know that because operating a 3D printer was so amazing! I never saw a real one before. If you do not understand the significance of this, then let me try to explain this. 3D printers get very popular in recent years. They are not just used for demonstration or teaching; many universities even made it possible to print skeleton and bones for medical uses. In short, 3D printing is a cutting-edge technology. That also means, the printers are ridiculously expensive. Sometimes, the 3D printing materials are way more expensive than many high-end laser printers. It is hard for an individual to afford that. As far as I know, we have about two 3D printers in Hope College. One of them is the guy I used, which was relatively cheaper, and the other one is mysterious… I know nothing about that. It is sure that the other one should be extremely precise, and it is only used for research purposes.

Anyway, it was a great chance to operate the magic 3D printer.

3D Printer

I planned to make a key chain tag at the beginning. However, things always happened in a different way… The product was too big… Apparently, we can call it a disk.

2014-02-12 18.50.01

This “little” guy took me one hour to print it. It was hard to believe. I also record a video to introduce the lab and this printer. It was very unofficial and informal because I made the video just for fun at the beginning.

The final product was all right. I learned how that machine worked after designing and printing the “pancake” by myself. I think it is so cool to be an engineer now 🙂

I will write another post later about my college life (of course, unnerdy version) later this weekend. There will still be many beautiful pictures that I took this week. Keep following and enjoy this weekend.

Summer Research: Trips, Lab Family, and Fun!

Scientific Lab Cousins
Scientific Lab Cousins

I have neglected to tell you about my fabulous summer right here in Holland, Michigan. As a third year researcher at Hope, this summer was my ultimate time to grow in the lab. I was blessed to receive the Wolterink Prize in Biology in the Spring of 2013 for an upperclassman student that shows promise in research, funding me for a summer research position here at Hope. I had already applied to do research with Dr. Fraley (my lab mentor) for the summer, so it was perfect! He was happy that I was paid for, and I was happy that I for sure got a spot!

I was joined by three other students (all current seniors) in the lab for the summer, and boy did we have a blast. Working on multiple studies, we focused on progressing our projects and delving into the research we are not able to progress much on during the academic year. We worked on GnIH rat studies, cannulizing different locations of the hypothalamus to determine what the affect of GnIH is on feeding behaviors, behavioral duck studies, and a brand new water study on ducks that is technically TOP SECRET.

When thinking about research, it’s really a two way street. What can the student do for the mentor (of course- putting in the work and learning the material) but also what the mentor can do for the student. Teaching a scientist how to do science is NOT EASY. As new members come into our lab, veteran members are constantly learning how to best teach and mentor the new members. I give Dr. Fraley such credit for doing this 365 days a year for consistently new lab members.

Also, mentors give you CONNECTIONS. One of the most powerful things Dr. Fraley has done for us (other than teaching us science, and how to conduct science), is bringing us to national conferences and introducing us to elite members of the scientific community.

We had two AWESOME opportunities this summer to really get to know some of the top members in the poultry field.  The first event was a research conference at Maple Leaf Farms Co. to introduce the executives at MLF to the research and potential research that can be done to improve the poultry industry and standards they use daily.

Alexis Presenting for Maple Leaf FarmsAlexis Presenting for Maple Leaf Farms

Two of our lab members presented posters at MLF, and two of us did 15 minute presentations on our research. I happened to give a 15 minute presentation and BOY was a I NERVOUS. Standing in front of experts in your field and presenting on your findings is quite intimidating. However, the crowd was very receptive, interested, and asked GREAT questions that really helped me improve my research goals and define the next steps in my project.
The second event was a week-long trip to San Diego, California to attend the American Poultry Association Yearly Meeting.
We met an incredible amount of scientists, PhD and Masters Students and it was a great time to learn not only about other research but about possible careers in the sciences. You can read about graduate schools and opportunities there, but hearing it first-hand from students attending these schools is really a great resource.
2 generations of Poultry Scientists
2 generations of Poultry Scientists

At both conferences, we got to meet up with our “Lab Uncle and cousins,” Dr. Fraley’s colleague Dr. Michael Lilburn and his students. It was fun to pretend they were our “Lab Family.”

Grandma and the Fraley Lab
The Fraley Lab with Grandma!

We also met Dr. Fraley’s lab mentor and his wife! We had been anticipating meeting our “grandma and grandpa” for weeks before our conferences. When our “lab grandma” approached, she really surprised us by screaming, “ITS ME!!! GRANDMA!!!!” We definitely got a kick out of that.

Old Town San Diego

Of course our days weren’t only spent inside learning science and talking to colleagues. We got to do some site-seeing, mostly in Old Town San Diego. It was fantastic! With little shops, restaurants and performers, it was a great way to experience San Diego for the first time.

Old Town San Diego
Sightseeing in San Diego Old Town
Dr. Mamduh Sifri who joined us both in Indiana and San Diego
Dr. Mamduh Sifri who joined us both in Indiana and San Diego

While at the national conference, Chelsea Campbell and I presented yet again. This time, we did a 10 minute presentation with 5 minutes for questions from the audience. At the end of the conference, we got awards for our quality presentations. We were even featured on KnowHope later that week!

Fabulous Four In San Diego
Fabulous Four In San Diego

Though the summer was fun, of course, time goes on. Soon, I’ll fill you in on the Van Andel Institute conference we attended with new members of our lab. I am really proud of our new members who are really acclimating well and making great advances on our projects.

The Fraley Lab at VAI for WMRUGS 2013
The Fraley Lab at VAI for WMRUGS 2013

If you have any questions about summer research, or research at Hope, feel free to email me at or tweet me @hopeamanda15.