Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 7, 2009

Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference April 25 to Showcase Whitworth, Gonzaga Students' Original Research

This fall, Whitworth students Dan Raible and Daniel Repsold conducted research on the possible effects of exercise on stroke victims' brains. Due to the expensive equipment required, few undergraduates in the U.S. are able to perform such research. Raible was able to obtain a key piece of machinery, an imaging device called a transcranial doppler, from his father, who works for the company that manufactures them. Raible also conducted an internship last summer with Andrei Alexandrov, a professor of neurology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham who is an international leader in the use of neurosonology and nanotechnology in stroke evaluation and treatment.

Raible and Repsold's findings could help further understanding of the ramifications of moderate exercise on stroke survivors, which is critical because strokes are a leading cause of long-term disability, and survivors often are encouraged to exercise to prevent them from developing a sedentary lifestyle.

Raible and Repsold will be two of more than 120 Whitworth and Gonzaga undergraduate students from a number of academic disciplines who plan to present their original research April 25 during the Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference at Whitworth University.

The conference is open to the public and will take place Saturday, April 25, from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., in Whitworth's Weyerhaeuser Hall. During the conference, students will give oral and poster presentations based on research conducted in disciplines including biology, chemistry, computer science, math, engineering physics, education, English, French, Spanish, journalism, philosophy, theology, history, political science, psychology, sociology, marketing and theatre. Each of the students has been mentored by a faculty scholar; some of the students have been participating in faculty research projects funded by outside grants.

The conference will include a luncheon for the presenters, their guests, and faculty sponsors that will be held at noon in the Multipurpose Room of the Hixson Union Building. The luncheon will feature an address by David Adams, a 1989 Whitworth alumnus who is now a staff clinician at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

For more information about the conference, please visit www.whitworth.edu/sirc.

The Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference provides an opportunity for students to do what their professors and other academics do as an integral part of their jobs: conduct original research and present it for scrutiny and critique by others in their disciplines.

"Participation in this conference helps prepare student researchers for graduate school or professional careers and clearly helps them stand out from other candidates," says Peter Tucker, associate professor of computer science at Whitworth. "Students who attend the conference learn about new topics and find out what a conference environment is like, so that they might conduct their own research at the next conference."

David Adams, the conference's guest speaker, majored in English and met the pre-medicine requirements as an undergraduate student at Whitworth. He then earned a B.S. in biology at the University of Washington. He entered the UW School of Medicine in 1991 and transitioned to the M.D./Ph.D. program in 1992. He completed his Ph.D. in the department of molecular biotechnology (now genome sciences) in 1998 and completed his M.D. in 2000. He completed a pediatric chief residency at the University of Maryland in Baltimore in 2004. In 2005, he began a genetics and biochemical genetics residency at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Md., where he now works as a staff clinician.

Adams' research focuses on sialic acid glycobiology, glycosphingolipid storage disorders and oculocutaneous albinism (OCA). He has recently begun a clinical protocol that brings volunteer participants with OCA to the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health. Participants are evaluated clinically, and they provide research materials to further the study of the natural history, biology and genetics of albinism.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Kathryn Picanco, assistant professor of education, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3459 or kpicanco@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

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