Fall 2012, Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 quarters
- James Neitzel biology, biochemistry
- Fields of Study
- Preparatory for studies or careers in
- biochemistry, alternative energy, health sciences.
Rigorous quantitative and qualitative research is an important component of academic learning in Scientific Inquiry. This independent learning opportunity allows advanced students to delve into real-world research with faculty who are currently engaged in specific projects. Students typically begin by working in apprenticeship with faculty or laboratory staff and gradually take on more independent projects within the context of the specific research program as they gain experience. Students can develop vital skills in research design, data acquisition and interpretation, written and oral communication, collaboration, and critical thinking that are valuable for students pursuing a graduate degree or entering the job market.
Jim Neitzel (biochemistry) uses methods from organic and analytical chemistry to study biologically interesting molecules. A major focus of his current work is on fatty acids; in particular, finding spectroscopic and chromatographic methods to identify fatty acids in complex mixtures and to detect changes that occur in fats during processing or storage. This has relevance both for foods as well as in biodiesel production. The other major area of interest is in plant natural products, such as salicylates. Work is in process screening local plants for the presence of these molecules, which are important plant defense signals. Work is also supported in determining the nutritional value of indigenous plants. Students with a background and interest in organic, analytical, or biochemistry could contribute to this work.
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