Students co-authored the peer-reviewed article

July 9, 2024

Three Hampden-Sydney College students and McGavacks biology professor Michael Wolyniak co-authored a peer-reviewed paper published in Essays in biochemistry.

Impressive scholarship is a hallmark of Hampden-Sydney as students and faculty engage in significant, cutting-edge research. This collaborative approach continually brings research into the classroom, enriching the professional and academic experiences of both students and faculty. Last semester Henry Loehr ’24, Bo Frazier ’26AND Pierce Gemborys ’25 collaborated with biology professor McGavacks Michal Wolyniak be a co-author of a scientific article published in a journal Biochemistry Essays.

“This article was a collaborative effort between these three students enrolled in the Genomics and Bioinformatics major (BIOL 313 A),” Wolyniak said. “It allowed me to make research and writing part of the course, which was a fantastic way for these students to gain a unique perspective on how formal science communication is conducted. We always try to include our students in our formal science activities, so it was exciting to be able to do this with them.”

In addition to her role as professor, Dr. Wolyniak serves as director of the Office of Student Research, which aims to facilitate and support students in conducting and sharing impactful research. By integrating research into the classroom, she provides students with valuable hands-on experience, equipping them with the knowledge and skills that the College aims to provide.

“The life sciences research at Hampden-Sydney is unparalleled,” Bo said. “Here, you’re not a research assistant in a graduate student’s lab; you’re directing your own projects. That means your name is on the front of your published papers, not the back, showing that Hampden-Sydney’s undergraduate research is at the forefront.”

Here, you are not a research assistant in a postgraduate lab; you are in charge of your own projects. This means your name is on the front of published papers, not on the back, showing that your undergraduate research at Hampden-Sydney is front and center.

Bo Frazier ’26

Research conducted at the College demonstrates a commitment to cultivating a hands-on learning environment in which students actively contribute to impactful scientific topics. Participation in real-life scenarios exposes students to future possibilities while integrating the College into diverse areas of research and membership.

“This article is part of the entire issue Biochemistry Essays written by members of the MDH CURES Community (MCC), a consortium of which Hampden-Sydney has been a member since 2017,” Wolyniak said. “MCC uses malate dehydrogenase as a model protein to design course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) at each school in the consortium. This project allows Hampden-Sydney students to engage in a large-scale protein biochemistry research project with collaborators from across the country. Our paper is one of the few in the collection in which the undergraduate authors contributed directly to both the research and writing.”

As undergraduate research in the College continues to expand, new and exciting opportunities for collaborative research abound. With dedicated faculty and ambitious students, the potential for knowledge and achievement is limitless.

Read the full scientific article: Malate dehydrogenase: a history of diverse evolutionary radiation

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