Six pairs of student-faculty research teams have received Whitman’s Abshire Research Scholar Awards for the spring 2013 semester. They will study in wide-ranging subject areas, from  brain cells and pollen development to gun use in the U.S. and the impact of geologic changes on the native peoples of the Aleutian Islands.

Since 1981, Abshire Awards have financed undergraduate research projects, providing Whitman students with the unique opportunity to conduct in-depth research under the guidance and mentorship of faculty. The award was established by alumnus Alfred D. Abshire ’45 in memory of his wife, Sally Ann.  Professors nominate students to participate in the program, and projects are selected on the basis of merit. The Whitman Parents Fund also contributes funding.

Listed below are the recipients of this semester’s awards along with a brief description of their research projects. Check the Whitman website later this semester for project updates.

Nancy Forsthoefel, research specialist, and Kendra Klag ’13, a BBMB major from Portland, Ore.: Arabidopsis Genome Initiative, 2000.

Leena Knight, assistant professor of biology, and biology major Calvin Atkins ’13: Exploring modulators of neural signaling, receptor-based cell signaling pathways and osmoregulators.

Jason Pribilsky, associate professor of anthropology, and Evan Griffis ’15, an anthropology major from Vancouver, Wash.: Research project addressing gun use in the United States.

Dan Vernon, professor of biology, and Rachel Reiter ’13, a biology major from Bend, Ore.: Using confocal microscopy to document the functions of three genes in developing pollen.

Chris Wallace, Dr. Robert F. Welty Associate Professor of Biology, and Joshua Melander ’14, a music performance major from Portland, Ore.: Examining the cellular mechanisms by which information from individual experience is stored in the form of physical changes in the structure of brain cells.