Scientist of the Week

Caitlin Williamson

Junior biology major Bryce Schuler is currently doing research on the characteristics of cells in people with asthma and those without. As a pre-med student, Schuler’s work is part of a research project with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dave Hall.”We’re looking at different sources of asthma,” Schuler said. “We collect white blood cells from humans and we stimulate the cells using different types of viruses. We look at how stimulated cells produce specific chemical signaling in proteins, and how those differ from asthmatics and non-asthmatics. The hypothesis is that there would be noticeable differences.”

Schuler began his research during winter term of his sophomore year. He became interested in the project after he participated in a research study with another student by donating blood.

“I got involved in the process, and [Professor Hall] invited me to work on the project,” Schuler said. “I’m pre-med, so things involving the immune system are of obvious interest.”

Schuler, currently conducting the research as an independent study, will next year continue it as part of an honor’s project. He will also be staying in Appleton over the summer to continue working on the project.

“The hardest part is to realize that when you’re doing research, it’s a continuous process. You might have results that point to certain conclusions-but it’s really a process that takes a lot of time,” Schuler said. “There are a lot of roadblocks in the way, so recognizing that the effort doesn’t always produce the desired outcome can be difficult, but when your results look nice it’s very [rewarding].”

This spring, Schuler will be taking his MCATS in hopes of attending medical school after graduation in 2009. “After I’m done practicing medicine, my goal is to teach in medical school,” Schuler said.

Schuler particularly enjoys the biological sciences because of how they explain things that happen in the body.

“The natural sciences are interesting because they explain everyday phenomena. Biology is the most interesting to me because it’s important to our well-being,” Schuler said. “By understanding the biological reactions that go on in the body, we can take that further to develop treatments for disease, and I find that fascinating.

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