Real Scientists

Josh Trotter

For about two years now,
Albright has been busy researching
the causes and effects of the
HRV, or human rhinovirus, better
known as the common cold.
As with any research concerning
viruses, samples must be
obtained in order for a scientist
to study them – live samples
are the best. Albright is currently
concentrating on strains of HRV
in Lawrence’s campus population,
collecting live samples from people
who are currently hosting the
virus.
These “nasal lavages,” the
technical term for booger samples,
are then sent off to another laboratory
that sequences the virus’ RNA.
Yet what Albright, along with
her mentor, Associate Professor of
Chemistry David Hall, is concerned
about deals more with the host’s
reaction to HRV than the actual
RNA sequence of the virus.
Specifically, Albright is
researching the cause behind the
exacerbation of HRV in people
with asthma compared to those
without.
Before Albright ever considered
going around campus swabbing
the inside of people’s noses,
she arrived at Lawrence wanting
to be a chemistry major. And after
a year of intro chemistry and biology
classes she decided that she
wanted to do research.
Alrbright was given the opportunity
to assist Professor Hall in
his virology research for her summer
before sophomore year and
the following year she finally realized,
“Oh, this is pretty much all
just biochemistry stuff, so I’ll just
be a biochem major.”
“It was fascinating!” exclaimed
Albright.
Research will definitely be a
dominant goal in Albright’s future.
She would like to be either a
professor or ultimately a senior
researcher.
This summer, Albright has
been accepted to research at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison
where she will be delving deeper
into the field of virology. Though
she does not know the specific
topic of research, she is covering
all her bases through even more
collaboration with Professor Hall.
“He’s teaching me cloning
techniques so I can clone myself –
well, bacteria actually, plasmids,”
explained Albright. “Cloning is,
more or less, just copying DNA.
It’s not like I could clone a sheep
or something.”
Albright is also learning techniques
of flow cytometry, “which is
just really advanced cell counting.”
Flow cytometry is a technique
that allows for analysis of cells’
physical and chemical characteristics
using powerful machines
capable of processing thousands
of particles per seconds.
Needless to say Albright
spends, “an ungodly amount of
time in the lab,” but when she’s
not working she has participates
on Lawrence’s Quizbowl team and,
until this year, has been a member
of Viking Chorale.
She has also read nearly all
the Calvin & Hobbes anthologies.
Said Albright, “I would say that
Calvin is an inspiration except that
I disagree with most of the things
he does – except for the Snowman
House of Horror.

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