Posted on Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Meet Emily Huff ’24, one of 10 students selected for a 2023 Summer Research Fellowship. Emily is a senior biochemistry major from New Wilmington, Pa. She and her faculty mentor, Dr. Marosh Furimsky, associate professor of biology, spent their summer months studying the effect of bisphenol F on development and gene expression in zebrafish. Outside of the classroom, Emily is a member of the Chemistry Club, Pre-Vet Society and Lambda Sigma.
Why did you apply for the Summer Research Fellowship?
I applied for the Drinko Summer Research Fellowship to gain research experience as well as to be able to start my capstone research.
Can you briefly describe your research project?
I first studied the early development of zebrafish from 0 to 7 days post fertilization. Once I was familiar with the stages, I exposed zebrafish to varying levels of bisphenol F, a common environmental toxin. I compared a control group from the same batch of zebrafish embryos to the exposed groups. I documented all of the groups using pictures and measurements. These measurements included the lengths of the chorions (the shell type part), the zebrafish once they hatched, the pericardial sacs, and the eye diameter. I compared the pictures and measurements of the two groups over a seven-day timespan to see if there were any significant differences that were caused by the bisphenol F.
You collaborated with Dr. Marosh Furimsky. How was that experience and what kind of insight did he offer in your research?
Working with Dr. Furimsky was a great experience! He helped guide me in my research, but always ultimately left it up to me for what direction I wanted my research project to go in. He always answered all of my questions, and if he wasn’t sure, he looked into it with me. I learned everything from how to breed zebrafish to the development of zebrafish to how to care for adult zebrafish under Dr. Furimsky’s guidance this summer.
What is your favorite part about research?
My favorite part about my research this summer was to be able to do independent research. While I met with Dr. Furimsky almost every day to go over our goals and to update him on the progress of the zebrafish, I worked independently for the rest of the time. It was very different from my other lab experiences where we were constantly supervised by a professor and given a lab handout to follow. This summer fellowship allowed me to become more independent in the lab, which I think will be very useful in my future classes and profession.
How has your work as a student researcher shaped your student and future career success?
I think working as a student researcher will prove to be very valuable in my future classes and my future career. It gave me more confidence and experience that I will apply to both and will help me to be more successful.
What’s been your favorite thing about Westminster?
The professors. They are always willing to help! All the professors are very supportive and genuinely care about you as a student.
What are your future plans?
I plan to apply to veterinary school as well as to Ph.D. developmental biology programs.
To learn more about Westminster’s biochemistry major, visit www.westminster.edu/biochemistry.
Sponsored by the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, Summer Research Fellowships at Westminster College allow students to conduct hands-on research and creative projects under the guidance of our experienced faculty mentors.