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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Honors College Undergraduate Gets Preview of Veterinary Research From Craig Lab

June 9th, 2014
Faculty Research Associate Jennifer Duringer and Dr. Morrie Craig congratulate Persia Neumann on her 'Best Poster' award.

Faculty Research Associate Jennifer Duringer and Dr. Morrie Craig congratulate Persia Neumann on her ‘Best Poster’ award.

As a student majoring in Animal Science in the OSU Honors College, Persia Neumann has had a diverse and challenging undergraduate experience so far. The Honors College encourages curiosity and creativity, and offers small, interactive classes taught by the university’s top professors. It also requires students to work on a research project in pursuit of a senior thesis.

Now finishing her third year, Neumann has been working in the Endophyte Testing Laboratory on the team of CVM Toxicology Professor Dr. Morrie Craig. On the surface, her job there might sound pretty mundane: she takes samples of cattle urine. Of course, there is more to it than that and Neumann is passionate about her work. “We took urine samples from cattle that were fed grass infected by a toxin-producing fungus, Mycotoxin lolitrem B. Then we essentially “pulled out” the toxin and the metabolic breakdown products using extraction techniques and ran the toxin remnants through a mass spectrometer. This showed us the concentrations of the toxin that were present in each cow’s urine,” she says. One goal of the project is to gain insight into the metabolism of Mycotoxin lolitrem B. Another goal is to use the data to compare different extraction techniques.

In addition to research, the OSU Endophyte Testing Laboratory  provides testing of pasture grasses for the presence of Mycotoxin lolitrem B to help livestock owners prevent outbreaks of a neuromuscular disease called Ryegrass Staggers.

Neumann’s career goal is to become a veterinarian, but probably not in general practice. “I am highly curious and motivated to tackle different disorders, diseases, and conditions through clinical or biomedical research,” she says. “My desire to help not few, but many, animals suffering from a wide range of diseases fuels my efforts in the pursuit of knowledge. I hope to make a lasting impact in the scientific community, and guide the development of future therapeutics.”

Dr. Craig is an enthusiastic supporter of undergraduate research. “Their enthusiasm for research, and science in general, always brings new perspectives in approaching our project objectives,” he says, “and it makes working together in the lab fun.”

For her work in the Craig lab, Neumann received the ‘Best Poster’ award for an undergraduate in the College of Agricultural Sciences.


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