Building a Research Footprint

When Kristen Barwick chose the University of Missouri, her primary goal was to get into a research laboratory. Barwick enjoyed biology and chemistry in high school and became interested in research after listening to a teacher describe their research endeavors.

“I didn’t even know research was an option until my senior year of high school,” said Barwick, a junior biochemistry major from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. “I’m big on asking questions and I love learning. Research gives me the opportunity to do both.”

The Freshman Research in Plants (FRIPS) Program led her to the lab of Antje Heese, an associate professor of biochemistry, where Barwick works with bacteria to create an antibody that helps locate proteins to be used in further research.

Barwick, thanks in part to Heese’s mentorship, received two national awards this summer: the highly competitive American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), and a National Science Foundation (NSF) travel grant from the 2022 Plant Cell Biology International Conference in Greece, where she presented her research in August.

“I knew both were a possibility, but I never dreamed I would be in this position,” said Barwick, an MU Honors College student. “I love working in Dr. Heese’s lab, and the fellowship will allow me to not only continue to do so, but also build my own research footprint. Being able to travel to Greece was an amazing experience as well.”

Barwick also received funding for the trip to Greece from the MU Douglas D. Randall Young Scientists Development Fund and the MU Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG). The IPG is one of The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Programs of Distinction.

“Kristen’s success underlines the critical nature of undergraduate research experiences and fellowships at MU that are so critical for our students to be competitive for fellowships at the national level,” Heese said.

This blog is reposted from Show Me Mizzou