BETHANY, W.Va. – A Bethany College biology professor and a senior biochemistry major have been selected to participate in WV-INBRE summer research programs.
Dr. Karen Kormuth, assistant professor of biology, joined Bethany in 2019 as an expert in infectious disease transmission.
During her post-doctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, she studied the impact of airway mucus on the stability of influenza viruses in the air and on surfaces. Her work has been published in several impactful journals, including The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Nature Microbiology, and mSphere.
At Bethany, she is continuing her research with her undergraduate students using non-infectious bacteriophage in place of influenza viruses.
This summer, Kormuth will conduct her research under the mentorship of Dr. John Noti, chief of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Laboratory, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Morgantown, W.Va.
She will test the effectiveness of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, or UVGI, on inactivation of influenza viruses. UVGI is a technique that takes advantage of ultraviolet light to kill pathogens instead of chemical disinfectants.
“We want to better understand how this method can be applied to reduce the risk of influenza transmission,” Kormuth said.
Courtney Walker, of Moundsville, W.Va., is among the 28 undergraduates participating in the WV-INBRE Summer Research Program. The interns are placed at either West Virginia University or Marshall University.
She will conduct her research under the mentorship of Dr. Bob Goodman, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at WVU’s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.
She will study the effects of specific peptides on the neuroendocrine system’s role in ovulation.
“I get to participate in the process of brain surgeries and ovariectomies in female sheep,” Walker said. “This INBRE program will help me toward my goal of becoming a veterinarian by giving me experience that others may have not received during their undergraduate studies.”
The program will run through July 27, when students will present their work at the Summer Research Symposium at Marshall University.
Seventeen interns will conduct their research at WVU and 11 at Marshall. The interns represent 11 of the 13 primarily undergraduate institutions in the WV-INBRE network.
Dr. Sally L. Hodder, director of the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Research Institute and professor of medicine at WVU, will serve as the keynote speaker at the research symposium.
ABOUT BETHANY COLLEGE
Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.