McLaughlin Institute
  1. Student Volunteers 2020

    November 23, 2020 by admin


    Joseph Guter is a 2019 graduate from Great Falls High School and currently a sophomore at University of Chicago majoring in genetic engineering.  Joseph began working at MRI over the summers of 2018 and 2019 as one of the student interns working with Dr. Teresa Gunn and Dr. Mike Kavanaugh on SLC1A4 gene mutations that cause developmental and cognitive delays in children. As an intern, he learned a variety of techniques ranging from immunofluorescence to cloning to electrophysiology and characterized SLC1A4 mutations in a new transgenic mouse model. Joseph returned over the summer of 2020 and worked on a project funded by the State of Montana to develop and test a SARS-COV-2 pseudovirus system that can be used to assay antibodies for vaccine testing as well as drug development for therapies to prevent or treat infection.



    Wyatt Walters is a 2019 graduate of Central Catholic and currently a sophomore at University of Montana. Wyatt is majoring in Biology with an emphasis on human biological sciences. He is a part of the Davidson’s Honor College and the Frankie Global Initiative. Wyatt is on the pre-med track and hopes to become a pediatrician. During Wyatt’s time at the Institute, he was trained in testing memory deficits in transgenic mice carrying mutations that cause Alzheimer’s disease. Using spatial maze assays, memory can be tested in Alzheimer’s mice and the effects of new therapeutic drugs can be evaluated by testing their effect on navigation performance. Wyatt established baseline memory functions in a familial Alzheimer’s mouse model called 5XFAD and he also began work assessing memory deficits in a mouse model for frontotemporal dementia using the Y-maze.



    Renee Wanke, a 2016 graduate of Great Falls High School and a 2020 graduate of Washington University, is working in the laboratory of Dr. Mike Kavanaugh. Renee will be picking up Joseph’s SARS-Cov-2 project and Wyatt’s Y-maze analysis project.









    Sara Tarum is a 2018 graduate of Central Catholic School and a junior at University of Providence.  Sara joined the Institute as a volunteer in the summer of 2020.  Sara has proven to be a tremendous asset for Dr. Miranda Orr’s Alzheimer’s disease project.  Sara is involved in every aspect of this project including conducting behavioral assessment, entering data, assisting in tissue harvests, making solutions, shipping tissues and everything in between.







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