UMA Students participated in MDI Biological Laboratory Workshop

UMA students participated in a three-week hybrid research workshop at MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor

UMA Student Minjoo Kim (MDIBL)

This spring, six University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) students were selected from a large field of candidates to take part in three-week course focusing on Bridging Disciplines: The Impacts of exposure to toxic substances on health, regenerative capacity, and aging, an exciting educational opportunity through the MDI Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) in Bar Harbor. The online and in-person research course focused on interdisciplinary approaches to biomedical research.

The UMA students participating in the program were Hillary Nash of Portland and Jade Rego of Alna, both Nursing Majors, Leslie Tibbetts of Bar Harbor, a Veterinary Technology Major, and Kyia Bryant of Augusta, Minjoo Kim of Busan, South Korea, and Jieun Yun of South Korea all Biology Majors. UMA Professor Juyoung Shim, University of Southern Maine Professor Douglas Currie, and MDIBL Education Director, Jane Disney co-directed the course.

As part of this course, the UMA students performed in-class/hands-on experiments at the UMA Bangor Campus laboratory using Planaria, as an animal model system, to study the effects of various chemicals (ranging from alcohol, nicotine, aspirin, dimethyl sulfoxide, lithium chloride, and arsenic contaminated well-water). They examined how these chemicals affect animals’ behavior and mobility changes. They also conducted regeneration biology by using a microscope to observe Planaria’s ability to regenerate under the exposure to these chemicals.

“In addition to the hands-on research experiments, students received lectures and training from experts in various areas of biomedical research, including molecular biology, microscopy, aging biology, CRISPR techniques, bioethics, environmental advocacy and toxicology and regeneration biology,” stated Dr. Shim.

According to the MDIBL, this course sought to create a community of “learners who are interested in toxicology and impacts of chemical contaminants on human health, regenerative capacity, and aging.”

This type of research opportunity provides experiential learning to UMA students and is beneficial for those pursuing graduate studies or health professions upon graduation.

Subsequent to the course, Minjoo Kim presented arsenic exposure results at the UMA Student Research Conference. Additionally, Minjoo Kim, Jieun Yun, and Kyia Bryant, presented their work at the Annual Maine Biological and Medical Sciences Symposium (MBMSS) in April.

In addition to Dr. Shim, Dr. Currie, and Dr. Disney, Abby Roche with the University of Maine participated as a faculty member.

UMA’s Biology majors graduate with a broad spectrum of career options. Many graduates obtain positions in laboratory science in both the public and private sectors and in education, while others successfully pursue graduate study in the biological sciences, medical school, and in allied health programs leading to careers as physicians’ assistants or pharmacists. Learn more about the UMA Biology program.

Additional Information

About MDI Biological Laboratory – “The MDI Biological Laboratory is a rapidly growing, independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution. Its mission is to improve human health and well-being through basic research, education, and development ventures that transform discoveries into cures.” For additional information, please visit: