Nutrition Science Major Completes Summer Research at Texas A&M

When junior Hannah Burgess attended an information session about summer research experiences earlier this year, she wasn’t sure what to expect. 

Many of the options in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates, or REU, program, are geared towards students studying chemistry or biochemistry. However, Hannah found a few options that could fit with her nutrition science studies.

When filling out the application, she knew that she didn’t have a lot of the classes other applicants had taken, such as organic chemistry, physics or advanced biochemistry, and she wasn’t optimistic about her chances. However, she soon heard from the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that she was accepted into a REU in the Department of Nutrition & Food Science.

Hannah made the 22-hour drive to Texas for a 10-week program working in the lab of Dr. Yuxiang Sun studying the satiety hormone ghrelin and its impact on colitis. 

“I didn’t know much about research before this experience,” Hannah said. “Now when we read research articles for class I can imagine the process and know that I know how to do it.”

Although she doesn’t see herself pursuing research in the future, rising to the challenge of performing lab work and writing and presenting her thesis to the group of fellow undergraduates, Ph.D. students, and professors gave her a confidence boost.