SBS Undergraduate Student Published as First Author in Journal "Mitochondrial DNA Part B: Resources"

Photo Credit: Dr. Alan Christensen
Photo Credit: Dr. Alan Christensen
by Joel Stranberg Mon, 03/12/2018 - 16:16

The School of Biological Sciences is proud to congratulate Mackenzie Strehle, an INBRE scholar and a senior in the undergraduate microbiology program, on being published as a first author in a scientific paper coming out of Dr. Alan Christensen’s lab. 

The paper was authored by Mackenzie Strehle, Emma Purfeerst, and Dr. Alan Christensen and is titled “A Rapid and Efficient Method for Enriching Mitochondrial DNA from Plants”. The paper was published officially on February 18th in the most recent issue of the scientific journal Mitochondrial DNA Part B: Resources.

According to Mackenzie’s advisor, Dr. Christensen, her research project in Dr. Christensen’s lab has centered on establishing a more complete understanding of a DNA molecule found in the mitochondria of the plant species known as Brassica rapa.

Dr. Christensen said, “Strehle operates at the level of an experienced graduate student and did considerable development of methods and trouble shooting. She has exceeded well beyond our expectations and has developed a relatively easy and inexpensive one-day procedure that gives us a 500-fold enrichment of mitochondria.”

The project was funded through two separate grants: the first being the UCARE program (Undergraduate Creatve Activities and Research Experience), which is a UNL based grant specifically for undergraduate research, and the most recent grant coming from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) INBRE grant. Both of these grant proposals were written by Strehle, “with very few edits by Christensen or his lab staff.”

Regarding Mackenzie's future in biological science, Dr. Christensen said, “Mackenzie will be a star in research. She has taken advantage of opportunities UNL offers to greatly expand her education beyond the classroom, and has benefitted tremendously from them.”

When asked for what advice she would give her fellow undergrad students, she says “Get comfortable being uncomfortable!”

“College is a unique time in our lives when we can try new things with relatively little risk,” Strehle said. “Even though it may be scary to step outside our comfort zones, it is truly the only way to discover our passions and meet people who will impact our lives in ways we cannot imagine.”

Mackenzie is also in the process of submitting an honors thesis, and has officially accepted the offer to be in the Ph.D. Program in Biology at Caltech where she will attend at the start of the Fall 2018 semester.