Ubbens, the first student to enroll in La Salle University's
Integrated Science, Business, and Technology (ISBT) Program
in 2000, is now working for the federal government doing research
on bacteria found in food.
is working with Dr. Gaylen Uhlich, of the Genomic Group of
the Microbiology Research Unit at the United States Department
of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS). The
group is led by John Luchansky, Research Leader of the USDA/ARS
Microbiol Food Safety Unit at the Eastern Regional Research
Center in Wyndmoor, Pa.
group is studying Listeria monocytogenes, a pathogenic bacterium
that is food- borne. The goal of the project is to benefit
consumers in finding ways for people to avoid getting sick
from foods such as undercooked meats and seafood, unpasteurized
dairy products, and fresh vegetables and fruits.
which usually grows in the central nervous system, can lead
to brain diseases, meningitis, and blood infections.
who was graduated from La Salle in 2003, works as a biological
science laboratory technician in USDA/ARS's Microbiol Food
Safety Unit. She says her research requires teamwork and effective
communication. She said the ISBT program prepared her to work
in small groups so that she feels comfortable working along
with another person.
under Dr. Uhlich you are given direction but also flexibility
for finding needed solutions," says Ubbens. "You
are thinking about the necessary equipment, how long experiments
will run, and ensuring the steps to complete the process.
It is to my advantage that ISBT taught me to create an experiment
was hoping for a position in a biotech lab where she could
help people recover from debilitating diseases through drug
discovery. However, she now sees that her current position
at the USDA as a different approach to assisting people.
her new position, she enjoys the challenge of learning something
new everyday. So far, she has received a crash course in genetics,
cloning, and microbiology.
La Salle, ISBT students have an opportunity to work with the
latest lab equipment, making for an easier transition as Ubbens
began her new job.
ISBT program, initiated in September 2000, is different from
traditional science programs because it gives students a team-oriented
approach to science, computers, and liberal arts, enabling
them to provide solutions to real-world problems.
important attribute of ISBT graduates is their ability to
quickly acquire the necessary information and knowledge relevant
to a specific problem context.
scientists to solve real problems makes them more attractive
to high tech and biotechnology companies," said Dr. Nancy
Jones, Director of La Salle's ISBT Program.
"In the past, it might have taken 10 years for an employee
to learn the skills the companies wanted. Today, the companies
can't wait that long."
By Karen Toner