South Florida State College (SFSC) student Taylor Bateman will present a poster explaining her research into feline kidney failure during the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC) at Florida Gulf Coast University on Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22.
FURC is an annual multi-disciplinary conference open to all undergraduate researchers in Florida where students present their research in a poster forum. The conference provides students with networking opportunities, workshops, and professional development programs.
Bateman’s research was encouraged by SFSC biology professor, Amy Bohan. “Taylor was a dedicated and motivated student when I first met her in my General Biology II course, and she showed so much enthusiasm for hopping on board with the research project.”
Bohan’s own research has been on congestive heart failure in dogs, but Bateman decided that she wanted to focus on cats. “I’m very much a cat person—I have two cats,” Bateman said. “And the kidney part—it’s minor, but I’ve had kidney problems my whole life, so I wanted to find a study on kidney failure.” In her abstract on the study, she indicates that little research on kidney failure in felines has been done and “there is not much understanding to what causes it and how it can be prevented.”
According to Bohan, Bateman is looking at micro-RNAs and how they play a role in kidney disease in felines. The research began with a search for literature on other such studies, but most of it was related to human renal failure. They, then, gathered the blood samples from cats in renal failure gathered by local veterinarians. At the conference, Bateman will present her abstract and analysis of the blood samples. Ultimately, Bateman would like to see the work published.
Bateman anticipates presenting her poster at the Experimental Biology (EB) meeting, a gathering of more than 12,000 scientists from around the world to explore the latest developments in a multitude of sciences. The 2000 EB will be held in April in San Diego, Calif.
Bateman graduates from SFSC in May 2020 with an Associate in Arts and will continue her studies at the University of South Florida (USF) at the Sarasota/Manatee Campus. She, originally, planned to study marine biology and wanted to work at MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Fla. But after meeting with an advisor at USF, her interest turned to environmental law with her sights set on the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.
“I love anything about the planet,” Bateman said. “And I see how much damage is happening to the planet right now. My favorite quote is from Gandhi: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ And I want to see the world change environmentally. That quote really inspired me. With environmental law, I realized I could make more of a change than I would just helping the animals.”
SFSC professors are encouraging undergraduate student research. “If a student wants to do research at SFSC, they can reach out to any of the faculty involved,” Bohan said. “I think that it’s a great way for students to think outside of the classroom, and it’s also been rewarding to see the confidence my students have gained while taking ownership of their projects.”
In fact, two other SFSC students will present posters at the upcoming FURC. Camila Rinoldi and Kyria Wickham, students from Dr. Charlotte Pressler’s Honors English I class, will discuss their research on “The Mass Grave in Sebring’s Pinecrest Cemetary of Moore Haven Victims of the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926.” Dr. James Hawker, SFSC dean of Arts and Sciences, will serve as faculty sponsor for Rinoldi’s research presentation on determining if coral communicate with ultrasonic sounds. Her research began through the Sebring High School International Baccalaureate (IB) program.
Bateman encourages other students to consider participating in a research project at SFSC. “Research at the undergraduate level is something not many people do. Ms. Bohan said from the get go that this is something, typically, done by graduate students. So, I would tell anybody and everybody that they should do this. They can see if a type of research that they’re interested in is being done here at SFSC. If it’s not, see if one of the professors would start it.”
Photo: Taylor Bateman (left) with Amy Bohan in the lab at SFSC