OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU student wins international science competition

01/28/2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Anneke Tucker, a senior majoring in bioresource research and a University Honors College student at Oregon State University, has been named the overall winner of the second annual international competition for Virtual Poster Sessions, sponsored by the Journal of Young Investigators.

Tucker, a native of Lakeview, Ore., won the award for a video presentation she made presenting details of her research project with Balz Frei, director of OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute, during the Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship program last summer. It was only the second time Tucker has ever spoken in front of a scientific audience.

Tucker, Frei and Meltem Musa worked on an investigation of dietary enzymes that have the potential to help patients with type II diabetes.

“What drew me to the (Linus Pauling) Institute was the direct application that the research has on human health and nutrition through micronutrients,” Tucker said. “There are many projects going on at the LPI, but I chose to work in Dr. Frei's lab with Dr. Meltem Musa, because her investigation into dietary enzymes had the goal of reaching human trials, which was something that I wanted to be a part of.”

Tucker was the only student working with Musa and Frei on the project, which gave her the chance to ask many in-depth questions, and to learn the trial and error process researchers must go through in the lab.

Many Oregon State students have the opportunity to pursue undergraduate research at the university. For Tucker, the research gave her the chance to apply what she was learning in class to real-life situations.

“This perspective will definitely help me in the medical field, because it is all investigative,” Tucker said. “You run the tests and order the labs, but that doesn't mean anything unless you are willing to dig deeper and figure out what is wrong with a person.”

Tucker is working on her thesis project and applying to medical school in the spring. She plans on becoming an osteopathic physician, specializing in women's health and nutrition. She also hopes to get a master’s in public health while pursuing her medical degree.

“Ultimately, I would love to open a clinic to a rural and under-served community – which is where my fiance and I come from – and offer medical services and education regarding women's health and life-long nutrition and health,” she said.

“I think the experience in the Linus Pauling Institute has provided me with the right mental attitude that I need in order to help tackle some of the societal health problems that rural communities are facing,” she added. “It's probably a lofty goal, but I'm not one that is easily deterred.”