Photo: Portrait of Karen Hinkle

From genetic engineering to digital forensics to the plays of Harold Pinter, campus labs across the sciences, professional disciplines, and humanities showcase the talent, curiosity, and impact of Norwich faculty and students. Portraits of nine diverse researchers and the labs they work in.

The Norwich Record | Winter 2018

To appreciate the transformative effect that a lab can have on a campus, consider this: Ten years ago, a storage room on the second floor of the Tompkins science building was converted into a dedicated biology lab with a $200,000 grant from the Vermont Genetics Network, a funding arm of the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

Since then, Dana Professor of Biology Karen Hinkle, who also serves as the associate vice president for NU’s Office of Academic Research, has been one of many faculty researchers to use the facility to advance her research. Hinkle specifically investigates the signaling pathways of Fyn, a protein known to be involved in cancer, collaborating with Bryan Ballif at the University of Vermont as a sub-grantee of his NSF-funded lab. “It’s really basic science,” Hinkle says, referring to her quest to understand fundamental aspects of those interactions.

Numerous students have been involved in Hinkle’s work over the years as research assistants or summer research fellows and now countless more will be involved, too. For the second year in a row, students in Hinkle’s spring cell biology class will spend the entire course investigating a new protein that may interact with Fyn. Hinkle says thanks to a three-year NSF subaward from Ballif’s parent grant, she is finally walking the walk of using novel classroom inquiry to teach and engage the next generation of scientists. “It’s exciting to tell [my students], and I think they get it, that this is new. No one on the planet has ever understood these relationships before.”

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