Kennard has developed a deep understanding of the bodily process
involved when the opossum proteins interact with the toxin and
explains the process to a visitor clearly and succinctly. As for a key
lesson from this research? "How unpredictable science is,"
The team has seen sustained successes, but has also run into bumps in
such areas as growing the proteins in the bacteria, said Kennard,
adding that working through those peaks and valleys has provided good
insight into the scientific process.
That process has also been valuable for Taylor Opolka, a guest
student researcher from
Davenport University who first knew Werner through playing sports
with his daughter. Opolka asked to join Werner's research team to gain
experience in biomedical research.
"This has definitely helped me learn a lot about the processes
of cellular research and how a lab that is systemed about that kind of
research operates," Opolka said.
Zach Lowe, a biochemistry major who is also on GVSU's swim team,
joined the project this semester to help gain more exposure to
high-level biochemistry. While looking through faculty bios for
potential student research opportunities, "I saw this one and I
said, 'Yeah, this is one I can get excited about.'"
Lowe, a Georgia native, lived in a climate with a lot of snakes and
opossums and even as a kid knew opossums were resistant to snake
venom. Lowe has also long had questions about the phenomenon and
thought the research could also satisfy that curiosity.
"How does that work? I just knew that a opossum could resist
snake venom but I didn't know why," Lowe said. "I wanted to